Yusuf PBUH - Jealousies and Schemes
Ancient Knights

Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a young boy woke with a start after having an odd dream. He wasn't especially disturbed by it, but he was puzzled and a little uneasy. After a moment of thought, the sweet-faced little boy, named Yusuf PBUH, confidently trotted off to tell his father of his strange dream. If anyone could tell him what the dream meant, it would be his father, Yaqoub PBUH.

"I saw the sun and the moon and eleven planets all in a row," Yusuf PBUH said as his father listened intently to his second-to-youngest son, "and they were all bowing to me."

When Yaqoub PBUH heard this he was filled with a great sense of pride. As a Messenger of God, Yaqoub PBUH found it easy to interpret his son's dream. It meant that little Yusuf PBUH would grow up to become a Prophet and Messenger of God, too. Only Yusuf PBUH would be of so great a consequence that his own parents and siblings would bow their heads to him.

Then another thought occurred to Yaqoub PBUH. Yusuf PBUH and his younger brother were Yaqoub's PBUH sons by his second wife. His ten older sons had always accused him of favoring these two boys and invariably reacted with malice and jealousy towards their two half-brothers. If they should hear of this...

"Do not tell your brothers about this dream," Yaqoub PBUH said quietly, trying to warn Yusuf PBUH as gently as he could, "they may scheme against you if they hear of it."

Yaqoub PBUH then sent Yusuf PBUH merrily on his way and hoped that the news of this wondrous dream would never reach the ears of his ten eldest sons. He loved all of his children and tried to treat them all equally, but the depth of his love for his two youngest sons, Yusuf PBUH and Binyameen, was difficult to hide and it was easily sensed by the insecure hearts of his eldest children.

Inevitably, the ten older boys caught wind of Yusuf's PBUH dream and its interpretation. They were angered by the idea that he would one day gain such consequence that they would have to bow their heads to him. Their reaction was just as Yaqoub PBUH had feared, they began scheming against their younger brother. They would get rid of their father's little favorite and when Yusuf PBUH was dead or lost in a faraway land, then surely their father would forget about him and all of their father's attention and love would be theirs alone. The resourceful boys soon came up with a plan and with cool calculation, set it in motion.

"Father, let Yusuf come with us to the pastures. He can run and play and enjoy himself instead of sitting here all day," the boys wheedled, their voices rising and mixing into a perfect cacophony.

Unwilling to put Yusuf PBUH in the power of his jealous half-brothers, Yaqoub PBUH replied gravely, "It pains me to be parted from him, and I fear that a wolf would make off with him while you are distracted by your play."

"If the wolf gets him, while we are all nearby, then we would truly useless," said the boys in hurt, reproachful tones to their worried father.

After a great deal of wheedling and an endless number of hurt reproaches, the boys finally managed to talk their father into letting them take Yusuf PBUH with them to the pastures to play.

As soon as they were well and truly away, without the slightest chance of anyone seeing or hearing them, the boys turned to one another. Now they were free to execute their plan and rid themselves of their father's little favorite.

They had agreed that they would do this one terrible thing then they would be good for the rest of their lives. Now that the evil deed was at hand, no one was anxious to commit such a weighty crime.

As they looked at one another, their eyes shying away from each other, they realized that the idea of simply falling upon Yusuf PBUH and killing him in cold blood was too repugnant. If they could not face each other with such a terrible deed on their minds, then how could they face each other with blood on their hands?!

After much hesitation and shuffling of feet, one of the ten boys spoke up and offered his brothers a better alternative than out-and-out murder, "Let us put him into the well!" the boy said. Then he went on to explain that it would not be murder since Yusuf PBUH would be alive and would be found and taken safely away by the next person to use the well. That way they would be rid of him and they would not have to actually harm him.

Accordingly, the frightened little boy was lowered into the well and abandoned there by his half-brothers. As the darkness of the well closed in around him and the sky shrank to a small blue circle, little Yusuf's PBUH only companions were fear and sorrow.

Meanwhile, the boys had kept their younger half-brother's shirt. They intended to use it as proof of the story they had concocted to explain away Yusuf's PBUH disappearance. The brothers coolly slaughtered one of their livestock and used the blood to liberally splash Yusuf's PBUH shirt. Then as night fell, they all ran home, screaming and crying as they tearfully told their panicked father in broken tones, "We were racing and left Yusuf PBUH by our gear. A wolf appeared and ate him!!" Then they added in tones of deepest hurt, "We do not expect you to believe us, you never do when we tell you the truth."

Looking at the bloody shirt, Yaqoub's PBUH heart contracted and his world spun. Then he noticed that there was not a single hole in the shirt. Surely, if a wolf had attacked his innocent son, the shirt would had shown evidence of a wolf's razor-sharp teeth. The shirt however was undamaged. Besides the copious amount of blood on Yusuf's PBUH shirt, there was no evidence that a wolf had attacked him.

Looking reproachfully at his sons, Yaqoub PBUH said gravely, "I think you have done something," then he remembered that Yusuf PBUH was to be one of God's chosen so he could not be dead, could he? Perhaps this was the path Yusuf was meant to follow. Nevertheless, being parted from his beloved son and not knowing the boy's fate was still a source of terrible sorrow to Yaqoub PBUH, so he added quietly, "I will be patient."

As Yaqoub PBUH mourned the loss of his little son, a faraway caravan of traders made its ponderous way towards Egypt.

The people of the caravan had stopped to draw water from a well and had drawn up a beautiful little boy with a sorrowful face clinging to the bucket. Although he had obviously been in the well for more than a day, he was nevertheless a fortunate find for the caravan. The traders congratulated one another on their good luck as they continued on their away. With such a face and such an air about him, the boy would no doubt fetch a princely sum in the slave markets of Egypt.

As the caravan moved off, Yusuf's PBUH brothers ran up and confronted the traders about taking Yusuf PBUH from the well. They were afraid that the people of the caravan were from someplace nearby and somehow Yusuf PBUH would find his way home and expose their misdeeds to their father.

The boys boldly laid claim to Yusuf PBUH but never mentioned to the traders that he was their brother. Yusuf PBUH also did not claim the boys as his brothers. He feared that if he was returned to his half-brothers, they would kill him this time.

A deal was soon struck between the traders and Yusuf's PBUH brothers. Rather than go through the trouble of researching the boys claims to Yusuf PBUH, the traders paid them a paltry sum and the boys contentedly left after being reassured that the caravan was from a distant land and that Yusuf PBUH would be taken far, far away.

When the caravan arrived in Egypt, the minister of the king's treasury was quite taken with the beauty and gravity of the boy the traders had for sale. For some reason he felt unable to walk away, so the minister gave in to his impulse and bought the little boy.

"Treat him well," the minister said to his pretty wife as he turned the boy over to her, "he could be of use to us, or we could keep him as a son."

Meanwhile, Yusuf's PBUH brothers were not faring so well. They had gained nothing through their schemes. Their father's grief served as a reproach to them, though he never upbraided them, and his sorrow shamed them and weighed them down. If they could have, they would have undone their misdeeds. But Yusuf PBUH was gone and so was their hope of bridging the distance that the loss of Yusuf PBUH had created between themselves and their father.

Thus Yusuf PBUH was taken from the protective care of his father, through the jealous schemes of his half-brothers, and grew up in faraway Egypt.

*Written by © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?

  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Binyameen (aka Benjamin): بنيامين
    • Yaqoub (aka Jacob): يعقوب عليه السلام
    • Yusuf (aka Joseph): يوسف عليه السلام

  1. Al-Dimishqi, A. (2009 AD, 1430 H). البداية و النهاية [The Beginning and the End]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya Publishing and Distributing. Volume I. Book I. Page 231-235.
  2. Ibn Katheer Al-Dimishqui, Emad Al-Deen (1399 H). مختصر تفسير ابن كثير [Summarized Tafseer Ibn Katheer]. Beirut: Dar Al-Quran Al-Kareem. Volume II. Page 240-244.

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