“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?