October 18, 2019 Joseph

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[12:7] In Joseph and his brothers there are lessons for the seekers.

Dream #1 - Humility 

When Joseph was explaining his dream to his father Jacob, there is a slight subtlety that is in the verse that is showing Joseph’s humility. The verse reads:

[12:4] Recall that Joseph said to his father, "O my father, I saw eleven planets, and the sun, and the moon; I saw them prostrating before me.”

Notice that Joseph didn’t say: 

"O my father, I saw eleven planets, and the sun, and the moon prostrating before me.”

This repeating of “I saw” appears to be a hesitation in telling his father what he saw, and shows Joseph’s humility even at a young age, that despite what he witnessed in his dream he was not boasting. 

And think who was Joseph’s father? Jacob (Israel) one of God’s prophets, who was among the most righteous.

The thought of telling his own father a prophet of God that in his dream he saw the solar system prostrating before him he was apprehensive to tell him.

As children, it is easier to be humble.

[16:78] GOD brought you out of your mothers' bellies knowing nothing, and He gave you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brains, that you may be appreciative.

As children, everyone seems bigger than us, smarter than us, more accomplished and respected than us.

But what happens when we become older?

 

Dream #2 - Arrogance

When Joseph was in prison we see the following interaction he had with his prison mates

[12:36] Two young men were in the prison with him. One of them said, "I saw (in my dream) that I was making wine," and the other said, "I saw myself carrying bread on my head, from which the birds were eating. Inform us of the interpretation of these dreams. We see that you are righteous." [12:37] He said, "If any food is provided to you, I can inform you about it before you receive it. This is some of the knowledge bestowed upon me by my Lord. I have forsaken the religion of people who do not believe in GOD, and with regard to the Hereafter, they are really disbelievers. [12:38] "And I followed instead the religion of my ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We never set up any idols beside GOD. Such is the blessing from GOD upon us and upon the people, but most people are unappreciative. [12:39] "O my prison mates, are several gods better, or GOD alone, the One, the Supreme? [12:40] "You do not worship beside Him except innovations that you have made up, you and your parents. GOD has never authorized such idols. All ruling belongs to GOD, and He has ruled that you shall not worship except Him. This is the perfect religion, but most people do not know. [12:41] "O my prison mates, one of you will be the wine butler for his lord, while the other will be crucified— the birds will eat from his head. This settles the matter about which you have inquired." [12:42] He then said to the one to be saved "Remember me at your lord." Thus, the devil caused him to forget his Lord, and, consequently, he remained in prison a few more years.

[61:2] O you who believe, why do you say what you do not do? [61:3] Most abominable in the sight of GOD is that you say what you do not do.

[47:30] If we will, we can expose them for you, so that you can recognize them just by looking at them. However, you can recognize them by the way they talk. GOD is fully aware of all your works.

[3:159] It was mercy from GOD that you became compassionate towards them. Had you been harsh and mean-hearted, they would have abandoned you. Therefore, you shall pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them. Once you make a decision, carry out your plan, and trust in GOD. GOD loves those who trust in Him.*

[20:114] Most Exalted is GOD, the only true King. Do not rush into uttering the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase my knowledge."

 

Dream #3 - Confidence 

The King's Dream 

[12:43] The king said, "I saw seven fat cows being devoured by seven skinny cows, and seven green spikes (of wheat), and others shriveled. O my elders, advise me regarding my dream, if you know how to interpret the dreams." [12:44] They said, "Nonsense dreams. When it comes to the interpretation of dreams, we are not knowledgeable." [12:45] The one who was saved (from the prison) said, now that he finally remembered, "I can tell you its interpretation, so send me (to Joseph).” 

Joseph Interprets the King's Dream 

[12:46] "Joseph my friend, inform us about seven fat cows being devoured by seven skinny cows, and seven green spikes, and others shriveled. I wish to go back with some information for the people." [12:47] He said, "What you cultivate during the next seven years, when the time of harvest comes, leave the grains in their spikes, except for what you eat. [12:48] "After that, seven years of drought will come, which will consume most of what you stored for them. [12:49] "After that, a year will come that brings relief for the people, and they will, once again, press juice."

[12:50] The king said, "Bring him to me." When the (king’s) messenger came to him, he (Joseph) said, "Go back to your lord and ask him to investigate the women who cut their hands. My Lord is fully aware of their schemes."

[12:51] (The king) said (to the women), "What do you know about the incident when you tried to seduce Joseph?" They said, "GOD forbid; we did not know of anything evil committed by him." The wife of the governor said, "Now the truth has prevailed. I am the one who tried to seduce him, and he was the truthful one.

[12:52] "I hope that he will realize that I never betrayed him in his absence, for GOD does not bless the schemes of the betrayers. [12:53] "I do not claim innocence for myself. The self is an advocate of vice, except for those who have attained mercy from my Lord. My Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful."

Joseph Attains Prominence

[12:54] The king said, "Bring him (Joseph) to me, so I can hire him to work for me." When he talked with him, he said, "Today, you have a prominent position with us." [12:55] He said, "Make me the treasurer, for I am experienced in this area and knowledgeable." [12:56] We thus established Joseph on earth, ruling as he wished. We shower our mercy upon whomever we will, and we never fail to recompense the righteous.

 

From lack of confidence to arrogance to confidence

 

Mistake confidence vs. competence 

Notice Joseph didn’t lecture the people asking him about the dream: he was straightforward, he asked them to investigate even before he agreed to leave; then he said “make me treasurer

 

*****************INCREASE FAITH THROUGH TRAGEDY*****************

Jacob sensed Joseph’s greatness via the dream

Jacob sensed the brother’s plot via their words

[12:5] He said, "My son, do not tell your brothers about your dream, lest they plot and scheme against you. Surely, the devil is man's worst enemy.

Jacob sensed the brothers were lying about Joseph

[12:11] They said, "Our father, why do you not trust us with Joseph? We will take good care of him (wish him well). [12:12] "Send him with us tomorrow to run and play. We will protect him."

12

12

6

وَإِنَّا

And indeed, we

wa-innā

ا ن ن

12

12

7

لَهُ

for him

lahu

ل

12

12

8

لَحَافِظُونَ

(will) surely (be) guardians."

laāfiūna

ح ف ظ

 

[12:13] He said, "I worry lest you go away with him, then the wolf may devour him while you are not watching him."

[12:17] They said, "Our father, we went racing with each other, leaving Joseph with our equipment, and the wolf devoured him. You will never believe us, even if we were telling the truth." [12:18] They produced his shirt with fake blood on it.

Shirt wasn’t torn just had fake blood on it

[12:18 con’t] He said, "Indeed, you have conspired with each other to commit a certain scheme. All I can do is resort to a quiet (فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ  / Jameel / beautiful) patience. May GOD help me in the face of your conspiracy.”

 

Post-traumatic stress vs. Post-traumatic growth

[12:63] When they returned to their father, they said, "Our father, we can no longer get any provisions, unless you send our brother with us. We will take good care of him."

12

63

14

وَإِنَّا

And indeed, we

wa-innā

ا ن ن

12

63

15

لَهُ

for him

lahu

ل

12

63

16

لَحَافِظُونَ

(will) surely (be) guardians."

laāfiūna

ح ف ظ

 

[12:64] He said, "Shall I trust you with him, as I trusted you with his brother before that? GOD is the best Protector (حَافِظًا), and, of all the merciful ones, He is the Most Merciful."

[12:65] When they opened their bags, they found their goods returned to them. They said, "Our father, what more can we ask for? Here are our goods returned to us. We can thus provide for our family, protect our brother, and receive one more camel-load. This is certainly a profitable deal."

[12:66] He said, "I will not send him with you, unless you give me a solemn pledge before GOD that you will bring him back, unless you are utterly overwhelmed." When they gave him their solemn pledge, he said, "GOD is witnessing everything we say."

[12:83] He said, "Indeed, you have conspired to carry out a certain scheme. Quiet (فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ  / jameel / beautiful) patience is my only recourse. May GOD bring them all back to me. He is the Omniscient, Most Wise.”

[12:84] He turned away from them, saying, "I am grieving over Joseph." His eyes turned white from grieving so much; he was truly sad. [12:85] They said, "By GOD, you will keep on grieving over Joseph until you become ill, or until you die." [12:86] He said, "I simply complain to GOD about my dilemma and grief, for I know from GOD what you do not know.

[12:87] "O my sons, go fetch Joseph and his brother, and never despair of GOD's grace. None despairs of GOD's grace except the disbelieving people."

[12:110] Just when the messengers despair, and think that they had been rejected, our victory comes to them. We then save whomever we choose, while our retribution for the guilty people is unavoidable.

Many people when they suffer a tragedy they will renounce God and move away from faith

[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

 

 

 

 

********************VALUE********************

How much was Joseph valued by Jacob?

Maybe a little too much based on how he was towards his other kids and also from the years of grieving

 

How much was he valued by his brothers at the beginning of the story? = Envy

[12:9] "Let us kill Joseph, or banish him, that you may get some attention from your father. Afterwards, you can be righteous people."

 

How much was Joseph valued by the caravan? = Greed

[12:19] A caravan passed by, and soon sent their waterer. He let down his bucket, then said, "How lucky! There is a boy here!" They took him along as merchandise, and GOD was fully aware of what they did. [12:20] They sold him for a cheap price— a few Dirhams—for they did not have any need for him.

 

How much was he valued by the governor? = Child

[12:21] The one who bought him in Egypt said to his wife, "Take good care of him. Maybe he can help us, or maybe we can adopt him." We thus established Joseph on earth, and we taught him the interpretation of dreams. GOD's command is always done, but most people do not know.

 

How much was he valued by the governor’s wife? = Lust

She wanted to use him only for her own needs not for his well being.

[12:32] She said, "This is the one you blamed me for falling in love with. I did indeed try to seduce him, and he refused. Unless he does what I command him to do, he will surely go to prison, and will be debased."

 

How much was he valued by the king? = Gluttony

How much was he valued by his brother’s when they were suffering from famine?

 

How much did Joseph value his own soul?

[12:33] He said, "My Lord, the prison is better than giving in to them. Unless You divert their scheming from me, I may desire them and behave like the ignorant ones."

When God sees value in something its value will be recognized universally eventually.

All the people against Joseph eventually saw the value he provided including for generations to come

  • His brother’s
  • The governor and his wife
  • The king
  • The Children of Israel who were saved from the famine

 

 

 

********************SHIRT********************

There is an object in the story of Joseph that is repeatedly brought up

This object only occurs in Sura Joesph and is mentioned six times in three different contexts? (12:18, 12:25, 12:26, 12:27, 12:28, 12:93)

قَمِيصِهِ = qamees = shirt

 

Shirt #1

[12:17] They said, "Our father, we went racing with each other, leaving Joseph with our equipment, and the wolf devoured him. You will never believe us, even if we were telling the truth.” [12:18] They produced his shirt with fake blood on it. He said, "Indeed, you have conspired with each other to commit a certain scheme. All I can do is resort to a quiet patience. May GOD help me in the face of your conspiracy.”

 

Joseph’s garment was stolen from him and
used as fabricated evidence against him in an attempt to trick his father to think that he was dead.

Shirt #2

[12:23] The lady of the house where he lived tried to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, "I am all yours." He said, "May GOD protect me. He is my Lord, who gave me a good home. The transgressors never succeed." [12:24] She almost succumbed to him, and he almost succumbed to her, if it were not that he saw a proof from his Lord. We thus diverted evil and sin away from him, for he was one of our devoted servants. [12:25] The two of them raced towards the door, and, in the process, she tore his shirt (quamis) from the back. They found her husband at the door. She said, "What should be the punishment for one who wanted to molest your wife, except imprisonment or a painful punishment?" [12:26] He said, "She is the one who tried to seduce me." A witness from her family suggested: "If his shirt (quamis) is torn from the front, then she is telling the truth and he is a liar. [12:27] "And if his shirt (quamis) is torn from the back, then she lied, and he is telling the truth." [12:28] When her husband saw that his shirt (quamis) was torn from the back, he said, "This is a woman's scheme. Indeed, your scheming is formidable.

His shirt was ripped, but not taken and
it was used as evidence in favor of his innocence

Shirt #3

[12:93] "Take this shirt (qamis) of mine; when you throw it on my father's face, his vision will be restored. Bring your whole family and come back to me.” [12:94] Even before the caravan arrived, their father said, "I can sense the smell of Joseph. Will someone enlighten me?" [12:95] They said, "By GOD, you are still in your old confusion." [12:96] When the bearer of good news arrived, he threw (the shirt) on his face, whereupon his vision was restored. He said, "Did I not tell you that I knew from GOD what you did not know?”

Joseph willfully provides his shirt off his back

Joseph’s shirt that was once used as evidence for his fabricated death is now used as evidence that he is still alive. 

I believe the shirt in the history of Joseph symbolizes the things in this world:

Both Joseph brother’s and the governor’s wife valued Joseph for what was on the outside,

The attention he was getting from his father

The lust for his appearance

The value he provided by being able to provide them provisions

And for they were willing to take from him

Our possessions can cause people to be envious to the point that they will attack us over it

[12:17] They said, "Our father, we went racing with each other, leaving Joseph with our equipment, and the wolf devoured him. You will never believe us, even if we were telling the truth.”

[12:25] The two of them raced towards the door, and, in the process, she tore his garment from the back. They found her husband at the door. She said, "What should be the punishment for one who wanted to molest your wife, except imprisonment or a painful punishment?”

The Arabic definition for the word for “hoarding” “al-taka-thoor” means the continuous quest for more

but Jacob and Joseph valued Joseph for what was on the inside

Jacob didn’t know if the hardship and pain that Joseph endured throughout his life had caused him to grow closer to God or to revert away from God. Or did Joseph get caught up by the vanities of this world.

[12:65] When they opened their bags, they found their goods returned to them. They said, "Our father, what more can we ask for? Here are our goods returned to us. We can thus provide for our family, protect our brother, and receive one more camel-load. This is certainly a profitable deal." [12:66] He said, "I will not send him with you, unless you give me a solemn pledge before GOD that you will bring him back, unless you are utterly overwhelmed." When they gave him their solemn pledge, he said, "GOD is witnessing everything we say.” [12:67] And he said, "O my sons, do not enter from one door; enter through separate doors. However, I cannot save you from anything that is predetermined by GOD. To GOD belongs all judgments. I trust in Him, and in Him shall all the trusters put their trust."

Joseph spent his whole life fighting and when he won he took his own shirt off his back and gave it to reassure his father

Jacob already knew that Joseph was alive

[12:87] "O my sons, go fetch Joseph and his brother, and never despair of GOD's grace. None despairs of GOD's grace except the disbelieving people."

So the shirt was not meant to let Jacob know that he was alive

I see this as symbolism to show to Jacob that he did not fall into the vanities of this world.

[12:20] They sold him for a cheap price— a few Dirhams—for they did not have any need for him (zaheed).

Only place in the Quran this word is used. It means to signify that what Joseph valued unlike many of the other people in the story was not of this world, but for the Hereafter at His Lord.

[12:6] "Your Lord has thus blessed you, and has given you good news through your dream. He has perfected His blessings upon you and upon the family of Jacob, as He did for your ancestors Abraham and Isaac before that. Your Lord is Omniscient, Most Wise.”

[12:100] He raised his parents upon the throne. They fell prostrate before him. He said, "O my father, this is the fulfillment of my old dream. My Lord has made it come true. He has blessed me (hasan = He was good to me), delivered me from the prison, and brought you from the desert, after the devil had driven a wedge between me and my brothers. My Lord is Most Kind towards whomever He wills. He is the Knower, the Most Wise."