Who was Prophet Hazrat Yusuf – story?

Allah has sent 124,000 Prophets out of which one was Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام, the son of Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام and Rachel.

Prophet Yusuf Birth

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was born in 1747 BC in present-day Palestine and died in 1637 BC in Egypt at the age of 110 years.

Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام was the 11th son and 12th child of Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام but the first child from his wife Rachel. After him, Rachel gave birth to another child Benjamin.

Prophet Yusuf in Quran

The name of Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام is mentioned 27 times in the Holy Quran at different places.

There is a complete Surah in the Holy Quran on the name of Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام which the Holy Quran itself describes as أَحْسَنَ ٱلْقَصَصِ means the best story. – Yusuf 12:3

Mother’ Death

After the kidnap of his daughter Dina bint Yaqub in Shechem, Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام moved to Bethel, the place where he dreamed of a ladder. Later on, Masjid al-Aqsa was constructed in this place.

In 1740 BC, Rachel (mother of Prophet Yusuf) gave birth to their son Benjamin Ibn Yaqub but could not survive the labor pain and died. Rachel was buried in Jeruselum.

The grave of Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام wife Rachel.

Prophet Yusuf Dream

In 1735 BC when Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was 12 years old, he saw a dream which has been narrated in the Holy Quran.

Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام told his father: I dreamt of 11 stars, and the sun, and the moon—I saw them prostrating to me. – Yusuf 12:4

Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام said: Do not relate your vision to your brothers, or they will devise a plot against you. – Yusuf 12:5

In Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام dream, the 11 stars represent his 11 brothers, and the sun and the moon represent his father and mother.

The dream of Prophet Yusuf

 

11 brothers of Prophet Yusuf

  1. Reuben Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah.
  2. Simeon Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah.
  3. Levi Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah. Prophet Musa and Prophet Harun were born in the 4th generation of Levi Ibn Yaqub from his son Azar.
  4. Judah Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah.
  5. Dan Ibn Yaqub – mother Bilhah.
  6. Naphtali Ibn Yaqub – mother Bilhah.
  7. Gad Ibn Yaqub – mother Zilpah.
  8. Asher Ibn Yaqub – mother Zilpah.
  9. Issachar Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah.
  10. Zebulun Ibn Yaqub – mother Leah.
  11. Benjamin Ibn Yaqub – mother Rachel.
  • Dinah bint Yaqub (sister) – mother Leah.

Yaqub’s love for Yusuf

Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام used to love Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام and his brother Benjamin more than the other brothers. There could be many reasons for that such as;

  • They were both born of Rachel who was Yaqub’s, first love.
  • Rachel had died at the birth of Benjamin.
  • Both of them were the youngest.
  • He knew that Yusuf is going to be a prophet.

Brother threw Yusuf into a well

The 10 brothers of Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام were jealous of him so they thought to kill him and send him to a distant place to attract the attention of their father.

One of his brothers (Reuben) opposed killing him and suggested throwing him in the depth of a well so perhaps he may be picked up by some travelers. – Yusuf 12:10

In 1730 BC, when Yusuf was only 17 years old, they approached their father and convinced him to send Yusuf with them to play. – Genesis 37:2 

They took him with them and threw him in a well which is called Jubb Yusuf today. Jubb Yusuf is located near Ami’ad in Galilee, Israel.

Jubb Yusuf - the well where Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was thrown by his brothers.
Jubb Yusuf – the well where Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was thrown by his brothers.

After throwing him into the well, they went back to Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام and told him that a wolf killed Yusuf. They stained Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام shirt with blood from a sheep but forgot to tear his shirt. So Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام became suspicious when he saw the intact shirt.

Yusuf was sold as a slave

The site where they threw  Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام served as a crossroads linking Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Soon, some travelers heading to Egypt came and found a young boy while taking water from the well.

They took him out and kept him to be sold as a slave. This is how Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام moved to Egypt.

They sold him to a man named Al-Aziz (Potiphar) who was the Chief Minister of Egypt for a very low price. – Yusuf 12:21

Zulaikha tried to seduce him

Al-Aziz did not have any children so he asked his wife (Zulaikha) to take care of Yusuf as they might consider adopting him later. – Yusuf 12:21

Zulaikha tried to seduce him after locking all the doors. She advanced towards him but Allah showed a divine sign to Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام so that he can stay away from it. – Yusuf 12:24

Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام replied:  “Allah is my refuge! It is ˹not right to betray˺ my master, who has taken good care of me. – Yusuf 12:23

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام raced to the door and she tore his shirt from the back while trying to grab him. They found her husband at the door.

She cried, “What is the penalty for someone who tried to violate your wife, except imprisonment or a painful punishment? Yusuf 12:25

  • Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام replied: It was she who tried to seduce me.

A witness from her own family testified: “If his shirt is torn from the front, then she has told the truth and he is a liar.” As the shirt was torn from the back, so Al-Aziz could figure out that Zulaikha is at fault.

Egyptian Women cut their fingers

The women in the social circle of Al-Aziz started gossiping that Zulaikha is trying to seduce her slave boy. Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was very beautiful, innocent, and handsome but those women had not seen him.

When Zulaikha heard about their gossip, she invited them and set a banquet for them. When women were cutting fruits, Zulaikha asked Yusuf to come before them.

The women were cutting fruit, and when Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام came out they were so impressed by his beauty that they sliced their hands without knowing and exclaimed: “Good God! This cannot be human; this must be a noble angel!- Yusuf 12:31

  • Zulaikha said: This is the one for whose love you criticized me. If he does not do what I order him to, he will certainly be imprisoned.
  • Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام prayed: My Lord! I would rather be in jail than do what they invite me to. – Yusuf 12:33

A dream of inmates

In 1727 BC, even after seeing all the proofs in the favor of Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام, the court decided to throw him in Jail. It is believed that he spent around 3 years in Al-Aziz’s house. Two more servants were Jailed with him.

  • One said: I dreamt I was pressing wine.
  • The second said: I dreamt I was carrying some bread on my head, from which birds were eating.
  • Both said: Tell us their interpretation, for we surely see you as one of the good-doers. – Yusuf 12:37
  • Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام said: The first˺ one of you will serve wine to his master, and the other will be crucified and the birds will eat from his head. – Yusuf 12:41

Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام also requested the one who is going to survive to mention his name in front of his master but he forgot to do so due to which he spent almost 9 years in jail.

The dream of the Egyptian King

Egyptian King: Rayan Ibn Waleed Ibn Tharwan Ibn Araasha Ibn Faraan Ibn Amro Ibn Amlaq Ibn Lud Ibn Shem Ibn Noah عليه السلام.

One day the Egyptian King said: I dreamt of 7 fat cows eaten up by 7 skinny ones, 7 green ears of grain, and 7 others dry. Tell me the meaning of such a dream if you can. – Yusuf 12:43

Ministers replied: These are confused visions and we do not know the interpretation of such dreams.

The dream of the Egyptian King

Finally, the surviving inmate remembered Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام and told the King that he can tell the meaning of the dream if they send him to Yusuf.

Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام interpreted the dream: You will plant grain for 7 consecutive years, leaving in the ear whatever you will harvest, except for the little you will eat. Then after that will come 7 years of great hardship which will consume whatever you have saved, except the little you will store ˹for seed˺. Then after that will come a year in which people will receive abundant rain and they will press ˹oil and wine˺.” – Yusuf 12:47

Yusuf as a Minister of Finance

King asked for Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام but he refused to come and conveyed to him to ask him about the case of the women who cut their hands.

  • King asked the women and they replied: We know nothing indecent about him.
  • Zulaikha admitted: Now the truth has come to light. It was I who tried to seduce him, and he is surely truthful. – Yusuf 12:51
  • King said: “Bring him to me. I will employ him exclusively in my service.”Yusuf 12:54
  • Yusuf said: “Put me in charge of the store-houses of the land, for I am truly reliable and adept.”

It is also said that the King talked to Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام in 70 languages and he replied to him in 70 languages.

In 1717 BC, at the age of 30 years, Yusuf عليه السلام was appointed as the Minister of Finance of Egypt.

Prophet Yusuf marriage with Zulaikha

The King of Egypt married Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام to Zulaikha, the wife of his previous minister Al-Aziz. He had two sons called Ephraim and Manasseh and a daughter called Rahmah from Zulaykha.

The famine strikes

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام remained loyal to his work. He made sure that all the storehouses were filled with wheat and grain in 7 years of plenty.

In 1710 BC when Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام was 37 years old, famine hit Egypt exactly as per the dream interpretation. Crops failed, there were no rain and people had nothing to eat.

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام intelligence and hard work saved them all with the help of Allah. He had a backup for this situation. He opened his stores that were full of grain and wheat and let everyone have a share of it.

The famine was vast, it also hit Palestine. People of Palestine were in trouble and so were Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام and his sons. There was no food for family and animals.

When Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام got aware that Egypt has stores of grains, he asked his sons to go and bring grain from Egypt (where grain and wheat were stored).

Yusuf’s brother in Egypt

In 1708 BC when Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام was 39 years old, the brothers reached Egypt and asked for grains they were told to first take permission from the governor to get the grains.

The governor of Egypt was their own brother whom they could not recognize because of his splendid robe. However, Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام could recognize them very easily.

While loading their carts with grains, Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام asked them about the number of family members and he was informed that they have another brother and a sick father. He demanded they bring their other brother (Benjamin) next time. If they do not do so, there will be no grains.

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام ordered his servants to put his brothers’ money back into their saddlebags so that they would find it when they returned to their family and perhaps they would come back. Yusuf 12:62

Benjamin in Egypt

When Yusuf’s brothers went back to Palestine, they told Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام that they have been denied the supply of grains unless they take Benjamin with them the next time.

Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام was hesitant in sending Benjamin with them as he had a bad experience with them before with reference to Yusuf. Still, he permitted them to take him with them.

Next year in 1707 BC, when Benjamin came with his brothers, Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام took him away and told him that he is Yusuf, his real brother.

When Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام had provided them with supplies, he slipped the royal cup into Benjamin’s bag.

Soon, they declared that the King’s cup is lost and started searching for it. The soldiers found the cup in Benjamin’s bag and Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام declared that he will keep him as a slave.

The brothers of Yusuf offered themselves instead of Benjamin but Yusuf did not agree.

Yusuf revealed himself

Next year when they came up to take supplies again, Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام revealed about himself which shocked them. He also forgave them and told them that there is no blame on them now.

He said: Go with this shirt of mine and cast it over my father’s face, and he will regain his sight. Then come back to me with your whole family. Yusuf 12:93

Yusuf dream came true

In 1706 BC, the entire family went to Egypt along with Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام, Yusuf raised his parents to the throne, and they all fell down in prostration to Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام.

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام said: “O my dear father! This is the interpretation of my old dream. My Lord has made it come true.” Yusuf 12:100

In this way, Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام met his son Hazrat Yusuf عليه السلام after almost 24 years in 1706 BC. At that time, Prophet Yaqub was 130 years old while Yusuf was 41 years old. 

Prophet Yaqub Grave

Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام died in 1689 BC at the age of 147 years in present-day Egypt.

Later on, Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام took him to Palestine for the burial and got him buried in the cave of the Patriarchs (Palestine) along with many of his family members including Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام, Isaac عليه السلام, and his mother Rebecca.

Prophet Yaqub Grave

Prophet Yusuf Grave

Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام died in 1637 BC in Egypt at the age of 110 years. It is said that after 361 years of his death, his body was taken to Palestine by Prophet Musa عليه السلام at the time of exodus i.e. 1276 BC. He got buried in Shechem (Nablus).

Prophet Yusuf's tomb in Nablus.
Prophet Yusuf’s tomb in Nablus.

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