Surah Yusuf Ayat 78-100

{78. They said: “O Aziz! Verily, he has an old father (who will grieve for him); so take one of us in his place. Indeed we think that you are one of the doers of good.” 

79. He said: “Allah forbid, that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property. Indeed (if we did so), we should be wrongdoers.”}

Yusuf’s Brothers offer taking One of Them instead of Binyamin as a Slave, Yusuf rejects the Offer

When it was decided that Benyamin was to be taken and kept with Yusuf according to the law they adhered by, Yusuf’s brothers started requesting clemency and raising compassion in his heart for them,“They said, “O Aziz! Verily, he has an old father…” who loves him very much and is comfor- ted by his presence from the son that he lost,“so take one of us in his place.”, instead of Binyamin to remain with you,“Indeed we think that you are one of the doers of good.”, the good doers, just, and accepting fairness,“He said: “Allah forbid, that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property…”, ‘according to the judgement that you gave for his punishment,“Indeed, we should be wrongdoers.”, if we take an innocent man instead of the guilty man.

{80. So, when they despaired of him, they consulted in private. The eldest among them said: ”Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s Name, and before this you did fail in your duty with Yusuf? Therefore I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case and He is the Best of the judges. 

81. “Return to your father and say, ‘O our father! Verily, your son has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not know the Unseen! 

82.”And ask (the people of) the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned; and indeed we are telling the truth.”}

Yusuf’s Brother’s consult each other in Confidence; the Advice Their Eldest Brother gave Them

Allah narrates to us that Yusuf’s brothers were desperate because they could not secure the release of their brother Binyamin, even though they had given a promise and sworn to their father to bring him back. they were unable to fulfil their promise to their father, so, “in private” away from people’s ears, “they consulted” among themselves, “The eldest among them said” and his name, as we have mentioned was Rubil, or Yuhudha. he was the one among them who recommended throwing Yusuf into a well, rather than killing him. So Rubil said to them, “Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s Name,” that you will return Binyamin to him? However you were not able to fulfil this promise and, before you caused Yusuf to be lost from his father, “Therefore I will not leave this land,” I will not leave Egypt, “until my father permits me” allows me to go back to him while he is pleased with me, “or Allah decides my case,” by using the sword, or they said; by allowing me to secure the release of my brother, “and he is the best of Judges.” He next ordered them to narrate to their father what happened so that they could present their excuse about what happened to Binyamin and as claim their innocence before him. Rubin said to them (to say to their father), “and we could not know the Unseen!” or ‘we did not know that your son had committed theft,’ according to Qatadah and Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 16:211-212) Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that it means, ‘we did not know that Binyamin stole something that belonged to the king, we only stated the punishment of the their.’ “And ask (the people of) the town where we have been” in reference to Egypt (At-Tabari 16:210) according to Qatadah (At-Tabari 16:212) or another town. “and the caravan  in which we returned” ‘about our truthfulness, honest, protection and sincere guardianship, “and indeed we are telling the truth” in what we have told you, that Binyamin stole and was taken as a captive as compensation for his theft.’

{83. He [Yaqub] said, “Nay, but your souls have beguiled you to something, so patience is most fitting. Perhaps Allah will bring them to me all together. Indeed it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.

84. And he turned away from them and said, “Alas, my grief for Yusuf!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow he was suppressing.

85. They said, “By Allah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf until you become weak with old age or until you be of the dead.

86. He said, “I only complain of my grief and my sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know.}

Allah’s Prophet Yaqub receives the Grievous News

Allah’s Prophet Yaqub repeated to his children the same words he said to them when they brought false blood on Yusuf’s shirt, “Nay, but your own selves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting (for me).” Muhammad bin Ishaq said, “When they went back to Yaqub and told him what happened, he did not believe them and thought that this was a repetition of what they did to Yusuf. So he said, “Nay, but your own selves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting for me.” Some said that since this new development came after what they did before [to Yusuf], they were given the same judgement to this later incident that was given to them when they did what they did [to Yusuf]. Therefore Yaqub’s statement here is befitting. “Nay, but their own selves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting (for me).” 

He then begged Allah to bring back his three sons: Yusuf, Binyamin and Rubil to him.” (At-Tabari 16:214) Rubil had remained in Egypt awaiting Allah’s decision about his case, either his father’s permission ordering him to go back home, or to secure the release of his brother in confidence. This is why Yaqub said, “Maybe Allah will bring them (back) all to me. Truly, He! Only He is All-Knowing.” in my distress, “the All-Wise”, in His decisions and the decree and preordainment He appoints. he said next, “And he turned away from them and said: “Alas my grief for Yusuf!” He turned way from his children and remembered his old grief for Yusuf, “Alas my grief for Yusuf!” the new grief, losing Binyamin and Rubil, renewed his old sadness that he kept to himself. Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ath-Thawri said that Sufyan Al-Asuri said that Said bin Jubayr said, “Only this nation [the following of prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] were given Al-Istirja [Saying “To Allah we belong and to Him shall be our return.”] Have you not heard of the statement of Yaqub, peace be upon him, “Alas my grief for Yusuf!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing”? (Abdur-Razzaq 2:227) Yaqub suppressed his sorrow and did not complain to a created being, according to Qatadah and other scholars. (At-Tabari 16:216) Ad-Dahhak also commented, “Yaqub was aggrieved, sorrowful and sad.” (At-Tabari 16:218)

Yaqub’s children felt pity for him and said, while feeling sorrow and compassion, “By Allah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf” ‘You will keep remembering Yusuf, “until you become weak with old age”, until your strength leaves you, “or until you be of the dead.” They said, ‘if you continue like this, we fear for you that you might die of grief,’ “He said: ‘I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah.” When they said these words to him, Yaqub said, “I only complain of my grief and sorrow,” for the afflictions that struck me, “to Allah” alone, “and I know from Allah that which you know not.” I anticipate from Allah each and every type of goodness. Ibn Abbas commented on the meaning of, “and I know from Allah that which you know not.” ‘The vision that Yusuf saw is truthful and Allah will certainly make it true.” (At-Tabari 16:227)

87. “O my sons! Go you and inquire about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” 

88. Then, when they entered unto him, they said: “O Aziz! A hard time has hit us and our family, and we have brought but poor capital, so pay us full measure and be charitable to us. Truly, Allah does reward the charitable.}

Yaqub orders His Children to inquire about Yusuf and His Brother

Allah states that Yaqub, peace be upon him, ordered his children to go back and inquire about the news of Yusuf and his brother Binyamin, in a good manner, not as spies. He encouraged them, delivered to them the good news and ordered them not to despair of Allah’s mercy. He ordered them to never give up hope in Allah, nor to ever discontinue trusting in Him for what they seek to accomplish. He said to them that only the disbelieving people despair of Allah’s mercy.

Yusuf’s Brothers stand before Him

Allah said next,“Then, when they entered unto him”, when they went back to Egypt and entered upon Yusuf, “they said: “O Aziz! A hard time has hit us and our family…”, because of severe droughts and the scarcity of food,“and we have brought but poor capital” means, ‘we brought money for the food we want to buy, but it is not substantial,’ according to Mujahid, Al-Hasan and several others. (At-Tabari 16:238) Allah said that they said next, “so pay us full measure” meaning, ‘in return for the little money we brought, give us the full measure that you gave us before.’ Ibn Masud read this Ayah in a way that means, “So give the full load on our animals and be charitable with us.” (ibid) Ibn Jurayj commented, “So be charitable to us by returning our brother to us.” (At-Tabari 16:243) And when Sufyan bin Uyaynah was asked if the Sadaqah (charity) was prohibited for any Prophet before our Prophet , he said, “Have you not heard the Ayah,“so pay us full measure and be charitable to us. Truly, Allah does reward the charitable.” Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (At-Tabari 16:242) collected this statement.

{89. He said: Do you know what you did with Yusuf and his brother, when you were ignorant?” 

90. They said: “Are you indeed Yusuf?” He said: “I am Yusuf , and this is my brother. Allah has indeed been gracious to us. He who has Taqwa, and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the gooddoers to be lost.” 

91. They said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.” 

92. He said: “No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!}

Yusuf Reveals His True Identity to His brothers and Forgives Them

Allah says, when Yusuf’s brothers told him about the afflictions and hardship, and shortages in food they suffered from in the aftermath of the drought that struck them, and he remembered his father’s grief for losing his two children, he felt compassion, pity and mercy for his father and brothers. He felt this way, especially since he was enjoying kingship, authority and power, so he cried and revealed his true identity to them when he asked them,“Do you know what you did with Yusuf and his brother, when you were ignorant?” meaning, ‘when you separated between Yusuf and his brother,’“when you were ignorant” He said, ‘What made you do this is your ignorance of the tremendous sin you were about to commit.’ It appears, and Allah knows best, that Yusuf revealed his identity to his brothers only then by Allah’s command, just as he hid his identity from them in the first two meetings, by Allah’s command. When the affliction became harder, Allah sent His relief from that affliction, just as He said He does,“Verily, along with every hardship is relief. Verily, along with every hardship is relief.” (94:5-6) This is when they said to Yusuf,“Are you indeed Yusuf?”, in amazement, because they had been meeting him for more than two years while unaware of who he really was. Yet, he knew who they were and hid this news from them. Therefore, they asked in astonishment,“Are you indeed Yusuf He said: “I am Yusuf, and this is my brother…” Yusuf said next, “Allah has indeed been gracious to us.” by gathering us together after being separated all this time,’“Verily, he who has Taqwa, and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the gooddoers to be lost.” They said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah has preferred you above us.” They affirmed Yusuf’s virtue above them, being blessed with beauty, conduct, richness, kingship, authority and, above all, prophethood. They admitted their error and acknowledged that they made a mistake against him,“He said: “No reproach on you this day.” He said to them, ‘There will be no blame for you today or admonishment, and I will not remind you after today of your error against me.’ He then multiplied his generosity by invoking Allah for them for mercy,“May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!”

{93. “Go with this shirt of mine, and cast it over the face of my father, his vision will return, and bring to me all your family.” 

94. And when the caravan departed, their father said: “I do indeed sense the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not senile).” 

95. They said: “By Allah! Certainly, you are in your old Dalal (error).”}

Yaqub finds the Scent of Yusuf in his Shirt!

Yusuf said, ‘Take this shirt of mine, “and cast it over the face of my father, his vision will return”,’ because Yaqub had lost his sight from excessive crying,“and bring to me all your family.” all the children of Yaqub. “And when the caravan departed” from Egypt,“their father said…”, Yaqub, peace be upon him, said to the children who remained with him,“I do indeed feel the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not senile.”, except that you might think me senile because of old age.’Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said, “When the caravan departed [from Egypt], a wind started blowing and brought the scent of Yusuf’s shirt to Yaqub. He said,“I do indeed feel the smell of Yusuf , if only you think me not senile.” He found his scent from a distance of eight days away!” (Abdur-Razzaq 2:329)

Similar was also reported through Sufyan Ath-Thawri and Shubah and others reported it from Abu Sinan. (At-Tabari 16:250)

Yaqub said to them, “if only you think me not senile.” Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ata, Qatadah and Sa’id bin Jubayr commented, “If only you think me not a fool!” (At-Tabari 16:253) Mujahid and Al-Hasan said that it means, “If only you think me not old.” (At-Tabari 16:255) Their answer to him was, “Certainly, you are in your old Dalal.” meaning, ‘in your old error,’ according to Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 16:257) Qatadah commented, “They meant that, ‘because of your love for Yusuf you will never forget him.’ So they uttered a harsh word to their father that they should never have uttered to him, nor to a Prophet of Allah.” (At-Tabari 16:257) Similar was said by As-Suddi and others. (ibid)

{96. Then, when the bearer of the good news arrived, he cast it (the shirt) over his face, and his vision returned. He said: “Did I not say to you, ‘I know from Allah that which you know not”’ 

97. They said: “O our father! Ask forgiveness (from Allah) for our sins, indeed we have been sinners.” 

98. He said: “I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily, He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”}

Yahudha brings Yusuf’s Shirt and Good News

Ibn Abbas and Ad-Dahhak said; “good news” means information. Mujahid and As-Suddi said that the bearer of good news was Yahudha, son of Yaqub. (At-Tabari 16:258) As-Suddi added, “He brought it (Yusuf’s shirt) because it was he who brought Yusuf’s shirt stained with the false blood. So he liked to erase that error with this good act, by bringing Yusuf’s shirt and placing it on his father’s face. His father’s sight was restored to him.” (At-Tabari 16:259) Yaqub said to his children, “Did I not say to you, ‘I know from Allah that which you know not’‘, that I know that Allah will return Yusuf to me and that, “I do indeed feel the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not senile.” 

Yusuf’s Brothers Feel Sorry and Regretful

This is when Yusuf’s brothers said to their father, with humbleness, “O our father! Ask forgiveness (from Allah) for our sins, indeed we have been sinners.” He said: “I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily, He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” and He forgives those who repent to Him. Abdullah bin Masud, Ibrahim At-Taymi, Amr bin Qays, Ibn Jurayj and several others said that Prophet Yaqub delayed fulfilling their request until the latter part of the night. (At-Tabari 16:262)

{99. Then, when they came in before Yusuf, he took his parents to himself and said: “Enter Egypt, if Allah wills, in security.” 

100. And he raised his parents to the `Arsh and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you (all here) out of the bedouin life, after Shaytan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He wills. Truly, He! Only He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.}

Yusuf Welcomes His Parents; His Dream Comes True

Allah states that Yaqub went to Yusuf in Egypt. Yusuf had asked his brothers to bring all of their family, and they all departed their area and left Kana`an to Egypt. When Yusuf received news of their approach to Egypt, he went out to receive them. The king ordered the princes and notable people to go out in the receiving party with Yusuf to meet Allah’s Prophet Yaqub, peace be upon him. It is said that the king also went out with them to meet Yaqub. Yusuf said to his family, after they entered unto him and he took them to himself, “and said: “Enter Egypt, if Allah wills, in security.” He said to them, ‘enter Egypt’, meaning, ‘reside in Egypt’, and added, ‘if Allah wills, in security’, in reference to the hardship and famine that they suffered. Allah said next, “and he took his parents to himself”

As-Suddi and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that his parents were his father and maternal aunt, (At-Tabari 16:267) as his mother had died long ago. (At-Tabari 16:269) Muhammad bin Ishaq and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari said, “His father and mother were both alive.” Ibn Jarir added, “There is no evidence that his mother had died before then. Rather, the apparent words of the Qur’an testify that she was alive.” This opinion has the apparent and suitable meaning that this story testifies to.(At-Tabari 16:267)

Allah said next, “And he raised his parents to Al-‘Arsh” he raised them to his bedstead where he sat, according to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and several others. (ibid) Allah said, “and they fell down before him prostrate.” Yusuf’s parents and brothers prostrated before him, and they were eleven men, “And he said: “O my father! This is the Ta’wil (interpretation) of my dream aforetime…’‘, in reference to the dream that he narrated to his father before, “I saw (in a dream) eleven stars…”

In the laws of these and previous Prophets, it was allowed for the people to prostrate before the men of authority, when they met them. This practice was allowed in the law of Adam until the law of Isa, peace be upon them, but was later prohibited in our law. Islam made prostration exclusively for Allah Alone, the Exalted and Most Honored. The implication of this statement was collected from Qatadah and other scholars. (At-Tabari 16:269)

When Muadh bin Jabal visited the Sham area, [Greater Syria, which now comprises Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan] he found them prostrating before their priests. When he returned (to Al-Madinah), he prostrated before the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who asked him,

“What is this, O, Muadh?”

Muadh said, “I saw that they prostrate before their priests. However, you, O Messenger of Allah, deserve more to be prostrated before.” The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“If I were to order anyone to prostrate before anyone else (among the creation), I would have ordered the wife to prostrate before her husband because of the enormity of his right on her.” (Ibn Majah 1:595)

Therefore, this practice was allowed in previous laws, as we stated. This is why they (Yaqub and his wife and eleven sons) prostrated before Yusuf, who said at that time, “O my father! This is the Ta’wil of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true!” using the word, Ta’wil’, to describe what became of the matter, later on. Allah said in another Ayah, “Await they just for its Ta’wil On the Day the event is finally fulfilled…”, meaning, on the Day of Judgement what they were promised of good or evil will surely come to them. Yusuf said, “My Lord has made it come true!” mentioning that Allah blessed him by making his dream come true, “He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you (all here) out of the bedouin life,” out of the desert, for they lived a bedouin life and raised cattle, according to Ibn Jurayj and others. (At-Tabari 16:276) He also said that they used to live in the Arava, Ghur area of Palestine, in Greater Syria. Yusuf said next, “after Shaytan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He wills.” for when Allah wills something, He brings forth its reasons and elements of existence, then wills it into existence and makes it easy to attain, “Truly, He! Only He is the All-Knowing.” what benefits His servants, “the All-Wise.” in His statements, actions, decrees, preordain- ment and what He chooses and wills.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 5 Pages 195-213

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