Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Yusuf (as)


Hazrat Is’haaq (a.s.) had two sons named Aysoo and Yaqub. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) was very dear to his parents. Hazrat Is’haaq (a.s.) prayed to Allah to bestow long and prosperous life to Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) due to which his brother Aysoo was displeased. On the advice of his parents, Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) left Palestine and migrated to ‘Fidan Araam’, the native place of his midwife ‘Laabaan’. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) used to serve his midwife. With her permission, he married her daughter ‘Raaheel’. The marriage was based on the condition that he would serve her for 10 more years. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) accepted the condition. Laabaan bestowed Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) with two slave girls and a lot of wealth. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) returned to Palestine along with his wife. There, he offered some wealth that he had acquired, to his brother, so as to avoid any feeling of envy and greed on his brother’s part. Both the brothers lived in Kin’aan. Allah granted two sons viz. Yusuf and Benyameen to Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) through Raheel. In addition to these two, Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) had 10 sons from his other wife.


One morning Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) woke up and said to his father:

O Father! I dreamt eleven stars, the sun and the moon were prostrating before me. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) said: O son, do not tell your dream to your brothers lest they will play some trick with you. Surely Shaitan is an open enemy of humans. Thus, Allah has chosen you…"

(Surah Yusuf: 4, 5 &6)

However, Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) revealed his dream to his brothers.
At that time Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was seventeen years old. Raheel, mother of Hazrat Yusuf and Benyameen, had expired. Therefore, Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) cherished the two more than his other sons.


One day the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) told their father that he should allow them to take Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) along with them in the desert so that he could also enjoy the beautiful sight of the desert. They claimed to Yusuf’s (a.s.) well wishers. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) remarked: "Separation from Yusuf will involve me in grief. I fear that you will neglect him and wild animals may devour him." The brothers replied, "Have faith in our valour. We will never allow such a thing to happen."

The next day Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and his brothers went to the desert. After walking some distance, the brothers manifested their grudge and malice towards Yusuf (a.s.). They removed his clothes and threw him in a well near Kin’aan. The wailing and imploring of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) had no effect on his stonehearted brothers and they fled from there.

Certainly the heart becomes hard due to grudge, jealousy and malice, and the fire of revenge inflames one’s existence. We must be very careful to avoid feelings of envy and ill-will from entering our hearts, or else even we will resort to desperate measures like the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) to overcome the feelings of jealousy and insecurity.

After dumping Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) in the well, his brothers took his bloodstained clothes to their father and said: O father! We regret that what you feared actually transpired. The wolf took away Yusuf while we were hunting.’ Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) suspected that something was amiss, and said: At last you have given in to your jealousy, and have harmed Yusuf. But remember that I will act with patience and forbearance and will seek help from Allah.’
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was crying and wailing in the well and was beseeching Allah for help. A caravan passed by that well and its members took Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) along with them. Thereafter they sold Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) to the Aziz of Egypt named ‘Totiqaar’. He was the treasurer of the Egyptian king.
(Urdu Translation of Quran by Maulana Farmaan Ali, p. 425)


Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) started working hard along with the other slaves in the house of the Aziz and gradually acquired excellence over other slaves. One day the Aziz told his wife Zulaikha: "This young man of Kin’aan is very hardworking, so take care of him and ensure that he leads a comfortable life. I am sure that he will be of immense benefit to us in future. We will adopt him as our son."

The incident following this is recorded in great detail in the books of history. But it is not possible to narrate it over here. To make a long story short, Zulaikha was unable to endure the beauty of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and was infatuated with him. The Holy Quran remembers,

"And she (Zulaikha) in whose house he was, sought to make himself yield (to her) and she made fast the doors and she said
‘Come (to me)."

(Yusuf: 23)

Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) turned down Zulaikha’s advances. She did not take to being spurned so easily. She leveled false accusations against Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.). As punishment, she asked her husband to put him in prison and involve him in a painful punishment.

But a child named ‘Khaleekha’, who was only four months old and was Zulaikha’s cousin testified lying in the cradle, that if the Yusuf’s shirt of (a.s.) was torn from the front, then Zulaikha was true in her allegation. But if it was torn from behind then Zulaikha was lying and Yusuf (a.s.) was truthful. When the Aziz saw that the shirt was torn from the back, he realised that Yusuf (a.s.) was innocent and his wife was the culprit. He told Zulaikha: "It is your fraud, deceit and craftiness, therefore seek forgiveness for your sin."

After this incident, the ladies of Egypt taunted Zulaikha, and as expected the news spread every where that she had fallen in love with her slave. When the news reached Zulaikha, she was aggrieved and started thinking of a way to check the rumours. One day, she invited all the ladies and placed a fruit and a knife in front of each one of them. Thereafter, she told them to cut the fruit and eat it. Then Yusuf (a.s.) was made to enter the room. The women as ordered started cutting the fruit but they were captivated with Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.)’s beauty and cut off their fingers instead of the fruits, without experiencing the pain. Seeing this, Zulaikha smiled and said: "You were censuring me. This is the same Yusuf – one brief look at him has bewitched you to such an extent, that you have cut your fingers, while he was with me all the time."

Anyway, Zulaikha persisted in her demands with Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and warned: "If he does not obey me then he will surely be imprisoned and disgraced." Hearing this Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) raised his hands and requested Allah: "O my God! I would prefer prison rather than fulfilling this woman’s demand. Allah accepted Hazrat Yusuf’s (a.s.) supplication and relieved him of that great temptation and he was imprisoned."

If a person believes that Allah watches his each and every action, then he will definitely never yield to sin and temptation even in loneliness. Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was young and Zulaikha was very beautiful, yet she failed (in her attempt to compel him to sin), while Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was successful.


Although the Aziz was aware of Hazrat Yusuf’s (a.s.) innocence, he was forced to imprison him on his wife’s insistence. She argued with the Aziz: "Yusuf has defamed me amongst the women of Egypt and has disgraced and dishonoured you. If you wish to regain that respect and esteem then you must imprison Yusuf.’ The Aziz duly obliged his wife.

Then on the same day, the royal cook ‘Majilah’, and the cup-bearer (‘Yunan’) of the Egyptian king were also detained in the same cell. They were imprisoned on the charge of conspiring to poison the King.

The next night ‘Yunan’ told Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.): "I dreamt that I was preparing grape juice for the King." The cook told him (a.s.): "I have also dreamt that I am carrying a loaf of bread on my head and the birds are eating it. O Yusuf! We have found that you are virtuous and magnanimous. Inform us of the interpretation of our dreams." Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) realized that both were inclined towards him and would lend him their ears most willingly. Taking advantage of this, he began inviting them towards Allah. He said: "I will interpret your dreams before the food arrives. God has favoured me with the interpretation of dreams. I am very disturbed due to these people who do not believe in Allah and deny the Day of Judgement. I follow my ancestors viz. Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Is’haaq (a.s.) and Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.). It is not appropriate for us to associate anyone with Allah."

"O my friends! You yourself reflect on whether these lifeless idols are worthy of being worshipped, or Allah, the One? The gods you worship are your own creation. They have no reality.’

After exhorting them towards Allah’s worship, he interpreted their dreams in the following manner. The one who had dreamt of grape juice would be released, and would perform the task of serving drinks to his master. And the one who had dreamt of the loaf of breads would be hanged.

Then Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) told ‘Yunan’, who was to be released: "Give the news of my innocence to the King, so that even I maybe released." Yunan was released just as Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) had prophesied. However, Yunan’ forgot about interceding on behalf of Yusuf (a.s.) with the King, and the latter was confined to the prison for seven years.