Yusuf - Dreams and Freedom
Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…
Called Egypt which was usually a bright and sunny land. Unfortunately, the prisons in Egypt were neither bright nor sunny, they were dark and depressing and full of misery. In one such prison there was a handsome young man who was as beautiful in manner as he was in form. He was kind and wise and devout and his presence made the prison a little brighter and a little sunnier than it otherwise would have been.
This particular prison contained people who were neither evil nor criminal, but rather the denizens of this prison were all inconvenient. They were an embarrassment to someone powerful or well-connected. When said influential people wanted to rid themselves of an inconvenient person, they would have them thrown into this prison. The young man, Yusuf , was an embarrassment because the wife of the man who bought him from the slave markets had become enamored with him and had created a great deal of scandal while unsuccessfully pursuing him. Wishing to give the scandal a chance to die down, and lay all blame at Yusuf's feet, the Minister who owned Yusuf had him thrown into prison.
While in prison, Yusuf befriended two young men who one day approached him and told him that they had each had a strange and disturbing dream.
"I will tell you the meaning of your dreams," Yusuf said soothingly, "Just tell me what you saw."
One of the young men immediately launched into a description of his dream and how he had seen three grape vines which quickly grew several bunches of grapes right before his eyes! Then he saw himself pick the grapes and wring their juice into the cup of the King.
As soon as the first young man finished his story, the second young man began eagerly describing his dream to his companions. In his dream, he said, he had three baskets of bread piled on his head and as he stood there, birds would swoop down and eat from the top basket.
Yusuf had been listening with an impassive face to the dreams of his companions, and when they finished their stories and turned with hopeful and questioning gazes to him, he spoke with quiet gravity.
"You will be released from prison," Yusuf said with a smile to the first man, "and the King will appoint you to be his wine bearer."
"You," Yusuf said sorrowfully to the second man, "will be crucified and the birds will feed off of your head and body."
Both men sat silently mulling over what Yusuf had told them. If the interpretation of their dreams were correct, one man would gain his freedom and the other would lose his life. There was both hope and despair in the two men's hearts as they thought about their futures. One hoped that Yusuf was right and that his life would soon improve, yet he feared Yusuf may be wrong. The other man feared that he would be crucified and his life could end so unjustly, yet he hoped Yusuf was wrong.
As time passed Yusuf spoke to the men of his beliefs and of God and they soon became devout men who were ready to face their fates bravely and without doubt or complaint, regardless of what those fates may be.
Soon enough the day came when the strange dreams of the two men came true and Yusuf's interpretation of their dreams was proven correct on every count. As one man was led away to be executed, Yusuf offered his friend words of comfort that lightened his heavy heart and made his death a peaceful one. As the other man was told he was to be freed and sent to work for the King as his wine bearer, Yusuf asked his friend to mention him and his innocence to the King in the hopes that Yusuf would be released from prison.
Unfortunately, once the man was released from prison, he kept forgetting to mention Yusuf to the King and so Yusuf was doomed to languish in the dank prison for a few years more.
After sometime, the King had a disturbing night. He dreamed that he was standing on the banks of the Nile river and he saw seven plump cows emerge from the river. The cows walked over and began cropping contentedly at some grass. Then seven scrawny cows climbed out of the river and began grazing with the plump cows. After a while, the seven thin cows turned and devoured the plump cows. The startled King awoke and thought over this bizarre dream. Finally dismissing it, he fell back into a deep slumber whereupon he began to dream again. He dreamed of a wheat stalk with seven bunches of ripe, healthy grain upon it. Then the King saw a stalk of wheat with seven bunches of dried up, sickly grain which promptly devoured the healthy wheat stalk. Again the startled King woke up and as the night passed he grew more disturbed and worried by his odd dreams.
The next day, the King suffered from a lingering feeling of unease so he gathered his advisors and told them of his dreams. Unable to explain the meaning of the dreams, the advisors dismissed them as meaningless. Just then, the King's wine bearer spoke up boldly and told the king of a man he had known who could easily and correctly interpret his dreams for him. So the King sent his wine bearer to Yusuf to see how he would interpret his dream.
The wine bearer went to see Yusuf in prison and told him of the King's dreams. Selflessly, Yusuf explained the meaning of the King's dream without asking his old friend for anything in return. The wine bearer listened intently to Yusuf's explanation and his advice, then hurried back to the King.
The wine bearer triumphantly told the King that his dreams meant that there would be seven years of rich harvests followed by seven years of poor, almost non-existent, harvests. Then the wine bearer passed on Yusuf's sage advice to the King that he hoard the harvests from the good years, except what was needed for immediate consumption, in order to tide his people over during the years of lean harvests. Once the King heard this wise advice in addition to the adept interpretation of his dreams, he ordered that Yusuf be freed and made one of his closest advisors. However, when Yusuf was told he was to be released from prison, he refused to leave until his innocence had been proven and his good name had been cleared. The King's messenger returned to the King and told him of the prisoner's strange behavior.
Without delay, the King ordered that those who had accused Yusuf be brought before him. When the people involved were questioned, the wife of the minister spoke up bravely and told the truth of what had occurred. She explained that she had pursued Yusuf but was saved from dishonor by Yusuf's respectful and steadfast refusals. Yusuf , she said, was innocent of all the charges brought against him and she was guilty of having pursued him and nothing more.
The King heard everyone out, then sent for Yusuf once more and told him that on that day, he had been cleared of any and all wrongdoing and his innocence was now known to all. He was also now a man of consequence to the King and could ask for whatever he wanted and would not be refused. Satisfied, Yusuf finally left his prison of so many years and stood before the King. When the King again told him to ask for whatever he wanted, Yusuf asked to be appointed the minister in charge of the precious food stores, a poistion the King was only too glad to grant this wise young man.
Just so did Yusuf go from being an imprisoned slave to being one of the most powerful and influential men in the nation. Furthermore, this position was instrumental in bringing Yusuf back into contact with his family and paved the road to the final fulfillment of the strange dream he had had as a boy, so many years 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