Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
There are many stories of the prophets and nations that have been narrated in the Qur’an, which are there for a purpose – to take lessons from them and keep our hearts firm. As Allah (SWT) told us in the Qur’an [what means]: “And each [story] we relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which we make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.” Qur’an: 11:120
One of my favorite stories in the Qur’an is the story of Prophet Yusuf (Peace be upon him), because there are so many lessons to learn from it and a good example to follow. The patience and tawakul (Trust and reliance) upon Allah that Prophet Ya’qub (father of Yusuf) had, and the patience, righteousness and god-fearing that Yusuf had is what really amazed me about this story.
The story begins by Yusuf (peace be upon him) having a dream, he saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon prostrating themselves to him. He went and informed his father about this and his father (Ya’qub) told him that he should not tell his brothers that vision for fear of being envied. We also learn that Prophet Ya’qub loved Yusuf dearly, thus his other brothers got jealous of him and Satan plotted for them to get rid of Yusuf. Some of them said, “We will kill him” and another one said, “No, we will throw him down the bottom of a will”.
Although Yusuf’s father was hesitant and not comfortable about leaving Yusuf with his brothers, he put his trust in Allah and supplicated for him. Later, Yusuf’s brothers did take him to the will and dropped him in it, and went back home trying to deceive their father saying, “That the wolf attacked and killed him”, bringing with them his shirt with false blood. Their father did not believe them, because the shirt they brought was not torn in the first place. One of the lessons to learn in this incident is that no matter how much a person tries to deceive others, sooner than later he will be exposed if not right away. Also, we can learn how much reliance and trust Prophet Ya’qub had in Allah, as mentioned in the Qur’an [what means]: “And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Jacob] said, rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.” Qur’an: 12:18
Later, Yusuf gets rescued from the well and was bought by a man from Egypt who took him in his palace. This man was known as “Aziz”, who was the minister of Egypt at that time. Allah (SWT) bestowed upon Yusuf many favors including teaching him interpretation of dreams, given wisdom and knowledge, established a place for him to live in Egypt.
One of the interesting events that took place during this story is when the wife of al-Aziz tried to seduce Yusuf (Peace be upon him). Yusuf was very well known for his handsomeness, manhood and beauty. Therefore, the wife of al-Aziz tried to take advantage of him by beautifying herself and closing all doors so both of them are alone in a room. But Yusuf (Peace be upon him) due to his Taqwa and righteous character, feared Allah and refused her call, as he said:
“I seek refuge in Allah! Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence.” Qur’an: 12:23.
Yusuf tried to escape from her by running and she followed him and tore his shirt from the back. She tried to accuse Yusuf of an evil deed he did not do so she can be free from blame. Since Yusuf was innocent, Allah (SWT) brought a witness from her own family to testify that if his shirt was torn in the back then Yusuf is telling the truth, but if it was torn in the front then he was lying. Of course, his shirt was torn from the back and the wife of al-Aziz was the one lying.
Yusuf (Peace be upon him) preferred to be put into prison then to accept the evil invitation of this woman. As he supplicated and said: “My Lord, prison is more dearer to me than that to which they invite me. Unless you turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one of the ignorant. So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”Qur’an: 12:33-34. The story of Prophet Yusuf continues, but at the end of the Story, Prophet Yusuf is brought back to his father and his brothers repent from the sin they committed.
Some of the lessons I have learned from this story:
- If someone is trying to call you to do evil or seduce you, you should turn away from them as quick as possible, because that will close all doors of evil. Otherwise, if one stays in the same room trying to tell them this is wrong and spending more time with them, he/she might be tempted as Satan is the third one when you are alone with a non-Mahram.
- Always have trust in Allah that He will grant you victory and protect you from all evil.
- Whenever you are put in such a difficult and bad situation, remember that Allah is always there and He knows what you are going through, so make du’a (supplication).
- If we do good and obey Allah, He will never leave us alone and reward us for our good actions by showering upon us countless blessings.
- Complain ONLY to Allah of your sorrow and grief as Prophet Ya’qub did when he lost Yusuf.