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Yusuf's Dream

Allah says, `Mention to your people, O Muhammad, among the stories that you narrate to them, the story of Yusuf.' Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) mentioned his dream to his father, Prophet Ya`qub (Jacob), son of Prophet Ishaq (Isaac), son of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon them all. `Abdullah bin `Abbas stated that the dreams of Prophets are revelations from Allah. Scholars of Tafsir explained that in Yusuf's dream the eleven stars represent his brothers, who were eleven, and the sun and the moon represent his father and mother. This explanation was collected from Ibn `Abbas, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Sufyan Ath-Thawri and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. Yusuf's vision became a reality forty years later, or as some say, eighty years, when Yusuf raised his parents to the throne while his brothers were before him,

﴿ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ ۥ سُجَّدً۬ا‌ۖ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ هَـٰذَا تَأۡوِيلُ رُءۡيَـٰىَ مِن قَبۡلُ قَدۡ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّى حَقًّ۬ا‌ۖ

(and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: "O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true!'')

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰبُنَىَّ لَا تَقۡصُصۡ رُءۡيَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ إِخۡوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُواْ لَكَ كَيۡدًا‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لِلۡإِنسَـٰنِ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(5. He (the father) said: "O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they should arrange a plot against you. Verily, Shaytan is to man an open enemy!'')

Ya`qub orders Yusuf to hide His Vision to avoid Shaytan's Plots

Allah narrates the reply Ya`qub gave his son Yusuf when he narrated to him the vision that he saw, which indicated that his brothers would be under his authority. They would be subjugated to Yusuf's authority to such an extent that they would prostrate before him in respect, honor and appreciation. Ya`qub feared that if Yusuf narrated his vision to any of his brothers, they would envy him and conspire evil plots against him. This is why Ya`qub said to Yusuf,

﴿ لَا تَقۡصُصۡ رُءۡيَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ إِخۡوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُواْ لَكَ كَيۡدًا‌ۖ

(Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they should arrange a plot against you.) This Ayah means, "They might arrange a plot against you that causes your demise.'' In the Sunnah, there is a confirmed Hadith that states,

« إِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ مَا يُحِبُّ فَلْيُحَدِّثْ بِهِ، وَإِذَا رَأَى مَا يَكْرَهُ فَلْيَتَحَوَّلْ إِلَى جَنْبِهِ الْآخَرِ، وَلْيَتْفُلْ عَنْ يَسَارِهِ ثَلَاثًا، وَلْيَسْتَعِذْ بِاللهِ مِنْ شَرِّهَا، وَلَا يُحَدِّثْ بِهَا أَحَدًا فَإِنَّهَا لَنْ تَضُرَّه »

(If any of you saw a vision that he likes, let him narrate it. If he saw a dream that he dislikes, let him turn on his other side, blow to his left thrice, seek refuge with Allah from its evil and not tell it to anyone. Verily, it will not harm him in this case.) In another Hadith that Imam Ahmad and collectors of the Sunan collected, Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« الرُّؤْيَا عَلَى رِجْلِ طَائِرٍ مَا لَمْ تُعْبَرْ، فَإِذَا عُبِرَتْ وَقَعَت »

(The dream is tied to a bird's leg, as long as it is not interpreted. If it is interpreted, it comes true.) Therefore, one should hide the prospects or the coming of a bounty until it comes into existence and becomes known. The Prophet said,

« اسْتَعِينُوا عَلَى قَضَاءِ الْحَوَائِجِ بِكِتْمَانِهَا، فَإِنَّ كُلَّ ذِي نِعْمَةٍ مَحْسُود »

(Earn help for fulfilling needs by being discrete, for every owner of a blessing is envied.)

﴿ وَكَذَٲلِكَ يَجۡتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكَ وَعَلَىٰٓ ءَالِ يَعۡقُوبَ كَمَآ أَتَمَّهَا عَلَىٰٓ أَبَوَيۡكَ مِن قَبۡلُ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ‌ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۬

(6. "Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) and perfect His favor on you and on the offspring of Ya`qub, as He perfected it on your fathers, Ibrahim and Ishaq aforetime! Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.'')

Interpretation of Yusuf's Vision

Allah says that Ya`qub said to his son Yusuf, `Just as Allah chose you to see the eleven stars, the sun and the moon prostrate before you in a vision,

﴿ وَكَذَٲلِكَ يَجۡتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ

(Thus will your Lord choose you) designate and assign you to be a Prophet from Him,

﴿ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِ

(and teach you the interpretation of Ahadith).' Mujahid and several other scholars said that this part of the Ayah is in reference to the interpreting of dreams. He said next,

﴿ وَيُتِمُّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكَ

(and perfect His favor on you), `by His Message and revelation to you.' This is why Ya`qub said afterwards,

﴿ كَمَآ أَتَمَّهَا عَلَىٰٓ أَبَوَيۡكَ مِن قَبۡلُ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ

(as He perfected it aforetime on your fathers, Ibrahim...), Allah's intimate friend,

﴿ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ‌ۚ

(and Ishaq), Ibrahim's son,

﴿ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۬

(Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.) Allah knows best whom to chose for His Messages.

﴿ لَّقَدۡ كَانَ فِى يُوسُفَ وَإِخۡوَتِهِۦۤ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ لِّلسَّآٮِٕلِينَ إِذۡ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ ٱقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ ٱطۡرَحُوهُ أَرۡضً۬ا يَخۡلُ لَكُمۡ وَجۡهُ أَبِيكُمۡ وَتَكُونُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ قَوۡمً۬ا صَـٰلِحِينَ قَالَ قَآٮِٕلٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ لَا تَقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ وَأَلۡقُوهُ فِى غَيَـٰبَتِ ٱلۡجُبِّ يَلۡتَقِطۡهُ بَعۡضُ ٱلسَّيَّارَةِ إِن كُنتُمۡ فَـٰعِلِينَ

(7. Verily, in Yusuf and his brethren there were Ayat for those who ask.) (8. When they said: "Truly, Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we, while we are `Usbah (a group). Really, our father is in a plain error.'') (9. "Kill Yusuf or cast him out to some (other) land, so that the favor of your father may be given to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk.'') (10. One from among them said: "Kill not Yusuf, 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.'')

There are Lessons to draw from the Story of Yusuf

Allah says that there are Ayat, lessons and wisdom to learn from the story of Yusuf and his brothers, for those who ask about their story and seek its knowledge. Surely, their story is unique and is worthy of being narrated.

﴿ إِذۡ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِينَا مِنَّا

(When they said: "Truly, Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we...'') They swore, according to their false thoughts, that Yusuf and his brother Binyamin (Benjamin), Yusuf's full brother,

﴿ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ

(dearer to our father than we, while we are `Usbah.) meaning, a group. Therefore, they thought, how can he love these two more than the group,

﴿ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ

(Really, our father is in a plain error.) because he preferred them and loved them more than us.

﴿ ٱقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ ٱطۡرَحُوهُ أَرۡضً۬ا يَخۡلُ لَكُمۡ وَجۡهُ أَبِيكُمۡ

(Kill Yusuf or cast him out to some (other) land, so that the favor of your father may be given to you alone,) They said, `Remove Yusuf, who competes with you for your father's love, from in front of your father's face so that his favor is yours alone. Either kill Yusuf or banish him to a distant land so that you are rid of his trouble and you alone enjoy the love of your father. '

﴿ وَتَكُونُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ قَوۡمً۬ا صَـٰلِحِينَ

(and after that you will be righteous folk.), thus intending repentance before committing the sin,

﴿ قَالَ قَآٮِٕلٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ

(One from among them said...) Qatadah and Muhammad bin Ishaq said that he was the oldest among them and his name was Rubil (Reuben). As-Suddi said that his name was Yahudha (Judah). Mujahid said that it was Sham`un (Simeon) who said,

﴿ لَا تَقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ

(Kill not Yusuf,), do not let your enmity and hatred towards him reach this level, of murder. However, their plot to kill Yusuf would not have succeeded, because Allah the Exalted willed that Yusuf fulfill a mission that must be fulfilled and complete; he would receive Allah's revelation and become His Prophet. Allah willed Yusuf to be a powerful man in Egypt and govern it. Consequently, Allah did not allow them to persist in their intent against Yusuf, through Rubil's words and his advice to them that if they must do something, they should throw him down to the bottom of a well,

﴿ يَلۡتَقِطۡهُ بَعۡضُ ٱلسَّيَّارَةِ

(he will be picked up by some caravan) of travelers passing by. This way, he said, you will rid yourselves of this bother without having to kill him,

﴿ إِن كُنتُمۡ فَـٰعِلِينَ

(if you must do something,) meaning, if you still insist on getting rid of him. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said, "They agreed to a particularly vicious crime that involved cutting the relation of the womb, undutiful treatment of parents, and harshness towards the young, helpless and sinless. It was also harsh towards the old and weak who have the rights of being respected, honored and appreciated, as well as, being honored with Allah and having parental rights on their offspring. They sought to separate the beloved father, who had reached old age and his bones became weak, yet had a high status with Allah, from his beloved young son, in spite of his weakness, tender age and his need of his father's compassion and kindness. May Allah forgive them, and indeed, He is the Most Merciful among those who have mercy, for they intended to carry out a "grave error.'' Ibn Abi Hatim collected this state- ment, from the route of Salamah bin Al-Fadl from Muhammad bin Ishaq.

﴿ قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأۡمَ۫نَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَنَـٰصِحُونَ أَرۡسِلۡهُ مَعَنَا غَدً۬ا يَرۡتَعۡ وَيَلۡعَبۡ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ

(11. They said: "O our father! Why do you not trust us with Yusuf though we are indeed his well-wishers'') (12. "Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily, we will take care of him.'')

Yusuf's Brothers ask for Their Father's Permission to take Yusuf with Them

When Yusuf's brothers agreed to take him and throw him down the well, taking the advice of their elder brother Rubil, they went to their father Ya`qub, peace be upon him. They said to him, "Why is it that you,

﴿ لَا تَأۡمَ۫نَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَنَـٰصِحُونَ

(do not trust us with Yusuf though we are indeed his well-wishers).'' They started executing their plan by this introductory statement, even though they really intended its opposite, out of envy towards Yusuf for being loved by his father. They said,

﴿ أَرۡسِلۡهُ مَعَنَا

"(Send him with us) tomorrow so that we all enjoy ourselves and play.'' Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi said similarly. Yusuf's brothers said next,

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ

(and verily, we will take care of him.), we will protect him and ensure his safety for you.

﴿ قَالَ إِنِّى لَيَحۡزُنُنِىٓ أَن تَذۡهَبُواْ بِهِۦ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأۡڪُلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَأَنتُمۡ عَنۡهُ غَـٰفِلُونَ قَالُواْ لَٮِٕنۡ أَڪَلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّآ إِذً۬ا لَّخَـٰسِرُونَ

(13. He (Ya`qub) 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.'') (14. They said: "If a wolf devours him, while we are `Usbah (a group), then surely, we are the losers.'')