As-Suddi, Muhammad bin Ishaq and several others said that the reason why Yusuf's brothers went to Egypt, is that after Yusuf became minister of Egypt and the seven years of abundance passed, then came the seven years of drought that struck all areas of Egypt. The drought also reached the area of Kana`an (Canaan), where Prophet Ya`qub, peace be upon him, and his children resided. Prophet Yusuf efficiently guarded the people's harvest and collected it, and what he collected became a great fortune for the people. This also permitted Yusuf to give gifts to the people who sought his aid from various areas who came to buy food and provisions for their families. Yusuf would not give a family man more than whatever a camel could carry, as annual provisions for them. Yusuf himself did not fill his stomach from this food, nor did the king and his aids eat except one meal a day. By doing so, the people could sustain themselves with what they had for the remainder of the seven years. Indeed, Yusuf was a mercy from Allah sent to the people of Egypt. Yusuf's brothers were among those who came to Egypt to buy food supplies, by the order of their father. They knew that the `Aziz of Egypt was selling food to people who need it for a low price, so they took some merchandise from their land with them to exchange it for food. They were ten, because Ya`qub peace be upon him kept his son and Yusuf's brother Binyamin with him. Binyamin was the dearest of his sons to him after Yusuf. When Prophet Yusuf's brothers entered on him in his court and the center of his authority, he knew them the minute he saw them. However, they did not recognize him because they got rid of him when he was still young, and sold him to a caravan of travelers while unaware of their destination. They could not have imagined that Yusuf would end up being a minister, and this is why they did not recognize him, while he did recognize them. As-Suddi said that Yusuf started talking to his brothers and asked them, "What brought you to my land'' They said, "O, `Aziz, we came to buy provisions.'' He asked them, "You might be spies.'' They said, "Allah forbids.'' He asked them, "Where are you from'' They said, "From the area of Kana`an, and our father is Allah's Prophet Ya`qub.'' He asked them, "Does he have other children besides you'' They said, "Yes, we were twelve brothers. Our youngest died in the desert, and he used to be the dearest to his father. His full brother is alive and his father kept him, so that his closeness compensates him for losing our youngest brother (who died).'' Yusuf ordered that his brothers be honored and allowed to remain,
(And when he furnished them with their provisions,) according to their needs and gave them what they wanted to buy, he said to them, "Bring me your brother from your father's side whom you mentioned, so that I know that you have told me the truth.'' He continued,
(See you not that I give full measure, and that I am the best of the hosts) encouraging them to return to him. He then threatened them,
(But if you bring him not to me, there shall be no measure (of corn) for you with me.) He threatened them that if the next time they come without Binyamin with them, they will not be allowed to buy the food that they need,
("...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.'') They said, `We will try our best to bring him with us, so that we spare no effort to prove to you that we are truthful in what we told you about ourselves.' Allah said,
(And (Yusuf) told his servants), or his slaves,
(to put their money), or the merchandise they brought with them to exchange for food,
(into their bags,), while they were unaware,
(in order that they might come again.) It was said that Yusuf did this because he feared that his brothers might not have any more merchandise they could bring with them to exchange for food.
(63. 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.'') (64. He said: "Can I entrust him to you except as I entrusted his brother (Yusuf) to you aforetime But Allah is the Best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.'')
Allah says that when they went back to their father,
(they said: "O our father! No more measure of grain shall we get...'') `after this time, unless you send our brother Binyamin with us. So send him with us, and we shall get our measure and we shall certainly guard him.' Some scholars read this Ayah in a way that means, `and he shall get his ration.' They said,
(and truly, we will guard him.), `do not fear for his safety, for he will be returned back to you.' This is what they said to Ya`qub about their brother Yusuf,
("Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily, we will take care of him.'') (12:12) This is why Prophet Ya`qub said to them,
(Can I entrust him to you except as I entrusted his brother (Yusuf) to you aforetime) He asked them, `Will you do to him except what you did to his brother Yusuf before, when you took him away from me and separated me from him'
(But Allah is the Best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.) Ya`qub said, `Allah has the most mercy with me among all those who show mercy, He is compassionate with me for my old age, feebleness and eagerness for my son. I invoke Allah to return him to me, and to allow him and I to be together; for surely, He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.'
(65. And when they opened 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).'') (66. He Ya`qub said: "I will not send him with you until you swear a solemn oath to me in Allah's Name, that you will bring him back to me unless you are yourselves surrounded (by enemies),'' And when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said: "Allah is the Witness to what we have said.'')
Allah says, when Yusuf's brothers opened their bags, they found their merchandise inside them, for Yusuf had ordered his servants to return it to their bags. When they found their merchandise in their bags,
(They said: "O our father! What (more) can we desire...''), what more can we ask for,
(This, our money has been returned to us;) Qatadah commented (that they said), "What more can we ask for, our merchandise was returned to us and the `Aziz has given us the sufficient load we wanted'' They said next,
(so we shall get (more) food for our family,), `if you send our brother with us the next time we go to buy food for our family,'
(and we shall guard our brother and add one more measure of a camel's load.) since Yusuf, peace be upon him, gave each man a camel's load of corn.
(This quantity is easy (for the king to give).) They said these words to make their case more appealing, saying that taking their brother with them is worth this gain,
(He (Ya`qub (Jacob)) said: "I will not send him with you until you swear a solemn oath to me in Allah's Name...''), until you swear by Allah with the strongest oath,
(that you will bring him back to me unless you are yourselves surrounded (by enemies)), unless you were all overwhelmed and were unable to rescue him,
(And when they had sworn their solemn oath), he affirmed it further, saying,
(Allah is the Witness to what we have said.) Ibn Ishaq commented, "Ya`qub did that because he had no choice but to send them to bring necessary food supplies for their survival. So he sent Binyamin with them.''
(67. And he said: "O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily, the decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.'') (68. 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 Ya`qub's inner self which he discharged. And verily, he was endowed with knowledge because We had taught him, but most men know not.)
Allah says that Ya`qub, peace be upon him, ordered his children, when he sent Binyamin with them to Egypt, to enter from different gates rather than all of them entering from one gate. Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak Qatadah, As-Suddi and several others said that he feared the evil eye for them, because they were handsome and looked beautiful and graceful. He feared that people might direct the evil eye at them, because the evil eye truly harms, by Allah's decree, and brings down the mighty warrior-rider from his horse. He next said, l
(and I cannot avail you against Allah at all.) this precaution will not resist Allah's decision and appointed decree. Verily, whatever Allah wills, cannot be resisted or stopped,
("Verily, the decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.'' 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 Ya`qub's inner self which he discharged. ), as a precaution against the evil eye,
(And verily, he was endowed with knowledge because We had taught him,) he had knowledge that he implemented, according to Qatadah and Ath-Thawri. Ibn Jarir said that this part of the Ayah means, he has knowledge that We taught him,
(but most men know not.)
(69. And when they went in before Yusuf, he took his brother (Binyamin) to himself and said: "Verily, I am your brother, so grieve not for what they used to do.'')