Alif Lâm Râ - I am Allâh, the All-Seeing. These are the verses of the perfect Book, containing luminous (truths) that tell the right from the wrong.
We have, indeed revealed this Qur´ân which explains its object eloquently well that you may abstain (from evils).
We narrate (rightly) to you with the best explanation because We revealed to you this Qur´ân; otherwise you were of those not possessed of the (requisite) knowledge before this.
(Remember the time) when Joseph said to his father, `My dear father! I have seen (in a vision) eleven stars and the sun and the moon. I saw them falling down prostrate (before God) because of me.´
He said, `My dear son! relate not your vision to your brothers lest they should intrigue against you, for satan is to a human being an enemy disuniting.
`And thus (shall it be as He has shown you in this vision). Your Lord will make you His chosen one and impart you knowledge of the true interpretation of (Divine) sayings and will perfect His favours upon you and upon the family of Jacob, just as He perfected it formerly upon two of your forefathers - Abraham and Isaac. Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.´
The fact is that there are many signs in (the account of) Joseph and his brothers for the inquirers (about the prophethood of Muhammad and about his opponents).
(Recall) when they (- brothers of Joseph) said (to one another), `Surely, Joseph and his brother (Benjamin) are dearer to our father than we are, though we are a formidable party. Surely, our father is cherishing a love that has gone too far.
`So you (had better either) kill Joseph or remove him to some distant land. (In this way) your father´s favour will be exclusively yours. After that you can (repent and) become a pious people.´
(At this) a speaker among them said, `If you are bent upon doing something at all, do not kill Joseph but put him into the dark depths of the dry well; (perhaps) some caravan of travellers may pick him out.´
(On making this resolution) they (went to their father and) said, `Our father! why do you not trust us with regard to Joseph, while, as a matter of fact, we are his sincere well-wishers?
`Send him forth with us (for an outing) tomorrow, that he may enjoy himself and play. Surely, we will keep guard over him.´
He said, `It worries me that you should take him away. Moreover, I fear lest a wolf should devour him while you are heedless of him.´
They said, `If the wolf were to devour him inspite of the fact we are a formidable party, in that case we shall be indeed losers.´
So when (after forcing their father) they took him away and agreed to put him into the depths of a dry well (and carried their plan out), We revealed to him (- Joseph), `You shall certainly tell them (one day) of this (treacherous) doing of theirs while they perceive not.´
And they came weeping to their father at nightfall.
They said, `Our father! we went forth racing one with another and left Joseph (behind) with our belongings and the wolf devoured him. But you would never believe us though we be the truthful ones.´
And (to assure their father) they came (to him) with (stains of) false blood on his (- Joseph´s) shirt. He (- Jacob) said, `This is not true, but you yourselves have made a (malicious) thing seem fair to you. So (now showing) patience is befitting (for me). And it is Allâh (alone) whose help can be sought to avert what you describe.´
(Now) there came a caravan of travellers and they sent their water-drawer (to fetch water) and he let down his bucket (into the well). And behold! he cried, `Oh, glad tidings, here is a young boy.´ So they (- Joseph´s brothers) presented him (in this way) as (if) a piece of merchandise, and Allâh was Well-Aware of their doings.
And they (- the brothers of Joseph) sold him, (claiming him to be their slave, to the travellers) for a trifling price - a few dirhams (- silver coins), and they were not (even) desirous of it.
And (Joseph was taken to Egypt and resold there;) the man from Egypt who bought him (from the travellers) said to his wife, `Make his stay honourable. He may prove useful to us or we may adopt him as a son.´ In this way did We grant Joseph an honourable position in the country and (We did it) that We might impart to him knowledge of the interpretation of some (Divine) sayings. And Allâh has full power over His decree, but most people do not know (this).
And when he attained his (age of) full strength, We granted him judgment and knowledge, and thus do We reward the doers of good deeds to others.
Now the woman in whose house he was (putting up) sought to seduce him against his will and she bolted the doors well and said, `Now come, I am ready to receive you.´ He (- Joseph) said, `(How can it be possible,) I seek refuge with Allâh, He alone is my Lord. He has made my stay (with you) honourable. Verily, the wrong doers never flourish.´
And she made up her mind with regard to him, and he made up his mind with regard to her (and would have fallen into her snares as the temptations were so strong) if he had not seen the manifest evidence of his Lord. (It happened thus) so that We might turn away from him every evil and indecency. Surely, he was one of Our purified servants.
And both of them ran for the door, one trying to outdo the other. And (in the struggle) she tore his shirt from behind. They encountered her husband (all of a sudden) by the door. She said, `There can be no punishment less than imprisonment or some other painful torture for the man who intended evil with your wife.´
He (- Joseph) said, `No, (it is not so as she describes but) she it was who sought to seduce me against my will.´ Now a (learned) witness of her own family bore a (circumstantial) evidence (saying), `If his shirt has been torn from the front then she speaks the truth and he is of the liars.
`But if his shirt has been torn from behind then she is a liar and he speaks the truth.´
So when he (- her husband) saw his shirt torn from behind, he (at once understood the truth of the matter and) said (to his wife), `This is surely a (deceiving) device which you women practise. Your (cunning) device is indeed great.´
(Turning to Joseph) he said, `Joseph! leave the matter alone and you (- woman) seek forgiveness for your sin. It is you, of course who are of the sinful.´
And the women talked in the city, `The wife of the ´Azîz (- Potiphar, the captain of king´s guard) seeks to seduce her young slave against his will. His love has indeed penetrated deep in her heart. Indeed, we see her in obvious error (in going too far in her love).´
And when she heard of their sly whisperings (and taunting remarks), she sent for them and prepared a repast for them, then (on the women´s arrival) she gave to each one of them a knife (to eat fruit therewith) and said (to Joseph then), `Come forth in their presence.´ So when they saw him they found him a dignified personality and cut their hands (through wonder and) said, `Glory be to Allâh! He is not a human being. He is but a noble angel.´
She said, `So (you have seen) this is he about whom you blamed me. I did seek to seduce him against his will, but he preserved himself (from sin), yet (I tell him aloud) if he do not what I bid him, he shall certainly be imprisoned, and he shall indeed be of the humiliated ones.´
(Hearing this) he (- Joseph) said, `My Lord, the prison is more to my liking than that to which they call me to, and unless you turn away their guile from me I might yield to their allurement and be of those devoid of knowledge.´
So his Lord accepted his prayer and turned away their (- women´s) guile from him. Verily, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Then it occurred to them (-the companions of the `Azîz) after they had examined all the circumstances and signs (of Joseph´s innocence) that they had better imprison him for a time. (So Joseph was consigned to the prison.)
And with him there entered the prison two young men (- the butler and the baker of the king). One of them said to him, `I see myself (in a dream) pressing grapes.´ And the other said, `I see myself carrying upon my head bread of which the birds are eating. Inform us of the interpretation of these (dreams) for we surely find you of the doers of good to others.´
He said, `(Do not worry,) I shall inform you of the interpretation of these (dreams) before the meal you two are given comes to you. This (my ability to interpret, you should bear in mind) is a part of that knowledge which my Lord has imparted to me. I have indeed renounced the creed of the people who do not believe in Allâh and who, moreover, are disbelievers in the Hereafter.
`And I have followed the creed of my fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is not proper for us to associate anything as a partner with Allâh. That (He taught us unity of God) is entirely due to Allâh´s grace upon us and upon (other) people. But most people do not render thanks (for this blessing).
`My two fellow-prisoners! what is better? Diverse and numerous gods or Allâh, the One, the Most Supreme?
`You worship nothing, apart from Him but some mere (imaginary) names coined by you and by your fathers. Allâh has sent down no authority for (worshipping) that. The judgment rests with Allâh alone. He has commanded that you shall worship none but Him alone. That is the right (and lasting) faith, yet most people know (it) not.
`My two fellow-prisoners! as for one of you, he will pour out wine for his lord to drink and as for the other, he shall be crucified so that the birds will eat (flesh) from off his head. The matter about which you inquired stands decreed.´
And of the two, he knew to be the one who would be released, he said, `Mention me to your lord.´ But satan made him (-the released person) forget to mention (Joseph) to his lord so that he (- Joseph) remained confined in the prison for a few years.
Now (it so happened that one day) the king said, `I saw (in a dream) seven fat kine which seven lean ones were eating, and seven green ears of corn and (as many) others withered. You nobles of the court! explain to me the real significance of my dream if you can interpret dreams.´
They said, `(These are) confused dreams and we do not know the interpretation of such confused dreams.´
And of the two (prisoners) the one who had got his release and who (now) recalled (Joseph) to his mind after a long time, said, `I will inform you of its (true) interpretation, therefore send me (for the purpose to Joseph in prison).´
(So he went to Joseph in the prison and exclaimed,) `Joseph, you, the man of truth, explain to us the (real) significance of (a dream in which) seven fat kine which seven lean ones devour; and (of) seven green ears of corn and as many others withered, so that I may return to the people and they may know (the interpretation and thereby your exalted position).´
He (- Joseph) replied, `You shall sow for seven years working hard and continuously and let what you have harvested remain in its ear excepting a little whereof you may eat.
`Then there shall follow seven (years of famine) of great severity (and) these (years) shall consume all the stores you have laid by in advance for them except a little which you may have preserved.
`Then, thereafter shall come a year of rains in which people shall be relieved and in which (season) they will press (fruit and seeds).´
And the King (after hearing the interpretation by Joseph) said, `Bring him to me!´ But when the messengers came to him he said, `Go back to your lord and ask him (on my behalf), `How does the matter (deserving of your attention) stands with regard to the women who cut their hands; for my Lord has full knowledge of their crafty designs.´
(The king then sent for the ladies and to them) he said, `What was that important matter (in reality) that you had in view when you sought to seduce Joseph against his will?´ They said, `He kept away (from committing sin) for the sake of Allâh. We did not perceive the least evil (intention) on his part.´ The wife of the `Azîz said, `Now the truth has come to light (at last). It was I who sought to seduce him against his will and most surely he is of the truthful.´
(When the news was brought to Joseph he said,) `This (course of action I adopted) so that he (- the `Azîz) might know that I had not betrayed him in (his) absence and that Allâh suffers not the device of the unfaithful to succeed.´
`Yet I do not hold myself to be free from weakness, for human nature is surely prone to enjoin evil, except on whom my Lord has mercy. My Lord is of course Protector (against sins), Ever Merciful.´
And the king said, `Bring him to me. I will make him my special attache.´ And when he (- Joseph came and) spoke to him, he (- the king) said, `From this day you hold a (notable) position of honour (and) trust with us.´
(Joseph) said, `Appoint me over the treasures (- granaries and stores) of the land, for I am a careful keeper and possessed of knowledge (of the Job).´
That is how We granted Joseph high power in the country. He wielded authority therein wherever he chose. We bestow Our mercy on whomsoever We will and We suffer not the reward of the doers of excellent deeds to be lost.
Yet those who believe and have been guarding against sin and dutiful, shall have a much better reward in the Hereafter.
And (in the years of famine) Joseph´s brothers came (from Kin`ân to Egypt) and they presented themselves to him. But though he knew them they recognized him not.
When he had provided them with their provision he said, `(When you come next) bring me your brother from your father´s side. Do you not see that I give full measure (of corn) and I am the best of hosts?
`But if you do not bring him to me, there shall be no more measure (of corn) for you from me, nor shall you find access to me.´
They said, `We will certainly persuade his father to part with him and we are sure to do (it).´
And he said to his servants, `Put their cash (they paid for the corn) in their saddle-bags,´ (and to himself,) `that they may recognize it (as benevolence) when they return to their family and perhaps they may come back (with his brother on this account).´
So when they returned to their father they said, `Our father! (a further) measure (of corn) has been denied us (unless we take our brother Benjamin with us), therefore send our brother with us that we may have (our) measure (of corn) and we will surely be able to take (due) care of him.´
(Jacob) said, `Shall I trust you with him as I trusted you with his brother before? (I would rather trust Allâh.) Allâh is the best Guardian and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.´
And when they unpacked their goods they found their cash (too) returned to them. They said, `Our father! what more should we desire? Here is our cash returned to us. And (if Benjamin accompanies us we will make the best use of it,) we will bring food for our family and we will take care of our brother, and we shall have the measure of a camel-load in addition. That measure of corn (we have already brought) is a light one (and so little and insufficient).
He said, `Never will I send him with you until you give me a solemn pledge in the name of Allâh that you shall surely bring him to me unless it be that you yourselves are beset with difficult circumstances.´ When they had given him their solemn pledge he said, `Allâh shall be Guardian over what we have agreed.´
And he also said (on their departure), `My sons! (reaching Egypt) enter (the city) not by one gate rather enter (it) by different gates. Yet I can avail you naught against (the decree of) Allâh. The decision only rests with Allâh. In Him do I put my trust and in Him let all who would trust, put their trust (in the like manner).´
And when they entered the city after the manner their father had bidden them (Jacob´s object was achieved but) it could not at all help them against the decree of Allâh. All that it came to was that Jacob´s desire he had in his mind was (thus) satisfied (and his purpose achieved) and he was surely possessed of knowledge because We had imparted full knowledge to him. But most people do not know (these things).
When they entered upon Joseph he betook his brother to himself for restful lodging (making him his personal guest). He (- Joseph) said (to Benjamin), `I am your (real) brother (Joseph), so now do not grieve over what they (- our other brothers) have been doing.´
When he had provided them with their provision (to set on a return journey), someone put a drinking cup in the saddle-bag of his brother (Benjamin). Then (it so happened that) a crier called, `O (men of) the caravan carrying the corn, you are most surely thieves.´
They (- men of the caravan) said turning towards them (- the heralds), `What is it that you are missing?´
They said, `We find the king´s measuring vessel missing´ and (added), `Whoever restores it shall receive a camel-load (of corn as a reward),´ (and one of them said), `I am surely responsible for it.´
They replied, `By Allâh, you know well that we did not come to commit mischief in this country, nor are we (professional) thieves.´
They (- the Egyptians) said, `What shall be the punishment for this (theft) if you are (proved to be) liars?´
They replied, `The punishment for this is that he in whose saddle-bag this (vessel) is found shall himself be the penalty for it (and so he himself shall be confiscated as its forfeit). This is how we punish the wrong doers.´
Then he (- the king´s herald) began (the search) with the sacks of others before (he came to) the sack of his (- Joseph´s) brother (Benjamin). (Finding the vessel therein) he brought it out of his brother´s sack. That is how We contrived for Joseph (to keep Benjamin with him, otherwise) he could not have taken his brother according to the king´s law. Yet it came about as Allâh willed. We raise in degrees (of rank) whomsoever We will. And over and above every possessor of knowledge there is One (Almighty God), Who is All Knowing.
(Joseph´s brothers) said, `If he has stolen, (no wonder) a brother of his had (also) committed theft before (this).´ But Joseph kept it secret in his heart and did not disclose it to them. He (simply) said, `You are a worse case and Allâh knows best what you are alleging.´
(Brothers of Joseph) said, `O noble chief! surely he has an old father, advanced in years, so retain one of us in his place. Surely, we see you to be of the doers of good (to all).´
He said, `God forbid that we take anyone except the one with whom we found our property, for (otherwise) we would, of course, be unjust.´
When they were despaired of (moving) him, they retired to confer together in private. One of their leaders said, `Are you not aware that your father has bound you to a solemn pledge in the name of Allâh? And how before this, you fell short of your duty in respect of Joseph? Never will I, therefore, leave this land until my father gives me permission or Allâh, Who is the best of Judges, decides (the matter) for me.
`Return all of you to your father and say, "Our father! your son has committed the theft, and we say no more than what we know (and we did not witness him stealing), and we could not be guardians over what was unseen (by us).
"And you may inquire of (the inhabitants of) the city we were in, and of (the people of) the caravan carrying the corn we accompanied. We speak nothing but the truth".´
(So when, reaching home Jacob´s sons gave all this information to him, Jacob) said, `Nay, it is not so, rather your (baser) selves have embellished to you an other (abominable) thing. So (now showing) patience is befitting. It is not far from (the grace of) Allâh to bring them all to me for He is indeed the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.´
And he turned away from them and said, `O my grief for Joseph!´ and his eyes were drowned (with tears) for the pangs of grief and he was suppressing (his sorrow).
They said, `By Allâh! you will not cease mentioning Joseph until you are consumed away (for some disease) or become of the perished.´
He replied, `I complain of my anguish and of my sorrow to Allâh alone. I know from Allâh what you do not know.
`Go, my sons, and make a thorough search for Joseph and his brother. Do not despair of Allâh´s soothing mercy. Verily, none but the people who deny (the truth) can ever lose hope of Allâh´s soothing mercy.´
And when they (- Joseph´s brothers) came again before him (- Joseph) they said, `O noble chief! distress and poverty (due to famine) has befallen us and our family. We have brought only a scanty amount of money. Give us (nonetheless) full measure (of corn) and show us charity. Surely, Allâh rewards the charitable.´
(Joseph) said, `Are you aware what you did to Joseph and his brother (- Benjamin to involve him in trouble) in your ignorance?´
They (were startled and) said, `Are you (Joseph)? Yes you are Joseph indeed!´ He said, `(Yes) I am Joseph, and this is my brother (Benjamin), Allâh has indeed been gracious to us. As a matter of fact, he who guards against evil (seeking refuge in Him) and patiently perseveres, will find that Allâh suffers not the reward of the doers of good to others to be lost.´
They said, `By Allâh, Allâh has surely exalted you above us and we have indeed been guilty.´
(Joseph) said, `No reproach (from me shall be) on you this day. May Allâh forgive you; He is the Most Merciful to those who show mercy.
`Go with this my shirt and lay it before my father he will come to know (the whole affair and as well believe). And bring to me the whole of your family.´
So when the caravan with the corn departed (from Egypt) their father said (in Kin`ân), `If you do not pronounce my judgment to be weak and unsound (let me tell you that) I do scent the power of Joseph.´
They (- people of Joseph´s household) said, `By Allâh! you are (still) suffering from your old delusion.´
And when the bearer of the happy tidings came (to Jacob) he laid it (- the shirt) before him and he became enlightened (about the true state of affairs), he said, `Did I not tell you I know from Allâh what you do not know.´
They said, `Our father! pray that our sins are forgiven to us, for certainly we have been sinful.´
He (- Jacob) said, `I will certainly pray to my Lord to forgive you. Surely, He is the Most Forgiving, the Ever Merciful.´
And when they all came to Joseph he betook his parents to himself for a restful lodging (making them his personal guests) and said, `Enter the city, if Allâh will, you shall always be safe and secure.´
And he took his parents to the royal court and they all fell down prostrate (before God) because of him and he said, `My father! this is the real fulfillment of my vision of old. My Lord has made it come true. He has been gracious to me, indeed, when he released me out of the prison and brought you from the desert. (This all happened) after satan had stirred up discord between me and my brothers. Surely, my Lord is Benignant to whomsoever He pleases. He it is, Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.´
(Addressing his Lord, Joseph then said,) `My Lord! You have bestowed a part of the sovereignty upon me and it is You Who have imparted me true knowledge of the significance of (divine) sayings. O You, the Originator of the heavens and the earth! You alone are my Patron in this world and the Hereafter. Let it be that I die in a state of complete submission (to You), let it be that I join the righteous.´
(Prophet!) this (narrative) is a part of the important news of the hidden realities which We reveal to you. You were not present with these (enemies of yours) when they agreed upon their plan (against you) and they are (still) hatching subtle plots.
And many people, even though you ardently desire (it), will not at all believe.
While you ask from them no wages for it (- bringing this teaching contained in the Qur´ân). On the other hand this (Qur´ân) is but (a source of) eminence and glory for all mankind.
And many are the signs in the heavens and the earth, which they pass by turning away (arrogantly) from them.
Infact, most of them believe not in Allâh without (at the same time) ascribing partners (to Him).
Do they then, feel secure from the coming of an overwhelming punishment on them from Allâh, or the sudden coming of the Hour upon them, taking them unawares.
Say, `This is my path. I call to Allâh. I am on sure knowledge verifiable by reason and (so are) those who follow me. (I believe that) Holy is Allâh. I am not of the polytheists.´
And We sent none (as Messengers) before you but they were men from among the people of the townships to whom We revealed (Our will). Have they not then journeyed in the land and seen how was the end of their predecessors? Indeed, the abode of the Hereafter holds out better promises for those who guard against evil and keep their duty. Will you not then refrain (from disbelief and unrighteous deeds)?
(It always happened with the previous Messengers as well, they went on with their teachings) till when those Messengers despaired (of believing on the part of their people) and they (the people of their nation) thought that they have been told only lies (in the name of revelations), Our help reached these (Messengers) suddenly, delivering those whom We pleased. Surely, Our punishment is not averted from the people who sever their ties (with Us).
Most assuredly the narratives of the people (gone by) contain lessons for the people possessed of pure and clear understanding. This (Qur´ân) is no forged narrative. It is a fulfillment of those (prophecies contained in the Scriptures) which were before it and is a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide, and a mercy to a people who believe.