Yusuf knew that the distiller would be saved. So discretely, so that the other man's suspicion that he would be crucified would not intensify, he said,
(Mention me to your King.) asking him to mention his story to the king. That man forgot Yusuf's request and did not mention his story to the king, a plot from the devil, so that Allah's Prophet would not leave the prison. This is the correct meaning of,
(But Shaytan made him forget to mention it to his master.) that it refers to the man who was saved. As was said by Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ishaq and several others. As for, `a few years', or, Bida` in Arabic, it means between three and nine, according to Mujahid and Qatadah. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "Ayyub suffered from the illness for seven years, Yusuf remained in prison for seven years and Bukhtanassar (Nebuchadnezzar - Chaldean king of Babylon) was tormented for seven years.''
(43. And the king (of Egypt) said: "Verily, I saw (in a dream) seven fat cows, whom seven lean ones 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.'' (44. They said: "Mixed up false dreams and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.'') (45. Then the man who was released, now at length remembered and said: "I will tell you its interpretation, so send me forth.'') (46. (He said): "O Yusuf, the man of truth! Explain to us seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.'') (47. (Yusuf) said: "For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that which you reap you shall leave it in the ears, (all) except a little of it which you may eat.'') (48. "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).'') (49. "Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil).'')
The King of Egypt had a dream that Allah the Exalted made a reason for Yusuf's release from prison, with his honor and reputation preserved. When the king had this dream, he was astonished and fearful and sought its interpretation. He gathered the priests, the chiefs of his state and the princes and told them what he had seen in a dream, asking them to interpret it for him. They did not know its interpretation and as an excuse, they said,
(Mixed up false dreams), which you saw,
(and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.) They said, had your dream been a vision rather than a mixed up false dream, we would not have known its interpretation. The man who was saved from the two, who were Yusuf's companions in prison, remembered. Shaytan plotted to make him forget the request of Yusuf, to mention his story to the king. Now, years later, he remembered after forgetfulness and said to the king and his entourage,
(I will tell you its interpretation,) he interpretation of this dream,
(so send me forth.) to the prison, to Yusuf, the man of truth. So they sent him, and he said to Yusuf,
(O Yusuf, the man of truth! Explain to us...) and mentioned the king's dream to him.
This is when Yusuf, peace be upon him, told the interpretation of the dream, without criticizing the man for forgetting his request that he had made to him. Neither did he make a precondition that he be released before explaining the meaning. Rather, he said,
(For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual) `you will receive the usual amount of rain and fertility for seven consecutive years.' He interpreted the cows to be years, because cows till the land that produce fruits and vegetables, which represent the green ears of corn in the dream. He next recommended what they should do during these fertile years,
(and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave it in the ears, (all) except a little of it which you may eat.) He said, `Whatever you harvest during those seven fertile years, leave it in the ears so as to preserve it better. This will help the harvest stay healthy longer, except the amount that you need to eat, which should not be substantial. Stay away from extravagance, so that you use what remains of the harvest during the seven years of drought that will follow the seven fertile years.' This was represented by the seven lean cows that eat the seven fat cows. During the seven years of drought, they will eat from the harvest they collected during the seven fertile years, as represented by the dry ears of corn in the dream. Yusuf told them that during these years, the remaining ears will not produce anything and whatever they try to plant, will not produce any harvest, so he said,
(which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored).) He delivered the good news to them that after the consecutive years of drought, there will come a fertile year, during which people will receive rain and the land will produce in abundance. The people will then press wine and oil as usual.
(50. And the king said: "Bring him to me.'' But when the messenger came to him, (Yusuf) said: "Return to your king and ask him, `What happened to the women who cut their hands Surely, my Lord (Allah) is Well-Aware of their plot.''') (51. (The king) said (to the women): "What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Yusuf'' The women said: "Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!'' The wife of the `Aziz said: "Now the truth is manifest (to all); it was I who sought to seduce him, and he is surely of the truthful. '') (52. ﴿Then Yusuf said: "I asked for this inquiry﴾ in order that he may know that I betrayed him not in (his) absence.'' And, verily, Allah guides not the plot of the betrayers.) (53. "And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'')