Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Yusuf (as) (contd..)
One should never be negligent of exhorting towards goodness (Amr bil Maroof) and forbidding evil (Nahy anil munkar). Those who perform these two actions are described as the ‘Best Nation’ in the Holy Quran. If we fail to invite the people towards goodness and do not prevent them from evil, then surely we ourselves will be responsible for the evils that afflict the society.
FREEDOM AT LAST
One morning, the king of Egypt woke up in a very disturbed frame of mind. He called his ministers and said, ‘I have seen a dream. I saw seven healthy cows coming out of the river and grazing in the grasslands. Then I saw seven weak and feeble cows coming out of the river and while grazing they ate the seven healthy cows. Then I saw seven fields of fresh wheat and then I saw seven dry wheat fields. I cannot comprehend the interpretation of this dream. Do you know its interpretation?’ Those present expressed their inability and helplessness to help the king with the interpretation of his strange dream.
On hearing about the dream, the king’s cook remembered Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.). He immediately presented himself in the presence of the king and said: "Sir! There is a youth in your prison who can interpret dreams". The king allowed the cook to visit Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) inside the prison. The cook narrated the king’s dream to Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.). Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was the Prophet of Allah. Therefore, he did not reprimand the cook for his forgetfulness to intercede for him with the king. Instead, he interpreted the king’s dream and suggested its solution.
He (a.s.) said: ‘The kingdom of Egypt will remain prosperous for seven years. Food grains will be in abundance. But immediately after that, for the next seven years there will be a famine. The people will face great difficulties and there will be shortage of food grains’.
Then Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) advanced a solution for the problem. He advised, ‘In the first seven years do a lot of cultivation and utilise the grains only as per the needs of the people, and store the rest. Then in the period of famine, use the food grains from the storehouse.’
The cook went to the king immediately and narrated the entire episode. The king was satisfied with the interpretation and ordered that Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) should be released immediately and brought in his presence, so that his practical solutions, at the time of facing future difficulties and problems, may prove beneficial to the country. But Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) did not want freedom, until the king proved him innocent. The king called the Egyptian women, heard the incident of the cutting of fingers, the women finally conceded the fact that Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was innocent. Ultimately, Zulaikha also confessed the same. In this manner Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was freed from the prison.
The king spoke to Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and when he was satisfied, he told him to choose whatever position he wished in the kingdom. Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) requested that he should be appointed the State Treasurer as he was a guardian and was also aware of its accounting. In this manner Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) became the guardian of the State Treasury.
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) toured various parts of Egypt and its suburbs to collect information about it economic conditions and problems. He provided financial support to the farmers, so that there could be a good harvest. The money advanced by Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was employed as per the farmers’ needs. This made Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) very famous throughout the kingdom. Everyone admitted that the kingdom had a very able and intelligent minister.
After seven years the river Nile’s level started declining. The signs of famine became evident, and gradually it spread throughout the kingdom. People started coming to Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) asking for food grains. Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) distributed the food grains according to the needs of the people. Even the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) approached him for buying food. When his brothers came to him for food grains, Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) recognised them but they did not recognise him. Among the brothers, his brother Binyaameen (Eng. Benjamin) was not there, as he was kept back by his father Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) with himself. Binyaameen was the real brother of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.).
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was very happy to see his brothers, but he noticed that his brother Binyaameen was missing. Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) was very hospitable and enquired with them about their condition and whereabouts. They said that they were the sons of Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.). They said that out of twelve brothers, one brother was with their father to look after him, while one of their brothers (implying Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) himself) was lost many years ago. He (a.s.) was very pleased to learn about his father and brother.
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) gave them foodgrains and also put the money paid by them in their luggage so that they soon return for more food. When they were about to leave Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) told them: "Next time when you come bring your brother, because I want to be sure that whatever you have said is correct".
The brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) reached Kin’aan and praised the Egyptian Nobleman (Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.)) in front of their father, Hazrat Yaqub (a.s). They said this Nobleman had ordered to get their brother along with them the next time. On hearing this Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) said: "Never will I send him along with you. Do you want to treat him in the same manner as you did with Yusuf (a.s.). Leave me on my own".
When the brothers opened the luggage they found their money in it. They became happy and told Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.): "How generous is the Nobleman of Egypt with us! He secretly placed our money in our luggage. Now dispel the fear from your heart and allow us to take Binyaameen along with us. We will protect him and bring him back safely".
When Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) saw that his children were pleading with him so much for the food grains and as they had also promised to take good care of their brother, he gave permission to them to go to the King. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) warned his sons not to enter Egypt all of them together from a single gate but to enter from different gates, lest the people might think that they have entered Egypt with the intention of killing and looting.
The brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) reached Egypt and Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) invited them for meals and made each of them sit in pairs on the table. Binyaameen was left alone without any partner and started crying profusely and said, ‘If my brother Yusuf had been present, I would not have been lonely.’ When Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) heard this, he made him sit along with himself. At night, Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) provided rooms for two brothers each and told Binyaameen to consider him as his brother Yusuf. On hearing this, Beniyamin’s eyes were filled with tears. He said, ‘Where can one find a brother like you. Alas! You are not from the progeny of Yaqub (a.s.) and the womb of Raaheel.’ Now Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) could not control his tears, and he embraced his brother and revealed, "I am your brother Yusuf. My brothers oppressed me, but Allah protected me with His grace and nobility. Do not disclose this matter to your brothers, till the time does not come for revealing it.’
It is indeed strange how the skeptics object to the existence of the hidden (Ghaib) Imam, after the incident of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and his brothers. As we have seen that his real brothers failed to recognize Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.), similarly, Imam (a.s.) is also in our midst, but we do not recognize him. Yusuf-e-Zahra in his major occultation like Yusuf of Egypt, meets whomsoever he wishes. When the time comes, everyone will recognize him.
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) in order to retain Binyaameen with himself, implicated him in a false theft by putting a precious thing in his baggage and in this manner prevented him from returning with his brothers to Kin’aan. His brothers helplessly returned to their father. Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) was very grieved and sorrowful. But he remained patient and asked his sons to return to Egypt and request the King to release Binyaameen. He asked his sons not to despair of Allah’s mercy.
For the third time the brothers came to Egypt and said, "O Chief! Distress has afflicted us and our family and we have come to you with scanty money".
Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) listened to their complaint and finally revealed his identity to them. Finally, it was clear to the brothers that he was Yusuf, their brother, who they had dumped in the well. Then Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) and his father were united after years of separation.. O Allah! Unite us with our beloved Imam (a.t.f.s.), like You united Yusuf (a.s.) with his father!