Yusuf - Scandal and Prison
Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…
Called Egypt where a young slave boy grew up in the house of the Minister of the Treasury of all of Egypt. The minister and his lovely wife were generous and kind to the slave boy, named Yusuf and they raised him as best they could.
As the slave boy, Yusuf , grew up, he became wise, pious and kind. He was also remarkably handsome. This more than anything else is what the Minister's wife noted. She knew it was wrong for her to take such an interest in the young man who had grown up under her care and that of her husband. Unfortunately, she was dazzled by the beauty of his face and decided to take action, no matter how inappropriate it might be.
When the wife of the Minister called Yusuf into her presence, he arrived and stood respectfully before her. Great was his surprise and discomfit when she closed the doors of the room and then told him of her feelings for him. Yusuf's reaction however, was not what she had hoped for.
Yusuf told her that he was grateful to her and her husband for their care and kindness and he could not imagine betraying the Minister or dishonoring the Minister's wife in such a fashion. Furthermore, Yusuf believed in God and would not violate his faith by committing such a sin. So Yusuf respectfully and determinedly rejected all of the overtures of the Minister's wife.
The Minister's wife however was not so easily deterred. She attempted to seduce Yusuf only to have him turn away and flee from her presence. She chased him through the house and caught hold of the back of his shirt, which was ripped off under the pressure of his determined flight and her attempts to stop him.
Great was the surprise of both Yusuf and the Minister's wife when they suddenly came face-to-face with the Minister who had arrived home unexpectedly. The look on his face revealed that he had not missed the sight of the struggle between Yusuf and his own wife.
As the Minister opened his mouth to demand an explanation, his wife blurted out, "What is the punishment for a man who has evil intentions towards your family? Surely jail or torture?"
Shocked by the shameless attempt of the Minister's wife to cover her own wrongdoing by shifting the blame onto him, Yusuf blurted out, "She tried to seduce me!"
Just then another member of the household who had come across this scandalous tableau, and had heard everything, spoke up, "If his shirt is ripped from the back, then she is lying. If his shirt is ripped from the front, then he is lying."
Silence reigned for a moment, then the Minister snatched up the shirt and held it out for everyone to inspect. It was abundantly clear to all those who were present that Yusuf's shirt had been ripped from the back. As one, everyone turned to the abashed wife of the Minister.
The Minister angrily upbraided his wife for her actions and her attempt at deception. Then he cleared Yusuf of any wrongdoing and curtly dismissed him. To avoid any possibility of scandal, the Minister also commanded everyone in his household to never speak of the events of that day ever again.
Unfortunately, rumors of how the Minister's wife attempted to seduce one of her own slaves soon spread throughout Egypt. All the noblewomen were abuzz with the story and mocked the Minister's wife unmercifully for her wild and scandalous actions.
When the Minister's wife found herself being mocked by her peers she was humiliated and hid away. Then, when there seemed no end in sight to all the malicious gossip, she came up with a plan to teach a lesson to the ladies who so freely sneered at her.
The Minister's wife invited all of the ladies of her acquaintance to a feast. Once the ladies arrived, looking forward to finding out more lurid details to gossip about, they were shown into the feast-room and seated graciously by their hostess. After the ladies had eaten, the Minister's wife called for dessert. She had oranges brought and placed before the ladies then provided each of them with a very sharp knife with which to cut the oranges.
When the guests had all picked up their respective knives and had begun to slice into their oranges, the Minister's wife called in Yusuf to attend them. As soon as all the ladies saw Yusuf's face, an awed murmur arose. They all stared and stared because they had never seen a man so comely before in their lives. The ladies were so entranced by Yusuf's beauty that as they distractedly cut their oranges they sliced their own hands by mistake.
The Minister's wife looked on triumphantly as her guests accidently cut themselves with the sharp knives she had given them. Later, as her guests left, the Minister's wife mockingly pointed out to them that the mere sight of Yusuf for a few moments had caused them to hurt themselves. How, she said to them, could they blame her for coveting him when she lived with him and saw him every single day?! Furthermore, she added to her avid listeners, he had refused her advances, so he was just as beautiful within as without.
It wasn't long before these events caused a new wave of scandal. When this new scandal was added to the previous scandal that the Minister's wife had also created, everyone decided something must be done to put an end to the matter once and for all.
The solution the nobles came up with was simple. The one truly innocent person in the whole mess, Yusuf , ended up taking the blame for everything that had happened. He was accused of trying to force his attention on the ladies and was sent to jail in the hopes that the furor would die down and everything would go back to normal.
Yusuf languished in prison for years before new circumstances conspired to bring him to the notice of a very powerful person. These circumstances also set in motion a chain of events that would lead him to the destiny he had dreamed of so long ago.
*Written by Aisha Bilal © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?
- Names, Translations and Aliases:
- Yusuf (aka Joseph): يوسف عليه السلام
- Yusuf (aka Joseph): يوسف عليه السلام