YUSUF

By Steven Malik Shelton

 

Allah describes the story of Yusuf {Joseph} as the most beautiful of stories.  And we are told that not only was Yusuf's story beautiful, but Yusuf himself was beautiful.  He was beautiful in appearance, in physical form, and he was beautiful within.  Yusuf was blessed with a beautiful soul.

 

In Sura Yusuf, Allah reveals to us a story of sibling jealousy and envy between brothers.  He reveals a story of passion and temptation; and He tells us a story of faith, and how faith in Allah will overcome any difficulty.  How if we remain true and faithful, Allah will exalt us, and he will provide for us from sources we never imagined.

 

When we become despondent or when we become depressed because it seems as if there’s no way out of our problem or our situation, we should take heart and realize that Allah can make a way out of no way.

 

In sura 12, ayah 22, we read:  “When Joseph attained his full manhood, We gave him power and knowledge; thus do We reward those that do right.

 

Again, Allah declares in Qur'an:  “And for he that fears Allah, Allah will make a way out of every difficulty for him, and He will provide for him from sources he could have never expected.”

 

Sometimes when we face a little difficulty or a little hardship, we have a tendency to let go too soon.  We let go of the rope which Allah stretches out for all of His servants, and we let go, many of us, before we have the opportunity or the chance to reap the many blessings and the many benefits that Allah bestows on those who remain faithful.  And all too often, we let go because we were not sincere, and because we were not sincere we were not purified.  And because we were not purified, Allah does not bless us.

 

Turning to sura 12, ayah 23, we read:  “But she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his {true} self: she fastened the doors and said, ‘Now come, thou dear one!’  He {Yusuf} said:  ‘Allah forbid!  Truly thy husband made my journey agreeable!  Truly to no good come those who do wrong.’”

 

The woman's husband was an Aziz, a powerful man in Egypt, and he had been very kind to Yusuf.  Yusuf realized that would be dishonorable to the woman, dishonorable to the husband, and unfaithful to Allah if he was to submit to blind lust and unbridled passion. In fact, it would be a grave, detestable sin; a sin ugly and despicable in the sight of Allah.

 

Yusuf realizes that to submit to the sin of fornication and adultery would be to sell his piety, his purity, and his righteousness for a meager and a miserable price.

 

The woman bolted the doors, she secured the windows, thinking in her insanity that she could perform misdeeds under the cloak of darkness, behind locked doors; but Yusuf knew that Allah could not be bolted out or locked out.  He knew that Allah knows all and sees all.

 

In ayah 24, we are told:  “And with passion did she desire him, and he would have desired her, but that he saw the evidence of his Lord: thus did We order that We might turn away from him all evil and shameful deeds; for he {Yusuf} was one of Our servants sincere and purified.”

 

The woman was very attractive in physical form, and Yusuf was a young man in the full bloom of life, and he felt his passion also begin to rise. Perhaps he felt that he would not {by himself} be strong enough to resist the temptation that she placed before him, so he did the best thing and the wisest thing - he called on Allah and sought refuge with Allah.  This is what all of us should do whenever we are faced with a situation in which we are tested, or enticed, or feel we are about to be overcome. We should not try to rely entirely on our own strength.  We should seek protection and strength in Allah-the greatest power.

 

In ayah 25, Allah reveals to us:  “So they both raced each other to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back: They both found her husband near the door. She said:  ‘What is the fitting punishment for one who formed an evil design against thy wife, but prison or a grievous chastisement?’

 

Allah is warning us of how evil operates, and we see numerous examples and manifestations of this in our daily experiences.  Someone calls another to sin, to wickedness, to skullduggery under the misleading cloak of darkness.  But when they are discovered in their transgression, when they are found out, the individual or individuals who initiated the crime plead innocence or they attempt to put the blame on someone else.  We are told that this is the tactic Shaitan [Satan] will use on the Day of Judgment. Shaitan will point to the sinners whom he led astray and exclaim, “O Allah!  Thou knowest that I did not make them sin. I did but call them and they followed!

 

We often see how criminals enter into a conspiracy to commit evil.  Frequently when one of them is caught, he implicates everyone else.  And the one who snitches on everyone is the very person who initiated the idea of committing the crime in the first place.

 

Evil is never willing to accept responsibility for its own actions.  It is constantly seeking someone else to dump blame upon or someone else to charge with the responsibility for its own evil deeds and wickedness.  Evil is full of reasons and excuses for its misdeeds.  It is constantly pointing to others as the source of its mischief and detestable behavior.  We hear all the time:  “If it was not for my wife, I would not have acted wrongly.”  Or, “It was my parents!” Or, “It was my brother, or my sister, or my homeboys, or my cousin who caused me to stray.”  Yet Islam is a religion of personal accountability.  We are all responsible for our own deeds. If anyone commits an iota of evil, he is responsible; and if anyone produces an iota of good, he is responsible:  And both evil and good will be recompensed according to the intention behind them.

 

The woman attempted to deflect or to throw off the blame for her evil designs onto the sublime and illustrious personage of Yusuf.  But Yusuf was blameless, Yusuf was innocent.  And Allah caused his innocence to be made manifest. In ayah 26, we read:  “He {Yusuf} said:  ‘It was she that sought to seduce me from my true self.’  And one of her household saw this, and bore witness {thus}:  ‘If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true, and he is a liar!  But if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she is the liar, and he is telling the truth!’”

 

And in ayah 27:  “So when he saw his shirt - that it was torn from the back - her husband said:  ‘Behold! It is the snare of you women! Truly mighty is your snare!’”  The women of the city were involved in malicious gossip concerning the behavior of the Aziz's wife, “How could she, a woman of her breeding and her station, throw herself at Yusuf, a mere slave?”  So she invited them to her house under the ruse of helping her to prepare a meal, but her real purpose was to show them how handsome and desirable Yusuf was in person.  While they were in the kitchen, she called for Yusuf.  When they saw him they exclaimed, while simultaneously cutting their hands with amazement:  “This is no mortal - this is none other than an angel.”  And the Aziz's wife said:  “There before you is the man about whom ye did blame me!  I did seek to seduce him from his {true} self, but he did firmly save himself guiltless!...and now, if he doth not my bidding he shall certainly cast into prison, and what is more, be in the company of the vilest!”  “And Yusuf said:  O my Lord! The prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless thou turn away their snare from me I should [in my youthful folly] feel inclined towards them, and join the ranks of the ignorant.  So his Lord heard him [in his prayer] and turned away from them their snare: verily He heareth and knoweth all things.”

 

Yusuf was imprisoned, but Allah's plan for him was far greater than prison walls.  Eventually, he was released and he became one of the most powerful men in Egypt, and he maintained this position with truth, righteousness, and faith in Allah.

 

Yusuf, by turning away from the lustful advance of the women, taught them a valuable lesson about true love, which must be based in spirituality; and he taught them an important lesson [by example] about righteousness.  In that, a few of the women were moved by Yusuf's perseverance, virtue, and faith which caused them to reconsider their blind amorous sensuality.  Allah reveals to us in ayah 56:  “Thus did We give established power to Yusuf in the land to take possession therein as, when, or where he pleased.  We bestow of our Mercy on whom We please, and We suffer not to be lost the reward of those who do good.”

© Copyright 2003 by Steven Malik Shelton.  All Rights Reserved.