ALIF LAM RA. These are the verses of the immaculate Book.
We have sent it down as a clear discourse that you may understand.
Through the revelation of this Qur´an We narrate the best of histories of which you were unaware before.
When Joseph told his father: "O my father, I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowing before me in homage,"
He said: "O son, do not narrate your dream to your brothers, or they will plot against you. Surely Satan is man´s acknowledged foe.
Your Lord will choose you and teach you to interpret events, and confer His favours on you and the house of Jacob, as He had done in the case of two ancestors of yours, Abraham and Isaac, before you. Indeed your Lord is all-knowing and all-wise."
In the story of Joseph and his brothers are lessons for those who inquire.
"Surely Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we," (said his half brothers) "even though we are a well-knit band. Our father is surely in the wrong.
Let us kill Joseph or cast him in some distant land so that we may get our father´s exclusive affection; then play innocent."
One of them said: "If you must do so, then do not kill Joseph, but throw him into an unused well. Some passing caravan may rescue him."
(Then going to their father) they said: "O father, why don´t you trust us with Joseph? We are in fact his well-wishers.
Let him go out with us tomorrow that he may enjoy and play. We shall take care of him."
He said: "I am afraid of sending him with you lest a wolf should devour him when you are unmindful."
They replied: "If a wolf should devour him when we are there, a well-knit band, we shall certainly be treacherous."
So, when they took him out they planned to throw him into an unused well. We revealed to Joseph: "You will tell them (one day) of this deed when they will not apprehend it."
At nightfall they came to their father weeping,
And said: "We went racing with one another and left Joseph to guard our things when a wolf devoured him. But you will not believe us even though we tell the truth."
They showed him the shirt with false blood on it. (Their father) said: "It is not so; you have made up the story. Yet endurance is best. I seek the help of God alone for what you impute."
A caravan happened to pass, and sent the water-carrier to bring water from the well. He let down his bucket (and pulled Joseph up with it). "What luck," said the man; "here is a boy;" and they hid him as an item of merchandise; but what they did was known to God.
And they sold him as worthless for a few paltry dirham.
The Egyptian who bought him instructed his wife: "House him honourably. He may be of use to us. We may even adopt him as a son." So, We firmly established Joseph in the land, and taught him the interpretation of dreams. God dominated in his affairs, though most men do not know.
When he reached the prime of life We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus We reward those who are good.
But she in whose house he resided wished to seduce him and, closing the doors, said: "Come into me. "God forbid!" he said; "he is my master who has approved my stay. Surely those who act wrongly do not prosper."
But the woman desired him, and he would have desired her but for the indication he received from his Lord. This was so that We may avert both evil and lechery from him, for he was one of Our chosen devotees.
Both of them raced to the door, and she (grabbed and) rent his shirt from behind. They met her lord outside the door. "There is no other penalty for a man," said she, "who wanted to outrage your wife but imprisonment or grievous punishment."
(Joseph) said: "It was she who wanted to seduce me." And a witness from her family testified: "If the shirt is torn from the front then the woman is speaking the truth, and he is a liar.
But if the shirt is torn from behind then she is a liar, and he speaks the truth."
When the husband saw the shirt torn at the back, he said: "Surely this is a woman´s ruse, and the wiles of women are great.
Ignore this affair, O Joseph; and you, O woman, ask forgiveness for your sin, for you were surely errant."
In the city the women gossiped: "The minister´s wife longs after her page. He has captured her heart. We think she is in clear error."
When she heard their slanderings, she sent for them and prepared a banquet, and gave each of them a knife (for paring fruit), and called (to Joseph): "Come out before them." When they saw him, the women were so wonderstruck they cut their hands, and exclaimed: "O Lord preserve us! He is no mortal but an honourable angel."
She said: "This is the one you blamed me for. I did desire his person, but he preserved himself from sin. Yet in case he does not do my bidding he will be put into prison and disgraced."
(Joseph) prayed: "O Lord, dearer is prison than what they invite me to. Unless You turn their guiles away from me I shall succumb to their charms and thus become a pagan."
His Lord heard his prayer, and averted the women´s wiles from him. He verily hears and knows everything.
And yet in spite of having seen these clear proofs they found it proper to incarcerate him for a time.
Two other youths were imprisoned along with him. Said one of them: "I dreamt that I was pressing grapes;" and the other: "I dreamt that I was carrying bread on my head, and the birds were pecking at it. You tell us the meaning of this. You seem to be a righteous man."
(Joseph) answered: "I will give you its interpretation before the food you are served arrives. This knowledge is one of the things my Lord has taught me. I have given up the religion of those who do not believe in God and deny the life to come.
I follow the faith of my fathers, of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. We cannot associate anyone with God. This is among God´s favours to us and to all mankind; but most men are not grateful.
(Tell me) O fellow-prisoners, are a number of gods better, or one God omnipotent?
(What) you worship besides Him are nothing but names that you and your fathers have assigned, for which no sanction has been sent down by God. Authority belongs to God alone. He commands that you worship none but Him. This is the right way; but most men are ignorant.
O fellow-prisoners, one of you will serve wine to your master, the other will be crucified and the birds will peck at his brain. Determined is the matter of your inquiry."
And (Joseph) asked the man he knew would be released: "Remember me to your lord;" but Satan made him forget to mention this to his lord, and Joseph remained in prison for a number of years.
(One day) the king said (to his courtiers): "I saw seven fat cows in a dream being devoured by seven lean ones, and seven ears of corn that were green and seven others that were seared. O courtiers, tell me the significance of my dream, if you know how to interpret them."
"They were only confused dreams," they said; "we do not know how to interpret them."
Then the servant, who of the two had been released, remembering (Joseph), said: "I will give you its interpretation; let me go for it."
(And coming to the prison) he said: "O Joseph the truthful, tell us (the meaning of) seven fat cows being devoured by seven lean ones, and seven green ears of corn and seven seared, that I may go back to the people and tell them."
He said: "Sow as usual for seven years, and after reaping leave the corn in the ears, except the little you need for food.
Then there will come seven years of hardship which will consume the grain you had laid up against them, except a little you may have stored away.
This will be followed by a year of rain, and people shall press (the grapes)."
The king said: "Bring him to me. So when the messenger came to Joseph, he said: "Go back to your lord and ask him: ´How fare the women who had cut their hands?´ My Lord is cognisant of their guile."
The king asked the women: "What was the affair of seducing Joseph?" "God preserve us," they said; "we know no evil against him." The wife of the minister said: "The truth has now come out. It was I who desired to seduce him, but he is indeed a man of virtue." --
(At this Joseph remarked:) "From this (the Minister) should know that I did not betray him in his absence, and that God does not surely let the wiles of those who betray ever succeed.
But I do not wish to absolve myself, for the soul is prone to evil, unless my Lord have mercy. Indeed my Lord is forgiving and kind." --
When the king heard this he said: "Bring him to me. I shall take him in my special service." When he had talked to him, he said: "Today you are established in a rank of trust with us."
"Appoint me over the granaries of the land," (he said); "I shall be a knowledgeable keeper."
Thus We gave Joseph authority in the land so that he lived wherever he liked. We bestow Our favours on whomsoever We please, and do not allow the reward of those who are good to go waste.
And certainly the recompense of the life to come is better for those who believe and follow the right path.
The brothers of Joseph came (to Egypt) and visited him. He recognised them, though they did not recognise him.
When he had supplied their provisions, he said to them: "Bring your (half) brother with you. Have you not seen that I have given full measure, and that I am the best of hosts?
But if you do not bring him with you, then I shall have no grain for you, nor should you come back to me."
They said: "We shall request his father, and will certainly do that."
Then he ordered his servants: "Put their money back in their packs: They may find it on reaching home, and perhaps come again."
When they returned to their father, they said: "O father, a further measure has been denied us. So send our brother with us that he may bring more grain. We shall take care of him."
He replied: "Should I trust you with him as I did his brother? But God is the best of guardians, and most merciful of all."
When they unpacked their goods they said: "O father, what more can we ask? Look, even our money has been returned. We shall go and bring a camel-load more of grain for our family, and take good care of our brother. That will be an easy measure."
He said: "I will never send him with you until you swear by God that you will bring him back to me, unless all of you are overtaken (by misfortune)." When they had given their promise, he said: "God is witness to our conversation."
(As they were leaving) their father said to them: "O my sons, do not seek one approach but employ different ways (of attaining your object). If anything should befall you from God I shall not be able to avert it, for all authority belongs to God. I have placed my trust in Him, and the trusting should rely on Him alone."
When they entered as their father had advised them, nothing could avail them against (the will of) God, yet it confirmed a premonition Jacob had, for verily he had knowledge as We had taught him, though most men do not know.
When they came to Joseph he made his brother his guest, and said: "I am your brother. So do not grieve for what they had done."
When he had given them their provisions he put his goblet in his brother´s saddle-bag. Then a crier announced: "O men of the caravan, you are thieves."
They turned to them and asked: "What is it you have lost?"
"We cannot find the master´s goblet. Whoever comes up with it will be given a camel-load of grain; I vouch for it."
They said: "We swear by God. You know we did not come to commit any crime in the land, nor are we thieves."
"What should be the punishment," they were asked, "in case you are liars?"
"The punishment for that (should be)," they said, "that he in whose luggage it is found should be held as punishment. This is how we repay the wrong-doers."
So he searched their saddle-bags before his brother´s, then produced the cup from his brother´s bag. That is how We planned an excuse for Joseph, for under the law of the king he could not detain his brother unless God so willed. We raise the status of whom We please. Over every man of knowledge there is one more knowing.
Said the brothers: "If he has stolen (no wonder), his brother had stolen before." But Joseph kept this secret and did not disclose it to them, and said (to himself): "You are worse in the degree of evil, for God knows better of what you allege."
They said: "O Minister, he has an aged father, so keep one of us in his place. We see you are a virtuous man."
"May God forgive us," he said, "if we hold any one but him with whom we found our property, or else we would be unjust."
When they despaired of (persuading) him, they went aside to confer. The oldest of them said: "You know that your father has pledged you in the name of God, and you have been guilty of iniquity in the case of Joseph before. I will not leave this place unless my father permits or God decides for me, for He is the best of all judges.
So, go to your father and tell him: ´O father, your son has committed a theft. We bear witness to only what we know; we could not prevent the unknown.
Enquire from the people of that city, or ask the men of the caravan with whom we have come. We are verily speaking the truth.´"
"No," said (the father). "You have made up the story; but patience is best; God may bring them back to me. He is all-knowing and all-wise."
He turned away from them and cried: "Alas for Joseph!" And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.
"By God," said they, "you will never stop thinking of Joseph till you are consumed or perish."
He replied: "I cry my plaint and grief to God, and know from God what you do not know.
O sons, go in search of Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of the mercy of God. Only they despair of God´s mercy who do not believe."
When they returned to him, they said (to Joseph): "O Minister, calamity has befallen us and our people. We have brought but a meagre sum, but give us full measure as alms bestowed. God surely rewards those who give alms."
, He said: "Do you know what you did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?"
They said: "Surely you are not Joseph!" "I am Joseph," he said, "and this is my brother. God has been gracious to us; for God does not verily deprive those who fear Him and are patient of the recompense of those who are good."
They said: "By God, God has favoured you above us, for we have indeed been sinners."
"There is no blame on you today," he said, "May God forgive you. He is the most merciful of all.
Take my shirt and put it on my father´s face; his eyesight will be restored; and bring your entire family to me."
The caravan departed (from Egypt) and Jacob said (at home): "Say not that I am in my dotage, but I get the smell of Joseph."
They said: "By God, you are still persisting in your old delusion."
Then, as the harbinger of happy news arrived and put the garment over his face his eyesight was restored. He said: "Did I not tell you? I know from God what you do not know."
Said (the sons): "O our father, pray for us that our sins be forgiven, for we are really sinners."
"I will ask my Lord to forgive you," he replied, "for He is forgiving and kind."
When they went back to Joseph he gave his father and mother a place of honour, and said: "Enter Egypt in peace by the will of God."
He seated his parents by his side on the throne; and they fell down before him in homage. "O my father," said Joseph, "this is the meaning of my earlier dream. My Lord has made it come true. He was gracious in getting me out of the prison, and bringing you out of the desert to me after the discord created by Satan between me and my brothers, for my Lord is gracious to whomsoever He please. He is indeed all-knowing and all-wise.
O my Lord, you have given me dominion and taught me the interpretation of dreams; O Creator of the heavens and the earth, You alone are my saviour in this world and the world to come; let me die submitting to You, and place me among the upright."
This is news of the unknown We reveal to you, for you were not present when Joseph´s brothers agreed on their course of action, and devised their plot.
Many men will not believe howsoever you wish,
Even though you ask no recompense (for it). It is only a warning for all mankind.
How many a sign there is in the heavens and the earth which most men pass by and ignore,
Not only do they not believe in God, but also associate others with Him.
Do they really believe that an all-embracing punishment of God will not come upon them, or the Day of Doom overtake them suddenly while they remain unaware?
Say: "My way, and that of my followers, is to call you to God with full perception. All glory to God, I am not an idolater."
All the apostles We had sent before you were men of those regions, to whom We sent Our revelations. Have they not travelled on the earth and seen what befell the people before them? Surely the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who fear straying from the right path. Do you not understand?
When the apostles despaired and thought they were made false promises, Our help arrived, and We delivered whom We pleased; but never will Our punishment be averted from the sinners.
Verily in their accounts is a lesson for men of wisdom. This is not a fictitious tale, but a verification of earlier Books, and a clear exposition of everything, and a guidance and grace for those who believe.