Surah Yusuf Ayat 78-111 (end)

{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

{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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