Surah Yusuf Ayat 101-111 (end)

{101. “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams – the (Only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous.”}

Yusuf begs Allah to die as a Muslim

This is the invocation of Yusuf, the truthful one, to his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored. He invoked Allah after His favor was complete on him by being reunited with his parents and brothers, after He had bestowed on him prophethood and kingship. He begged his Lord the Exalted and Ever High, that as He has perfected His bounty on him in this life, to continue it until the Hereafter. He begged Him that, when he dies, he dies as a Muslim, as Ad-Dahhak said, and to join him with the ranks of the righteous, with his brethren the Prophets and Messengers, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on them all. (At-Tabari 16:280) It is possible that Yusuf, peace be upon him, said this supplication while dying. In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that while dying, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was raising his finger and said – thrice,

“O Allah to Ar-Rafiq Al-Ala [the uppermost, highest company in heaven].” (Fath Al-Bari 7:743)

It is also possible that long before he died, Yusuf begged Allah to die as a Muslim and be joined with the ranks of the righteous.

{102. That is of the news of the Ghayb (Unseen) which We reveal to you. You were not (present) with them when they arranged their plan together, and (while) they were plotting. 

103. And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly. 

104. And no reward you ask of them for it; it (the Qur’an) is no less than a Reminder unto the Alamin (men and Jinn).}

This Story is a Revelation from Allah

Allah narrated to Muhammad, peace be upon him, the story of Yusuf and his brothers and how Allah raised him over them, giving him the better end, triumph, the sovereignty and wisdom (i.e., prophethood), even though they tried to harm and kill him. Allah said, ‘This and similar stories are part of the unseen incidents of the past, O Muhammad, “which We reveal to you.” and inform you of, O Muhammad, because it carries a lesson, for you to draw from and a reminder to those who defy you.’ Allah said next, “You were not (present) with them”, you did not witness their conference nor saw them, “when they arranged their plan together” to throw Yusuf into the well, “and (while) they were plotting” against him. We taught you all this through Our Revelation which We sent down to you.’ Allah said in other Ayat, “You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens..” and, “And you were not on the western side, when We made clear to Musa the commandment…” (28:44) until, “And you were not at the side of the Tur when We did call.” (28:46) Allah also said, “And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our verses to them.” (28:45) Allah states that Muhammad is His Messenger and that He has taught him the news of what occurred in the past, which carry lessons for people to draw from, so that they acquire their safety in their religious affairs as well as their worldly affairs. Yet, most people did not and will not believe, so Allah said, “And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” Allah said in similar Ayat, “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path” (6:116), and, “Verily, in this is an Ayah, yet most of them are not believers.” (26:8) Allah said next, “And no reward you ask of them for it” Allah says, ‘You, O Muhammad, do not ask them in return for this advice and your call to all that is good and righteous, for any price or compensation for delivering it. Rather, you do so seeking Allah’s Face and to deliver good and sincere advice to His creatures, “it (the Qur’an) is no less than a Reminder unto the Alamin (men and Jinn)” with which they remember, receive guidance and save themselves in this life and the Hereafter.’

{105. And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom. 

106. And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him.  

107. Do they then feel secure from the coming against them of the covering veil of the torment of Allah, or of the coming against them of the (Final) Hour, all of a sudden while they perceive not?}

People neglect to ponder the Signs before Them

Allah states that most people do not think about His signs and proofs of His Oneness that He created in the heavens and earth. Allah created brilliant stars and rotating heavenly objects and planets, all made subservient. There are many plots of fertile land next to each other on earth, and gardens, solid mountains, lively oceans, with their waves smashing against each other, and spacious deserts. There are many live creatures and others that have died; and animals, plants and fruits that are similar in shape, but different in taste, scent, color and attributes. All praise is due to Allah the One and Only, Who created all types of creations, Who Alone will remain and last forever. It is He Who is unique in His Names and Attributes.

Allah said next, “And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him.”

Ibn Abbas commented, “They have a part of faith, for when they are asked, ‘Who created the heavens? Who created the earth Who created the mountains?’ They say, ‘Allah did.’ Yet, they associate others with Him in worship.” (At-Tabari 16:292) Similar is said by Mujahid, Ata, Ikrimah, Ash-Shabi, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. (ibid) In the Sahih, it is recorded that during the Hajj season, the idolators used to say in their Talbiyah: “Here we rush to Your service. You have no partners with You, except a partner with You whom You own but he owns not!” (Muslim 2:843) Allah said in another Ayah, “Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.” (31:13) This indeed is the greatest type of Shirk, associating others with Allah in worship. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abdullah bin Masud said, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What is the greatest sin?’ He said,

“That you call a rival to Allah while He alone created you.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:350, Muslim 1:90)

Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah’s statement, “And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him.” “This is the hypocrite; if he performs good deeds, he does so to show off with the people, and he is an idolator while doing this.” Al-Hasan was referring to Allah’s statement, “Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salah, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” (4:142) There is another type of hidden Shirk that most people are unaware of. Hammad bin Salamah narrated that Asim bin Abi An-Najud said that Urwah said, “Hudhayfah visited an ill man and saw a rope tied around his arm, so he ripped it off while reciting, “And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him.” In a Hadith, from Ibn Umar collected by At-Tirmidhi who said it was Hasan, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“He who swears by other than Allah, commits Shirk.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 5:135)

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and other scholars of Hadith narrated that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, Ar-Ruqa, At-Tama’im and At-Tiwalah are all acts of Shirk.” (Ahmad 1:381) [Ar-Ruqa is the act of reciting incantations, charms etc, the lawful type is done with the Qur’an. At-Tamain is the act of putting an amulet around the necks of children to save them from the effects of evil eye. At-Tiwalah is a kind of bewitchment done by those who claim they can cause a woman to be more loved by her husband or vice versa.]

In another narration collected by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, At-Tiyarah [omen] is Shirk; everyone might feel a glimpse of it, but Allah dissipates it with Tawakkul [Reliance on and trust in Him].” (Ahmad 1:389, Abu Dawud 4:230)

Allah said next, “Do they then feel secure from the coming against them of the covering veil of the torment of Allah?” Allah asks, ‘Do these idolators who associate others with Allah in the worship, feel secure from the coming of an encompassing torment from where they perceive not’ Allah said in other Ayat, “Do then those who devise evil plots feel secure that Allah will not sink them into the earth, or that the torment will not seize them from directions they perceive not Or that He may catch them in the midst of their going to and from, so that there be no escape for them (from Allah’s punishment) Or that He may catch them with gradual wasting (of their wealth and health) Truly, Your Lord is indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (16:45-47) and, “Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment by night while they were asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment in the forenoon while they were playing? Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.” (7:97-99)

{108. Say “This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah. And I am not of the idolators.”}

The Messenger’s Way

Allah orders His Messenger to say to mankind and the Jinns that this is his way, meaning, his method, path and Sunnah, concentrating on calling to the testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without partners. The Messenger calls to this testimonial with sure knowledge, certainty and firm evidence. He calls to this way, and those who followed him call to what Allah’s Messenger called to with sure knowledge, certainty and evidence, whether logical or religious evidence, “And Glorified and Exalted be Allah.” This part of the Ayah means, I glorify, honor, revere and praise Allah from having a partner, equal, rival, parent, son, wife, minister or advisor. All praise and honor be to Allah, glorified He is from all that they attribute to Him, “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him, and there is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” (17:44)

{109. And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men unto whom We revealed, from among the people of townships. Have they not traveled in the land and seen what was the end of those who were before them? And verily, the home of the Hereafter is the best for those who have Taqwa. Do you not then understand?}

All of the Prophets are Human and Men

Allah states that He only sent Prophets and Messengers from among men and not from among women, as this Ayah clearly states. Allah did not reveal religious and legislative laws to any woman from among the daughters of Adam. This is the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. Shaykh Abu Al-Hasan, Ali bin Ismail Al-Ashari mentioned that it is the view of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, that there were no female Prophets, but there were truthful believers from among women. Allah mentions the most honorable of the truthful female believers, Maryam, the daughter of Imran, when He said, “The Messiah [‘Isa], son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a Siddiqah [truthful believer]. They both used to eat food.” (5:75) Therefore, the best description Allah gave her is Siddiqah. Had she been a Prophet, Allah would have mentioned this fact when He was praising her qualities and honor. Therefore, Mary was a truthful believer according to the words of the Qur’an.

All Prophets were Humans not Angels

Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men” “They were not from among the residents of the heaven (angels), as you claimed.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 4:595) This statement of Ibn Abbas is supported by Allah’s statements, “And We never sent before you any of the Messengers, but verily, they ate food and walked in the markets” (25:20) “And We did not create them with bodies that ate not food, nor were they immortals. Then We fulfilled to them the promise. So We saved them and those whom We willed, but We destroyed extravagants”, (21:8-9) and, “Say: “I am not a new thing among the Messengers.” (46:9) Allah said next, “from among the people of townships”, meaning, from among the people of cities, not that they were sent among the bedouins who are some of the harshest and roughest of all people.

Drawing Lessons from the Incidents of the Past

Allah said next, “Have they not traveled in the land”, meaning, ‘Have not these people who rejected you, O Muhammad, traveled in the land,”and seen what was the end of those who were before them?” that is, the earlier nations that rejected the Messengers, and how Allah destroyed them. A similar end is awaiting all disbelievers. Allah said in another Ayah, “Have they not traveled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand?” (22:46) When they hear this statement, they should realize that Allah destroyed the disbelievers and saved the believers, and this is His way with His creation. This is why Allah said, “And verily, the home of the Hereafter is the best for those who have Taqwa.” Allah says, ‘Just as We saved the faithful in this life, We also wrote safety for them in the Hereafter, which is far better for them than the life of the present world.’ Allah said in another Ayah, “Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world’s life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth (i.e. Day of Resurrection). The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to the wrongdoers. Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (in Hellfire).” (40:51-52)

{110. (They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied, then came to them Our help, and whomsoever We willed were rescued. And Our punishment cannot be warded off from the people who are criminals.} 

Allah’s Prophets are aided by Victory in Times of Distress and Need

Allah states that He sends His aid and support to His Messengers, peace be upon them, when distress and hardship surround them and they eagerly await Allah’s aid. Allah said in another Ayah, “..and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the help of Allah?” (2:214) As for saying of Allah, “they were denied” There are two recitations for it. One of them is with a Shadda (meaning: they were betrayed by their people). And this is the way A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, recited it.

Al-Bukhari said that Urwah bin Az-Zubayr narrated that he asked Aishah about the meaning of the following verse, “Until when the Messengers give up hope…”, Respite will be granted, is it denied or betrayed `A’0ishah replied, “betrayed.” Urwah said, “I said, ‘They were sure that their people betrayed them, so why use the word ‘thought” She said, ‘Yes, they were sure that they betrayed them.’ I said, “and they thought that they were denied (by Allah)” Aishah said, ‘Allah forbid! The Messengers did not suspect their Lord of such a thing.’ I asked, ‘So what does this Ayah mean?’ She said, ‘This Verse is concerned with the Messengers’ followers who had faith in their Lord and believed in their Messengers. The period of trials for those followers was long and Allah’s help was delayed until the Messengers gave up hope for the conversion of the disbelievers amongst their nation and suspected that even their followers were shaken in their belief, Allah’s help then came to them.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:217)

Ibn Jurayj narrated that Ibn Abi Mulaikah said that Ibn Abbas read this Ayah this way, “and they thought they were denied.” Abdullah bin Abi Mulaikah said, “Then Ibn Abbas said to me that they were humans. He then recited this Ayah, “..even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the help of Allah” Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!” (2:214)” Ibn Jurayj also narrated that Ibn Abi Mulaykah said that `Urwah narrated to him that Aishah did not agree to this and rejected it. She said, “Nothing that Allah has promised Muhammad, peace be upon him, but Muhammad knew for certainty that it shall come, until he died. However, the Messengers were tried with trials until they thought that those believers, who were with them, did not fully support them.” Ibn Abi Mulaykah said that Urwah narrated that Aishah recited this Ayah this way, “and they thought that they were betrayed.” (At-Tabari 16:307)

Therefore, there is another way of reciting this word, and there is a difference of opinion about its meaning. We narrated the meaning that Ibn Abbas gave. Ibn Masud said, as Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from him, that he read the Ayah this way, “until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied.” Abdullah commented that this is the recitation that you dislike. Ibn Abbas also commented on the Ayah, “until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied” “When the Messengers gave up hope that their people would accept their messages, and their people thought that their Messengers had not said the truth to them, Allah’s victory came then, “and whomsoever We willed were rescued.” Ibn Jarir At-Tabari narrated that Ibrahim bin Abi Hamzah [Hurrah] Al-Jazari said, “A young man from Quraysh asked Sa’id bin Jubayr ‘O, Abu Abdullah! How do you read this word, for when I pass by it, I wish I had not read this Surah, “until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied…” He said, ‘Yes, it means, when the Messengers gave up hope that their people will believe in them and those to whom the Messengers were sent thought that the Messengers were not truthful.”’ Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim commented, “I have not seen someone who is called to knowledge and is lazy accepting the invitation, until today! If you traveled to Yemen just to get this explanation, it will still be worth it.” Ibn Jarir At-Tabari narrated that Muslim bin Yasar asked Sa`id bin Jubayr about the same Ayah and he gave the same response. Muslim stood up and embraced Sa’id bin Jubayr, saying, “May Allah relieve a distress from you as you relieved a distress from me!” (At-Tabari 16:303)

This was reported from Sa’id bin Jubayr through various chains of narration. This is also the Tafsir that Mujahid bin Jabr and several other Salaf scholars gave for this Ayah. However, some scholars said that the Ayah, “and thought that they were denied”, is in reference to the believers who followed the Messengers, while some said it is in reference to the disbelievers among the Messengers’ nation. In the latter case, the meaning becomes: ‘and the disbelievers thought that the Messengers were not given a true promise of victory.’ Ibn Jarir At-Tabari narrated that Tamim bin Hadhlam said, “I heard Abdullah bin Masud comment on this Ayah, “until, when the Messengers gave up hope” that their people will believe in them, and their people thought when the respite was long, that the Messengers were not given a true promise.” (At-Tabari 16:304)

{111. Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of that which was before it and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a mercy for the people who believe. }

A Lesson for Men Who Have Understanding

Allah states here that the stories of the Messengers and their nations and how we saved the believers and destroyed the disbelievers are, “a lesson for men of understanding”, who have sound minds, “It is not a forged statement.” Allah says here that this Qur’an could not have been forged; it truly came from Allah, “but a confirmation of that which was before it” in reference to the previously revealed Divine Books, by which this Qur’an testifies to the true parts that remain in them and denies and refutes the forged parts that were added, changed and falsified by people. The Qur’an accepts or abrogates whatever Allah wills of these Books, “and a detailed explanation of everything” Meaning the allowed, the prohibited, the preferred and the disliked matters. The Qur’an deals with the acts of worship, the obligatory and recommended matters, forbids the unlawful and discourages from the disliked. The Qur’an contains major facts regarding the existence and about matters of the future in general terms or in detail. The Qur’an tells us about the Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored, and about His Names and Attributes and teaches us that Allah is glorified from being similar in any way to the creation. Hence, the Qur’an is, “a guide and a mercy for the people who believe.” with which their hearts are directed from misguidance to guidance and from deviation to conformance, and with which they seek the mercy of the Lord of all creation in this life and on the Day of Return. We ask Allah the Most Great to make us among this group in the life of the present world and in the Hereafter, on the Day when those who are successful will have faces that radiate with light, while those whose faces are dark will end up with the losing deal. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Yusuf; and all the thanks and praises are due to Allah, and all our trust and reliance are on Him Alone.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 5 Pages 213-229

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