Archive for the ‘Stories of the Prophets – قصص الأنبياء’ Category
Stories of the Prophets
Written by Al-Imam ibn KathirTranslated by Muhammad Mustapha Geme’ah, Al-Azhar
Prophet Idris (Enoch)
Prophet Nuh (Noah)
Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)
Prophet Isma’il (Ishmael)
Prophet Ishaq (Isaac)
Prophet Yaqub (Jacob)
Prophet Lot (Lot)
Prophet Yusuf (Joseph)
Prophet Ayoub (Job)
14 . Prophet Dhul-Kifl
Prophet Yunus (Jonah)
Prophet Musa (Moses) & Harun (Aaron)
Prophet Hizqeel (Ezekiel)
Prophet Elyas (Elisha)
Prophet Shammil (Samuel)
Prophet Dawud (David)
Prophet Sulaiman (Soloman)
Prophet Shia (Isaiah)
Prophet Aramaya (Jeremiah)
Prophet Uzair (Ezra)
Prophet Zakariyah (Zechariah)
Prophet Yahya (John)
Prophet Isa (Jesus)
Description of Zakariyah
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (pbuh). He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons. Zakariyah was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for it they were left on their own, they would move away from Allah’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
Zakariyah Talks to Mary
During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Mary, who was living in a secluded room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out of season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allah. She found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that Allah provides without measure for whom He wills? This noble girl had opened this eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past childbearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
Zakariyah Asks for a Son – Quranic
Allah the Almighty revealed:
‘Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Sad, (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah Alone knows their meanings). This is a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariyah. When he called out his Lord (Allah) – a call in secret, saying: “My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and gray hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, – who shall inherit me, and inherit also the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!” Allah said: “O Zakariyah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya (John). We have given that name to none before him.” He said: “My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age.” He said: “So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.” Zakariyah said: “My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.” He said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.” Then he came out to his people from Al Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify Allah’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon. It was said to his son: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and made him sympathetic to men as a mercy or a grant from Us, and pure from sins (John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life again! (Ch 19:1-15 Quran)
Almighty Allah also said:
“At that time Zakariyah invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.” Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al- Mihrab ( a praying place or a private room), saying: “Allah gives you glad tidings of John confirming (believing in) the Word from Allah (“Be!” – and he was! (i.e. the creation of Isa (Jesus), son of Mariam (Mary), noble keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.” He said: “O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren?” Allah said: “Thus Allah does what He wills.” He said: “O my Lord! Make a sign for me.” Allah said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And remember your Lord much (by praising Him again and again), and glorify Him in the afternoon and in the morning.” (Ch 3:38-41 Quran).
Introduction to Joseph’s Story
This is the most detailed and fascinating story in the Quran, involving both human weaknesses such as jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty, and terror as well as noble qualities such as patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility, and compassion. It is related that among the reasons for its revelation is that the Jews asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to tell them about Joseph (pbuh) who was one of their old prophets. His story had been distorted in parts and marred in others with interpolation and exclusions. Therefore it was revealed in the Book of Allah (Quran), complete in its minute and careful details.
Allah the Almighty declared:
“We relate unto you (Muhammad) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Quran. And before this (i.e. before the coming of Divine Inspiration to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (the Quran). ( Ch 12:3 Quran)
Almighty Allah also decreed:
“Thus We relate to you (O Muhammad) some information of what happened before, And indeed We have give you from Us a Reminder (this Quran). Whoever turns away from it (this Quran–i.e. does not believe in it, nor acts on its orders), verily they will bear a heavy burden (of sins) on the Day of Resurrection. They will abide in that (state in the Fire of Hell), and evil indeed will it be that load for them on the Day of Resurrection.(Ch 20:99-101)
The story of Joseph (pbuh) moves in a stream from beginning to end; its substance and form are equally coherent. It inspires you with a feeling for the depth of Allah’s power and supremacy and the execution of His rulings despite the challenge of human intervention.
“And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)
This is what the story of Joseph (pbuh), confirms categorically, for it ends with comfort and marvels.
Summary of Joseph’s Story
Joseph lived all his life confronting schemes made by the people closest to him. His brothers plotted to kill him, but they amended it to exiling him. This happened to him while he was a boy. He was sold into the slave market in Egypt, where he was bought for a nominal sum. Then he fell victim to the attempted seduction by a great man’s wife who, when her wish was foiled, sent him to prison, where he remained for some time. In spite of all of this, he at length approached close to the Egyptian throne and became the king’s chief minister. He then began his call to Allah from the position of the ruling authority.
Allah’s plans were carried out, and the matter ended. This is the substance (theme) of the story. As for the form (style) in which it is presented, it is a landmark of wonder.
The Story’s Presentation
The story is presented in a sequence of episodes. It gives you scene after scene and the transition is inspiring, informative, and stirring to the imagination. There are also artistic loopholes, which leave it to the imagination of the reader to complete the sense, as well as the depth of the picture, the like of which no human artist can bring forth.
The story begins with a dream and ends with its interpretation. As the sun appeared over the horizon, bathing the earth in its morning glory, Joseph (pbuh), son of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) awoke from his sleep, delighted by a pleasant dream he had had. Filled with excitement he ran to his father and related it.
“O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me.” (Ch 12:4)
His father’s face lit up. He foresaw that Joseph would be one through whom the prophecy of his grandfather, Prophet Abraham (pbuh), would be fulfilled, in that his offspring would keep the light of Abraham’s house alive and spread Allah’s message to mankind. Therefore, it was narrated that Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) was asked: “Who is the most honorable amongst the people?” He replied: “The most God-fearing.” The people said: “We do not want to ask you about this.” He said: “The most honorable person is Joseph Allah’s prophet, the son of Allah’s prophet, the son of the faithful friend of Allah (Abraham).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) However, the father was well aware of the jealousy of Joseph’s brothers, so he warned him against telling his dream to his brothers.
“O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Satan is to man an open enemy! Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (an other things) and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Jacob, as He perfected it on your fathers, Abraham, and Isaac aforetime! Verily! your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Ch 12:5-6)
Joseph heeded his father’s warning. He did not tell his brothers what he had seen. It is well known that they hated him so much that it was difficult for him to feel secure telling them what was in his heart and in his dreams.
Description of Joseph
Joseph was eighteen years old, very handsome and robust, with a gentle temperament. He was respectful, kind and considerate. His brother Benjamin was equally pleasant. Both were from one mother, Rachel. Because of their refined qualities, the father loved the two more than his other children, and would not let them out of his sight. To protect them, he kept them busy with work in the house garden.
The Evil Plot of Joseph’s Brothers
The scene of Jacob and his son closes. Another opens on Joseph’s brothers plotting against him.
“Truly, Joseph and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are Usbah (a strong group). Really our father is in a plain error. Kill Joseph or cast him out to some other land, so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk (by intending repentance before committing the sin).” One from among them said: “Kill not Joseph, but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travelers.” (Ch 12:8-10)
The pages of the Old Testament say that Joseph told them his dream, whereas the Quran does not say that happened. Had it been so, the brothers would have said so themselves. The Old Testament claims they had lost their own rights by him, and so they would kill him. Indeed Joseph kept his father’s order and did not tell his brothers about his vision. In spite of this, his brothers sat down to conspire against him. One of them asked: “Why does our father love Joseph more than us?”
Another answered: “Perhaps because of his beauty.”
A third said: “Joseph and his brother occupied our father’s heart.”
The first complained: “Our father has gone all astray.”
One of them suggested a solution to the matter; kill Joseph.
“Where should we kill him?”
“We should banish him away from these grounds.”
“We will send him to a distant land.”
“Why should we not kill him and have rest so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone?”
However, Judah (Yahudh), the eldest and most intelligent among them, said: “There is no need to kill him when all you want is to get rid of him. Look here, let us throw him into a well and he will be picked up by a passing caravan. T hey will take him with them to a distant land. He will disappear from your father’s sight and our purpose will be served with his exile. Then after that we shall repent for our crime and become good people once again.”
The discussion continued on the idea of dropping Joseph into a well, as it was seen as the safest solution. The plan to kill him was defeated; kidnap into a distant land was approved. It was the cleverest of ideas.
The Brothers Approach Jacob
Their next movement opened the scene between them and their father Jacob (pbuh):
They said: “O our father! Why do you not trust us with Joseph, when we are indeed his well wishers? Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily we will take care of him.” He (Jacob) said: “Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him.” They said: “If a wolf devours him, while we are Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely we are the losers.” (Ch 12:11-14)
Jacob suggested a point, which had not occurred to them in their discussion: he feared that desert wolves would eat him! ithe wolves within them, or did he mean the wild wolves? No one but Allah knows. They coaxed their father to send Joseph with them; he agreed under their pressure.
Joseph Thrown into the Well
They were excited that they could now get rid of Joseph for after this they could stand a better chance of receiving their father’s affection. On leaving home, they went directly to the well, as they had planned, on the pretext of drinking water. One of them put his arms around Joseph and held him tightly. Startled by this unusual behavior, Joseph struggled to free himself. More brothers rushed to hold him. One of them removed his shirt. Some more joined in to lift Joseph up and cast him into the deep well. Joseph’s piteous pleas made no difference to their cruel hearts. Then Allah revealed to Joseph that he was safe and should not fear, for he would meet them again some day to remind them of what they had done. There was water in the well, which buoyed Joseph’s body, so he was not harmed. He sat lonely in the water, then clung to a rock ledge overheard and climbed on top of it. his brothers left him in this desolate place. Then they killed a sheep and soaked Joseph’s shirt in its blood. One brother said that they should swear to keep their deed a close secret. All of them took the oath.
The Brothers Lie to Jacob
“And they came to their father in the early part of the night weeping.” (Ch 12:16)
The scene here is dark night, broken by the crying of ten men. The father is sitting in his house when the sons enter, the darkness of night covering the darkness of their hearts and the darkness of their lies struggling to come out. Jacob wondered aloud: “Why this weeping? Has anything
happened to our flock?” They answered crying: “O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Joseph by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us even when we speak the truth. (Ch 12:17)
“We were surprised after returning from the race that Joseph was in the belly of the wolf.”
“We did not see him!”
“You will not believe us even though we are truthful! we are telling you what happened!”
“The wolf has eaten Joseph!”
“This is Joseph’s shirt. We foiled it soiled with blood, and did not find Joseph!”
They brought his shirt stained with false blood. (Ch 12:18)
Deep down in the heart Jacob knew that his beloved son was still alive and that his other sons were lying. He held the blood stained in his hands, spread it out and remarked: “What a merciful wolf! he ate up my beloved son without tearing his shirt!” Their faces turned red when he demanded more information, but each swore by Allah that he was telling the truth. The brokenhearted father burst into tears:
“Nay! But your ownselves have made up a tale. So for me patience is more fitting. It is Allah Alone whose Help can be sought against that which you assert.” (Ch 12:18)
The father acted wisely by praying for mighty patience, which is free of doubt, and by trusting in Allah for help against what they had plotted against him and his son. This scene dims, and the scene opens in the well with which Joseph had been thrown.
Joseph Finds Comfort in Allah
In the dark well Joseph managed to find a stone ledge to hold onto. Around him was total darkness and an eerie silence. Fearful thoughts entered his mind: what would happen to him? Where would he find food? Why had his own brothers turned against him? Would his father know of his plight? His father’s smile flashed before him recalling the love and affection he had always shown him. Joseph began to pray earnestly, pleading to Allah for salvation. Gradually his fear began to subside. His Creator was testing the young man with a great misfortune in order to infuse in him a spirit of patience and courage. Joseph, surrended himself to the will of his Lord.
Joseph From the Well to Slavery
The next scene shows the wide desert. At the horizon is a long line of camels, horses, and men; a caravan on its way to Egypt. The caravan of merchants halted at this famous well for water. A man lowered in his bucket. Joseph was startled by the bucket hurtling down and grabbed hold of it before it could land in the water. As the man began to haul he felt the load unusually heavy, so he peeped into the well. What he saw shocked him; a man was clinging to the rope! He held the rope tightly and shouted to his friends: “Better give me a hand fellows! Looks like I found real treasure in the well!” His companions rushed to the well and helped him to pull out the stranger holding onto the rope. Standing before them was a healthy, handsome youth, beaming with an angelic smile. They saw in him a handsome prize, for money was all that mattered to them. Immediately, they clapped iron shackles on his feet and took him along to Egypt, far away from his beloved homeland of Canaan. All over the Egyptian city the news spread that an unusually handsome, robust young slave was on sale. People gathered by the hundreds at the slave market. some were spectators, others were bidders the elite and the rich, each one craning his neck to view the handsome specimen. the auctioneer had a field day as the bidding went wild, each buyer trying to outbid the other. Eventually, the Aziz, the chief minister of Egypt, outbid all the others and took Joseph to his mansion.
The Quran describes this scene as follows:
“And there came a caravan of travelers; they sent their water drawer, and he let down his bucket into the well. He said: “What a good news! Here is a boy.” So they hid him as merchandise (a slave). And Allah was the All Knower of what they did. They sold him for a low price, for a few Dhirhams (for a few silver coins). They were of those who regarded him insignificant. He (the man) from Egypt who bought him said to his wife: “Make his stay comfortable, may be he will profit us or we shall ado[t him as a son.” Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. (Ch 12:19-21) See how Allah the Almighty reveals the substance of this long story from its beginning: And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)
The chains of slavery have closed on Joseph. He was cast into the well, deprived of his father, picked from the well, made a slave, sold at the market, and made the property of this man, the Aziz, the chief minister. The hazards followed in quick succession, leaving Joseph helpless.
What we see as hazards and slander is the first step of the ladder on Joseph’s way to greatness. Allah is decisive in His action. His plan is carried out despite the plans of others and while theirs are still being made. So He spoils their plan, and Allah’s promise is realized. Allah has promise Joseph prophethood. Love for Joseph was thrust into the heart of the man who bought him, and he was a man of no mean position. He was an important personage, one of the ruling class of Egypt.
Therefore, Joseph was pleasantly surprised when the chief minister of Egypt ordered his men to remove the heavy shackles from his swollen feet. He was also surprised when he told Joseph not to betray his trust; he would not be ill-treated if he behaved himself. Joseph smiled at his benefactor, thanked him, and promised to be loyal.
Joseph felt at ease, for at last he was sheltered and would be well cared for. He thanked Allah over and over and wondered at the mysterious of life. Not so long ago he had been cast into a deep, dark well with no hope of ever coming out alive. Next he was rescued, then enslaved in iron shackles, and now he was moving freely in a luxurious mansion with enough food to enjoy. However, his heart ached with longing for his parents and brother Benjamin, and he shed tears daily.
Joseph was made the personal attendant of the chief minister’s wife. He was obedient and ever-obliging. With his pleasant manners and charming behavior, he won everybody’s heart. Joseph’s handsomeness became the talk of the town. People referred to him as the most attractive man they had ever seen and wrote poetry about him. His face carried immaculate beauty. The purity of his inner soul and his heart showed in his face, increasing his beauty. People from afar came to the city to have a glimpse of him. The prettiest of maidens and the richest of ladiesnursthe to possess him, but not once did he show haughtiness or conceit. he was always humble and polite.
The days passed and Joseph grew. Almighty Allah said:
“And when he (Joseph) attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge (the Prophethood), thus We reward the doers of good. (Ch 12:22)
He was given wisdom in affairs and knowledge of life and its conditions. He as given the art of conversation, captivating those who heard him. He was given nobility and self restraint, which made him an irresistible personality. His master soon knew that Allah had graced him with Joseph. He understood that Joseph was the most honest, straightforward and noble person he had met in his life. Therefore, he put Joseph in charge of his household, honored him, and treated him as a son.
Zulaikha’s Feelings for Joseph
The wife of the chief minister, Zulaikha, watched Joseph from day to day. She at with him, talked with him, listened to him, and her wonder increased over the passion of time.
Joseph was soon confronted (with his second trial). The chief minister’s wife, Zulaikha could not resist the handsome Joseph, and her obsession with him caused her sleepless nights. She fell in love with him, and it was painful for her to be so close to a man, yet be unable to hold him. Yet, she was not a wayward woman, for in her position she could get any man she desired. By all accounts, she must have been a very pretty and intelligent lady, or why would the chief minister have chosen her of all the pretty women in the kingdom? Although she bore him no child, he would not take another wife, as he loved her passionately.The Quran raises the curtain on the scene of this fierce and devouring love on the part of the lady. Allah the Almighty told us:
“And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: “come on, O you.” He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimun (wrong, evildoers) will never be successful.” Indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. (Ch 12:23-24)
Joseph’s Feelings for Zulaikha
Commentators are unanimous about her intention of disobedience but disagree about his own intention. There are those who say that she tempted him and he tempted her to sin, although he did not follow through with his intent. Others say that she merely wanted him to kiss her, and he attempted to strike her. Yet others say that this anxiety had been there before this incident. There was a psychological disturbance in Joseph when he reached adolescence, which Almighty Allah rid him of.
The safest commentary for us is that there is temptation and resistance in the verse, for He Most High stated:
“And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire… (Ch 12:24)
Abu Ubaidah said that this is a temptation and resistance meaning that she had tried to seduce him; had he not seen the proof of Allah, he would have been seduced. This is in keeping with the infallibility of prophets, as it suits the words, which immediately follow:
“Thus it was that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. (Ch 12:24)
This verse proves that Joseph was an upright worshipper of Allah; it also testifies to his rescue from the authority of Satan. The Almighty said to the devil (Iblis) on the Day of Creation:
“Certainly, you shall no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghawin (Mushrikeen, and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evildoers, etc)”(Ch 15:42)
Zulaikha’s False Accusation
Joseph’s refusal only heightened her passion. As he moved to the door to escape, she ran after himand caught hold of his shirt, like a drowning person clinging to the boat. In her tugging she torehis shirt and held the torn piece in her hand. They reached the door together. It opened suddenly,there stood her husband and a relative of hers.Almighty Allah said:
“So they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back. They both found her lord (her husband) at the door. (Ch 12:25)
As he opened the door, he saw her husband standing in front of him. The sly woman immediately changed her tone to anger, and, showing the torn piece of the shirt in her hand, asked her husband:
“What is the recompense (punishment) for him who intended an evil design against your wife, except that he be put in prison or a painful torment?” (Ch 12:25)
She was now accusing Joseph of molesting her, to give the impression that she was innocent and a victim of Joseph’s sexual desire. Though bewildered Joseph denied it:
“It was she that sought to seduce me.” (Ch 12:26)
The shirt was passed from hand to hand, while she watched. The witness (her cousin) looked at it and found that it was torn at the back. The evidence showed that she was guilty. The disappointed husband remarked to his wife: “Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is you plot!” (Ch 12:28)
The wise and just Aziz apologized to Joseph for his wife’s indecency. He also instructed her to beg Joseph’s forgiveness for accusing him falsely. Allah the Almighty narrated this incident thus:
He (Joseph) said:
“It was she that sought to seduce me,” and a witness of her household bore witness saying: “If itbe that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true, and he is a liar! but if it be that hisshirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth!”So when he (the husband) saw his (Joseph’s) shirt was torn at the back; (her husband) said:”Surely, it is a plot of you women! certainly mighty is your plot! O Joseph! turn away from this!(O woman)! Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful.”(Ch 12:26-29 Quran).
Zulaikha is Ridiculed by the People
An incident like this cannot remain a secret in a house filled with servants, and the story spread. Women began to see her behavior as scandalous. They remarked:
“The wife of Al-Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily, we see her in plain error.” (Ch 12:30)
Zulaikha’s Plan to Regain Her Reputation
Naturally their gossip distressed Zulaikha. She honestly believed that it was not easy for any women to resist a man as handsome as Joseph. To prove her helplessness, she planned to subject the women to the same temptation she faced. She invited them to a lavish banquet. No one so invited would want to miss the honor of dining with the chief minister’s wife; besides, they secretly harbored the desire to meet the handsome Joseph face to face. Some of her close friends jokingly said they would come only if she introduced them to Joseph.
The invitation was restricted to ladies. The banquet began, laughter and mirth abounded. Etiquette dictated that the ladies not mention the topic of Joseph. They were shocked, therefore, when Zulaikha opened the topic. “I have heard of those who say I have fallen in love with the young Hebrew man, Joseph.” Silence fell upon the banquet. At once all the guests hands stopped, and all eyes fell on the chief minister’s wife. She said, while giving orders for the fruit to be served: “I admit that he is charming fellow. I do not deny that I love him. I have loved him for a long time.”
The Women’s Reaction to Joseph
The confession of the chief minister’s wife removed the tension among the ladies. After finishing their dinner, the guests began cutting their fruit. At that very moment she summoned Joseph to make his appearance. He entered the hall gracefully, his gaze lowered. Zulaikha called him by his name and he raised his head. The guests were astonished and dumbfounded. His face was shining and full of man angelic beauty. It reflected complete innocence, so much so that one could feel the peace of mind in the depth of his soul.
They exclaimed in astonishment while continuing to cut the fruit. All their eyes were on Joseph. So it was that the women began to cut their palms absent mindly without feeling that they had cut them.
The presence of Joseph at the scene of drama was so effective that blflowedwithouttheir feeling pain. One of the ladies gasped: “Good gracious!” Another whispered: “This is not a mortal being!” Another stammered, patting her hair: “This is but a noble angel.” Then the chief minister’s wife stood up and announced: “This is the one for whom I have been blamed. I do not deny that I tempted him. You have been enchanted by Joseph, and see what has happened to your hands. I have tempted him, and if he does not do what I want of him he shall be imprisoned.”
The Women’s Reaction – Quranic
Almighty Allah related the scene of the banquet in His words:
“So when she heard of their accusation,she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut thefoodstuff with), and she said (to Joseph): “Come out before them.” Then, when they saw him,they exalted him (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: “howperfect is Allah (or Allah forbid)! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!”
She said: “This is he (the young man) about whom you did blame me (for his love) and I did seekto seduce him, but he refused. And now if he refuses to obey my order, he shall certainly be castinto prison, and will be one of those who are disgraced.”
He said: “O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless Youturn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one of those who commitsin and deserve blame or those who do deeds of the ignorants.”So his Lord answered his inovocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily he is the AllHearer, the All Knower.” (Ch 12:31-34)
That evening, Zulaikha convinced her husband that the only way to save her honor was to put Joseph in prison; otherwise she would not be able to control herself or to safeguard his prestige. The chief minister knew Joseph was absolutely innocent, that he was a young man of honor, a loyal servant, and he loved him for these reasons. It was not an easy decision for him to put an innocent man behind bars. However, he was left with no choice. He reasoned that Joseph’s honor would also be safeguarded if he was kept out of Zulaikha’s sight. That night, with a heavy heart, the chief minister sent Joseph to prison.
Joseph’s Time in Prison
Prison was Joseph’s third test. During this period Allah blessed him with an extraordinary gift; the ability to interpret dreams. At about the same time two other men landed in the prison. One was the cupbearer of the king; the other was the king’s cook. The two men sensed that Joseph was not a common criminal, for an aura of piety glowed on his face. Both men had vivid dreams, and they were anxious to have them explained. The king’s cook dreamed that he stood in a place with bread on his head, and two birds were eating the bread. The cupbearer dreamed that he was serving the king wine. The two went to Joseph and told him their dreams, asking him to give them their meaning.
First, Joseph called them to Allah. Then he said that the cook would be crucified until he died and that the cupbearer would return to the service of the king. Joseph told the cupbearer to remember him to the king and to say that there was a wronged soul called Joseph in prison. What Joseph predicted did happen; the cook was crucified and the cupbearer returned to the palace.
After the cupbearer returned to service, Satan made him forget to mention Joseph’s name to the king. Therefore, Joseph remained in prison for a few years, but he made patience his own, praying to Allah.
Joseph’s Time in Prison – Quranic
Almighty Allah narrated:
“And there entered with him two young men in the prison. One of them said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” The other said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head and birds were eating thereof.” They said: Inform us of the interpretation of this. Verily, we think you are one of those Muhsineen (doers of good).” He said: “No food will come to you (in wakefulness or in dream) as your provision but I will inform (in wakefulness) its interpretation before it (the food) comes. This is of that which my Lord has taught me. Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people that believe not in Allah and are disbeliveers in the Hereafter. And I have followed the religion of my fathers, – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the Grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men think not (i.e. they neither believe in Allah nor worship Him). “O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgment) is for none but Allah. He has commanded (His Monotheism), that is the true, straight religion, but most men know not. “O two companions of the prison! As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine for his lord (King or master) to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat from his head. Thus is the case judged concerning which you both did inquire.” And he said to the one whom he knew to be saved: “Mention me to your lord (your King, so to get me out of the prison).” But Satan made him forget to mention it to his lord (or Satan made Joseph to forget the remembrance of his Lord (Allah) as to ask for His Help, instead of others). So Joseph stayed in prison a few more years. (Ch 12:36-42).
The King’s Dream
The scene in the prison closes; a new scene opens in the bedchamber of the king. The king isasleep. He sees himself on the banks of the Nile river. The water is receding before him, becomingmere mud. The fish begin to skip and jump in the mud. Seven fat cows come out of the riverfollowed by seven lean cows. The seven lean ones devour the seven fat ones. The king is terrified.The seven ears of green grain grow on the riverbanks and disappear in the mud. One the samespot grow seven dray ears of grain.The king awoke frightened, shocked, and depressed, not knowing what all this meant. He sent forthe sorcerers, priests and ministers, and told them his dream.The sorcerers said: “This is a mixed up dream. How can any of that be? It is a nightmare.”The priests said: “Perhaps his majesty had a heavy supper.”The chief minister said: “Could it be that his majesty was exposed and did not draw the blanket upat night?”The king’s jester said, jokingly: “His majesty is beginning to grow old, and so his dreams areconfused.”They reached an unanimous conclusion that it was only a nightmare.The news reached the cupbearer. He recollected the dream he had in prison and compared it tothe king’s dream, and, therefore Joseph came to mind. He ran to the king to tell him about Joseph,who was the only one capable to interpreting the dream. The cupbearer said : “He had asked meto remember him to you, but I forgot.” The king sent the cupbearer to ask Joseph about thedream.
Joseph’s Interpretation of the Dream
Joseph interpreted it to him: “There will be seven years of abundance. If the land is properly cultivated, there will be an excess of good harvest, more than the people will need. This should be stored. Thereafter, seven years of famine will follow, during which time the excess grain could be used.” He also advised that during the famine they should save some grain to be used for seed for the next harvest. Joseph then added; “After seven years of drought, there will be a year during which water will be plentiful. If the water is properly used, grapevines and olive trees will grow in abundance, providing plenty of grapes and olive oil.” The cupbearer hurried back with the good news. The king was fascinated by Joseph’s interpretation.
The Dream and Interpretation – Quranic
Almighty Allah narrated this incident thus:
“And the king of Egypt said: “Verily, I saw in a dream seven fat cows, whom seven lean cows were devouring, and seven green ears of corn and seven others dry. O notables! Explain to me my dream if it be that you can interpret dreams.” They said: “Mixed up false dreams and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.” Then the man who was released (one of the two who were in prison), now at length remembered and said: “I will tell you its interpretation, so send me forth.” (He said): “O Joseph, the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn and seven others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.” Joseph said: “For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that the harvest which you reap you shall leave in ears, all –except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that seven hard years, which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, all except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press wine and oil.” (Ch 12:43-49)
Joseph’s Innocence Proved
The king was greatly astonished. Who could this person be? He commanded that Joseph be set free from prison and presented to him at once. The king’s envoy went to fetch him immediately, but Joseph refused to leave the prison unless his innocence was proven. Perhaps they accused him of cutting the ladies hands, or trying to rape them. Perhaps any other false accusation was made. We do not know exactly what was said to the people to justify Joseph’s sentence to prison. The envoy returned to the king. The king asked him: “Where is Joseph? Did I not command you to fetch him?”
The envoy replied: “He refused to leave until his innocence is established regarding the ladies who cut their hands.”
The king ordered: “Bring the wives of the ministers and the wife of the chief minister at once.” The king felt that Joseph had been harmed unfairly but he did not know exactly how. The wife of the chief minister came with the other ministers’ wives. The king asked: “What is the story of Joseph? What do you know about him? Is it true that…?”
One of the ladies interrupted the king exclaiming: “Allah forbid!”
A second said: “We know of no evil he has done.”
A third said: “He enjoys the innocence of angels.”
The eyes of everyone turned to the wife of the chief minister. She now wore a wrinkled face and had lost weight. She had been overwhelmed by sorrow over Joseph while he was in prison. She boldly confessed that she had lied and he had told the truth.
“I tempted him; but he refused.” She confirmed what she said, not out of fear of the king or the other ladies, but for Joseph to know that she had never betrayed him during his absence, for he was still in her mind and soul. Of all creation he was the only one she cared for, so she confirmed his innocence before all.
Joseph’s Innocence Proved – Quranic
Almighty Allah said: And the king said: “Bring him to me.” But, when the messenger came to him (Joseph) said: “Return to your lord, and ask him, ‘what happened to the women who cut their hands? Surely, my Lord (Allah) is Well Aware of their plot.” (The king) said (to the women): “What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Joseph?” The women said: “Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!” The wife of Al Aziz said: “Now the truth is manifest to all, it was I who sought to seduce him and he is surely one of the truthful.” (Then Joseph said: “I asked for this inquiry) in order that he (Al-Aziz) may know that I betrayed him not in secret. And, verily! Allah guides not the plot of the betrayers. And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the human self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (Ch 12:50-53).
Zulaikha’s Life Afterwards
Reflecting on these verses suggests that she had turned to Joseph’s religion, monotheism. His imprisonment was a great turning point in her life. After this, the Quranic style neglects the story of the chief minister’s wife completely. We do not know what happened to her after she gave her clear evidence. Yet still, there are legends about her. It has been said that after her husband died she married Joseph, and, behold she was a virgin. She confessed that her husband had been old and had never touched women. Other legends said that she lost her sight, weeping for Joseph. She abandoned her palace and wandered in the streets of the city. However, the lady disappeared from the Quranic narrative at the suitable stage, at the climax of her trouble. Perhaps she lingers in memory longer than if we had known the ending.
Joseph’s High Position
The king informed Joseph that his innocence was established and ordered him to come to the palace for an interview. The king recognized his noble qualities. When Joseph came, the king spoke to him in his tongue. Joseph’s replies astonished the king with his cultural refinement and wide knowledge. Then the conversation turned to the dream. Joseph advised the king to start planning for years of famine ahead. He informed him that the famine would affect not only Egypt but the neighboring countries as well. The king offered him a high position. Joseph asked to be made controller of the granaries, so that he could guard the nation’s harvest and thereby safeguard it during the anticipated drought. By this Joseph did not mean to seize an opportunity or personal gain; he merely wanted to rescue hungry nations for a personal gain; he merely wanted to rescue hungry nations for a period of seven years. It was a sheer nobleness on his part in that he wanted to ensure that many people would not die as a result.
Joseph’s High Position – Quranic
Almighty Allah said:”And the king said: “Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.” Then, when he spoketo him, he said: “Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and full trusted.”Joseph said: “Set me over the store houses of the land; I will indeed guard them with fullknowledge.” (as a minister of finance in Egypt, in place of Al-Aziz who was dead at that time). Thus did We give full authority to Joseph in the land, to take possession therein, as when orwhere he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost thereward of Al Muhsineen (the good-doers). (Ch 12:54-57).
Joseph Meets His Brothers
The wheels of time turned. During the seven good years, Joseph had full control over the cultivation, harvesting, and storage of crops. During the following seven years, drought followed and famine spread throughout the region, including Canaan, the homeland of Joseph. Joseph advised the king that as his kingdom was blessed with reserved grain, he should sell his grain to the needy nations at a fair price. The king agreed, and the good news spread all over the region.
Jacob sent ten of his sons, all except Benjamin, to Egypt to purchase provisions. Joseph heard of the ten brothers who had come from afar and who could not speak the language of the Egyptians. When they called on him to purchase their needs, Joseph immediately recognized his brothers, but they did not know him. How could they? To them Joseph no longer existed; he had been thrown into the deep, dark well many years ago!
Joseph received them warmly. After supplying them with provisions, he asked where they had come from. They explained: “We are eleven brothers, the children of a noble prophet. The youngest is at home tending to the needs of our aging father.”
On hearing this, Joseph’s eyes filled with tears; his longing for home swelled up in his heart, as well as his longing for his beloved parents and his loving brother Benjamin. “Are you truthful people?” Joseph asked them.
Perturbed they replied, “What reason should we have to state an untruth?”
“If what you say is true then bring your brother as proof and I will reward you with double rations. But if you do not bring him to me, it would be better if you do not return,” Joseph warned them.
They assured him that they would gladly fulfill his command but that they would have to get their father’s permission. As an inducement to return with their brother, Joseph ordered his servant to secretly place the purse, with the money they had paid, into one of their grain sacks.
Joseph Meets His Brothers – Quranic
Allah the Almighty said:
“And Joseph’s brethren came and they entered unto him, and he recognized them, but they recognized him not. And when he had furnished them forth with provisions (according to their need), he said: “Bring me a brother of yours from your father; (he meant Benjamin). See you not that I give full measure, and that I am the best of the hosts? But if you bring him onto me, there shall be no measure of corn for you with me, nor shall you come near me.” They said: “We shall try to get permission for him from his father, and verily, we shall do it.” And (Joseph) told his servants to put their money (with which they had bought the corn) into their bags, so that they might know it when they go back to their people, in order that they might come back. (Ch 12:58-62)
The Brothers Return to Canaan
The scene dims in Egypt and lights in Canaan. The brothers returned to their father. Before they could unload the camels, they greeted him, then reproved him: “We were denied some supplies because you did not let your son go with us. They would not give us food for absentees. Why would you not entrust him with us? Please, send him with us, and we shall take care of him.” Jacob became sad and told them: “I will not permit Benjamin to travel with you. I will not part with him, for I entrusted Joseph to you and you failed me.” Later, when they opened their grain sacks, they were surprised to find the money purse returned intact. They rushed to their father; “Look, father! The noble official has returned our money; this is surely proof that he would not harm our brother and it can only benefit us.” But Jacob refused to send Benjamin with them. After some time, when they had no more grain, Jacob asked them to travel to Egypt for more. They reminded him of the warning the Egyptian official had given them. They could not return without Benjamin. Jacob agreed, but not before he extracted a pledge from them. “I will not send him with you unless you give me a pledge in Allah’s name that you shall bring him back to me as safely as you take him.” They gave their solemn pledge. He reminded them: “Allah is witness to your pledge.” He then advised them to enter the city through several different gates.
The Brothers Return to Canaan – Quranic
Almighty Allah narrated:
“So when they returned to their father, they said: “O our father! No more measure of grain shall we get (unless we take our brother). So send our brother with us, and we shall get our measure and truly we will guard him.” He said: “Can I entrust him to you except as I entrust his brother (Joseph) to you aforetime? But Allah is the best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those Who show mercy.” And when thopened their bags, they found their money had been returned to them. They said: “O our father! What more can we desire? This, our money has been returned to us, so we shall get more food for our family, and we shall guard our brother and add one more measure of a
camel’s load. This quantity is easy (for the king to give).”He (Jacob) said: “I will not send him with you until you swear a solemn oath to me in Allah’sName, that you will bring him back to me unless you are yourselves surrounded (by enemies,etc). And when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said: “Allah is the Witness over what wehave said.”And he said: “O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but by different gates, and I cannot availyou against Allah at all. Verily! The decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and letall those that trust, put their trust in Him.” (Ch 12:63-67 Quran).
Jacob blessed them on their departure and prayed to Allah for their protection. The brothers undertook the long journey to Egypt, taking good care of Benjamin. Joseph and Benjamin Meet
Joseph welcomed them heartily, although, with difficulty, he suppressed the desire to embrace Benjamin that arose within him. He prepared a feast for them and seated them in pairs. Joseph arranged to sit next to his beloved brother Benjamin, who began to weep. Joseph asked him why he was crying. He replied: “If my brother Joseph had been here, I would have sat next to him.” That night, when Joseph and Benjamin were alone in a room, Joseph asked whether he would have him for a brother. Benjamin respectfully answered that he regarded his host as a wonderful person, but he could never take the place of his brother. Joseph broke down, and amidst flowing tears said; “My loving brother, I am the brother who was lost and whose name you are constantly repeating. Fate has brought us together after many years of separation. This is Allah’s favor. But let it be a secret between us for the time being.” Benjamin flung his arms around Joseph and both brothers shed tears of joy.
A Thief Among the Brothers
The next day, while their bags were being filled with grains to load onto the camels, Joseph ordered one of his attendants to place the king’s gold cup which was used for measuring the grain into Benjamin’s saddlebag. When the brothers were ready to set out, the gates were locked, and the court crier shouted: “O you travelers, you are thieves!” The accusation was most unusual, and the people gathered around Joseph’s brothers.
“What have you lost?” his brothers inquired.
A soldier said: “The king’s golden cup. Whoever can trace it we will give a beast load of grain.”
Joseph’s brothers said with all innocence: “We have not come here to corrupt the land and steal.”
Joseph’s officers said (as he had instructed them): What punishment should you choose for the thief?”
The brothers answered: “According to our law, whoever steals becomes a slave to the owner of the property.”
The officers agreed: “We shall apply your law instead of the Egyptian law, which provides for imprisonment.”
The chief officer ordered his soldiers to start searching the caravan. Joseph was watching the incident from high upon his throne. He had given instructions for Benjamin’s bag to be the last to be searched. When they did not find the cup in the bags of the ten older brothers, the brothers sighed in relief.
Benjamin is Accused
There remained only the bag of their youngest brother. Joseph said, intervening for the first time, that there was no need to search his saddle as he did not look like a thief. His brothers affirmed: “We will not move an inch unless his saddle is searched as well. We are the sons of a noble man, not thieves.” The soldiers reached in their hands and pulled out the king’s cup. The brothers exclaimed: “If he steals now, a brother of his has stolen before.” They strayed from the present issue in order to blame a particular group of the children of Jacob. Joseph heard their resentment with his own ears and was filled with regret. Yet, he swallowed his own resentment, keeping it within. He said to himself, “you went further and fared worse; it shall go bad with you and worse hereafter, and Allah knows your intention.” Silence fell upon them after these remarks by the brothers. Then they forgot their secret satisfaction and thought of Jacob; they had taken an oath with him that they would not betray his son. They began to beg Joseph for mercy. “Joseph, O minister! Take one of us instead. He is the son of a good man, and we can see you are a good man.” Joseph answered calmly: “How can you want to set free the man who has stolen the king’s cup? It would be sinful.” The brothers went on pleading for mercy. However, the guards said that the king had spoke and his word was law. Judah, the eldest, was much worried and told the others: “We promised our father in the name of Allah not to fail him. I will, therefore, stay behind and will only return if my father permits me to do so.”
Joseph Meets Benjamin and the Accusation – Quranic
Regarding this scene, Almighty Allah said:
“And when they entered according to their father’s advice, it did not avail them in the least against (the Will of ) Allah, it was but a need of Jacob’s inner self which he discharged. And verily, he was endowed with knowledge because We had taught him, but most men know not. And when they went in before Joseph, he betook his brother (Benjamin) to himself and said: “Verily! I am your brother, so grieve not for what they used to do.” So when he had furnished them forth with their provisions, he put the golden bowl in his brother’s bag. Then a crier cried: “O you in the caravan! Surely, you are thieves!” They, turning towards them said: “What is that you have missed?” They said: “We have missed the golden bowl of the king and for him who produces it is the reward of a camel load; I will be bound by it.”
They said: “By Allah! Indeed you know that we came not to make mischief in the land, and we are no thieves!” They (Joseph’s brothers) said: “The penalty should be that he, in whose bag it is found, should be held for the punishment of the crime. Thus we punish the Zalimeen (wrongdoers, etc)!” So he (Joseph) began the search in their bags before the bag of his brother. Then he brought it out of his brother’s bag. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king (as a slave), except that Allah willed it. So Allah made the brothers to bind themselves with their way of ‘punishment, i.e. enslaving of a thief.’ We raise to degrees whom We please, but over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allah). They (Joseph’s brothers) said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his (Joseph) who did steal before him.” But these things did Joseph keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in the worst case, and Allah knows best the truth of what you assert!” They said : “O ruler of the land! 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 good doers.” He said: “Allah forbid! That we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property. Indeed if we did so, we shall be Zalimun (wrongdoers).” So, when they despaired of him, they held a conference 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 did fail in your duty with Joseph? Therefore, I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case (by releasing Benjamin) and He is the Best of the judges.” (Ch 12:68-80 Quran).
The brothers left enough provisions behind for Judah, who stayed at a tavern awaiting the fate of Benjamin. In the meantime, Joseph kept Benjamin in his house as his personal guest and told him how he had devised the plot to put the king’s cup in his bag, in order to keep him behind, so as to protect him. He was also glad that Judah had stayed behind, as he was a good hearted brother. Joseph secretly arranged to watch over Judah’s well being. Joseph’s plan in sending the others back was to test their sincerity, to see if they would come back for the two brothers they had left behind.
The Brothers Confront Jacob
When they arrived home, they entered upon their father calling: “O our father! Your son hasstolen!”He was puzzled, scarcely believing the news. He was overwhelmed with sorrow and his eyes wepttears. “Patience be with me; perhaps Allah will return all of them to me. He is Most Knowing,Most Wise.” A pal of lonesomeness closed over him, yet he found consolation in patience andtrusted in Allah.
The Brothers Confront Jacob – Quranic
Allah revealed to us what happened at their meeting with their father:
“Return to your father and say: ‘O our father! Verily, your son (Benjamin) has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not known the unseen! 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.”” He (Jacob) said: “Nay, but your ownselves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting for me. Maybe Allah will bring them back all to me. Truly He! Only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” And he turned away from them and said: “Alas, my grief for Joseph!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing. (Ch 12:81-84)
Jacob’s Request to Find Joseph
The father was deeply hurt. Only prayer could comfort him and strengthen his faith and patience.Weeping all those years for his beloved son Joseph – and now one more of his best sons had beensnatched from him – Jacob almost lost his sight.The other sons pleaded with him: “O father, you are a noble prophet and a great messenger ofAllah. Unto you descended revelation and people received guidance and faith from you. Why areyou destroying yourself in this way?”Jacob replied: “Rebuking me will not lessen my grief. Only the return of my sons will comfort me.My sons, go in search of Joseph and his brother; do not despair of Allah’s mercy.”
Jacob’s Request to Find Joseph – Quranic
Allah, the Almighty told us:
“They said: “By Allah! You will never cease remembering Joseph until you become weak with oldage, or until you be of the dead.”He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which youknow not. O my sons! Go you and inquire about Joseph and his brother and never give up hopeof Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.”(Ch 12:85-87 Quran).
Joseph Reveals Himself
The caravan set out for Egypt. The brothers – on their way to see the chief minister (Joseph) were poor and depressed. On reaching Egypt they collected Judah and called on Joseph, to whom they pleaded:
“O ruler of the land! 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.” (Ch 12:88).
At the end, they begged Joseph. They asked alms of him, appealing to his heart, reminding him that Allah rewards alms givers. At this moment, in the midst of their plight, Joseph spoke to them in their native tongue saying:
“Do you know what you did with Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?”They said: “Are you indeed Joseph?”He said: “I am Joseph, and his is my brother (Benjamin). Allah has indeed been Gracious to us.Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and byperforming righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of thegood doers to be lost.”They said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah has preferred you above us, and we certainly have beensinners.” (Ch 12:89-91)
The brothers began to tremble with fear, but Joseph comforted them:
“No reproach on you this day, may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (Ch 12:92)
Jacob Learns About Joseph
Joseph embraced them, and together they wept with joy. It was not possible for Joseph to leave his responsible office without proper replacement, so he advised his brothers:
“Go with this shirt of mine, and cast it over the face of my father, he will become clear-sighted, and bring to me all your family.” (ch 12:93)
And so the caravan headed back for Palestine. We lave the scene in Egypt and return to Palestine and the house of Jacob. The old man is sitting in his room; tears have been flowing down his cheeks. He stands up all of a sudden, dresses and goes out to his son’s wives. Then he lifts up his face to Heaven and sniffs the air.
The wife of the eldest son remarked: “Jacob has come out of his room today.” The women inquired about what was amiss. There was a hint of a smile on his face. The others asked him:
“How do you feel today?”
He answered: “I can smell Joseph in the air.”
The wives left him alone, saying to one another that there was no hope for the old man. ‘he will die of weeping over Joseph.’
“Did he talk about Joseph’s shirt?”
“I do not know. He said he could smell him; perhaps he has gone mad.”
That day the old man wanted a cup of milk to break his fast, for he had been fasting. At night he changed his clothes. The caravan was traveling in the desert with Joseph’s shirt hidden among the grain. It neared the old man’s estate. He gesticulated in his room, and then he prayed a long time, lifting his hands to heaven and sniffing the air. He was weeping as the shirt was nearing him.
And when the caravan departed, their father said: “I do indeed feel the smell of Joseph, if onlyyou think me not a dotard (a person who has weakness of mind because of old age).”They said: “By Allah! Certainly, you are in your old error.”Then, when the bearer of the glad tidings arrived, he cast the shirt over his face, and he becameclear sighted. He said: “Did I not say to you, I know from Allah that which you know not.””They said: “O our father! Ask Forgiveness from Allah for our sins, indeed we have beensinners.” (Ch 12:94-97)
Jacob and Joseph (PBUT) Meet
The story began with a dream and it ends with the interpretation of the dream. Almighty Allah narrated:
He said: “I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily, He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
Then, when they entered unto Joseph, he betook his parents to himself and said: “Enter Egypt, if Allah will, in security.”
And he raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream of old! My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of prison, and brought you all here out of the Bedouin life, after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He will. Truly He! Only He is the All Knowing, the All-Wise.” (Ch 12:98-100)
Consider his feelings now that his dream has come true. He prays to Allah:
“My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of my dreams; The only Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian etc). in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” (Ch 12:101)
Joseph arranged an audience with the king for himself and his family, to ask the king’s permission for them to settle in Egypt. Joseph was an assert to the kingdom, and the king was happy to have him remain with his household. Joseph prostrated to Allah in gratitude.
The Deatb of Jacob and Joseph (PBUT)
Before he died, Jacob (pbuh) advised his children to adhere to the teachings of Islam, the religion of all of Allah’s prophets. Allah the Almighty revealed:
“Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob? When he said unto his sons: “What will you worship after me?” they said: “We shall worship your Ilah (God-Allah) the Ilah (God) of your father. Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit in Islam.” (Ch 12:133 Quran).
Joseph (pbuh), at the moment of his death, asked his brothers to bury him beside his forefathers if they were to leave Egypt. So when Joseph (pbuh) passed away, he was mummified and placed in a coffin until such a time as he could be taken out of Egypt and buried beside his forefathers, as he had requested. It was said that he died at the age of one hundred ten.
Description of Jonah’s People
Prophet Jonah (Yunus) (pbuh) also known as Dhan-Nun. About his people Almighty Allah said:
“Was there any town community that believed after seeing the punishment, and its Faith at that moment, saved it from the punishment? (the answer is none)–except the people of Jonah; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the present world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while. (Ch 10:98 Quran)
The inhabitants of the town of Nineveh were idolaters who lived a shameless life. Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was sent to teach them the worship of Allah. The people disliked his interference in their way of worship, so they argued. “We and our forefathers have worshipped these gods for many years and no harm has come to us.”
Jonah Leaves His People
Try as he might to convince them of the foolishness of idolatry and of the goodness of Allah’s laws, the ignored him. He warned them that if they kept on with their foolishness, Allah’s punishment would soon follow. Instead of fearing Allah, they told Jonah that they were not afraid of his threats. “Let it happen,” they told him. Jonah was disheartened. “in that case, I will leave you to your misery!” so saying, he left Nineveh, fearing that Allah’s anger would soon follow.
“Remember Dhan Nun (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (the calamities which had befallen him)! (ch 21:87)
The People are Forgiven
The Storm at Sea
Meanwhile, Jonah had boarded a small ship in the company of other passengers. It sailed all day in
calm waters with a good wind blowing at the sails. When night came, the sea suddenly changed. Ahorrible storm blew as if it were going to split the ship into pieces. The waves looked wild. Theyrose up as high as mountains then plunged down like valleys, tossing the ship and sweeping overthe deck.Behind the ship, a large whale was splitting the water and opening its mouth. A command hadbeen issued from Almighty Allah to one of the greatest whales of the sea to surface. It obeyed.The whale hurried to the surface of the sea and followed the ship as it had been commanded.The tempest continued and the chief crewman asked the crew to lighten the ship’s heavy load.They threw their baggage overboard, but this was not enough. Their safety lay in reducing theweight further, so they decided among themselves to lighten their load by removing at least one person.
Jonah Jumps into the Sea
The captain directed: We will make lots with all of the travelers’ names. The one whose name is drawn will be thrown into the sea.” Jonah knew this was one of the seamen’s traditions when facing a tempest. It was a strange polytheistic tradition, but it was practiced at that time. Jonah’s affliction and crisis began. Here was the prophet, subjected to polytheistic rules that considered the sea and the wind to have gods that riot. The captain had to please these gods. Jonah reluctantly participated in the lot, and his name was added to the other travelers’ names. The lot was drawn and “Jonah” appeared. Since they knew him to be the most honorable among them, they did not wish to throw him into the angry sea. Therefore, they decided to draw a second lot. Again Jonah’s name was drawn. They gave him a final chance and drew a third lot. Unfortunately for Jonah, his name came up again. Jonah realized that Allah’s hand was in all this, for he had abandoned his mission without Allah’s consent. The matter was over, and it was decided that Jonah should throw himself into the water. Jonah stood at the edge of the ship looking at the furious sea. It was night and there was no moon. The stars were hidden behind a black fog. But before he could be thrown overboard, Jonah kept mentioning Allah’s name as he jumped into the raging sea and disappeared beneath the huge waves.
The Whale Swallows Jonah
The whale found Jonah floating on the waves before it. It swallowed Jonah into its furious stomach and shut its ivory teeth on him as if they were white bolts locking the door of his prison. The whale dived to the bottom of the sea, the sea that runs in the abyss of darkness. Three layers of darkness enveloped him, one above the other; the darkness of the whale’s stomach, the darkness of the bottom of the sea, the darkness of the night. Jonah imaged himself to be dead, but his senses became alert when he found he could move. He knew that he was alive and imprisoned in the midst of three layers of darkness. His heart was moved by remembering Allah. His tongue released soon after saying:
” La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that evil they associate with You), Truly, I have been of the wrong doers.” (Ch 21:87 Quran)
Jonah continued praying to Allah, repeating this invocation. Fishes, whales, seaweeds, and all the creatures that lived in the sea heard the voice of Jonah praying, heard the celebration of Allah’s praises issuing from the whale’s stomach. All these creatures gathered around the whale and began to celebrate the praises of Allah in their turn, each in its own way and in its own language. The whale also participated in celebrating the praises of Allah and understood that it had swallowed a prophet. Therefore it felt afraid; however, it said to itself; “Why should I be afraid? Allah commanded me to swallow him.”
Allah Forgives Jonah
Allah Almighty saw the sincere repentance of Jonah and heard his invocation in the whale’s stomach. Allah commanded the whale to surface and eject Jonah onto an island. The whale obeyed and swam to the farthest side of the ocean. Allah commanded it to rise towards the warm, refreshing sun and the pleasant earth. The whale ejected Jonah onto a remote island. His body was inflamed because of the acids inside the whale’s stomach. He was ill, and when the sun rose, its ray burned his inflamed body so that he was on the verge of screaming for the pain. However, he endured the pain and continued to repeat his invocation to Allah. Almighty Allah caused a vine to grow to considerable length over him for protection. Then Allah Exalted caused Jonah to recover and forgave him. Allah told Jonah that if it had not been for his praying to Him, he would have stayed in the whale’s stomach till the Day of Judgment.
Summary of Jonah’s Story
Almighty Allah recounted:
” And, verily, Jonah was one of the Messengers. When he ran to the laden ship, he agreed to cast lots and he was among the losers, Then a big fish swallowed him and he had done an act worthy of blame. Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection. But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick and We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him. And We sent him to a hundred thousand people or even more, and they believed; so We gave them enjoyment for a while. (Ch 37:139-148 Quran).
Jonah’s People – Changed
Gradually he regained his strength and found his way to his hometown, Nineveh. He was pleasantly surprised to notice the change that had taken place there. The entire population turned out to welcome him. They informed him that they had turned to believe in Allah. Together they led a prayer of thanksgiving to their Merciful Lord.
Prophet Muhammad’s PBUH Saying About Jonah (PBUT)
Ibn Abbas narrated: “The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘One should not say I am better than Jonah Ibn Matta.'” (Sahih Bukhari).
Isaac’s Sons – Jacob and Esau
Isaac married Rebekah Bint Bethuel, Ibn Nahor, and she gave birth to a set of twins, Esau (Al Eis) and Jacob (Yaqub). Ill feelings developed between the two brothers when they grew into manhood. Esau disliked the fact that Jacob was favored by his father and by Allah with prophethood. This ill feeling became so serious that Esau threatened to kill his brother. Fearing for his life, Jacob fled the country.
Isaac’s Sons – from the People of the Book
The People of the Book said that when Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, Bint Bethuel, during his father’s life. They said she was sterile, so Isaac prayed to Allah and then she became pregnant. She gave birth to twin boys. The first one was called Esau whom the Arabs called Al-Eis. He became the father of Rum. The second one was called Jacob, which means Isreal, (belonging to the people of Israel).
The People of the Book claimed that when Isaac (pbuh) grew old and his eye sight had weakened, he had a desire for food, so he asked his son Esau to go hunting and bring him some cooked game. Esau asked him to bless the food and pray for him. Esau, a hunter, went out to get his father the meat. Rebekah, overhearing this, ordered her son Jacob to slaughter two goats of his best flock and cook them as his father liked and bring it to him before his brother returned. She dressed Jacob in his brother’s clothes and put goat skin on his arms and neck, for Esau was hairy while Jacob was not. When he approached his father with the food, his father asked: ‘Who are you?’ Jacob answered: ‘I am your son.’ When his father finished eating, he prayed for his son to be the more blessed brother and to prevail over them and all people, and for Allah to sustain him and his children.
When he left his father, his brother Esau, who had carried out his father’s command, entered. Isaac asked him: “What is this my son?” He answered: “This is the food you like.” Isaac asked: “Did you bring it an hour ago and ask me to pray for you?” Esau said: “No, I swear I did not,” and he knew his brother had preceded him in this matter and he was sick at heart.
Jacob Leaves his Home – from the People of the Book
The People of the Book said Esau threatened to kill his brother when their father was dead. They also said that he asked his father to pray for him that Allah make the earth good for his offspring and multiply his sustenance and fruits.
When their mother knew that Esau threatened his brother Jacob, she commanded her son Jacob to go to her brother Laban in the land of Haran and abide with him for a time until his brother’s anger had abated, and to marry one of the Laban’s daughters. She told her husband Isaac to command him with that advice and pray for him, and he did.
Jacob (pbuh) left his family, when night came he found a place to rest. He took a stone and put it under his head and slept. He dreamed of a ladder from heaven to earth. Angels were ascending and descending and the Lord addressed him and said to him; “I will bless you and your offspring and make this land for you and for those who come after you.”
When he awoke he felt joyful from what he had seen in his dream and vowed, for Allah’s sake that if he returned to his family safely, he would build here a temple for Allah the Almighty. He also vowed to give one tenth of his property for the sake of Allah. He poured oil on the stone so as to recognize it and called the place “Ayle’s House” (Bethel), which means “House of Allah”. It was to be the location of Jerusalem later.
Jacob’s Wives – from the People of the Book
The People of the Book also said that when Jacob came to his maternal uncle in the land of Haran, his uncle had two daughters. The elder one was called Leah (Lia) and the younger one was Rachel (Rahil). The latter was the better and lovelier of the two. His uncle agreed to marry his daughter to him on the condition that Jacob pasture his sheep for seven years. After a period of time, his uncle prepared a feast and gathered people for the wedding. He married Leah, his elder daughter, to him at night. She was weak-sighted and ugly. When morning came, Jacob discovered she was Leah and he complained to his uncle. “You deceived me; I was engaged to Rachel and you married me to Leah.” His uncle said: “It is not our tradition to marry the younger daughter before the elder daughter. However, if you love her sister, work another seven years and I will marry you to both of them.” Jacob worked for seven years and then married Rachel. It was acceptable in their time, as described in the Torah, for a man to marry two sisters. Laban gave a female slave to each daughter. Leah’s slave was called Zilpah and Rachel’s slave was called Bilha.
Jacob’s Children – from the People of the Book
Almighty Allah compensated Leah’s weakness by giving her sons. The first one was named Rueben (Robel), after whom there were Simon (Shamun), Levi (Lawi), and Judah (Yahudh). Rachel felt jealous of Leah’s having sons, as she was barren. She gave her slave Bilha to her husband and he had relations with her until she became pregnant. She gave birth to a son and named him Naphtali. Leah was vexed that Rachel’s slave had give birth to a son, so she in turn gave her slave Zilpah to Jacob (pbuh), Zilpah gave birth to two sons, Gad and Asher. Then Leah got pregnant and gave birth to her fifth son, Issaacher, and later she gave birth to a sixth son Zebulun. After this Leah gave birth to a daughter named Dinah. Thus, Leah had seven sons from Jacob.
Then Rachel prayed to Allah to give her a son from Jacob. Allah heard her call and responded to her prayer. She gave birth to a son, great, honorable, and beautiful. She named him Joseph (Yusuf). All of this happened when they were in the land of Haran and Jacob (pbuh) was pasturing his uncle’s sheep, which he did for a period of twenty years.
Jacob’s Request – from the People of the Book
Jacob then asked his uncle Laban to let him go and visit his family. His uncle said to him: “I have been blessed because of you; ask for whatever money you need.” Jacob said: “Give me each spotted and speckled goat born this year and each black lamb.”
But at Laban’s command his sons removed their father’s goat that were striped, spotted or speckled, and the black lambs, lest others should be born with those traits. They walked for three days with their father’s goats and sheep while Jacob tended the remaining flock. The People of the Book said that Jacob (pbuh) took fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane. He peeled streaks in them and cast them into the water through for the goats to look at. The young inside their abdomens were terrified and moved and they were born striped, spotted or speckled. When the sheep were breeding, he set their faces towards the black sheep in Laban’s flock and put the rods among them. Their lambs were born black. This was considered an example of supernatural powers, a miracle. Jacob had many goats, sheep, beast and slaves. His uncle and his sons faces changed as if they the sheep and goats had been stolen from them.
Jacob Accused of Taking Idols
Allah the Almighty inspired Jacob to return to the country of his father and people, and He promised to stand by him. Jacob told his family that, and they responded and obeyed him. Jacob did not tell Laban of his plans, however, and left without bidding farewell.
Upon leaving, Rachel stole her father’s idols. After Jacob and his people had fled for his country, Laban and his people followed them. When Laban met with Jacob, he blamed him for leaving him without his knowledge. He would have liked to know so that he could have made them leave with celebration and joy, with drums and songs, and so that he could have bidden his daughters and sons farewell. And why have they taken his idols with them?
Jacob had no knowledge of his idols, so he denied that he had taken them from him. Then Laban entered the tents of his daughters and slaves to search, but he found nothing, for Rachel had put the idols in the camel saddle under her. She did not get up, apologizing that she had her menses. Thus, he could not perceive what they had done. Then they sat on a hill called Galeed and made a covenant there. Jacob would not ill treat Laban’s daughters nor marry others. Neither Laban nor Jacob would pass the hill into the other’s country. They cooked food and their people ate with them. Each bade the other farewell as they departed, each returning to his own country.
Jacob Prepares to meet Esau
When Jacob approached the land of Seir, the angels greeted him. He sent a messenger ahead with greetings to his brother Esau, asking forgiveness and humbling himself before him. The messenger returned greetings and told Jacob that Esau was riding towards him with four hundred men. This made Jacob afraid and he entreated and prayed to Allah Almighty. He prostrated in humiliation and asked Him to fulfill His promise which He had made before. He asked Him to stop the evil of his brother Esau. Then Jacob (pbuh) prepared a great present for his brother: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, and thirty milch camels, forty cows and two bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He commanded his slaves to take the animals, each drove by itself, and pass on ahead of him with a space between the droves. He instructed them: “When you meet my brother Esau he will ask you, ‘to whom do you belong? where are you going?’ you shall say, ‘they belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present to my master Esau. Moreover, he is behind us.”
Jacob stayed behind with his two wives, his slaves and his children for two nights, then continued walking by night and resting by day.
Jacob becomes Israel
When the dawn of the second day came one of the angels appeared in the shape of a man. Jacob began to wrestle with him. They were neck and neck until the angel injured his thigh and Jacob became lame. When the day was breaking, the angel said to him: ‘What is your name?’ He answered: ‘Jacob.’ The angel said: “After today you shall not be called anything but Israel.” Jacob asked: “Who are you? What is your name?” He vanished. Then Jacob knew that he was one of the angels. Jacob was lame, and for this reason the children of Israel do not eat the thigh muscle on the hip socket.
Jacob and Esau Meet
Jacob raised his eyes and saw his brother Esau coming. Jacob prostrated seven times before him for it was their salutation in that time. It was lawful for them just as the angels had prostration in salutation to Adam.
When Esau saw him, he ran towards him, embraced and kissed him and wept. When Esau raised his eyes and saw the women and children he asked: “Who are these with you?” Jacob answered: “Those whom Allah has given me, your servant.” Leah, Rachel, their slaves, and all the children approached and prostrated before him. Jacob asked Esau to accept his gift and insisted until he did so. Esau returned and went in advance before him. Jacob and his family followed with the flocks and herds and slaves to the mountains (Seir).
Jacob Builds Ayl
When he came to Succoth (Sahur), he built a house for himself and shades for his beasts. Then he passed by Jerusalem, the village of Shechem, and camped before the village. He bought a farm from Shcehm Ibn Hamor with one hundred goats and built an altar, which he called Ayl, as Allah commanded him. He built the altar where Jerusalem stands today and later Solomon son of David (pbuh) rebuilt it. It is in the place of the stone which he had earlier anointed with oil as was mentioned before.
Dinah’s Story – from the People of the Book
The people of the book tell a story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah. Shechem Ibn Hamor seized her and lay with her by force. Then he asked her father and brothers to let him marry her. Her brothers said : “Circumcise all of you, and we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves; but we do not marry with uncircumcised people.” They (the men of the city) agreed to that, and all of them were circumcised. When the third day came, the pain from the circumcision had increased, Jacob’s sons approached and killed them till the last one. They killed Shchem and his father for the evil they had committed against them and for their worship of idols. That is why Jacob’s sons killed them and seized their money as spoils.
Then Rachel got pregnant and gave birth to a son, Benjamin, but she had a hard labor and died after delivery. Jacob buried her in Ephrath (afrath). The tomb of Rachel is there till the present day.
The Sons of Jacob
Jacob’s sons were twelve men. From Leah there were Rueben (Robil), Simon (Shamun), Levi (Lawi), Judah (Yahudh), Issachar (Isakher), and Zebulun (Zablun). From Rachel there were Joseph (Yusuf) (pbuh) and Benjamin. From Rachel’s slave there were Dan and Naphtali (Neftali), and from Leah’s slave there were Gad and Asher.
Jacob came to his father Isaac and settled with him in the village of Hebron which lies in the land of Canaan where Abraham had lived. Then Isaac fell ill and died when he was one hundred eighty years old. his sons Esau and Jacob buried him with his father Abraham Al Khalil in a cave which he had bought. It was said that Abraham died at the age of one hundred seventy five.
The Prophet’s last Wish
Allah the Almighty declared in the Glorious Quran:
“And who turns away from the religion of Abraham (Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him: “Submit (be a Muslim)!” He said: “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Abraham upon his sons and by Jacob, (saying): “O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the true religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims — Islamic Monotheism).” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob? When he said unto his sons: “What will you worship after me?” They said: “We shall worship you (Ilah (God – Allah) the Ilah (God) of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit (in Islam).”
That was a nation who had passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.
Quran’s Way of Confronting People of the Book
They say: “Be Jews or Christians, and then you will be guided.” Say (to them O Muhammad): “Nay (we follow) only the religion of Abraham, Hanifan (Islamic monotheism, i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone, and he was not of the Al Mushrikeen (those who worshipped others along with Allah).”
Say (O Muslims): “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which had been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and to Al Asbat (the twelve sons of Jacob), and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).”
So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So, Allah, will suffice you against them. He is the All Hearer, the All Knower.
(Our Sibghah, religion is) the Sibghah (religion) of Allah (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allah’s. We are His worshippers.
Say (O Muhammad, to the Jews and Christians): “Dispute you with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. We are sincere to Him in worship and obedience (i.e., we worship Him Alone and none else, and we obey His Orders).” Or say you that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and Al Asbat (the twelve sons of Jacob) were Jews or Christians? Say: “Do you know better or does Allah know better….that they all were Muslims? And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony (to believe in the Prophet Muhammad, when he comes written in their books) he has from Allah? Allah is not unaware of what you do.“(Ch 2:130-140 Quran)
In another surah Almighty Allah declared:
“O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you dispute about Abraham, while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you then no sense? Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have no knowledge. Why do then dispute concerning that which you have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows, and you know not.
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism), to worship none but Allah Alone and he was not of the polytheists (he joined none in worship with Allah).
Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.(Ch 3:65-68 Quran) Allah the Exalted also affirmed:
” Then verily! Your Lord for those who do evil (commit sins and are disobedient to Allah) in ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds, verily, your Lord thereafter to such is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Verily, Abraham was an Ummah (a leader having all the good righteous qualities or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanifan (to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al Mushrikeen (polytheists, idolaters, disbeliveers in the Oneness of Allah and those who joined partners with Allah). He was thankful for His (Allah’s) Graces. He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a Straight Path (Islamic Monotheism, neither Judaism or Christianity). We gave him good in this world and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have inspired you (O Muhammad saying): “Follow the religion of Abraham Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the Mushrikeen (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbeliveers in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad, those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals with or partners to Allah).” (Ch 16:119-123 Quran)
John (pbuh) was born a stranger to the world of children who used to amuse themselves, as he was serious all the time. Most children took delight in torturing animals whereas, he was merciful to them. He fed the animals from his food until there was nothing left for him, and he just ate fruit or leaves of trees. John loved reading since childhood. When he grew up, Allah the Exalted called upon him:
“O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child. (Ch 19:12 Quran).
Allah guided him to read the Book of Jurisprudence closely; thus, he became the wisest and most knowledgeable man of that time. Therefore, Allah the Almighty endowed him with the faculties of passing judgments on people’s affairs, interpreting the secrets of religion, guiding people to the right path, and warning them against the wrong one. John reached maturity. His compassion for his parents, as well as for all people and all creatures, increased greatly. He called people to repent their sins. There are quite a number of traditions told about John. Ibn Asaker related that one time his parents were looking for him and found him at the Jordan River. When they met him, they wept sorely, seeing his great devotion to Allah, Great and Majestic. Ibn Wahb said that, according to Malik, grass was the food of John Ibn Zakariyah, and he wept sorely in fear of Allah. A chain of narrators reported that Idris Al Khawlawi said: “Shall I not tell you he who had the best food? It is John Ibn Zakariyah, who joined the beasts at dinner, fearing to mix with men.”
Why John Always Wept
Ibn Mubarak stated that Wahb Ibn Al-Ward narrated that Zakariayah did not see his son for three days. He found him weeping inside a grave which he had dug and in which he resided. “My son, I have been searching for you, and you are dwelling in this grave weeping!” “O father, did you not tell me that between Paradise and Hell is only a span, and it will not be crossed except by tears of weepers?” He said to him: “Weep then, my son.” Then they wept together. Other narrations say that John (pbuh) said: “The dwellers of Paradise are sleepless out of the sweetness of Allah’s bounty; that is why the faithful must be sleepless because of Allah’s love in their hearts. How far between the two luxuries, how far between them?” They say John wept so much that tears marked his cheeks.
John’s Love of Nature
He found comfort in the open and never cared about food. He ate leaves, herbs, and sometimes locusts. He slept anywhere in the mountains or in holes in the ground. He sometimes would find a lion or a bear as he entered a cave, but being deeply absorbed in praising Allah, he never heeded them. The beasts easily recognized John as the prophet who cared for all the creatures, so they would leave the cave, bowing their heads. John sometimes fed those beasts, out of mercy, from his food and was satisfied with prayers as food for his soul. He would spend the night crying and praising Allah for His blessings. When John called people to worship Allah, he made them cry out of love and submission, arresting their hearts with the truthfulness of his words. A conflict took place between John and the authorities at that time. A tyrant king, Herod Antipas, the ruler of Palestine, was in love with Salome, his brother’s daughter. He was planning to marry his beautiful niece. The marriage was encouraged by her mother and by some of the learned men of Zion, either out of fear or to gain favor with the ruler. On hearing the ruler’s plan, John pronounced that such a marriage would be incestuous. He would not approve it under any circumstance, as it was against the Law of the Torah.
John’s Cruel Death
John’s pronouncement spread like wildfire. Salome was angry, for it was her ambition to rule the kingdom with her uncle. She plotted to achieve her aim. Dressing attractively, she sang and danced before her uncle. Her arousing Herod’s lust. Embracing her, he offered to fulfill whatever she desired. At once she told him: “I would love to have the head of John, because he has defiled your honor and mine throughout the land. If you grant me this wish, I shall be very happy and will offer myself to you.” Bewitched by her charm, he submitted to her monstrous request. John was executed and his head was brought to Salome. The cruel woman gloated with delight. But the death of Allah’s beloved prophet was avenged. Not only she, but all the children of Israel were severely punished by invading armies which destroyed their kingdom.