Yusuf - Prophecies and Revelations
Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…
Called Egypt where Yusuf , the new young minister in charge of the nation's food-stores, sat in his palace and reflected on the many events that had occurred since he had been exonerated and freed from his unjust imprisonment.
The King's disturbing dream, which Yusuf had correctly interpreted, had come true. The first seven years after Yusuf was set free had been years rich in harvest for the people of Egypt, everyone had prospered and done well. No doubt that was the reason so many people were not overly glad when Yusuf had collected the majority of the rich harvests and stored them away against the prophesied seven years of lean harvests. But when the eighth year of Yusuf's freedom had rolled around, the people of Egypt were horrified by the poor, almost non-existent, harvests. If not for the food-stores that Yusuf had gathered, many people would have starved to death that first year.
Now, despite continued bad harvests, the people of Egypt always had food on their tables, though they wisely ate sparingly of their precious food-stores. Many other nations did not fare so well, as a result every day brought more people pouring into the capitol city of Egypt, hoping to speak to the kindhearted minister and trade for some of the precious food that everyone else seemed to lack.
One such hungry group arrived and stood respectfully before the imposing young minister. They were a band of ten brothers who had traveled far, they said, to obtain some of the food they heard he was willing to trade at such surprisingly reasonable prices.
Yusuf was quiet for sometime as he looked over his half-brothers who had lowered him into a well and then sold him into slavery so many years ago. As they stood respectfully before him, not a one of them realized who he was. Yusuf wasn't sure if he was happy or sad that they had not recognized him, at least now he had no reason to fear them.
"Perhaps," Yusuf said quietly to his treacherous, and oblivious, half-brothers, "You are spies."
Startled, the brothers immediately denied the possibility, then added hoping to allay the suspicions of the famously devout minister, "We have come here from the land of Kan'aan and we are the sons of Yaqoub, a Prophet of God."
"Does he have other sons besides you?" Yusuf asked casually as his heart was filled with sadness and longing for his kind father.
"We used to be twelve," the brothers said carelessly, "but one of our brothers died in the wilderness, and he was the dearest son to our father's heart, and the other our father has kept with him for company."
Needing more time to think, Yusuf invited the band of brothers to stay as his guests and he made sure they were fed and treated as the most honored of guests.
Over the years, many people had successfully schemed against Yusuf and altered the course of his life for the worse. Now, Yusuf was determined to lay his own schemes and alter his life for the better. He wanted to reclaim his family and teach his treacherous brothers a lesson. Tomorrow, Yusuf promised himself, he would put his plans into action.
The very next morning, Yusuf had the band of brothers summoned before him. He spoke polite nothings to them and traded them a generous amount of grain in return for the goods they had brought with them. He then startled his brothers by saying, "Prove to me the truth of your claims. Go and fetch the brother you left behind with your father," then he added in softer tones, "If you do, I will give you whatever you want and ask nothing in return."
Puzzled by the suspicions and promises of the powerful young minister, Yusuf's brothers nevertheless promised to go home and fetch their younger brother. The idea of the minister sharing some of his wealth with them was a great motivator and they set off without delay. Little did they know that Yusuf had returned the goods they had traded away by hiding them in the brothers' packs. He hoped that if nothing else, they would return to either trade those same goods again or ask him about his strange behavior.
When the brothers reached home, they knew they would have a difficult time convincing their aging father to let them take their younger half-brother back with them. After the loss of Yusuf , Yaqoub watched over his son Binyameen as only a father who had lost one beloved son could. Just as the brothers expected, Yaqoub flatly refused to allow his elder sons to take Binyameen back to Egypt with them.
The ten brothers tried to cajole and guilt their father into letting them take Binyameen with them to Egypt but he steadfastly refused. He even reproached them with the loss of Yusuf , something he seldom did. The brothers showed their father the goods the mysterious young minister had returned to them in addition to the food that had been measured out for them according to their numbers.
"If we take Binyameen with us," the ten brothers said, exasperated by their father's unreasonable obstinacy, "we will be given even more food this time. Imagine what that could do for our family! We will keep Binyameen safe, father. Let him come with us!"
After many arguments and much discord, Yaqoub finally let his elder sons take Binyameen along with them. They had promised their father that they would all defend Binyameen with their lives, down to the last man, if any danger overtook them. As Yaqoub stood sadly by, the brothers eagerly prepared themselves for their journey.
"When you get to Egypt," Yaqoub said worriedly to his strong and handsome sons, "Enter the city through separate doors, you will draw less attention that way."
The brothers agreed impatiently and set off, leaving their father to mourn his separation from Binyameen, which only compounded his sadness for the loss of Yusuf .
When the brothers reached Egypt, they ignored their father's anxious admonitions and entered the city through a single gate. They then made straight for the palace and eagerly presented themselves, and their younger brother Binyameen, to the powerful young minister.
Yusuf welcomed the band of eleven brothers and invited them to stay at the palace again, lavishing them with gifts and food. While the brothers rested, Yusuf sent for Binyameen and spoke to him privately. He revealed to Binyameen that he was his missing-presumed-dead brother, Yusuf . Then Yusuf told his brother of the treachery of their elder half-brothers and spoke to him of his life, troubles and triumphs.
Binyameen was saddened and horrified by the heartless actions of his half-brothers. To distract him from his sad thoughts, Yusuf told Binyameen of his plans to reunite the family and teach his half-brothers a lesson. Binyameen listened gravely, then agreed to follow Yusuf's directions and help him carry out his plans.
Eventually, the time came for the brothers to pack away their new food-stores and make their way back home to their elderly and sorrowing father. Yusuf called one of his servants aside and again told him to secretly gain access to the brothers' luggage. However, this time Yusuf had his servant hide a valuable ornate bowl in Binyameen's personal packs.
Just before the brothers left the palace with their heavily burdened beasts, someone called out, "O' owners of those beasts! You are thieves!"
Startled and indignant, the brothers demanded to know what had gone missing. When they were told about the bowl they swore that none of them had come to rob anyone and that they were all innocent.
"What is the punishment if there is a liar amongst you?" demanded their accuser.
"His punishment will be that of all liars and thieves," the brothers confidently replied.
With suspicion clear on his face, the brothers' accuser began searching their packs. As it was, Binyameen's packs were the first searched and the bowl was quickly found. At first the ten brothers were dumbfounded, then they said carelessly, "If he has stolen, then his brother was also a thief."
Yusuf was angered by the way his half-brothers could so casually call him a thief, and what's more, use that to make it seem that Binyameen should be one, too. Nevertheless, he held his peace and informed his callus brothers that he would now hold Binyameen back, but they were free to go.
Upon hearing that the minister meant to keep their younger half-brother and not let him return to Yaqoub with them, the brothers immediately started arguing. They wheedled for mercy, they offered to trade, then out of desperation, they offered any one of them to be held in Binyameen's place. They could not, they told the unmoved young minister, return to their elderly, grieving father without their younger brother.
Yusuf, in turn, steadfastly refused all their offers. He would not accept an innocent man in place of a guilty one, he told the brothers indignantly, that would be unjust and he was not an unjust man. Nothing would do but that they go their way and leave Binyameen with him. After more arguing, the brothers were forced to accept the fact that the minister would not allow Binyameen to leave with them. So they left the palace with heavy hearts and stopped by the road to confer.
"Our father made us swear by God that we would bring Binyameen back to him. I will not leave this city without Binyameen!" said the brother who had suggested lowering Yusuf into the well instead of killing him. "Go home and tell our father what has happened and that there was no way we could save Binyameen from his own actions. Meanwhile, I will stay here and not return until I either have Binyameen or our father releases me from my oath."
Although eleven brothers had arrived in the city, only nine left it that day. They returned home and told their father what had transpired. Yaqoub was overcome by grief when he heard the news. He accused his sons of having schemed against Binyameen as they had schemed against Yusuf . Then day after day, Yaqoub grieved the loss of his three sons until his eyes turned white and he became blind. When that happened, Yaqoub declared with sorrow in his voice that he would put his troubles in God's hands and would have faith that God would return all three of his sons to him one day.
Made frantic by the depth of theirs father's grief, the nine brothers traveled far and wide seeking any news of the long missing Yusuf and they planned to return to Egypt to try once again to convince the minister to allow them to take Binyameen home. They wished to bring an end to their father's all consuming grief by returning all of his sons to him. Eventually the food the brothers had brought home from Egypt ran out and they decided to return to Egypt once again.
When they arrived they humbly asked the young minister for food in return for the low-quality goods they had brought to trade. They told the sympathetic minister of their poverty and the hunger and hardship they had endured and they spoke to him of the depth of their father's grief at the loss of his sons. Yusuf listened with growing distress to their description of his father's grieving and sorrow until the tears flowed freely from his eyes.
The nine brothers stood and watched the minister cry silently. He raised his eyes to them and then told them that they had finally found Yusuf . After some confusion, the brothers were both glad and afraid when they realized their missing brother stood before them. Fear however won out when they recalled just what they had done to him. Yusuf quickly soothed his half-brothers' fears, telling them that he forgave them and that he even had asked God to forgive them.
Yusuf then gave his brothers his shirt and told them to place the shirt over his father's face and that he would no longer be blind after that. Then he sent his brothers to bring his parents to him that the family may finally be reunited after so many years of separation.
Upon arriving home, the brothers were met at the door by their father who declared that he could smell Yusuf . Briefly the brothers felt a pang of jealousy, and complained of his love for Yusuf . Then the same brother who had presented Yusuf's shirt covered in lamb blood to their father, gently placed Yusuf's recently-worn shirt on his father's face.
Yaqoub clutched the shirt to his face and breathed in the long-remembered scent of his youngest son. Tears welled and ran down Yaqoub's face, washing away years of sorrow and leaving hope in their wake. Yusuf was alive, and soon Yaqoub would see him once again! Yes, see him he would! Yaqoub's eyesight had returned!
When Yusuf's brothers, and their families, and his parents arrived in Egypt, they went to the palace and were greeted by the King and all the nobles in addition to Yusuf himself. When Yusuf's parents and eleven brothers saw him seated there they all bowed down in awe.
Yusuf quickly raised up his family and said in a soft, emotional voice, "Father, this is the interpretation of my dream," referring to the dream he had had as a child when he dreamed of eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowing down before him, "God has made this come true and has been good to me by raising me up to this position and bringing you all to me from the wilds."
"God has also," Yusuf added reassuringly as he caught his father casting worried looks towards his ten eldest sons "brought all of us brothers together after satan tried to tear us apart."
Yaqoub was reassured by Yusuf's words. At long last, his sons were not jealous or scheming against one another, they were brothers and they were united, something he had prayed for for many, many years. It was all a dream come true indeed for Yaqoub .
*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