The story of Prophet Youssuf (peace be upon him) is a multilayered drama, a riddle that was deciphered just before the finale, to teach humanity, for generations to come, the true essence of life, the wisdom of All Knowing Allah, and the pride of treading towards the path leading to the Pleasure of Almighty God.
Whenver Prophet Youssuf is mentioned, the only morale of his life triggered in people’s minds is preserving chastity while facing the desire of Zulaykha, the wife of Al Aziz. But there’s more to the Story of this noble Prophet than the common limited perception applied in tackling its so many levels of meaning.
The story of Prophet Youssuf (peace be upon him), or Joseph as more known to the West, is a multilayered drama, a riddle that was deciphered just before the finale, to teach humanity, for generations to come the true essence of life, the wisdom of All Knowing Allah, and the pride of treading towards the path leading to the Pleasure of Almighty God, notwithstanding the tragedies and glitches one may encounter.
Waking up one morning to the dream of 11 stars and the moon and sun prostrating before him, young Joseph (Youssuf) ran to his father Prophet Jacob (peace be upon them), narrating unto him the story of the dream, itself the story of his life which will unfold with the passage of years- a story which encompasses myriads of morals, depicting humans’ most common and uncommon flaws, intelligence, inclinations, challenges, and indeed vices and virtues.
And that’s why the narrative of Prophet Youssuf is viewed as indeed the most significant of all stories depicting lives of the Holy Prophets. It’s even acknowledged in the Qur’an, where
“We narrate to you (prophet Muhammad) the best of narratives which We revealed to you in this Qur’an, yet before this you (Prophet Muhammad) you were certainly unaware.”
The story, besides telling the life of a noble Prophet, involves a set of interesting and greatly shocking incidents that demonstrate the best and the worst of human qualities there is.
“The best of narratives”.
Above and beyond, and despite the fact its scenes are abound to a limited set of locations and involves an equally limited number of people. Story of Prophet Youssuf is one of the most interesting of all stories of lives of the Prophets.
Told in its totality in one single Surah of the Quran, the story of Youssuf was revealed on the occasions of the Sahaba, companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asking him to narrate them a story.
Commenting on reasons behind the revelation of Surah Youssuf, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded that Abdullah Ibn Abbas once said that the companions of the Prophet told Prophet Muhammad pbuh): O Allah’s Messenger! Why not narrate to us stories?
See how benevolent and kindhearted Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was?! He (pbuh) befriended his Companions who dared to ask him tell them a story without having a shade of fear this would trigger his anger, given his heavy responsibilities. This is a crucial characteristic of a true leader.
Vision of the Young Prophet
Thus the story of Prophet Youssuf, described by Allah as “the best of narratives” was revealed unto Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and before that he wasn’t aware of the happenings that had befallen Prophet Youssuf (pbuh), and which encompass some of the most distressing challenges and difficulties faced by a man.
It all started with a dream, that wasn’t really a dream, but a divine vision, and ended with an accurate fulfillment of that seeming dream of the young Prophet.
“When Joseph said to his father: “O my father, I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves before me.”—Qur’an (12:4)
According to Abdullah Ibn Abbas, dreams of the Prophets are not mere dreams, even if they seem so, they’re revelations. Deciphering the dream of Prophet Youssuf, scholars of Exegesis hold fast to the divine revelation theory of Ibn Abbas, advocating that the eleven starts which Prophet Youssuf saw in his dream were his brothers, while the sun and the moon were actually his mother and father.
Reaching the conclusion of the story of Prophet Youssuf) wherein his dream becomes a reality, probably forty years after seeing that vision, such theory proves to be the most convincing of all…
“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.”—Qur’an (12:100)
– Patience and Perseverance:
The climax of the story marked by young Youssuf being thrown down the well instituted an early stage of maturity and perseverance for the young boy. The prophet-to-be enacted unequivocal patience, perseverance and trust in Almighty Allah, having had to bear the dimness and the gloom of a dirty well, with all the fear and anxiety this entails, let alone the emotional pain inflicted upon him facing such brutality at the hands of his brothers.
Despite his young age and his great love for his father Prophet Jacob (Yacub), Prophet Youssuf (pbuh) was strong enough to face his fate, knowing that Allah will never let him down.
And having put his sole trust in God has helped him pass the test as faithful and strong as required from him.
And without a doubt, Youssuf, knowing at that time that he’s to succeed his father as another Prophet sent down to humanity to promote the message of monotheism, harbored the needed faith that only God will aid him through the most difficult of situations he’s to face, an anchor that will shield and protect him. In a similar manner, the Young Prophet knew that since God has put him through such difficulty, then he’s to heed that bearing it is within his capacity.
Allah says in the Qur’an, in Surah Al Baqara, verse 286:
“God does not impose on any soul a burden greater that it can bear”.
This is the level of faith that we ought to preserve, particularly at such difficult time we’re living in.
Prophet Youssuf (pbuh) knew he’s assigned some divine task of bearing the pain of being away from his beloved father and being sent away from his homeland. And with eager determination, he equipped himself with well-needed Yaqeen, or conviction, that God is All Wise, All Knowing.
– Embracing his Fate:
Reaching that level of trust in God’s impending wisdom and power, Young Prophet Youssuf (pbuh) got to understand that God has a certain insight for putting him through such test, and getting him on such journey, and that it is not just for him to suffer.
This helped Youssuf embrace his fate and give himself in to the will of God, knowing He shall never fail him. And so he, courageously embarked on a journey to the land of the unknown, to live a future he knew was carrying some divine mission for him to uphold, and this is what began to unfold before him through the many phases of the journey.
Such certainty is what we lack nowadays, something that puts us through the most weird of situations as we seek the help of others, those whom we mistakenly believe to harbor far more power and authority than ourselves, forgetting that the will is the will of God and the power is all in God’s hands. It’s He who shapes our destiny and its He who knows what the future is carrying for us. Similarly it’s He who knows what’s best for us, even more than we ourselves.
Leaving behind his homeland of Canaan and all it carried of warmness and compassion, Prophet Youssuf set off on a journey to the land of Egypt, torn between anticipation and natural longing for his father. He took it upon himself to uphold whatever mission God is preparing for him, setting his intention to endorse it, no matter what it takes.
Posted on: June 13, 2011
Check previous episodes of Prophet Joseph SERIES Here;
– Part I
– Part II
– Part III
– Part IV
– Part V
– Part VI
– Part VII
Also listen to the Audio Version of the Full Series