The many struggles of Yusuf (Peace be upon him)
The Egyptian who bought Yusuf ﷺ from the caravan gave him a position of responsibility in his household. As Yusuf ﷺ grew to full manhood he became extremely handsome and the wife of his master fell hopelessly in love with him. One day, when she was alone in a room with him, she approached him with sinful intentions. As he attempted to flee from the room to avoid her advances, she grabbed his shirt from behind and tore it.
At the door of the room they ran into the master of the household, who demanded to know what was happening. The wife accused Yusuf of chasing her and Yusuf denied it. One of the members of the household suggested a way to determine who was telling the truth. If Yusuf’s ﷺ shirt was torn in the front, then the wife had been resisting Yusuf ﷺ. But if the shirt were torn in the back, then the wife had been pursuing Yusuf ﷺ. Since the shirt had been torn from behind, Yusuf ﷺ was shown to be telling the truth.
The master told him to take no further notice of the matter, and he reprimanded his wife for having done something wrong.
Despite the husband’s attempt to hush up the whole affair, gossip was soon spreading throughout the city that the wife had fallen in love with her servant. When she heard the malicious talk, the wife invited all the women of the town to a meal and gave each of them a knife to use. She then called Yusuf ﷺ into the room. All the women were so overcome by the sight of the handsome young man that they cut their hands with the knives which they held. In this way the mistress of the house showed them why she had sought Yusuf ﷺ and she vowed that if he did not yield to her wishes she would have him imprisoned.
Yusuf ﷺ was an upright young man, and with the help of Allah ﷻ he had been able to resist the advances of any woman. But he realized the weakness of his human nature and he knew that if so many women were pursuing him, he might very well yield to temptation. And so he prayed to Allah ﷻ that he would rather be imprisoned
than accept any of their invitations, but he needed Allah’s ﷻ help to turn away their attentions. And Allah ﷻ heard his plea and turned their attentions from him.
But the men of the city, although acknowledging Yusuf’s ﷺ innocence, feared the commotion which his presence caused, and thus decided to have him imprisoned. There Yusuf ﷺ remained for several years.
Two other young men entered the prison at about the same time as Yusuf ﷺ. While in prison each of the two men had a dream. One dreamed that he was pressing grapes; the other that he was carrying bread on his head from which the birds were eating. Each was puzzled about the meaning of his dream, and asked Yusuf ﷺ if he could interpret it.
Yusuf ﷺ promised to interpret their dreams before their next meal was brought to them, but while he had their attention, he took advantage of the opportunity to perform some da’wah. He told them about the supremacy of Allah ﷻ and about belief in the Hereafter. He told them about the futility of worshipping gods other than Allah ﷻ. He told them of the right religion about which many people do not know.
Only after he had given his message about Islam did he interpret the dreams. He said that the man who had dreamed that he was pressing grapes would be released and would be serving wine to his master, while the other man would be executed and the birds would eat from off his head. It happened as Yusuf ﷺ had foretold, and Yusuf ﷺ asked the man who was released to mention Yusuf ﷺ to his master, in order that Yusuf ﷺ might also be released. But the man forgot and Yusuf ﷺ stayed in prison for a few more years.
The king of Egypt then had a dream, in which he saw seven fat cattle being devoured by seven lean cattle. He also saw seven green ears of corn and seven withered ears. None of the chiefs in his court could interpret the dream for him. At this point the king’s servant, who had been Yusuf’s ﷺ cell mate, remembered Yusuf’s ﷺ ability to interpret the meaning of dreams. So he went to see Yusuf ﷺ to ask about the dream.
Yusuf ﷺ explained that for seven years the crops would be good, and that much of what had been harvested would be stored away. The seven good years would be followed by seven hard years in which most of what had been stored would be consumed. After that seven-year period of poor harvests, things would improve again.
When the king was told of this interpretation, he asked that Yusuf ﷺ be brought to him from the prison. But Yusuf ﷺ would not leave until his name had been cleared. The king summoned all the women and they told him that Yusuf ﷺ had done nothing wrong. The wife of the chief who had pursued Yusuf ﷺ confessed that it was she who had been at fault. When Yusuf ﷺ was released, he was relieved that everyone now knew that he had done nothing deceitful. And he was grateful to Allah ﷻ for forgiving any evil thoughts which he might have had.
The king called Yusuf ﷺ to him, and, after they had spoken together for some time, the king was so impressed that he wanted to bestow on Yusuf ﷺ a position of trust.
Yusuf suggested that he be placed in charge of all the storehouses in the land, for he felt confident of his ability to administer them wisely.
Thus Allah ﷻ rewarded Yusuf. He had risen from servant and prisoner to a very powerful position in the land of Egypt.
To be continued…(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)