So, the story continues…..the intelligence agencies of Quraysh went to the intellectuals of Jews to probe them for a question that would leave Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) speechless. The question they came up with was “How did the children of Israel end up in Egypt when all their ancestors were from Palestine and Syria?”. In their hearts the Jews and Quraysh were confident that Muhammad(sallallahu alayhi wasallam), an ummi (illiterate), would be clueless about this and the opportunity will be an excellent propaganda against him. However, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed this surah which was not only a proof of His prohethood but also a warning for the disbelievers.
Firstly, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had no other source of knowledge provided in this surah other than revelation, and hearing the answer to their ‘ah-we-got-him!’ question they were left flabbergasted!
Secondly, the Quraysh were plotting and planning, persecuting the Muslims and trying to remove Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) from their view the same way that the brothers of Yusuf (alayhi salam) had done before with Yusuf. However, by throwing him in the darkness of a well they ended up elevating Yusuf (alayhi salam) to the kingdom of Egypt, something they surely wouldn’t have wanted! Likewise, the very tactics that the disbelievers were using against the mission of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) were aiding the mission itself! Hence, this surah was a silent warning to the people of Quraysh; O brethren of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), your jealousy, hatred and plans against the best of your people will lead to nowhere but your doom!
From this we can deduce some very important FACTS:
1. When you’re righteous and follow the true path [path of the favored ones 🙂 ] it’ll sure gain you enemies. There’s no way around!
2. The enemies will do their very best to desensitize and derail you. Don’t bend in!
3. The disbelievers always conceive plans against the friends of Rahman; they did yesterday and they do today. Their chief concern is the presence of these ‘trouble-makers’, ‘insurgents’, ‘terrorists’ and ‘fundamentalists’. These people were never accepted by them then, and today when the religion has returned back to a state of strangeness, these ghuraba won’t be accepted by the enemies of Allah – not at all!
4. Allah is the Master Planner, He has a better plan and in the end its His plan that is implemented. However well they plan Allah is enough for us!
In surah Ibrahim Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) the All-Knowing tells us:
And they had planned their plan, but with Allah is [recorded] their plan, even if their plan had been [sufficient] to do away with the mountains.So never think that Allah will fail in His promise to His messengers. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution.[Surah Ibrahim: 46-47]
History repeats itself….yesterday it was the brothers of Yusuf, 1400 years ago it was the Quraysh and today it’s the modern, enlightened, democratic Kuffar and their alliances. They’ve thrown money, minds and men in a war against the friends of Ar-Rahman the same way their predecessors had done and will surely loose likewise insha Allah.
Have you ever observed a spider’s web from nearby? See the intricate build, all threads are woven up so neatly; well planned and well placed! Yet with a small phoo it will vanish and fly away unnoticed in the air. Similar are the plots and plans of disbelievers, indeed they seem conceding, over whelming and mind obscuring, However, they are but a ball of crumpled threads and against these plots; Allah is enough for us!!
“And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” [Ankaboot: 41]
[The information regarding Surah Yusuf’s background has been taken from Tafheem ul Quran by Mawdudi and Tayseerul Quran by Abdur Rehman Kelani]
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“The subject matter of this Surah indicates that it was revealed during the last stage of the Holy Prophet’s residence at Makkah, when the Quraish were considering the question of killing or exiling or imprisoning him.” [Tafheem-ul-Quran– Mawdudi]
Let us go back fourteen centuries, in the alleyways of Makkah. This is the place Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his followers dwell. We are witnessing the last few years before the migration to Madinah was made, the most difficult, tense and precarious days. The persecution has reached its limits; the believers are being tortured and tormented both physically and emotionally on a constant basis. The disbelievers of Quraysh are plotting and conspiring, conniving the most hideous of plots against al-Mustafa, the chosen one. The condition is such that the general body of Quraysh has met in Dar –an –Nadwa; their parliament, and is now willing to exile, incarcerate or execute the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They can not stand it any more! As the Quran mentions:
“And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.”[Surah Anfal: 30]
It is during these days that the beautiful verses of Surah Yusuf were revealed from above seven heavens to console the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his followers. They were not merely reciting the Quran, these people were living through it, and whosoever, where so ever treads the path of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaba (May Allah be pleased with them all) will confront similar conditions, and will find these very verses to sooth and suffice him. Quran is not just a ‘recite-and-enjoy-on- the-cosy-sofa-book”, it is the book that carves people, it is a mission, a movement…..from the mount of Suffa, to the battle ground of Tabuk, from the shackles of Sha’b abi Talib to the treaty of Hudaybia. If you walk this book, you’ll face all and this same book will come to reassure and comfort you.
Allah (subhanahu wata’alla) the Most Gracious is acquainting us beforehand with the path of his favorites. He is informing Muhammad (s.a.w) through the story of Yusuf that these ups and downs are bound to come. You are not the first one going through these trials and these very trials pave the road to success; both worldly and eternal. Also, this story is a ray of hope,we’ve been re assured; the well proved to be the first step towards the kingdom of Egypt!
At a different place in Quran Allah says:
“And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.”[Surah Hud: 120]
At times our hearts start to dwindle and shake, and through these word Allah is providing to reassure and placate these hearts. Don’t loose hope in times of difficulty and while facing trials for with every hardship comes ease. Allah says:
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Surah Sharh:5]
This is how Allah strengthens our staggering souls and revives the dwindling flame of Imaan in our hearts. In your journey of tribulations just remember: What you are going through shall pass and may become long forgotten past but the reward generated will be greater, everlasting and eternal!
The most important point for us to learn from is how these pious predecessors acted and reacted in similar situations. In this surah we will learn from our dear teacher Yusuf (alayhi salam) InshaAllah! O Allah! we ask you for beneficial knowledge and that this beneficial knowledge adorns our actions. Ameen.
Once more…Imagine being in the alleyways of Makkah, facing all that was being faced by Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and you hear the story of Yusuf (alayhi salam)…. won’t you be just tranquilized?