Surah Yusuf (contd.)
Share Your Grief with Allah Alone
That was the story of Prophet Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam, but what about the father? What became of him? Look at what he says,
“I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know,” [12: 86].
He shed tears yet he was at peace with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. According to some narrations, Prophet Yusuf was distanced from his family for forty years. SubhanAllah!
For forty years, Prophet Y’aqoob ‘alayhi salaam did not complain about his condition to people. He had firm faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that He will reunite them one day. What is our condition? We cannot wait for four seconds after making du’a. We want instant results. Prophet Y’aqoob was a Prophet of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, he did not get an immediate response and we, while being ordinary human beings distanced far away from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, want instant results. And when our du’as are not answered we begin complaining to people. Prophet Y’aqoob kept making du’a, shedding tears in private to the point that he got blind but he was at peace with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Cleanse Your Heart of Rancor
When one looks at the life of Prophet Yusuf from a worldly perspective, one would say his life was in a mess. He was separated from his loving father at a young age, sold as a slave, sexually abused and thrown in jail without committing any sin. Those were his tests from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and to clear all these tests Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala blessed him with immense wisdom, maturity, affection and optimism. If we were in his place, we would probably be filled with bitterness. And this is the lesson of this Surah! If you have rancor in your heart against anyone, eliminate it at once. You won’t be in peace otherwise.
Forgive Those Who Have Wronged You
An expected reaction when one meets their persecutor would be to confront them for their wrongdoing, but this is not how a friend of Allah deals with people. When Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam met his brothers, he said,
“No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful,” [12: 92].
Being a minister, he was in the position to punish them but he rather chose to forgive them. Not only that but he also makes du’a for their forgiveness. If we were in his place, what would we have done?
Tests Raise Our Ranks
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala elevates our status through our tests but we are too narrow-minded to see the bigger picture. Our thinking is limited to what we see before us right now. Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam understood his situation. He knew it was Shaytan who inspired his brothers to do injustice to him. However, had this not happened he would not have been at the position where he was today. Sometimes, people plan our downfall and their tricks and treachery become the means for our excelling to a higher level.
Speak Positive Words
When the family reunited, Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam refused to talk about anything negative rather look at what he says,
“He was certainly good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you [here] from Bedouin life after Shaytan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers. Indeed, my Lord is Subtle in what He wills. Indeed, it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise,” [12: 100].
He could have said, “Allah separated me from my family,” or “Allah made me a slave,” or “Allah threw me in jail,” and so on. But he doesn’t complain at all. Rather he is thanking his Lord for His kindness.
Today, people are suffering from psychological problems and going from one psychiatrist to another for a cure. We have abundant possessions but minimal peace. If only we picked up the Qur’an and went through the stories of earlier generations, we would be so much at peace. We would learn so much about our own shortcomings and comprehend what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants from us.
Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam neither showed anger towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala nor blamed his family. Like any mature person, he was focused on the positives. SubhanAllah! Here is another lesson for us. Whenever Shaytan whispers negative thoughts shun them by thinking about the positive things in your life. If there is anyone that we should blame for the evil things in our life then it’s Shaytan! Blame him.
Give Thanks to Allah
Look at how Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam was thankful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala,
“My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous,” [12: 101].
He had beauty, knowledge, wisdom, power and authority yet he was so humble. He was a prophet himself, son of a prophet (Y’aqoob ‘alayhi salaam), grandson of a prophet (Ishaq ‘alayhi salaam), and great-grandson of a prophet (Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam), and such humility.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to understand the lessons of this Surah and live by them. O Allah! Allow us to see Yusuf ‘alayhi salaam in the Hereafter, ameen.
Hearts Find Assurance By the Remembrance of Allah
What does thikrullah (remembrance of Allah) entail? Some people confine this to the act of doing tasbeeh such as uttering SubhanAllah and alhumdulillah.
Thikrullah means to keep Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in our thoughts all the time, being mindful that He is watching us. One should remember Him by their tongue and their heart and keep Him in their mind. One should know all tests are from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and that we are from Him and we will return to Him. This is the source of attaining peace, as we learn,
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured,” [13: 28].
May He make us of the zakireen, ameen.
Learn the Language
When one falls in love with the Qur’an, the first thing that they get upset about is the language barrier. A lot of meaning is lost in translations. Non-Arabs wish they were born in an Arab land and Arabic was their native language. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala maintained diversity by making us from different races. However, we are encouraged to learn different languages, as this is the sure way of bridging gaps,
“And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them,” [14: 4].
Learn Arabic and witness how your understanding of the Qur’an reaches a higher level.
Be Grateful to Receive Favors
We all want an increase in goodness and stay away from punishment. How can we make that happen?
“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe,” [14: 7].
How can we be grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? By honoring His commands, by offering our prayers at their appointed time and not when we will.
Gratitude should be expressed by the tongue, the heart and the limbs. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed you with health, make the most of it by serving Him and His religion. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given you wealth, spend it in His cause.
If one was told to count the favors of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, he wouldn’t have ever been able to do it,
“And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful,” [14: 34].
This is a challenge to entire mankind. We miss one thing from our lives and we claim Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has kept us deprived. What about the one thousand others things that we have?
Shaytan will Betray You
Ungratefulness is from Shaytan, he beautifies the harmful things for us and we feel as if we are denied. On the Day of Judgment, Shaytan will excuse himself from us,
“And Shaytan will say when the matter has been concluded, ‘Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves,’” [14: 22].
What a devil he is! First, he whispers evil thoughts and then backs out from enticing.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)