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We left-off last time, as the Brothers, remembering their pledge, pleaded on their old father’s behalf, asking Joseph to take one of them in their youngest brother’s place.
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of this Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.
PAGE 245 Arabic Qur’an.
1. Prophet Joseph, peace upon him, assures the Brothers (Verse 79) of his refusal to commit the grave injustice of ‘exchanging the thief’ for another person, after which they despair of convincing him. The eldest brother reminds them of their pledge to their father, and decides to stay, awaiting God’s judgment and his father’s permission (Verse 80).
2. In Verses 81- 82 he also tells them what to say to their father, which they obviously do, since we hear Jacob’s response in Verse 83.
Notice that their father does not believe them here either. Once again, in this most awful predicament to a loving father, he places his trust in God, and resigns himself to ‘exemplary forbearance’ (صبر جميل), asking God to return both his younger sons to him. As we remember, ‘exemplary forbearance’ is so named because of the beautiful nature of his patience in adversity, a mental/spiritual/physical state he undertakes as he relies on Him (see May 28th).
Then, in Verse 84, he turns away from his older sons, and communicates his heartbreak at the loss of Joseph, his eyes ‘whitening,’ or dimming with sorrow (Ali/ Asad). Actually, one of the most beautiful translations of this verse is Arberry’s:
“And he turned away from them, and said, ’Ah, woe is me for Joseph!’ And his eyes turned white because of the sorrow that he choked within him.”
3. Verse 85 shows us his sons’ insensitivity, while his response in Verse 86 highlights his Exemplary Forbearance.
PAGE 246 Arabic Qur’an.
4. In Verse 87 Prophet Jacob sends them all back in search of their younger brothers, advising them not to despair of God’s ‘Rauh,’ or ‘Soothing / life-giving’ Mercy (Ali/ Asad).
5. Verses 88- 89- 90- 91 begin with the Brothers humbly presenting themselves to Joseph whom they still had not recognized, and end with their acknowledgment of their wrongdoing towards him, after his identity was known.
6. Verse 92 is VERY important. It proves the fact that the entire story of Joseph, and indeed the stories of ALL the Prophets, are not only sources of information and lessons to us all, but they also offered examples to the Prophet Muhammad (of exemplary forbearance, of victory coming after adversity, of benevolence -even in response to treachery… peace upon all God’s Messengers). It is therefore no surprise that Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, on the very day when he and his 10,000 troops victoriously entered Mecca, after such a long, unhappy history with his own tribe who had imprisoned him with his entire family and all his followers for several years in a barren hollow, thereby starving and killing those he loved most; who had tortured the Faithful and murdered many of them, and plotted to carry out corporal as well as character assassination against him … it is no surprise that at the point when he was fully capable of exacting rightful vengeance over them… he repeated Joseph’s very words. Like Joseph’s brothers, greed and envy had made them such dire enemies, yet like Joseph, he forgave them. He let them go without reproach.
The following translation is from Wikipedia:
“Then Muhammad turning to the people said:
"O Quraish, what do you think of the treatment that I should accord you?"
And they said, "Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you."
Thereupon Muhammad declared:
"I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free."
7. In Verses 93- 94- 95 Joseph gives his brothers his shirt to deliver to HIS father, a Consolation to Jacob who was pining after his long-lost son. He tells them that this shirt will bring back his father’s sight, and that they should all return to him with their entire families. As the caravan bearing the shirt nears, Jacob senses Joseph’s imminent return to his embrace!
I do NOT find the deduction below consistent with the Qur’anic story, but it is nonetheless interesting in that it is a ‘discovery’ elicited BY a Qur’anic story (Scroll down to: ‘An International Patent for Qur’anic eye-drops!- which is an experiment/patented discovery based on the assumption that ‘Joseph’s sweat’ restored Jacob’s eyesight).
Our next Reading is from HQ 12: 96-111.
Peace unto all!