Lesson 8 - Thrown in a Well - Tafseer Surah Yusuf - Asim Khan

December 10, 2017 | Author: Redbridge Islamic Centre | Category: Quran, Monotheistic Religions, Islamic Theology, Religious Belief And Doctrine, Abrahamic Religions
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Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 We have reached the point where Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was sold in the slave market in Egypt, and Allah told us about the person who bought him and also a bit about his wife as well. That was, if you like, the end of one stage – that stage where he was a boy, the waarid that found him in the well said ya bushra haaza ghulam, identifying him as a young child. So as a young child, that is what he had to go through. Now the next stage is when he is at a different age. He is not much older than he was. But with that new age came a new trial as well, and this is the trial of seduction, a trial of temptation as well, and Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬talked to us about this particular fitnah that took place in his life where he was seduced or when the lady of Aziz tried to seduce him. Remember here that Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬ended the previous passage by informing us that He has established Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬on this earth and in order to serve a purpose, and that purpose was in order to teach him the interpretation of dreams, or the interpretation of revelation and the prophetic ways. So that is now the end of that chapter.

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


َ ُ َ‫َولَّ َما َبلَ َغ أ‬ ‫ِين‬ َ ‫ك َنجْ ِزي ْالمُحْ سِ ن‬ َ ِ‫ش َّدهُ آ َت ْي َناهُ ح ُْكمًا َوعِ ْلمًا َو َكذل‬ •22. And then when he became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgement too. That is how We reward all doers of good. This part of Surat Yusuf is a very unique passage in the Qur’an. It speaks about temptation, it speaks about shahwah, about sexual desire, and the scene as well is a little explicit. And with regard to that, Ibn Taymiyyah said those people that have a bit of a disease in their heart, sometimes we find that they like to read this portion of the Qur’an, or to have it recited, in order to capture the ‘ishq, this fantasizing over a loved one. Many a time, that is not the husband, not the wife – it is someone haraam. And some people, he said, it was a practice happening at that time, or maybe even before that time that people liked to listen to this passage of the Qur’an for a not so good reason, and in order to almost to entice them and to think about having temptation for a particular person that they shouldn’t be having. And so he said that those types of people should be reading from Juz ‘Amma about an-Naar. The passage is a very unique passage in the Qur’an. Before the story is mentioned as to what happens, this ayah is brought.

ُ َ‫( أ‬his ashuddh), then Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬gave him 2 things. What 2 things did ‫( َولَّمَا‬and when) َ‫( َبلَغ‬he reached) ُ‫ش َّده‬ He give him? ‫( ُح ْكمًا‬prophecy – so at this age, Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬now becomes a prophet. According to most scholars, this is what ‫ ُح ْكمًا‬means) and ‫( ِع ْلمًا‬that Allah granted him knowledge – and some scholars say that this means knowledge of religion, fiqh of the deen. Others said it is more general, just that He gave him abundance of knowledge, he became very, very knowledgeable).

ُ َ‫ أ‬this is how Allah defined his age (8 views) ُ‫ش َّد ُه‬

What age was this, that Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬had now reached? Even before that, look how the ayah began - ‫ َولَّمَا‬. Ibn ‘Ashur said this lamma indicates tarteeb, which means sequence –that this is now another stage from the stages of his life. So the first thing we are told is that he reached a particular age. And the way that age is ُ َ‫( أ‬his ashuddh). There are 8 opinions as to what this age was. Ibn al-Jawzee described, is َ‫( َبلَغ‬he reached) ُ‫ش َّده‬ mentions all of those 8 opinions, however, what it seems like this is now the age where he has reached full strength as a man. And that full strength as a man is reached when you reach your late teens. They say shabb, for example is like a teenager. What is interesting is that this ayah is coming just before the story of temptation. So Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬is mentioning that before I tell you the temptation that came to him, think about his age. What age was he? Was he really old, that if he saw an attractive woman, he would say, I am too old anyway. Or is it so young, he is not really sure, he doesn’t really have the hormones to be attracted, or is it somewhere in the middle, or is it at the peak? One of the tabi’een Ash-Sha’bi ‫ رحمه هللا‬said that this is his buloogh (when he reached his puberty, but not just when he reached his puberty, but when it kicked in fully, when hormones are at a peak, full capacity as a man).


Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative


ُ‫ آتَ ْينَا ُه‬new stage comes with new gifts. Why? When that happened, Allah gave him 2 things: prophecy and knowledge. Prophecy was said by using the word ‫ ُح ْكمًا‬. Ibn ‘Ashur said that the word ‫ ُح ْكمًا‬carries 2 meanings: 1. 2.

Hikmah (wisdom) Qadhaa (being able to make good decision, judge). Which is quite interesting, because He is just going to tell us about him having to make a tough decision in that house with that woman.

But before He gave him or put him into that trial, Allah gave him 2 things, hikmah and knowledge.

HUKM first and then ‘ILM

Which one came first, knowledge or wisdom? ‫ ُح ْكمًا‬represents prophecy. Prophecy is much more significant than knowledge. But linguistically speaking, it means, or can refer to wisdom, then wisdom is being brought before knowledge. Why is wisdom being brought before knowledge? Isn’t knowledge enough? What does wisdom give that knowledge doesn’t? The ability to use the knowledge in its proper place is wisdom. So Allah gave him the complete package – wisdom and knowledge. Someone may be very knowledgeable, but when he speaks, he doesn’t say the right thing. So he needs the wisdom as well as the knowledge. And if you have both together, at the highest level, then for sure, you have reached a perfection. Allah gave him hukm and ‘ilm.

َ َ‫ك َنجْ ِزي ا ْلمُحْ سِ نِين‬ َ ِ‫َو َكذل‬ (and that is the way We reward the good-doers). The first part of the ayah spoke specifically about Yusuf ‫عليه‬ ‫ السالم‬but this second part is not just speaking about him, it is speaking about any person who does good. It is more general, broader. So what kind of message is that giving us? You don’t have to be a prophet of Allah in order for Allah to gift you something of knowledge and wisdom. It encourages us all. Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬has just shown some ihsaan (excellence) in something. If we think Allah gave all this and it is only for Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬, then it is not really right. In fact, He is ready to give these things to anyone who shows ihsaan. What thing did Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬show excellence in just before this? He showed excellence in sabr. He was thrown into the bottom of the well, thrown into slavery, and no moaning, no whining, no whinging, he is just having sabr. So he has shown ihsaan in his sabr. Building on top of that, thinking about when this was revealed to the Prophet ‫ﷺ‬, which is towards the end of the Makkan era, where life had become really tough, what kind of message is that sending to the Prophet

‫ ?ﷺ‬Ibn al-Jawzee mentioned that this is sending a message to the Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬that just around the corner there is going to be ease. Just as Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was tried, don’t worry, your jaza is coming, and then things will start to turn for the better. If this was revealed in the 10th year of prophecy, how many years after did they actually make hijrah, become an Islamic state and start to conquer Arabia? 3 years. 10 years have already gone by, 3 more years, and things are going to start to develop and take on another stage.

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


‘ILM is not enough to be a leader The other thing it shows us is that in order to be a very effective leader, which is what Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬will eventually be, 2 qualities are key – wisdom and knowledge.

Ibn Taymiyyah commented on the last part

َ َ‫ك َنجْ ِزي ا ْلمُحْ سِ نِين‬ َ ِ‫َو َكذل‬ Ibn Taymiyyah: This shows that Allah will give the light, knowledge, and wisdom to any Muhsin

It is like a general message given to anyone that if you excel for Allah’s sake, Allah is ready to grant you things, gifts.

Key Lesson A Believer’s Life Should Be In Stages [Sh. Haytham] There is one key lesson which we should learn from the life of Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬which is that the life of a believer should be in stages. Shaykh Haytham gave Imam Asim this advice. Imam Asim was thinking of doing a big project. And he wasn’t sure if he should do it or not, because it would mean a lot of change in his life. He asked Shaykh Haytham what he thought. Shaykh Haytham said, the life of a believer should be in stages. And what Imam Asim understood is, don’t live in your comfort zone. Just because you become comfortable doing certain things, you become very good at them, it is very easy to say I am just going to do these things now. I don’t want to move out of my comfort zone, because that is uncomfortable and difficult. On the contrary, the life of a believer should be in stages. And the next stage should be one of greater closeness to Allah, more worship, more knowledge; every good thing should be increased. And so a person should think about his life. Just like Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬is going to go from stage to another, that is symbolic of how the life of a believer should be - from one stage to another. It is not just the fact that years are going on by. The fact is that you need to assess your relationship with Allah and you should to be thinking one Ramadan to another Ramadan, how was my life better? How has it changed? Have I reached another stage in my life?

My Reflections


Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative


ْ َ‫اب َو َقال‬ َ ‫ت َهي‬ ‫ْت‬ ِ ‫َو َر َاودَ ْت ُه الَّتِي ه َُو فِي َب ْي ِت َها َعنْ َن ْفسِ ِه َو َغلَّ َق‬ َ ‫ت ْاْلَب َْو‬ َّ ‫اي إِ َّن ُه ََل ُي ْف ِل ُح‬ ‫ُون‬ ِ ‫ك َقا َل َم َعا َذ‬ َ ‫الظالِم‬ َ ‫هللا إِ َّن ُه َربِّي أَحْ َس َن َم ْث َو‬ َ َ‫ل‬ •23. The woman whose house it was solicited him. She barred the doors and said, ‘Come over here!’ He said, ‘Allah is my refuge! He is my lord and has been good to me with where I live. Those who do wrong will surely not succeed.’ Now the scene cuts to this particular scenario which is very, very interesting the way Allah described it.


‫َورَ َاو َد ْت ُه الَّتِي ه َُو فِي َب ْيتِهَا َعنْ َن ْفسِ ِه‬

The woman whose house it was solicited him. What does that mean? A more simpler translation is, the woman in whose house he was tried to seduce him. But look how it is mentioned. The word ‫ َورَ َاو َد ْت ُه‬was used. Raawada is a very interesting word. Shawkaani says it has 2 roots. One is Rawd and the other is Raada. 

As for rawd, the meaning is to seek something by way of showing kindness or gentleness. She (she is his master and he is her slave) is trying to seduce him. And how is she doing that? She is trying to be kind and gentle towards him, basically showing him kindness in order to try and tempt him.

However, the other root word, raada has a different connotation. Raada means to go back and forth. So from raada you get raawada. Raawada is very similar to another word which we know, which is iraada. Iraada is very similar to raawada, isn’t it? Iraada means to intend. What do you do when you intend? You think about doing something. Raawada is to get somebody else to decide as you decide. They have an iraada, you have an iraada. Raawada is to try and get their iraada to be like your iraada. And it also has a connotation of trying over time. So this word, so rich, we are being told that the case was that Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was being harassed by this lady for a long time. And not just this one occasion. And she was trying hard to make him like her. She wanted him. But he didn’t want her. Because his iraada was different to her iraada. But she was trying to get his iraada to be like hers. That’s why it is mentioned ‫ َعنْ َن ْفسِ ِه‬from his own soul, meaning he has his own iraada, she is trying to take that away and make it like her iraada.

In the middle of that statement, we are told there is one thing we should know – ‫ ه َُو فِي َب ْي ِتهَا‬he was inside her home. And who is “her” exactly? Has she been mentioned already? Was she referred to before this and after this? Imra’at ul-Aziz, the wife of Aziz. Here, Allah did not mention Imra’at ul-Aziz, rather the ayah says allati. Why? Because when you say “she” was trying to seduce him, instead of saying the Lady of Aziz was trying to seduce him, it has this element of distancing yourself from her. So it is a bit rude. Allah is showing ib’aad, distancing us from her, as if to show she is despicable, no one even mention her by name. What do we learn by the fact that the ayah mentions she tries to seduce him and he is in her house? What extra meaning does this give us? She is the one in control, it is her house. Consider the example of when you do something silly and your parent says, as long as youre living under my roof, you’re not going to be doing that. So extending it to this situation, it is her house. He has to follow her rules. He is living in her house, so he should Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


really comply with everything. Is he living as a guest? He is living as a slave. So Allah is showing us how difficult the situation is. First of all, she is trying for a while. And he is inside her home as a slave. And it is her home. And on top of that, َ‫ت ْاْلَب َْواب‬ ِ ‫ َو َغلَّ َق‬she locks all the doors. How many doors are there? It doesn’t say ghallaqatil baab, it says ghallaqatil abwaab. The plural. There are many doors. Which house has many doors? A mansion. A castle. This is a massive castle. A big palace.

‫ َغلَّقَت‬not ‫ َغلَقَت‬or ‫ > أغلقت‬many locks and locking them tightly Ghallaqat, instead of saying aghlaqat or ghalaqat. Ghalaqat and aghlaqat mean locked. What does ghallaqa give us that the other 2 dont? Ghallaqa gives us 2 extra meanings. It means that 1. she locked all of the doors, every single one of them, and 2. locked them properly. She locked all of them. There is no way out.

‫ك‬ َ ‫ َهيْتَ َل‬Hayta, most of the scholars say it means ta’al, halum, means come here. Come here. Now she is giving him an order. Who is he? Her slave. What do slaves usually do when there is an order? Obey. That is their job. So she is giving him an order, hayta, come here. Lak, meaning, who am I saying come here to? You! Hayta lak is an uncommon Arabic expression and it carries with it a flirtatious meaning, and it also carries with it a lewd meaning as well. It is a lewd type of speech that she is using. Hayta lak, she is commanding him, come over here.

ُ‫ص َدرُ ِمي ِمي‬ ْ ‫َم َعا َُذ َم‬

At that, Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬has got nowhere to go. She has given him a point blank instruction, come here. What does he do? He says, ِ‫ َمعَا َذ هللا‬loosely translated as I seek refuge in Allah. However, it is different to saying ‫اعوذ‬ ‫ باهلل‬which means I seek refuge in Allah. So what does ‫هللا‬ ِ ‫ َمعَا َذ‬mean? Ibn ‘Ashur says, ‫ َمعَا َذ‬is what is known as ٌّ‫ِمي ِمي‬ ٌّ‫ َمصْ دَر‬masdar meemi. What that means is you are asking Allah to give you a place of refuge. He is not saying Allah I seek refuge in You, here, right now, where I am. O Allah, get me out of here! Some place other than this! Some place of refuge with You O Allah! It is quie amazing. He is a prophet of Allah. You would think that a prophet of Allah would be quite confident in this situation. Its okay, I’ve got it under control. No problem. The one thing he says is get me out of here! ‫ سبحان هللا‬A prophet of Allah in that situation is saying, Allah get me out of here, please. Anywhere but here. A safe place away from here.

Double-meanings Indeed, my master has made my mathwa (place of stay) very good. What is he referring to? Who is his master who has made his place of stay very nice and hospitable and been very generous to him? Aziz is the rabb here, or does he mean somebody else? Allah! Both opinions are there. Yusuf speaking says, I can’t do this. ‫ إِ َّن ُه‬he. Who he? ‫ رَ بِّي‬My master has made my place here so good. How could I do such a thing? Ibn Taymiyyah says the more accurate of the 2 views is the master Aziz himself. She is in his face. She is after ُ ‫ والع‬get him to do zina. What does he say to her? How can I do this when him. She wants to seduce him, ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ my master, yeah your husband, has been so good to me? I can’t do that! How can I do that to him? If you say the Aziz is the rabb, then what he says next also follows, which is 98

Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan َّ ‫إِ َّن ُه ََل ُي ْفلِ ُح‬ َ‫الظالِ ُمون‬ meaning the Aziz won’t let the oppressive person succeed, he is not going to let it go. However, what seems to be the case is that he is using double meaning. He has got this woman in front of him. She is a mushrikah. She is following the religion of the people and they are all mushriks. We will find this out later on. So she doesn’t have belief in Allah. So when he reasons with her, he is not going to say fear Allah, he is going to say something which makes sense to her. What is going to make sense to her? We are talking about her husband. What are you doing? What about your husband? Back off. What is your husband going to think about this? Your husband, my master. I can’t do this. When he says my master, he can mean both things. He can mean my rabb, ultimately is Allah who gave it all to me, through the Aziz. But what will she understand? The husband. Ibn ‘Ashur mentions about like this anyway, but later on when Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬comes up with his very ingenious plan to get the the brothers to bring the rest of the family back to Egypt, what does he do? He takes Binyameen to one side, says look, I’ve got a plan, we are going to take the king’s cup, put it in your sack. Then we’re going to say that somebody stole. We are going to take it out, and it is going to be you, we are going to keep you here, and you know the plan. However, what do the brothers say when they find, to their shock and horror that little old Binyameen has been thieving? They say to Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬thinking that he is the Aziz, don’t take him, take one of us instead, why? Becaue he has gone old, dad and this is basically going to finish him off. What does Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬say in his response? He says how can we take in his place other than the one upon whom we found the cup? He never said except the one who stole it, when in reality that is what they framed him as. He says, except the one we found it on. Because if he said the one who stole it, that’s a bit of a lie, isn’t it? He didn’t steal it. So he is using words of double meaning there. So he is saying the one on whom we found it, but they think except the one who stole it. It seems like the same thing is here. The reason Imam Asim is suggesting this is because, how could a prophet of Allah say I am not going to do a sin because this person is going to get offended. Surely a prophet of Allah would only refrain from doing something because Allah would become displeased. And of course, Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬is doing it for that reason. But the question how do we understand the words if that is the case? The way we understand the words is double meaning. So again, Allah will never let the oppressor succeed. And again, when he says Allah won’t let the oppressor succeed, why is he referring to that type of person as a zaalim? Why is he referring to the zaani and the zaaniyah as zaalimoon? Why didn’t he say Allah won’t let the adulterer succeed? Why did he say Allah won’t let the oppresser succeed? She is married. Her husband has rights over her, and one of the main rights is that she is not unfaithful to him. So if she does this act, she is doing zulm to him. And the same can be said about Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬. If a person in that position, a slave, was to do that act, then he would have been doing zulm to his master. So it is a very accurate word to use in this place.

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


Activity How was this fitnah (temptation) compounded and made worse for Yusuf ‫?عليه السالم‬

From these ayaat and a bit background from the previous part of the story, how is Allah showing us that this fitnah was no ordinary fitnah, in fact it was very difficult. It was compounded by many other factors. 1.

His age already means he will find it extra difficult because he is at the peak of his manhood.


It is inside her house, so she has got control.


The whole palace is locked.


He is her slave, he is not a free man.


She is not an ordinary woman, she is from the political class, rich and famous, the celebrities, the sought after, with qualities that any many would seek and from that worldly perspective, out of his league.


She is talking to him in a flirtatious way.


They were alone at the time of the incident. There was khalwah.


It wasn’t the first time; she had been trying for a while.


He is a foreigner. He is living in Egypt, he is from Palestine. His family is in Palestine. Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned this point.

10. He is not married. He doesn’t have a wife with whom he could fulfill his desires. He has no other way to fulfill his desires. 11. When Aziz brought him home he said to his wife, we should treat him well, he may become a good slave, or we may be able to take him as a son. Why did he mention taking him as a son. Aziz wasn’t able to fulfill her desires. So she has a husband but he cannot satisfy her desires. What we are being taught here is that this wasn’t an ordinary temptation, it was an extraordinary temptation. Not just an ordinary one. And then we are being told that a prophet of Allah is going to experience that. Why? To show us that if we ever came to a situation like this or even close to it, think about who came before you, Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬and how he dealt with it, and don’t say my situation is so bad because it was never as bad as that situation. It is amazing how this story is unravelling itself.


Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative


Key Lessons Zinā Only Occurs in Khalwa

ُ ‫ والع‬may Allah save us from it, it happens most often in khalwah. In fact, most of the time it happens Zina ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ in this khalwah. What is khawah? It is translated as seclusion. And without getting into too much detail, this sin of having illicit relations with an unrelated person has its circumstances. Certain things come together which lead to this final act, one of them, for example is consent, another one is the time and place. The desires might be there, there might be consent, but if people are around, they might not be able to. However, when people are alone, when a man and woman are alone, then this is that key situation where this sin can happen. And that is what that situation of khalwah is to be avoided. People always ask, how do you define khalwah? The shariah never defined khalwah in the first place. Allah and His prophet never defined that this is seclusion. By defining it, you restrict the meaning. And moreover, khalwah is actually about avoiding the spirit. What do you mean avoid the spirit? We are being told to avoid situations that are khalwah, and that might be khalwah for you, but not for the next person. For example, one of Imam Asim’s teachers said, it was in Sudan and he was on a train. He got into one of the back carriages and the train was so crowded and he wanted to find a seat. And the only seat he found was in one small carriage where there was a lady. So he entered the carriage, and he sat down, and he said, this lady, I am not attracted to her at all, this is not khalwah for me. Then he thought, what about for her? So by defining it, that it is like this and not like this, then the spirit is lost, and that is that don’t be in the time of privacy with an unrelated woman. Once you are, then that situation of khalwah can arise. And one of the most dangerous things about that situation is that it can lead to zina. And ‫ سبحان هللا‬this is a huge problem that is happening in our community at the moment. For example, ruqyah is a big thing. And one of the ills that are coming out of that is that these raaqis, usually brothers, end up falling into zina with people they are treating. How comes? When Imam Asim was in Egypt, there was a sister who was possessed. They called a raaqi. The raaqi would come and he said this will take time. So he said he would come every night. He used to come with a brother and one night the brother couldn’t come. And he was there by himself, treating the sister, reading Qur’an. But then he said we need to do hijamah (cupping). This is a practice in ruqyah. But how could he do hijamah on a sister? He should have asked a sister to do that. And the hijamah was being done on her belly. When Imam Asim found out, he called his teacher and the teacher approached the person and said this is not allowed. And they got into an argument over it. There are cases of zina being brought to the shariah council. There are sisters being taken advantage of by these raaqis. They say they need to do the treatment in a hotel room. The sister is already vulnerable, possessed by a jinn, not thinking straight. They go to a hotel room and fall into zina. And this is happening in a religious perspective, imagine outside of a religious context. Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was forced into a situation where he was alone with her. However, what did he ask Allah for in that situation? He asked Allah ma’az Allah, take me out of this situation, take me out of this khalwah with this lady. So from this we learn the dangers of khalwah.

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


Sabr is Essentially Two Types [al-Sa’di] Sabr is of 2 types. This was mentioned by Imam as-Sa’di ‫رحمه هللا‬. In this situation, Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬showed sabr. Before this, he also showed sabr. When it came to his brothers throwing him in a well, being sold into slavery, he showed sabr. But this type of sabr was different. What was the main difference? Imam As-Sa’di said that sabr is of 2 types, ibtiraari and ikhtiyaari. Ibtiraari means that you have no choice except to have sabr. Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was thrown into a well and he didn’t have a choice. Have sabr in that situation. Don’t resist, and don’t become agitated, anxious, worried and the rest of it, rather, try to exercise patience. The situation however is ibtiraari meaning you have no control and you have no way out. This situation is different. It is ikhriyaari. You could resist, or you could go along with it. You have got the ُ ‫ والع‬or he could choose to have sabr in this situation and hold back. choice. He could keel to the pressure ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ So this is another type of patience. Which one is more rewarded for by Allah? Ibn Taymiyyah spoke about this as well, that this is essentially more rewarded for by Allah because of the element of choice, whereas in the previous time they don’t have the element of choice.

Don’t Rely on Yourself, Be Suspicious of Yourself [al-Sa’di] This lesson is coming because Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬when he was tempted, immediately he turns to Allah and says ma’aaz Allah, get me out of here. I seek a place of refuge with You away from here. And that’s expressive of a man who says, I can’t handle this situation by myself, I need You, Allah. Allah I need You to help me in this situation. I am not relying on myself. Whom did he ask for? Immediately he asked upon Allah. This is a prophet of Allah saying, I don’t trust myself, I need You, O Allah, in this situation. What then about us? Don’t you see that we do this sometimes where we put ourselves in a situation sometimes where there is temptation? But then we think we can handle it. How can you say it is okay? Take guidance from the prophet of Allah, Yusuf ‫عليه‬ ‫السالم‬.

A Persons Achieves Perfection by Controlling His Desires [Rashīd Rida] Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬here is being tested in a very, very tough way. And it is all about desire. When he or any man is able to control his desires, then he develops and perfects his character. When a person is in control of his desires, that is the state where he reaches perfection of his character. He is disciplined, his desires don’t overwhelm or control him, what he does rather is he controls his desires.

If You Have to Expose Be Discrete [Abu Hayyān] This is a very subtle point that Abu Hayyaan mentioned. Here Allah spoke about the sin of imra’at ul-Aziz, exposing her. But how did he expose her? He never mentioned her name. Allati huwa fi baytiha. He mentioned her as “her”, trying to omit her name. And this shows us that if a person tries to expose another person, then they should try to minimize of that person. For example if you found out two people are in a haraam relationship and he is in ISOC. He cannot be part of ISOC anymore because that’s not going to set a good 102

Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan example. It’s going to give the wrong message out because he is not qualified for this position. It means you have to expose him. So how do you expose him? Do you go into the maximum amount of detail as possible, or do you try to keep it on the minimum? Here, we are being taught a lesson. If you have to expose someone, say the minimum amount of detail. Only those details that really matter, and try to minimize the amount of exposure of that person. That is one of the other reasons why Allah omitted the name of the lady.

My Reflections When Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬was tempted by the glamorous lady his instinct was to think of Allah, ask Him for help and run in the opposite direction. Follow these 3 steps and you can be pure even when surrounded by temptation... #‎Fitnah #‎Purity #‎PropheticGuidance [Posted by Imam Asim Khan on Facebook, August 2, 2016]

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


َ ْ ‫َولَ َق ْد َهم‬ ‫ف َع ْن ُه‬ َ ‫ك لِ َنصْ ِر‬ َ ِ‫ان َر ِّب ِه َكذل‬ َ ‫َّت ِب ِه َو َه َّم ِب َها لَ ْو ََل أَنْ َرأَى بُرْ َه‬ ‫ين‬ َ ِ‫السُّو َء َو ْال َفحْ َشا َء إِ َّن ُه مِنْ عِ َبا ِد َنا ْالم ُْخلَص‬ •24. She wanted him and he would have wanted her, had he not seen the Clear Proof of his Lord. That happened so We might avert from him all evil and lust. He was Our chosen slave. Ibn Taymiyyah will discuss how do we understand the fact that Allah mentioned that Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬had hamm (desire) for the wife of Aziz. And he brings 7 points in order to clarify how do we understand this hamm. Because here, in this next ayah, ayah 24, indeed she had hamm for him and he had hamm for her. Her hamm is quite evident and clear. But he also had hamm for her. Had it not been that he saw the burhan of his master. What does it mean had he not seen the burhan of his Lord? This refers to his eemaan. Meaning, in the heart of Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬was an incredible amount of eemaan. Now that eemaan is something that he became very much aware of at the point where he was having desire for her. And because of that burhan, his eemaan, he left it. And that is the way Allah averted him from soo and fahsha. Indeed he was from the sincere/ chosen slaves. Allah is mentioning the temptation of fahsha, of shameful acts (zina). Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬had hamm for her and he remembered his eemaan and that overcame him, and because of that he was steered away, not just from fahsha, but from soo and fahsha. It would have been enough to mention fahsha, because fahsha refers to zina and that is what is happening here. Here it mentions soo, meaning sin and fahsha. Ibn Taymiyyah says that soo refers to ‘ishq (infatuation) and fahsha refers to zina. Then he said in a very nice way that how many times does somebody fantacize over another person but he ُ ‫ والع‬does zina with someone and he never gets to have zina with that person. And sometimes a person ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ has no desire for that person whatsoever. So both are things connected to zina – the infatuation as well as the act itself. Allah did not only save him from the act, but from the ‘ishq (infatuation) as well as the act. Allah came to his aid in the most complete way, saving him from both soo and fahsha. Ibn Taymiyyah mentions this is the reason why Allah saved him. Why did Allah save him? Because he was Allah’s slaves who is from mukhlaseen (chosen people), or in another qira’ah, mukhliseen5 (people that have ikhlas). But both meanings come together because if Allah were to choose certain people he would choose them because they have chosen Him. And whoever chooses Allah is a person with ikhlas. We learn that the reason why he was saved from such a tremendous trial essentially boils down to this one thing here - that he, at that moment, was thinking of Allah – either his fear of Him, or his love for Him. Either one of those things was preoccupying his mind it was overcoming his desire.

‫رويس عن‬, ‫ابن ذكوان عن ابن عامر‬, ‫هشام عن ابن عامر‬, ‫السوسي عن أبي عمرو‬, ‫دوري أبي عمرو‬, ‫قنبل عن ابن كثير‬, ‫البزي عن ابن كثير‬5 ‫روح عن يعقوب الحضرمي‬, ‫يعقوب الحضرمي‬ 104

Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative


LI-NASRIFA AN-HU AL-SOO not LI-NASRIFAHU AN AL-SOO Notice how Allah spoke about this, the ayah says anhu, that is the way We removed from him soo and fahsha. Allah did not mention and that is the way we removed him from soo and fahsha. There is subtle difference there. If the ayah mentioned removing him from the evil, it would give an address or portrayal of him as if he is the one going towards the evil, and We removed him. The other way is that evil is coming to him and We removed him from it. This way honours Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬far more than the other way.

What is the sin here? and why first? How come Allah mentions 2 things here? The sin being referred to in this scenario is that of zina, and in another way Allah refers to zina in the Qur’an is fahsha. Allah mentions We turned him away from soo and fahsha. Soo being something other than fahsha. Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned it was ‘ishq (infatuation). There is a precursor to this act. What is that precurdor usually? It is infatuation. A person first gets infatuated, then they pursue and then it leads to the shameful deed. Here we see he was saved so he never had infatuation towards her like she had towards him, and moreover, he didn’t do the deed either. Allah turned him away from both those things.

7 Point Analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah There is something problematic in the tafaseer that you come across and that is, how did the scholars explain the statement of Allah,

‫ت بِ ٌِّه َوهَ ٌَّّم بِهَا‬ ٌّْ ‫َولَقَ ٌّْد هَ َّم‬ The first part is easy – that she had hamm for him. She had desire for him. That’s obvious. Nothing problematic there. The problem is, “and he had hamm for her”. How do we understand this? There are 2 extremes people have gone to to try and explain this. This is how Ibn Taymiyyah approaches this. One extreme is to say, he never had any hamm. The way you read the ayah is, wa hamma biha law la... he would have had hamm for her had he not seen the burhan from his Lord. So he never had hamm. The reason they say that is because one cannot portray a prophet in that way, to say that he had hamm for a woman is something bad and we cant say that about a prophet of Allah.

ُ ‫ والع‬he The other extreme is far worse. The other extreme is that he not only had real desire for her, but ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ began to engage at some level. That is another extreme. Now Ibn Taymiyyah ‫ رحمه هللا‬analyses. 1. Where is the Tawbah of Yusuf ‫?عليه السالم‬ The first point he brings, is that ‫ سبحان هللا‬look here, Allah never mentioned the tawbah of Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬. Allah never mentioned that later on, after this, that Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬makes tawbah. After this, we see both made a run for the door, Aziz is there, his shirt is torn, and that shirt comes as a piece of evidence for him so that he was innocent. End of that chapter. Later on, the women even confess, it is true, he never did anything. ُ ‫ والع‬he undressed or engaged in However the hamm that was there, if you go for that interpretation that ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ foreplay, then that is a sin!

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


And the thing is, in the Qur’an, wherever the mistake of a prophet is mentioned, their tawbah is mentioned afterwards.

َ ‫ رَ َّب َنا‬Allah mentioned Aadam ‫عليه السالم‬. He made a mistake. َ‫ظلَ ْم َنآ اَ ْنفُ َس َنا َوإِنْ لَ ْم َت ْغفِرْ لَ َنا َو َترْ حَ ْم َنا لَ َن ُكو َننَّ مِنَ ا ْلخسِ ِرين‬ ُ ‫ك إِ ِّني ُك ْن‬ explicitly, and he said O Our Lord, we wronged ourselves. Younus ‫ عليه السالم‬said َ‫ت مِن‬ َ ‫َل إل َه إَل أنتَ ُس ْبحَ ا َن‬

ّ . Clear, explicit, I shouldn’t have done that, and I want you to forgive me. Moosa ‫عليه السالم‬, ‫َف َو َك َزهُ مُوسَى‬ َ‫الظالِ ِم ْين‬ ‫ َف َقضَى َعلَ ْي ِه‬. Moosa smacks the man and kits him so hard, he dies. It was a mistake, it wasn’t intended to kill, yet

he still struck him a blow. He made a mistake, what did he say? He asked Allah to forgive him. Every single time in the Qur’an a mistake of a prophet is mentioned, their tawbah follows. Even Dawood ‫ عليه السالم‬in Surah Saad. He bowed down to Allah and turned back in repentence. What about Yusuf ‫ ?عليه السالم‬His tawbah is not mentioned. What does that mean? It means he never committed a sin. That other interpretation is clearly wrong. Because, had he done anything of that nature, his tawbah would have definitely been mentioned.

2. HAMM of two types- khaṭarāt & iṣrār Then he goes into the word analysis – hamm, loosely translated as desire. He said, it has 2 meanings. Imam Ahmad ‫ رحمه هللا‬said this. It has 2 meanings, khataraat and israr. Khataraat refers to hamm without any action. So internally, somebody wants to do something, but he doesn’t do it. As for israr, somebody wants to, and he does it. So the word can take 2 similar meanings, but there is a difference between the 2.

4. His HAMM was clearly different from her HAMM And look, ‫سبحان هللا‬, does the ayah say they had hamm for one another, or does it say she had hamm and he had hamm? Separating between the 2 hamm. It is separated. As if to show her hamm is very different to his hamm. So he said that 1. There is a difference in the meaning and 2. If you look at the ayah, there is a separation of the hamm of the woman and the hamm of Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬, showing that they are different. Look at the hamm of the woman. Not only did she desire him, she spoke out her desire (qaalat hayta lak), she acted on the desire (ghallaqatil abwab) and then on top of that, she lied to Aziz (I didn’t do anything, he was the one who did it, he was the one trying it on me). On top of that, she tried to imprison him because of that. So her hamm is very different to the hamm of Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬.

3. He did have HAMM- and a real HAMM at that- but… Did Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬speak out the hamm? No he didn’t. Did he act on the hamm? no he didn’t. In fact, he did the opposite. And Ibn Taymiyyah said this is like the hadith of the Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, when he said that if somebody intends to do a good and he doesn’t do it, he getsd one reward. And if he 6 intends to do a good and he does it, he gets 10 to 700 fold. And then, ‫ َوإِ َذا َه َّم بِ َس ِّي َئة‬, if a person has hamm to do a 6

Sahih Muslim, 40 Hadith Nawawi, Riyad us Saaliheen, 40 Hadith Qudsi, Sahih Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Sahih Muslim, and others.


Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan sin but doesn’t do it, then a hasanah is written for him in that place. So the Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬mentioned the word hamm there. And he said the hamm was in fact the cause of reward. So what we are saying is that if Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬never had any hamm, he would have not got any reward. ‫سبحان‬ ‫ هللا‬Thats amazing. If we said he never had hamm, its kind of like saying he is a superman. Even in that situation, no desire whatsoever. The finest woman comes to him and says you know what, I am going to seduce you. And everything is geared towards him being seduced. And he still feels nothing. If we were to think that, and read it like that, would we have any connection with Yusuf ‫ ?عليه السالم‬We would think, that’s Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬, he doesn’t feel anything. If I were in that situation, it would be a different story. So it has become more humanized now. That Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬did have hamm, and he never acted upon it. So that is where he got reward. And that is how I can appreciate what happened to him because he wasn’t in that situation thinking it was a piece of cake. He was thinking this is difficult this temptation is getting to me, wa hamma biha. But then he chose to act on the contrary.

5. These narrations that speak of Yusuf AS undressing… ُ ‫ والع‬undressing, their source goes back not to Allah or the These narrations that speak of Yusuf ‫ِياذ باهلل عليه السالم‬ messenger of Allah ‫ﷺ‬. All of these narrations that you find in a lot of the books of tafseer, they don’t go back to the Qur’an not the tongue of the Prophet ‫ﷺ‬. They can be traced to narrations from the Jews. Jewish scriptures. And he said that Jews are known to be the worst liars when it comes to the prophets of Allah. And that is very true. Even up to today, people who have conversations with Rabbis about past prophets, then the only prophets they have reverence for are Moosa ‫ عليه السالم‬and Ibraheem ‫عليه السالم‬. But even when they speak about them, they say horrible things, fabricated things. They have no problem whatsoever in saying really questionable things about them. So those people are the ones that narrated this about Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬. How could you take those narrations and accept them?

6. The reality is that the fear of Allah can overpower one’s desire.. The reality is that the fear of Allah can overtake ones desire. Meaning, he said that Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬, Allah knew what was happening in his heart. He did feel the temptation. But at the same time, he overcame that temptation by thinking about Allah, and he had fear of Allah. Or he said that his love for Allah overcame and overpowered the feelings he had for the lady. He had some inclication, but that was overpowered by his love for Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬and Allah knew that and because of that Allah turned him away from that sin. It is amazing. And it shows us that this could be any one of us. We all have situations where there is temptation. Feeling the temptation is not a sin. Acting upon it is where the sin comes. But there is something in between. Fantacizing is another problem. There is a difference between having a desire and entertaining that desire. A person finds someone attractive. They looked once, and said, I find that person attractive, I shouldn’t be looking at that person. End of story. They controlled their desire. They got a reward. Another person looked, had a glance, attraction. I wonder what it would be like to go out with that person. I wonder what their personality is like. I wonder if they are like this. I wonder what job they have. Fantacizing. This is wrong. Sometimes, this can be a sin. Because we saw ‘ishq is called soo (a sin). Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


Ustadh Asim Khan


Like, for example, a brother comes and says I have homosexual tendencies. Many people would say, this is a fitnah for you, and as long as you don’t act on those, then khalas, this is your advice. However uncomfortable this is, or however despicable it is, the reality is someone would say, as long as you don’t act on it, its okay. However, is that really accurate? If that brother, for example has an attraction to the same gender, and he doesn’t just have that attraction, but he entertains that thought, and he thinks about it often, and he speaks about it, writes about it in his diary. He’s not acting on it. Is that right though? It’s not right. Though some thoughts are evil, and those types of thoughts are evil. And when they become sinful, is when you start to entertain those thoughts. And the Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬spoke about this in a hadith authentic. He said that my ummah will be overlooked for ‫ما‬

‫( حدثت به انفسها‬the passing thoughts that cross their mind) except when they speak about them or act on them7. That is when they become problematic. But look how the Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬spoke about it. He said hadith nafs. Hadith is just a passing thought, it comes and goes. If you go to the extent where you are thinking and fantacizing, then that’s a problem. So the advice to that brother is not just if you don’t act on it then you’re okay, the advice is, you need to control your thoughts. Don’t be thinking like that. Recognize that those thoughts are evil and you should not be thinking like this. You need to control it, not just so you don’t act on it, but you need to control the very thoughts themselves.

7. The ‘ILLAH of the SARF was IKHLAAS The ‘illah of the sarf. This is an amazing point. He said the reason why Allah’s sarf turned Yusuf ‫ عليه السالم‬away from this zina and these sins that were coming to him is because he was from the mukhliseen (the chosen ones/ the sincere ones). That is a very specific type of description to mention. Because he was from the sincere slaves, that is the reason why we saved him from zina. And he said that ‫ سبحان هللا‬Allah ‫ سبحانه وتعالى‬mentioned in Qur’an about shaytan. Shaytan said I am going to come to man and try to divert him. I will wait for him and try to whisper to him and misguide him. Except whom? Except those servants of yours that are mukhlis, that have ikhlas. Shaytan confesses himself that I have power over a lot of Your creation, except those people that have ikhlas. Those people I don’t have any control over. 8

And in fact, in Surah an-Nahl , ash-Shaytan declares who he has real control over as well.

َ‫إِ َّنمَا ُس ْل َطا ُن ُه َعلَى الَّذِينَ َي َت َولَّ ْو َن ُه َوالَّذِينَ هُم بِ ِه ُم ْش ِر ُكون‬ Shaytan has control over those who give him wilayah. Ibn Taymiyyah said the root of wilayah is mahabbah. Those who love those things that shaytan loves are the ones that shaytan has control over. So you yourself like ُ ‫ والع‬zina. You yourself like to do these shameful things. You love it yourself. Shaytan has control over this ‫ِياذ باهلل‬ person. You yourself have love of this sin, shaytan comes and he is able to control you. However, the one that he doesn’t have control over is the one, not who doesn’t have love for the sin… it is the one who has ikhlas. So the one he doesn’t have control over is not the one who doesn’t love the sin. It is the one who has ikhlas.

7 8

Sahih al-Bukhari, Sunan Abi Dawud, Sahih Muslim, and others. An-Nahl 16:100


Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24 | Sirat Initiative

[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan And this is telling us what ikhlas means here. A person may have desires for things which are wrong. But when the desires come to him, what overtake the desire? His love of Allah. If someone’s love of Allah takes over his desire and suppresses it, that person, in his heart, there and then, there is nothing save Allah. And a heart that has nothing save Allah is a heart that is sincere to Allah. That type of heart, shaytan has no control whatsoever.

MAJOR LESSONS Allāh Looks for the Mujāhada in Us And this leads us to the final point which is that all of this teaches us that what Allah looks for in us is mujaahadah. Strive and struggle. When Allah sees strive and struggle taking place in our hearts, that is what pleases Him, and that is what He rewards for. And that is why Allah mentioned the hamm of Yusuf. Because once we know that he was having desire, it shows us that he was struggling. And that struggle that he went through, is what pleased Allah. And what shows the greatness of Yusuf ‫عليه السالم‬. That even in such a difficult circumstance, he was able to overcome that fitnah. There are some ayat that show this as well. 9

َّ َّ‫حبُّونَ ۚ َومَا ُتنفِقُوا مِن َشيْ ء َفإِن‬ ‫هللاَ ِب ِه َعلِيم‬ ِ ‫لَن َت َنالُوا ا ْل ِبرَّ حَ َّتى ُتنفِقُوا ِممَّا ُت‬

You wil not attain al-birr up until you spend from that which you love. Allah knows we have love for this. And that is why, you are going to get somethng so great if you give it up in Allah’s cause. It is not because you have it. It is because of your love for it. That could be a hundred pounds to one person and a million pounds to somebody else. The fact is that you love it and then you give it up for Allah, that’s a struggle. The struggle is what Allah looks for. If you are able to struggle for His sake, that is where the reward lies. 10

‫َوآ َتى ا ْلمَا َل َعلَى ُح ِّب ِه‬

And he gives his wealth despite his love for it. 11

َّ َ‫َوي ُْط ِع ُمون‬ ‫الطعَا َم َعلَى ُح ِّب ِه مِسْ كِي ًنا َو َيتِيمًا َوأَسِ يرً ا‬

The Abrar feed others food despite their love of it. Meaning, it is difficult for them. But that is what Allah loves to see. The struggle. Not that a person is a superman, and doesn’t feel the desire at all, and not the one who gives in to his temptation and desire. But the one who struggles for His sake.

My Reflections


Aal-Imraan 3:92 Al-Baqarah 2:177 11 Al-Insaan 76:8 10

Sirat Initiative | Thrown in a Well | Lesson 8 – Ayaat 22-24


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