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Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Thrown in a Well | Lesson 1

Preface
We really need to appreciate the guidance Allah has given us. Once a man came to Shaykh bin Baz
and
said, we know someone who was a practicing brother, and he was in dawah also, and he was like this for a long
time, and all of a sudden he has gone astray, we dont know what happened to him. What do you say about
this, ya shaykh? Shaykh bin Baz said, as for this person, then perhaps he never thanked Allah for guiding him, or
he never sought Allahs refuge from misguidance.
We have been blessed with Islam. More than that, Allah is blessing us by teaching us His Quran. And we should
thank Allah from the bottom of our hearts, that O Allah You chose us to teach us the best of knowledge
(Quran). We should say for that, and we should ask Allah to save us from misguidance. .

Preface | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan

Tafseer (Explaining the Quran)


Meaning

to clarifying and elucidating the meaning of something


to expose or uncover

as He intended it.
Tafseer means to uncover and explain the miraculous words of Allah
There are the words. What do the words mean? That is the role of the mufassir (one who does tafseer) of the
Quran (according to guidelines and principles). But once it becomes explained, and the meaning is uncovered,
that is tafseer.
The science by which the Quran is understood- as intended by Allah- and its meaning explained and its rulings
derived.
When we say we will be doing the tafseer of Surat Yusuf, it means we will take the surah, and stop at each
verse and try to explain as the scholars of tafseer explained.
However, this course will be a little different. Tafseer of Surat Yusuf has been explained in English. So why are
we doing it again? There is a book which is the tafseer of Ibn Taymiyyah
.

Title

Author
Checking &
preparation

Annotations

Volumes

Pages

4188

Edition

Format

17x24cm

Cover
Harakat

Hard
None or a little bit (or only on the Matn)

In this book, which is about 7 volumes, there are statements of Ibn Taymiyyah
explain verses of Quran.
When one reads his statements regarding tafseer Surat Yusuf, one is amazed at his analysis, lessons and points
of benefit that he drew out. This is what we will be covering.

Sirat Initiative | Tafseer (Explaining the Quran)

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Biography of Ibn Taymiyyah


Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H / 1328) was the shaykh of Islam, especially of his era and perhaps until
yawm al-qiyamah, Allah knows best.
Imagine and try and put together your own image of Ibn Taymiyyah through this tafseer. Whatever he said, the
analysis he gives, use that to make your judgment as to who this man was.
Ibn Taymiyyah never wrote a book of tafseer. Through all of his works, his fatawa (legal rulings), and other
books that he wrote, scholars that came afterwards extracted everything from that giant body of work and
then see what Shaykh ul-Islam had to say about every surah. When they got to that task they saw that it was
possible to formulate a whole book of tafseer as to what Shaykh al-Islam said about many of the ayaat of the
Quran. So this book is a compilation of the statements of Shaykh al-Islam regarding the Quran, put in order,
surah by surah, verse by verse.

Tafseer (Explaining the Quran) | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan

Course Breakdown
Detailed Tafseer relying only on Quran for story
Shaykh as-Sadi mentions something that Ibn Taymiyyah also mentions - the story of Yusuf has been
polluted with a lot of stories coming from the Israiliyaat (coming from the testaments and storytellers of the
Jews and the Christians), filtered in into the Islamic teachings. In fact, a lot of that has even made its way into
books of Tafseer in some books of tafseer, we see things that are not there in the ayaat but are being used to
explain the ayaat, which sometimes can be very problematic.
For example, the scene where he is seduced by the wife of the Aziz.
Allah mentions:




And he had passionate desire for him, and he had a level of desire for her as well, had it not been that he saw
the of his Rabb.

),
Here, Ibn Taymiyyah says that people went to two extremes in explaining this. One of them is that (
)that he would begin
he actually began to do some acts of haram with the lady! How is that possible (
to engage on a basic level? Ibn Taymiyyah
says this comes from the narration of the Jews, and they
were known to be dead enemies of many prophets. This should not be taken into consideration.
There are many details, not of this level, but this is one extreme example. We will restrict ourselves only to
what Allah mentions in the Quran, and try to be as close to the words and explanation without adding external
details.

Using the Tafseer analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah


The tafseer analysis is something that you dont get in a lot of Tafseer books, which is looking at the whole
surah as if you are looking at a picture on the wall. Linking between incidents. Or this happened in the
beginning and this happened in the end. Analyzing the story in light of other things.

Challenge to unearth 500 points of benefit


There is a challenge to try and list 500 points of benefit from the Tafseer of Surat Yusuf. There is a very famous
statement of Ibn Qayyim



In this story, in terms of lessons, points of benefits, wisdoms, there are more than one thousand.
Ustadh will mention them, we have to list them.

Sirat Initiative | Course Breakdown

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Two contemporary scholars in Saudi Arabic said, if Ibn Qayyim


said there are 1000 points of benefit, we
will list 1000 points of benefit. The book is in 2 volumes, around 1152 pages long. They listed 1000 fawaaid and
we will try and relate as many of them as possible during this course. This book was published in 2003.

2002 - 1121

1151

11

:) (

1221

Note: The course seeks to give a coherent tafseer of the surah, but with an extra level of detail which is Ibn
Taymiyyah's commentary. Shaykh ul Islam does not have a full written commentary on the Quran and so only
those verses which have been commented on are related during the course.
Shaykh Tahir Ibn Ashur 1393 AH, is a Tunisian scholar of recent history and wrote one of the best books of
tafseer of his time.
Works of al-Suyuti and al-Biqaa'i are also referred to.

Course Breakdown | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan

Whetting the Appetite ;-)


3 unique features of Surat Yusuf
There are 2 unique things about this surah which you cant find in any other surah in the Quran.
1

It is dedicated to telling the story of one person, and one person alone. There is no other surah in
Quran that is dedicated to telling the story of one person and one person alone. The close second to
this surah in this respect is Surat Ta-Ha, because it relates the story of Moosa - a great
portion of the surah is dedicated to the story of Moosa , however it is not a complete
dedication.

The story is told in chronological order. Beginning, middle, end in order. Nowhere else in Quran is a
story of a prophet mentioned in chronological order.

Ibn Ashur mentions there is a miraculous nature in which the story is told. The , style, in which
the story is told is miraculous. No other story of the Quran is told in this way.

Some others claim there is a 4th, that this is the greatest story of the Quran. However, according to
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, that is not true. And we will go into some detail as to how he uncovers
and analyses this statement of people based on Allah mentioning:




They say
means the story of Yusuf is the best story, above and beyond all the other
stories mentioned in the Quran and of course, outside the Quran as well. Al-Qurtubi says scholars differed
about this. Shaykh al-Islam is quite clear about what he thinks is the understanding there.

The range & diversity of lessons it contains


Once they say it is the best story in the Quran, they have to bring some explanation about what makes it the
best story in the Quran. And one of the things consistently mentioned by those scholars who say this is the
best story of the Quran, is that it is the best story because of the diversity of lessons. You have lessons about:

envy,
oppression,
dream interpretation,
politics,
economics,
parenting,
fiqh of slavery,
fiqh of business.

Can you say the same about any other story? This is what some scholars say that this is the best story in the
Quran because of the different types of lessons in it. For sure they are, but does this make it the best story?
We will come to that, .
Sirat Initiative | Whetting the Appetite ;-)

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

What triggered its revelation & when?


This is something Qurtubi mentions in his tafseer book. He mentions 2 possible views:
1

The Yahoodh in Madinah wanted to challenge the legitimacy of the prophet by telling the
Quraysh, ask him, does he know the story of Yusuf ? Does he know it? Ask him about it. There
is another famous surah in the Quran where the same thing happened the Jews asked the question,
does he know this story, and the surah came down Surat al-Kahf. A challenge was put to the prophet

testing his veracity. And what they were testing was, if he is really the prophet, then the Arabs
dont know anything about the story of Yusuf . If he can come up with that story, then it must
mean that he is a prophet, but we dont think he can.
2

The companions, when the Quran was being revealed, they wanted and yearned for a story to be
revealed. So they asked the prophet , will Allah reveal to you a story? And in response, Surat
Yusuf was revealed.

When did this happen?


When it happened is also very important to get a comprehensive understanding of the Surah.
It was revealed, according to a few of the scholars of tafseer, in the 10th year of prophecy. What happened in
the 10th year of prophecy? It is also known as Aam ul-Hazn (the year of grief and sorrow). Why? Three main
things happened to the Prophet in that year:
1

The death of his beloved wife and our mother Khadijah . She was his everything. She was
his companion, his supporter, his financer. He loved her more than any other of his wives

The death of his uncle Abu Talib. The thing that grieved him the most about this was that he died a
mushrik. His uncle, who was so close to him, did so much for the service of Islam, he died as a mushrik.
That was tough for the prophet .

The trip to Taif. All the way to Taif, hoping that the chieftains there would listen to his message, give
Muslims refuge, but what did they do? In the most despicable of ways, they rejected the Prophet

.
A tough year! In that tough year, Surat Yusuf was revealed to the prophet .
Al-Qurtubi mentioned in a narration coming from Ibn Ata, that there is something in Surat Yusuf that any person
who is feeling down, anxious, stressed, when he reads it, he finds rejuvenation. He finds something that lifts his
spirit. Look how Allah gave that surah to him in the time when he was most anxious in his life.
Later on Aishah would ask him what was the most difficult part of your life? And he said, when the
people of Taif rejected me.
So, at the most difficult part of his life, Allah revealed to him a surah that would console his aching heart.

Whetting the Appetite ;-) | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan


From the 10th year of prophecy, how far around the corner is hijrah and becoming the head of state of
Madinah? How far down the line? 3 years. In the 13th year of prophecy, he made hijrah to Madinah. So after 13
years of hardship, then things started to change and turn the other way.

Commenceme
nt of the
prophethood
of Muhammad
()

Muslims
boycotted and
sanctions
imposed on
them in Shi'd
Abi Talib

Death of
Khadijah
Abu Talib's
death

Open call to
Islam. The
prophet was
abused in Ta'if

Surah Yusuf
was revealed
at this difficult
and testing
time for the
prophet and
the Muslims

Migration to
Madinah

And if we look at the life of Yusuf , so many years of hardship, and then things start to change, and
change in an incredible way. Reflect about that.

What are the maqaasid of this surah?

in this surah? It is a tough


Maqasid means, what is the overall message being given by Allah
question. Most tafseer books dont mention this because they dont consider it to be part of tafseer. However,
some of the more contemporary books tried to search out the overall message if you could summarize it in
one sentence, what would that be?
In regards to Surat Yusuf, one given maqsad (overall objective of the surah) is how Allahs promise of help is
established after testing times as illustrated through the story of Yusuf and Yaqoob . The
overall message being given in Surat Yusuf is that Allahs help comes after testing times.
Another suggestion or view is that the overall message is:

.

Allah is fully in control of his

.
affair. Allah is in total control. Nothing happens outside of the control of Allah
As well as, He is:

, as Yusuf says at the end of the surah. Allah is very subtle

in whatever He does.
He is totally in control, but so subtle that we cant see the control.
For example at a human level, if a parent is controlling, they always ensure the child is okay, not too hot, not
too cold, they are always at the school asking if the kid is okay, following up - but controlling means in your
face.
But Allah is in control, and also so subtle.
Yusuf says I couldnt tell how Allah took me from a well, facing death, onto a throne. How, Allah? You
are Lateef so subtle in what You do.

Sirat Initiative | Whetting the Appetite ;-)

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Reflecting on the Surah





1. Alif Lam Ra Those are the Signs of the Clear Book.
The explanation of Alif-Laam-Ra and ( the disjointed letters), that appear in many surahs of the
Quran is given in tafseer Surat Luqman and Yaseen.
As for the words of Allah,

opens. A number of points:


, (those are the signs of the Clear Book), this is the way the surah

Tilka, there, and not haazihi, this. As ibn Ashur mentions, there are 2 extra meanings that we get from this.
Even though this is right here, Allah is saying it is there.
1

This ishara (indication) points to something far away, and Quran comes to us from the preserved
tablet, which is far away.

As well as something lofty, high ranking, and again the Quran is lofty.

Quran described as
, why this description here?
Two meanings:
1.

The Quran in general is mubeen: If we go by the meaning that kitab means Quran, then mubeen
means the Quran is clear and concise in explaining its rulings, instructions and stories.

2.

Kitab means this surah, and this surah is mubeen: if we say kitab means the surah, then Ibn Ashur
says the surah is mubeen, meaning mubayyin, meaning clear and detailed.
The first thing you need to know about the surah is that it is clear and very detailed. Think about that
in light of why it was revealed in the first place. The Jews were saying, he doesnt know the story, ask
him about it. Look at the response. The story wont just be related, it will be revealed mubeen
detailed details you never even knew about. You never even knew the level of detail. And We are
going to relate in a clear and concise way. So having the information about why it was revealed helps
us to enrich our reading of the surah.

Compare with Surah Yunus: AL-HAKEEM


Rashid Ridha, a scholar of recent history made another point of benefit. He said this surah starts in a way
similar to another surah in the Quran, except it starts:



It is Surat Younus, just 2 surahs before Surat Yusuf. It named after another prophet. Surah Younus.
10

Reflecting on the Surah | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan


So one begins by saying these are the verses of the wise book, and the other says these are the verses of the
clear book.
If you look at the overall meaning of Surah Younus, then the main message is the fundamentals of faith, Usool
ud-Deen speaking about tawheed, our relationship with Allah, revelation, prophecies these things are
expressive of wisdom, this is the height of wisdom. So the surah starts with the book being described as wise.
As for Surat Yusuf, then it is all about one figure whose character was exemplary and is therefore worth bayan
it is worth speaking and explaining about. And that is why this surah begins with the book being described as
mubeen.
Ibn Ashur said that historically speaking, the Quraysh had absolutely no idea about what the story of Yusuf
was. He said they never knew in detail, nor did they have a vague knowledge about this. That is the time
and place. A person living in that time and place cannot research it. There is no one there, no library to research
the story of Yusuf . Even though the Quraysh knew the story of Ibraheem, Nuh, Lut and Saleh these
prophets they knew about. As for Yusuf , they knew nothing about him. Bear that in mind.

My Reflections

Sirat Initiative | Reflecting on the Surah

11

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]



2. Indeed We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that hopefully you will use your
intellect.
Allah goes on to describe the Quran as being Arabic. There are an unbelievable number of lessons there.
But look how it begins inna is for tawkeed (emphasis) meaning, indeed We and no one else We are the
source sending down it (meaning the Quran).
The Quran is described as an Arabic Quran.
The language with which we have revealed the Quran is Arabic as opposed to any other language.
Laallakum has 2 meanings:
1.

Hopefully that

2.

In order that you may. Why did we even send down the Quran? What is the illa, the reason behind our
sending it down? In order that you may use your intellect to understand it.

Why an Arabic Quran?


It is an Arabic Quran. No other language was selected. Ibn Ashur said, no scripture of the past, no other
prophet was ever given wahy in Arabic. Only the prophet was given wahy in Arabic.

Ibn Taymiyyah
said, this is a blessing of Allah to his slaves, as the Arabic language is the best of all
languages and most prolific in conveying meaning. The Arabs who first received it understood it, and those who
come later can learn Arabic and understand it just as they did. And those that dont know it can have one who
does translate it for them.

This is something you cant say about any other language. That ancient Arabic that was spoken more than 1200
years ago, we can learn it today. And you can learn it to the level that you can understand the basic meanings
of the Quran just like they understood the basic meanings of the Quran. And if you cant do that, you can find
someone who can translate it for you.
Thats the second blessing. The first blessing he said is because the language itself is the best of all languages
and the most efficient in conveying meaning. Arabic language is the best way of conveying a message. It is the
most precise in conveying the message and the meaning of the message.
The Arabs of the time, because it was in Arabic at the time, the mushrikoon could understand it. But there is
more benefit. The fact that it was in Arabic at the time as opposed to any other language, meant that not only
could they benefit, but everybody else that came afterwards could benefit too. And the prophet came
not just for Arabs but for everyone, and not just for that time, but for all time.
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[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan


What that means is that Allah preserved the Quran and He has preserved the language of the Quran. Allah has
preserved the Arabic fus-ha that they spoke in ancient times and will continue to preserve it up until Yawm alQiyamah because He sent the Quran

, so that we can understand it.

If the Arabic language became corrupted or lost, then we would never be able to understand it. If we couldnt
learn Arabic, the gradually, as time went past, Arabic would be lost. The Quran may still be there, but if we
cant understand the language, it means we cant understand the Quran. If we cant understand the Quran,
what do we make of the words of Allah mentioned in this ayah,

? This is another point of benefit.

At-Tabari mentioned this in his muqaddimah, in his introduction to his tafseer. This ayah points to the fact that
the Arabic language will be preserved until Yawm al-Qiyamah.
The other point is that the Arabic language is the best to convey messages.

Why did Allah gift us with the Quran?


There is another lesson here. We really have to appreciate that the Quran is a book that we dont just recite
we read. It means that what most people do is they take the Quran, wrap it up, put it on a shelf, when
Ramadan comes, they take it down and recite it. When they are reciting it, the aim is to recite one page after
another and complete. But the book is sent not just to recite it. It is sent
it. There is a difference between reciting and understanding.

, so we could understand

In Surah al-Jumuah, Allah spoke about the Jews and He gave a shocking example about them:


The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who
carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allah . And Allah does
not guide the wrongdoing people. [62:5]
The likeness of the people who were made to carry the load of the Tawrah, but they never did that, is like the
donkey which carries on its back valuable books, knowledge, wisdom. The donkey doesnt know whats going
on top of his back, he is a donkey. He could be carrying carrots!
Ibn Ashur said that historically speaking, the Jews, when it came to their Tawrah, they would take their book
from one place to another, one temple to another; they would wrap it up, boast about it, look down on others,
yet they never read it and implemented what it said.
Shocking parallel to what happens in our time. Dont we say, we have Quran, we are Ahl al-Quran, and look
how we respect our book we put it on the shelves up there, we dont put it on the floor, yet if someone
comes to us and says you read that chapter al-Fatihah 11 times a day, what does it mean, whats the basic
message? The person wont be too sure about that.
You claim that this book is the word of God, yet you dont know what it means? Think about the Jews. The
Jews are described in such a despicable way they are like a donkey that carries valuable things on its back!
How come? Because they never took the book to understand and really get to grips about what Allah is saying
to me. What do I learn from it?
Sirat Initiative | Reflecting on the Surah

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Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Not just to recite it for blessings. Although that is good, and you will get reward, thats not the reason why we
were given the book. We are given the book

, so that we will understand it.

My Reflections
Arabic is the language of the Quran, and of Islamic knowledge in general. So if I want to be a serious student, I
must learn Arabic.

14

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[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan


3. We narrate to you in this Quran the very best stories by way of revelation, even
though you were unaware of it before it came.
We are the ones that naqussu.
Naqussu comes from qassa. Qassa means to story tell. However, the root word means to follow footprints.
Ibn Ashur says this is the link between storytelling and the root word qassa, because storytelling is narrating
something that happened a long time ago, and you are tracing back in time what happened. Just like you trace
footsteps.
Qassa also refers to narrating something that happened a long time ago, as opposed to something that
happened recently.
Qassa also has the meaning of the one who narrates the story being called the qaas, because he doesnt just
narrate the story as he thinks it happened. He narrates it with accuracy and precision.
So Allah mentions that we are going to relate this story in a very accurate and profound manner to you.
What stories? We are going to relate to you the best related stories in this Quran.

Is it really the *best* story?


How do we understand this?
This is how Ibn Taymiyyah understands this verse. It is technical and to cut out the technical, here is the
translation:
We narrate to you in this Quran, the very best stories by way of revelation even though you were unaware of it
before it came.
The other translation is We relate to you the best of stories.
Is that really the case? Is it the best of stories?
Let us look at it linguistically first. Ibn Taymiyyah brings a number of points. Because he says that story of Yusuf
, though it is amazing, though it is fantastic, is it better than the stories of other prophets? He says no,
it isnt. For the story of Moosa far superior, far greater. Then he brings a number of points:
Linguistically: People read ahsanal qasas as ahsanal qisas. They are two different words. Qisas (from qissa)
means stories. Qasas means storytelling. Qasas means best related stories the story narrative.
He says it means that Allah is saying that We are going to relate to you the best possible stories in the best ways,
with the best explanation, in the best style.

Sirat Initiative | Reflecting on the Surah

15

Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

In this Quran you find those stories. In the whole of Quran you find the very best stories told in the very best
ways. This is the understanding he gives.
The reasons he gives are many:
1.

Linguistically. He says this person doesnt know the Arabic language. It is not ahsanal qisas, it is
ahsanal qasas.

2.

The story of Moosa is mentioned in far more places in the Quran, with far more dedication. It
is mentioned many more times and given much more space in the Quran. His story, snippets of his life
keep on coming up. What does that indicate to us? Because in his story, comes the greatest of lessons,
the most benefit.

3.

Ibn Taymiyyah
says, in the end of this surah, Allah says laqad kana fi qasasihim librah. In their
related stories. He doesnt say his related stories. So Allah is showing that we are talking about all the
stories in the Quran. About them, the prophets, messengers.

4.

He says, first let us analyze the tribulations that Yusuf goes through in his life. There are 4
main fitan that he goes through:
1 The tribulation of hasad (envy) by his brothers, they hated upon him.
2 The fitnah of the wife of Aziz and the temptation of shahwah.
3 Thrown into prison, test of zulm.
4 Mulk. He is given authority, a position of tremendous influence. If you are given a top job, many
people under your control, it can go to your head.

He says, four different types of fitnah. Now he says:


1

2
3
4

The enmity that Yusuf faced, as compared to Moosa was based, for Moosa
on his deen, and as for Yusuf it was based on of dunya. Why was he envied? Was it
because he was Muslim? Was it because he was doing dawah? It was because of the fathers love
for him. Is that to do with his religion? No.
Temptation. The wife of Aziz was tempted because of his looks. He was extremely handsome. It is
to do with dunya.
Oppressed, thrown in prison for no good reason. Why? Was it his fatawa or dawah? It was his
refusal to do haram. It was his refusal to do zina which was the cause of his oppression dunya.
What brings about the test of authority is his ability to interpret the kings dream correctly.

Dont misunderstand. He is not talking down about the great Yusuf . He is analysing. All prophets are
great. However, amongst the prophets, can we distinguish who is better?
As for Moosa , every trial he faced in his life was because of his dawah. Every trial that came his way
, to the extent that had he not done dawah, then many of
was because he called others to Allah
those trials would have not come his way. That, in and of itself, places his life and story above in rank than
Yusuf .
His analysis is quite deep and very comprehensive, looking at it from many different perspectives.
He brings a statement from Imam Ahmad that the story of Moosa is the greatest story in the Quran.
16

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[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan

Imam Ahmed
: The best story from the stories of the Prophets is the Speech of Allah regarding Moosa
1

This is the analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah. He concludes by saying that it can be seen as the best from a particular
perspective. And the perspective is that:
1

There is no one who endured tests and tribulations with as much taqwa and sabr as Yusuf .

There is no one whose story contains such a change and a turnaround in events as you find in the story of
Yusuf . This is an astute point.
a.

He went from being thrown in a well to a throne.

b.

He went from being accused to being accused of zina by the wife of Aziz and women of Egypt, to the
women of Egypt and the wife of Aziz saying it wasnt him, it was me. Total turnaround.

c.

He went from being thrown in a well by his brothers to them doing sujood to him on an arsh.

The aqibah is profound. You dont find this kind of an end to any story. You can say it is the best of stories from
this particular perspective.

In the last ayah, we see inna anzalnahu. Anzalnahu would be sufficient. Adding inna gives emphasis. And here,
naqussu alayka would suffice. Saying naqussu alayka means we story tell. Saying nahnu means We, and no one
else save me. It is a double emphasis. Naqussu is enough. Nahnu naqussu, Ibn Ashur says it gives the meaning
of ikhtisaas, as if saying, I am going to relate the story, and no one else can relate it the way I will relate it. This
is amazing if we think of it in light of why the surah was revealed. It was a challenge given by the people. And
now they are told, We are going to tell the story. And not just We are going to tell the story, but We are going
to tell it in the best possible way.
So emphatic. It removes all doubt from our mind. How could we ever doubt You, ya Allah? How could we ever
think little of Your deen or Your prophets. How amazing are You, ya Allah. And how emphatic are you in
displaying Your might and majesty to us.

The last part of the verse, even though, before this, you were of the ghafileen.
We see the word ghafiloon mentioned in Surah Yaseen. It is mentioned in relation to the mushrikoon. Because
their forefathers werent warned, and as a result they became ghafiloon.
Now how come it is mentioned here that you were of those people?

Page 15 of vol 4 of the tafseer of Ibn Taymiyyah


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Ustadh Asim Khan

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Al-Biqaee mentioned in his tafseer that ghaflah is of 2 types:


a.

The first type of ghaflah is of the heart a person heedless about Allah, about what Allah wants from
him.

b.

The second type of ghaflah is that of the intellect. Ibn Ashur says, it is not knowing something that is
there. So the story of Yusuf is there in history. But the prophets mind hasnt been
turned to that. So Allah is not saying you are ghafil, it says min al-ghafileen. Before this you were one
of those who were also unaware of this passage of history.
One lesson we learn from this is that Allah wants us to know certain passages of history. He wants us
to be clued up when it comes to certain passages of history that are of benefit and meaning to us, and
obviously of the best passages of history are the stories of the prophets, but also we know a lot about
the perished nations as well. All of that is historical information. So we shouldnt say, those things
from ancient times, why do we need to know about them? Allah is saying, we are going to narrate to
you about them, and as a result, the prophet will not be ghafil of this anymore. Which teaches is
that we should know certain passages of history that are of substance and meaning to us.

To summarize what Ibn Taymiyyah said:

Ibn Taymiyyah: that is because the enmity of the people of Musa was due primarily to his Deen but the enmity
Yusuf met was because of Dunya however, from all the people the Quran never mentioned there is no one who
showed more sabr & taqwa then Yusuf or had a better ending in the Dunya & Akhirah than him.

Summary
Ibn Taymiyyah: Everything related in the Quran is better than what hasnt been related in it.


We know that with the Quran, a person finds tranquillity, serenity. (
) . But we have other
needs. Another need a human being has is a need for entertainment, light-hearted conversation, jokes. Is that
also in the Quran? The story of Yusuf is a very entertaining story. It really builds suspense and anticipation.
Consider the beginning. One thing that makes a great movie is anticipation, suspense. Technically it is called
Foreshadowing. Let us assume you dont know anything about his story. In the beginning, all we hear is a boy
goes to his father and narrates an amazing dream. He saw 11 planets and the sun and moon bowing to him. The
dad says dont tell that to your bothers, they might plot against you. The person would think, whats the dream
about? Whats the interpretation of that dream? What are the brothers going to do? The next thing that
happens is not the interpretation of the dream. That is embedded in the mind. But we go to the next scene.
What will happen to the brothers? The story continues. He is now in Egypt. Now he is a slave. Another
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[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan


temptation. And so on and so forth. Now we come to the end. They are coming back to Egypt? They are in
need of him? And the dad is coming as well? How many are there? Eleven? Eleven stars? I never say that coming!
That is amazing. Thats anticipation. That is entertainment. And you didnt make the connection between the
planets and brothers.
Sometimes, you watch a program, read a book, and it is amazing. But you wont watch it again.
The lessons and morals and richness bring a person back to the story again and again. And in that regard, this
story cannot be compared.
But even in respect of entertainment, suspense, the characters, the plot, the plotting, the middle, the
beginning, the end, even from the literary perspective, it is unbelievable.

My Reflections

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