Commentary On Surah Yusuf.pdf

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    COMMENTARY ON SURAH

    YUSUF Peace Be Upon Him

    Compiled by:

    'Ali 'Abdur-Rasheed

    2009 'Ali 'Abdur-Rasheed

    aliarasheed@gmail.com

    All rights reserved. No portions of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express

    written consent of the author

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    Surah Yusuf

    In , 'Allamah Tibrisi writes: . Majma' (Surah Yusuf) is a Makkan Surah al-Mu'addil said, on the

    authority of Ibn 'Abbas: "Except for four verses (which) descended in Medinah three from its

    beginning and the fourth: "Certainly in Yusuf and his brothers there are signs for the inquirers."

    (verse 7). The number of its verses are one hundred and eleven (111) based on a consensus." 1

    Nasir Makarem, in his Tafsir says that the name Yusuf is mentioned in the Quran a al-Amthal,

    total of twenty-seven times, twenty-five of which are found in this Surah. Appropriately, then, this

    Surah takes the name of this prophet whose narrative is given therein.

    According to the linguist al-Farai, the name Yusuf is found with three variations: ( ); Yusuf m

    Yusaf Yusif Yusef ( ) and ( ), more commonly written as . He also suggests that it can be m m found with Hamzah, as in: ( ). In Hebrew, the language of the Taurah, it is pronounced m 2 Yosef, to add or increase meaning . The English equivalent is Joseph.

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    Regarding the virtue of this Surah, Abu Ibn Ka'b reported from the Messenger of Allah (S): "Teach your servants Surah Yusuf. Surely whenever a Muslim recites it and teaches it to his

    family and that which his right hand possesses, Allah, the Exalted, will ease for him the throes of

    death and grant him strength that he will not harbor jealously toward another Muslim."

    Abu Baseer narrates on the authority of Imam as-Sadiq (AS): "Whomever recites Surah Yusuf

    every day or every night, Allah will raise him on the day of judgement and grant him beauty like

    the beauty of Yusuf. He will not be afflicted with terror on the day of judgement and he will be

    among the select of the righteous servants of Allah. In it indeed is that which was written in the

    Taurah." 3

    'Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS) is reported to have said: "Do not teach your women Surah Yusuf nor let

    them recite it because there are temptations in it. Teach them Surah Nur because there are

    spiritual advices in it ." 4

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    Quranic scholars are generally in agreement regarding the circumstances of the revelation of

    this Surah. Jewish scholars posed two questions to Prophet Muhammad (S) as a test of his claim of prophethood. A report representative of this event is taken from : Kanz ad-Daqaiq "Their

    scholars said to the leaders of the Mushrikeen (idol-worshippers): Ask Muhammad: When did the family of Ya'qub move from Syria to Egypt and (ask him about) the narrative of Yusuf. Then,

    (the Surah) was revealed." 5

    As these questions were posed by the Jewish scholars in an attempt to diminish the Prophet's

    authority and appeal, God Almighty revealed this Surah as a definitive answer and proof for

    Jews. Likewise, the failure of the Jews to tarnish the Prophet's claim of prophethood only added

    to idol-worshipping Makkan's sense of frustration in isolating and minimizing Muhammad (S).

    In this Surah's revelation, God Almighty validated the Prophet Muhammad (S) as the recipient of divine communication and divine grace. Furthermore, it validated the divine nature of the Quran

    as it's verses were essentially the same in meaning as the verses the Rabbis found in their

    Taurah. (Refer to the appendix for the Old Testament version). The Prophet Muhammad (S) is not known to have any specific education in the Jewish or Christian faiths. Nor did he exhibit any

    particular knowledge about these faiths except knowledge which had been given to him through

    divine revelation.

    This Surah went beyond answering the two questions from the Jewish scholars, it gave a

    detailed account of the life of Yusuf (AS) from childhood to the pinnacle of his life as an official of

    Egyptian royalty. It chronicles the sorrowful and agony-filled lives of two of God's righteous

    servants, Ya'qub (AS) and Yusuf (AS) in painfully human expressions and symbolism.

    Muhammad (S), suffering his own hardships at the hands of the idol-worshippers of Makkah, no

    doubt found solace and strength in this narrative as it chronicled that the forbearance and

    patience of the two prophets mentioned therein was rewarded despite the great betrayals,

    disappointments and sorrow they both endured. God Almighty saved Yusuf (AS) from a well

    where his brothers had placed him in order to remove him from their father's affection. The

    Prophet Muhammad would be soon saved by God Almighty from his bed where the leaders of

    the various clans of Makkah intended to slay him. He would go to another city and, like Yusuf, be

    raised to a position of unimagined strength, power and leadership, by God's Grace.

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    "Alif Lam Ra. These are the verses of the Book that makes (things) manifest."

    [Yusuf 12:1]

    Quranic commentaries have put forth many divergent theories regarding these disjoined letters

    ( ) and others found in the beginning of some chapters of the Quran. For the sake of brevity, jA however, we will mention one interesting point in wherein 'Allamah Tibrisi lists a number Majma' of opinions regarding the disjoined letters in the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah. In this list, he

    gives one opinion which has an interesting connection to this Surah. It is narrated from Sa'eed

    Ibn Jubair:

    ,A A mA A BDM pBA nYC BM A FmC BG$

    #YjA , Y jA :M

    "They (the letters) are the names of God, the Exalted, disjoined. If the best of men were its

    compiler, surely they knew the Greatest name of God you say: Then, it ( ), . A A mG Y jA

    becomes ar-Rahman (the Beneficent)." ( ) YjA

    The ( ) are the disjoined letters beginning Surah Yusuf, ( ) begins Surah al-Fussalat (41) and jA Y ( ) begins Surah al-Qalam (68).

    Commentaries offer different perspectives on the meaning of the demonstrative noun ( ), M

    meaning: and what this demonstrative noun signifies. Some say that it refers to the these,

    verses which follow as a method of raising expectations, or that it points to Surah Yusuf as

    verses that makes things manifest. Others say that it refers to that which has been mentioned in

    the Taurah regarding Prophet Yusuf (AS). 6

    Mujahid and Qutadah indicate that the meaning of is that it makes the lawful and Mubeen

    unlawful manifest. Meaning that these are verses of the Book which makes the lawful and 7

    unlawful manifest.

    In 'Allamah Tabatabai compares this verse to the first verse of Surah Yunus al-Mizan, "Alif, Lam,

    Ra. These are the verses of wise Book." Noting the distinction that Surah Yusuf was revealed

    as a narrative of the family of Ya'qub and explanation of that narrative. Thus, it describes the

    book as that which makes things manifest as opposed to being described as a wise Book as

    found in Surah Yunus ( ). ZA LBNA K

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    "Surely We have revealed it-an 'Arabic Quran-that you may understand."

    [Yusuf 12:2]

    az-Zajaj interprets this verse as meaning that this particular Surah about Yusuf (AS) and his

    story was revealed in response to Jewish scholars and leaders of the idol-worshippers (i.e. the

    Quraish) who posed the question to Muhammad (S): "Ask Muhammad when did the family of Ya'qub migrate from Syria to Egypt and (ask him) about the story of Yusuf." az-Zajaj recited this

    verse and said that it was revealed upon the current of language of the 'Arab in dialog with the

    Jews. 8

    In Fakhruddeen Razi mentions the following: Mufateeh al-Ghayb, "In it (this verse) are a number

    of issues: Issue one: It is narrated that the scholars of the Jews said to the leaders of the

    Mushrikeen: Ask Muhammad when did the family of Ya'qub move from Syria to Egypt and (ask)

    about the particulars of the narrative of Yusuf. Then, Allah revealed this verse. It mentions in it

    that the Exalted expresses this narrative in the words of 'Arabic so that they may have mastery

    of its understanding and the capability of achieving God-consciousness by means of it. The

    estimation (of its meaning is): We have revealed this book wherein is the narrative of Yusuf

    being an 'Arabic Quran. A portion of the Quran is (also) called Quran because the name Quran

    is a collective noun applied upon the whole or the part.

    The second issue: al-Jabai advances this verse as an argument that the Quran is composed of

    three perspectives: First, the saying: 'Surely We have revealed it,' indicates this because The

    Eternal is not permitted to be descended or revealed or changed from one state to another.

    Second, the Exalted described it being 'Arabic and eternal, not 'Arabic nor French. Third, when it

    is said: Surely We have revealed it-an 'Arabic Quran, indicates that the Exalted is capable of

    revealing it as non-'Arabic and that indic