Friday, August 3, 2007

The Slanders Against Yusuf (As).

By Harun Yahya

Yusuf (as) faced slander and plots from his early childhood onwards. Even though he had a pure and impeccable character, he was ill-treated even by his own family. His brothers turned on him in envy and tried to kill him. This pure person, who had a deep-seated fear of Allah and always sought to please Him, was accused of such shameful deeds as theft and adultery. And even though his innocence was clearly known, he remained in prison for many years because of the slanders directed against him by unbelievers.

The Governor’s Wife Slanders Yusuf (as)

Yusuf (as) was one of the prophets given knowledge early in life. His brothers, who came to envy him, threw him down a well when he was still a child and left him there to die. However, he was found by some travelers who took him to Egypt and sold him to the governor for a price. When he reached adulthood, the governor’s wife “sought to seduce him” due to his great attractiveness. However, Yusuf (as) refused her advances because he would not disobey Allah. The rejected woman caught him as he raced to the door to get away from her, and then tore his shirt from the back. Just then, the governor arrived and his wife slandered Yusuf (as) in order to cover up her own guilt. The Qur’an reveals the entire incident:

And then when he became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgment too. That is how We reward all doers of good. The woman, whose house it was, solicited him. She barred the doors and said: “Come over here!” He said: “Allah is my refuge! He is my lord and has been good to me with where I live. Those who do wrong will surely not succeed.” She wanted him, and he would have wanted her had he not seen the clear proof of his Lord. That happened so that We might avert from him all evil and lust. He was Our chosen servant. They raced to the door. She tore his shirt at the back. They met her husband by the door. She asked: “How should a man whose intention was to harm your family be punished for what he did, except with prison or painful punishment?” (Surah Yusuf, 12:22-25)

Yusuf (as) defended himself by saying: “It was she who tried to seduce me” (Surah Yusuf, 12:26). One of the wife’s friends suggested the following solution:

. . . “If his shirt is torn in front, she speaks the truth and he has clearly told a shameless lie. If his shirt is torn at the back, then she has lied and he has clearly told the simple truth.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:26-27)

Yusuf’s (as) shirt was torn at the back, proving that he had told the truth and had been chaste toward the governor’s wife. And yet he was cast into the dungeon.

Yusuf (as) became the subject of a plot by people who did not fear Allah and who sought only high office and status. He was forced to choose between the woman’s demands and the dungeon, and was charged with a crime that he did not commit—a crime despised by people, much gossiped about, and most shameful. He was accused of this crime because he was a chaste Muslim of superior character. Such a tactic, which is rather common, is often used to force Muslims off the righteous path and away from the true religion in the hope that they will embrace the ways of unbelief.

Another interesting aspect is that the woman tried to force Yusuf (as) to commit adultery and thereby follow her irreligious and immoral ways. But because he refused and remained a steadfast Muslim, she had him cast into the dungeon as an accused adulterer. As this account shows, unbelievers often accuse believers of those crimes and immoralities of which they themselves are guilty.

Yusuf (as) knew the plot against him, but as a Muslim who regarded Allah’s good pleasure above anything else, he preferred to be imprisoned rather than commit the immorality unbelievers requested of him. Consequently, he remained there for many years. In the Qur’an, we find his prayer to Allah:

He said: “My Lord, this prison is preferable to me than what they call on me to do. Unless You turn their guile away from me, it may well be that I will fall for them and so become a man of ignorance.” His Lord replied to him and turned away from him their female guile and deviousness. He is the One Who Hears, the One Who Knows. (Surah Yusuf, 12: 33-34)

It is an indication of a person’s strong faith to rebuff the mighty and powerful members of society without having anything to rely on, other than seeking Allah’s good pleasure at the cost of prison.

It will be beneficial to analyze this incident. Yusuf (as) was slandered and convicted of a crime that he did not commit. He remained in prison for a long time, and was subjected to unfair and hostile treatment by the people around him. It seemed that nothing or nobody could help him clear his name. Despite his obvious innocence, that those in power imprisoned him indicated the injustice prevalent at that time as well as how a society that does not follow the Qur’an’s morality “rewards” people who protect their chastity. Despite clear evidence, the people allowed this injustice to happen. Concerned only with their own selfish interests, those who knew the truth about this act of injustice did not side with the innocent Yusuf (as). Allah reveals:

Then, after they had seen the signs, they thought that they should still imprison him for a time. (Surah Yusuf, 12:35)

And so Yusuf (as) was imprisoned for many years (Surah Yusuf, 12:42). Irrespective of how irresolvable an incident appears to be from the outside, the situation is altogether different for believers who know the inner aspects. Regardless of hardship and trouble they encounter, believers always rely upon and praise Allah, never give way to despair, and know that there is wisdom and goodness in everything that He creates. To unbelievers, however, Yusuf (as) may appear to be in very negative situation. But in the end, it turned out very well for him in his earthly life as well as for his life in the Hereafter.

During his prison term, the king had a dream that he wanted interpreted. One of his servants who had been held in the same prison with Yusuf (as) some years ago said that Yusuf (as) could interpret his dream. Allah’s decreed destiny determined that Yusuf (as) would be remembered in prison years later. Yusuf’s (as) wise interpretation of this dream brought him to the king’s notice, who then summoned him to his presence. However, Yusuf (as) demands that his case be investigated and his name be cleared before he agrees:

The king said: “Bring him to me straight away!” But when the envoy came to him, he said: “Go back to your master and ask him what happened about the women who cut their hands. My Lord has knowledge of their cunning guile.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:50)

The king called the women witness to this affair to his presence, including the governor’s wife, and all of them concede Yusuf’s (as) innocence. Finally, his name has been cleared:

He [the King] asked: “What was this past affair of yours when you solicited Yusuf?” Then they said: “Allah forbid! We know no bad of him.” The governor’s wife then said: “The truth has now emerged. Indeed, I tried to seduce him then and he has simply told the honest truth.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:51)

His innocence now proven beyond any doubt, Yusuf (as) replied:

“In this way he [the governor] may know, at last that I did not dishonor him behind his back and that Allah most surely does not guide the deviousness of the dishonorable.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:52)

The fact that Yusuf (as) preferred to remain in a dungeon for years rather than commit a forbidden act, and that he remained steadfast and patient in the face of slander and accusations of adultery, is a model of exemplary behavior for all believers to follow. Allah gave Yusuf (as) power and authority in Egypt after his release, because he had proven his superior character, reliance upon Allah, and submission to Him. This is only the reward given to him on Earth:

And thus We established Yusuf in the land so he could live wherever he pleased. We grant Our grace to anyone We will, and We do not allow to go to waste the wage of any people who do good. But the wages of the Hereafter are the best for people who believe and fear their Lord. (Surah Yusuf, 12:56-57)

Yusuf’s (as) life shows that irrespective of any slander or plot against believers, Allah’s sincere servants are always cleared of wrongdoing in the end. Many verses of the Qur’an reveal this fact, as does Yusuf’s (as) life story.

Yusuf’s (as) Brothers Accuse Him of Theft

It is revealed in the Qur’an that Yusuf’s (as) brothers, who envied him fiercely, cast him into a well when he was still a child and so separated him from his family and loved ones.

Many years passed. Yusuf (as) was freed from prison and appointed to oversee Egypt’s stores. One day, his brothers came to him and, without recognizing him, asked for food and supplies. Yusuf (as) revealed his identity to his younger brother and told him not to despair over what his brothers had done to him. He wanted this particular brother to remain with him, but had to devise a clever plan, as the king’s law would not permit him to do so. The Qur’an reveals:

Then when they were ushered into Yusuf’s presence, he drew his [younger] brother close to him and said: “I am your brother. Do not be distressed concerning all the things they used to do.” Then when he had supplied them with their needs, he put the goblet in his brother’s bag. A herald called out: “Caravan! You are thieves!” They turned to them and asked: “What are you missing?” They replied: “We’re missing the king’s goblet. The man who brings it will get a camel’s load. Regarding that, I stand as guarantor.” They said: “By Allah, you know we did not come to corrupt the land and that we are not thieves.” They said: “What is the reparation for it if it, in fact, transpires that you are liars?” They said: “Its reparation shall be him in the saddlebags of whom it is discovered. With us that is how wrongdoers are repaid.” He started with their bags before his brother’s. And then produced it from his brother’s bag. In that way, We devised a cunning scheme for Yusuf. He could not have held his brother according to the statutes of the king—only because Allah had willed it so. We raise the rank of anyone We will. Over everyone with knowledge is a Knower. (Surah Yusuf, 12:69-76)

As a result, Yusuf (as) was able to keep his brother, whom he had not seen in so many years, with him. However, his jealous and cruel brothers slandered and accused him in his “absence” with theft:

They said: “If he steals now, his brother stole before.” But Yusuf kept it to himself and still did not disclose it to them, saying: “The plight that you are in is worse than that. Allah knows best the matter you describe.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:77)

Unbelievers and hypocrites hate and envy believers so much that they try at every opportunity to hurt and discredit them, either publicly or privately, just as these verses show. However, believers who are aware of the inner truth of matters can see reality and always think in terms of Allah’s will. And so they respond with a good spirit and patience. They believe from the bottom of their hearts that Allah is with them at all times, and so live in submission and confidence. The life of Yusuf (as) is a good example of this submission, faith, and morality.


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