10. The Ethos Of Prophet Jacob


Prophet Jacob is the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. His mother is Rafaqah, the daughter of Betoeel, the brother of Abraham. He married his cousin, Laeeya who gave birth to many children. After the death of Laeeya, he married her sister, Raheel (Racchel). Joseph and Benjamin were of her children.

According to Imam Baqer he used to live in Kanan. But he left it for Egypt where he passed away and his body was returned to Kanan. In a hadith narrated by Imam Sadeq it is mentioned that Jacob was born with his twin brother Aees and he was called Jacob because he was born after Aees. Jacob is the same as Israel meaning servant of Allah.

According to Nasekh At-Tawarikh, Jacob passed away 3630 years after the fall of Adam and when Joseph was burying his father, the body of his brother, Isa who had died on the day Jacob had passed away was brought from Rome and buried near Jacob.

He Recommends Keeping Secrets

"O my son! Do not relate your vision to your brothers, lest they devise a plan against you; surely the Shaitan is an open enemy to man." (12:5)

قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تَقْصُصْ رُؤْيَاكَ عَلَىٰ إِخْوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُوا لَكَ كَيْدًا ۖ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ

His Hospitality

If has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq that Prophet Jacob had a herald who heralded every day from Ja’qub’s house up to a distance of six kilometers: “O people! Whoever wants to have lunch should come to Ja’qub’s house” and when evening came, he heralded: “O people! Whoever wants to have dinner should come to Ja’qub’s house.”

عَنْ أَبى عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ كَانَ لَهُ مُنادٍ يُنَادِي كُلَّ غَداةٍ مِنْ مَنْزِلِهِ إِلى فَرْسَخٍ: الا مَنْ أَرَادَ الْغَداءَ فَلْيَأْتِ إِلى مَنْزِلِ يَعْقُوبُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ.

Jacob And The Good News

It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq that an Arab bedouin came to Joseph to buy provision from him. When he did so, Joseph asked: Where is your house? He said: In such and such place. Joseph said: When you pass by such and such desert, stop for a while and cry loud: O Yaqub! O Yaqub! Then a graceful handsome man will come and answer you. Tell him: In Egypt I saw a man. He sends regards to you and says: Your trust is with God and that he has not been killed.

When the Arab bedouin reached that place, he told his servants to look after his camels and then cried: O Yaqub! O Yaqub! At this time, a handsome tall strong blind man came out groping against the wall and approached him. The bedouin said: Are you Yaqub? He said: Yes. Then the bedouin conveyed his message, telling him what Joseph had said.

Hearing this, Yaqub became unconscious and fell on the ground. After some time he came to and said: O bedouin! Do you want to pray to God for your needs? He said: Yes, I am wealthy and married to my cousin but she has not given birth to any child yet. I want you to pray to God to give me a child.

Yaqub performed ablution and a two-Rakat prayer invoking God to give the man a child. Yaqub’s prayer was answered and the woman gave birth to twins for four or six times.

عَنْ أَبي عَبْدِ اللَّه عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: قَدِمَ إِعْرَابِيٌّ عَلى يُوسُفَ لِيَشْتَرِيَ مِنْهُ طَعامًا فَبَاعَهُ، فَلَمّا فَرَغَ قَالَ لَهُ يُوسُفُ: أَيْنَ مَنْزِلُكَ؟ قَالَ لَهُ: بِمَوْضِعٍ كَذا وَكَذا، قَالَ فَقَالَ لَهُ: إِذا مَرَرْتَ بِوَادي كَذا وَكَذا فَقِفْ فَنَادِ: يَا يَعْقُوبُ يَا يَعْقُوبُ، فَإِنَّهُ سَيَخْرُجُ إِلَيْكَ رَجُلٌ عَظيمٌ جَمِيلٌ وَسِيمٌ، فَقُلْ لَهُ: لَقِيتُ رَجُلا بِمِصْرَ وَهُوَ يُقْرِؤُكَ السَّلامَ وَيَقُولُ لَكَ: إِنَّ وَدِيعَتكَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَنْ تَضيع، قَالَ: فَمَضَى الأَعْرَابِيُّ حَتّى انْتَهى إِلى مَوْضِعٍ فَقَالَ لِغِلْمَانِهِ: احْفَظُوا عَلَيَّ الإِبِلَ، ثُمَّ نَادي: يَا يَعْقُوبُ يَا يَعْقُوبُ.

فَخَرَجَ إِلَيْهِ رَجُلٌ أَعْمَى، طَويلٌ، جَسيمُ، جَميلٌ يَتَّقِي الْحَائِطَ بِيَدِه حَتَّى أَقْبَلَ فَقَالَ لَهُ الرَّجُلُ: أَنْتَ يَعْقُوبُ؟ قَالَ نَعَمْ، فَأَبْلَغَهُ مَا قَالَ لَهُ يُوسُفُ فَسَقَطَ مَغْشِيًّا عَلَيْهِ، ثُمَّ أَفَاقَ: وَقَالَ لِلأَعْرابِيِّ: يا أَعرابِيُّ أَلَكَ حَاجَةٌ إِلى اللَّهِ تَعَالى؟ فَقَالَ لَهُ: نَعَمْ إِنِّي رَجُلٌ كَثِيرُ الْمَالِ وَلِي ابْنَةُ عَمٍّ لَمْ يُولَدُ لِي مِنْهَا وَأُحِبُّ أَنْ تَدْعُوا اللَّهَ يَرْزُقَني وَلَدًا، فَتَوَضَّأَ يَعْقُوبُ وَصَلّى رَكْعَتَيْن ثُمَّ دَعا اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَرُزِقَ أَرْبَعَةُ بُطُونٍ، أَوْ قَالَ: سِتَّةُ بُطُونٍ في كُلِّ بَطْنٍ اثْنَان فَكَانَ يَعْقُوبُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّ يُوسُفَ حَيٌّ لَمْ يَمُتْ.

His Letter To Save A Prisoner

Jacob wrote a letter to Joseph which read:

From Yaqub son of Ishaq, sacrifice of Allah, son of Ibrahim, the friend of Allah to the king of Egypt,

But next: We are a household constantly prone to tribulation. My grandfather, Ibrahim afflicted with tribulation. He was thrown into fire. My father, Ishaq was afflicted with being sacrificed. I had a son being the apple of my eyes, whose sight made me happy. He was devoured by a wolf. I wept over him so much that my eyes went blind. He had a brother who made me glad after him but you took him for a thief whereas we are a household never committing theft. nor being known as thieves. Do me a favor by setting free my son whom you have taken as a thief.

كَتَبَ يَعْقُوبُ النَّبِيُّ إِلى يُوسُفَ: مِنْ يَعْقُوبُ ابْنِ إِسْحاقَ ذَبيحِ اللَّهِ ابْنَ إِبْرَاهيمَ خَليلِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ إِلى عَزيزِ مِصْرَ:

أَمَّا بَعْدُ فَإِنَّا أَهْلُ بَيْتٍ لَمْ يَزَلْ الْبَلاءُ سَريعًا إِلَيْنَا، ابْتُليَ إِبْراهيمُ جَدّي فَأُلْقِيَ في النَّارِ، ثُمَّ ابْتُليَ أَبِي إِسْحَاقُ بِالذِّبْحِ فَكَانَ لِي ابْنٌ وَكَانَ قُرَّةَ عَيْنٍ وَكُنْتُ أَسَرُّ بِه فَابْتَلَيْتُ بِأَنْ أَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ فَذَهَبَ بَصَري حُزْنًا عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْبُكاءِ، وَكَانَ لَهُ أَخٌ وَكُنْتُ أُسَرُّ بِهِ بَعْدَهُ فَأَخَذْتَهُ في سَرَقٍ، وَأَنّا أَهْلُ بَيْتٍ لَمْ نَسْرِقُ قَطُّ وَلا نَعْرِفُ بِالسَّرَقِ، فَانْ رَأَيْتُ أَنْ تَمُنَّ عَلَيَّ بِهِ فَعَلْتَ.

When the letter reached Joseph, he opened it and by reading the letter, he yelled, went inside and started weeping. Then Joseph washed his face, came out and read the letter once again. He yelled, wept and went inside and wept again. Then Joseph washed his face, came out and read the letter once again. He yelled, wept and went inside and wept again. The he washed his face and returned to his brothers saying: Do you know how you treated Yusuf and his brother when you were ignorant? Then he gave them his shirt which was that of Abraham. When the caravan departed from Egypt with the shirt of Joseph, Jacob said: I perceive Joseph’s scent unless you pronounce me to be weak in judgment. They said: By Allah, you are most surely in your old error!

قَالَ فَلَمّا أُتِيَ يُوسُفَ بِالْكِتَابِ فَتَحَهُ وَقَرأَهُ ثُمَّ قَامَ فَدَخَلَ مَنْزِلَهُ فَقَرَأَ وَبَكى ثُمَّ غَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ إِلى إِخْوَتِهِ، ثُمَّ عَادَ فَقَرَاهُ فَصَاحَ وَبَكى، ثُمَّ قَامَ فَدَخَلَ مَنْزِلَهُ فَقَرَأَ وَبَكى ،ثُمَّ غَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ وَعَادَ إِلى إِخْوَتِهِ، فَقَالَ هَلْ عَلِمْتُمْ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ بِيُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ إِذَا أَنْتُمْ جَاهِلُونَ وَأَعْطَاهُمْ قَمِيصَهُ وَهُوَ قَمِيصُ إِبْراهيمُ، وَكَانَ يَعْقُوبُ بِالرَّمْلَةِ، فَلَمّا فَصَلُوا بِالْقَميصِ مِنْ مِصْرَ قَالَ يَعْقُوبُ:(إِنّي لأَجِدُ رِيحَ يُوسُفَ لَوْلا أَنْ تُفَنِّدُونَ . قَالُوا تَاللّهِ إِنَّكَ لَفِي ضَلالِكَ الْقَديمِ.

His Assistance

Isaac said to Jacob: God has appointed you as Prophet and your sons as Prophets. He has placed in you good and blessing. And he ordered him to go to a place in Damascus by the name of Fadan. When he reached that place, he saw a girl standing at a well intending to water a sheep. On top of the well, there was a stone which could only be removed by a number of men. Jacob said: Who are you? She said: I am the daughter of Laban who was Jacob’s uncle. Jacob removed the stone immediately, helped the girl and watered that sheep. Then, he went to his uncle and sought her hand in marriage Laban accepted and Jacob married her.

إِنَّ إِسْحاقَ قَالَ لِيَعْقُوبَ: إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ جَعَلَكَ نَبِيًّا، وَجَعَلَ وُلْدِكَ أَنْبِياءَ، وَجَعَلَ الْخَيْرَ وَالْبَرَكَةَ، وَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَسيرَ إِلى الْفَدَّان، وَهُوَ مَوْضِعٌ بِالشّامِ، فَسَارَ إِلى الْفَدّانَ.

فَلَمّا دَخَلَها رَأَى امْرَأَةً مَعَها غَنَمٌ عَلَى الْبِئْرِ تُريدُ أَنْ تَسْقي غَنَمَها وَعَلى رَأْسِ الْبِئرِ حَجَرٌ لا يَرْفَعُهُ إِلا عِدَّةُ رِجَالٍ، فَسَأَلها: مَنْ هِيَ ؟ فَقَالَتْ أَنَا بِنْتُ لابَانُ، وَكانَ لابَانُ خَالَ يَعْقُوبَ، فَزَحْزَحَ يَعْقُوبُ الْحَجَرَ وَسَقى لَها وَسَارَ إِلى خَالِه، فَزَوَّجَهُ إِيّاها.

During His Separation From Joseph

[When Joseph’s brothers asked their father to send Joseph with them and Jacob permitted]

When it was morning, Joseph wore his clothes, fastened his belt tight took his staff in his hand and left home together with his brethren. Jacob too poured Joseph’s provision in the same bowl in which Abraham poured Isaac’s provision. When Jacob went to see off his children, they said: O Prophet of God! Go back. Jacob said: O sons! I advise you to piety (guard against evil) and to my beloved, Joseph. I beseech you by God to feed Joseph when hungry and water him when thirsty. Keep on safe-guarding him. Do not abject him. Be merciful and graceful to him. They said: O our father! We are all your sons and he too is our brother but since you love him he is more beloved than we are.

Jacob said: Yes, my sons! God is my witness over you. While I fear you might harm him. Then he came to Joseph, embraced him, drew him closely to his chest, kissed him between the eyes saying: I entrust you to God. Then he went back home.

فَلَمّا أَصْبَحَ يُوسُفُ لَبِسَ ثِيابَهُ وَشَدَّ عَلَيْهِ مِنْطَقَتَهُ وَاخَذَّ قَضِيبَهُ وَخَرَجَ مَعَ إِخْوَتِهِ ثُمَّ عَمَدَ يَعْقُوبُ إِلى السَّلَّةِ الَّتِي حَمَلَ فِيهَا إِبْراهيمُ زَادَ إِسْحاقَ فَحَمَلَ فِيها زَادًا لِيُوسُفَ وَخَرَجَ لِيُشَيِّعَهُمْ فَقَالوا يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ ارْجِعْ.

فَقَالَ يَعْقُوبُ يا بني أُوصِيكُمْ بِتَقْوَى اللَّهِ وَبِحَبِيبي يُوسُفَ، أَسْأَلُكُمْ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ جَاعَ فَأَطْعِمُوهُ وَإِنْ عَطَشَ فَاسْقُوهُ وَقُومُوا عَلَيْهِ وَلا تَتَّبِعُوهُ وَلا تَخْذُلُوهُ وَكُونُوا مُتَواصِلِينَ مُتَراحِمِينَ، قَالُوا نَعَمْ يا أَبَانَا كُلُّنا لَكَ وَلَدٌ وَهُوَ أَخُونا كَأَحَدِنا بَلْ لَهُ الْفَضلُ عَلَيْنَا بِحُبِّكَ إِيّاهُ فَقَالَ: نَعَمْ يَا بَنِيَّ، اللَّهُ خَليفَتي عَلَيْكُمْ مَعَ أَنّي خَائِفٌ أَنْ أَكُونَ قَدْ ضَيَّعْتَهُ.

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُ أَقْبَلَ عَلى يُوسُفَ فَالْتَزَمَهُ وَضَمَّهُ إِلى صَدْرِهِ وَقَبَّلَ عَيْنَيهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَسْتَوْدِعُكَ اللَّهُ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَانْصَرَفَ رَاجِعًا.

His Grief

When Jacob heard the news about Joseph from his sons, he turned his face from them saying: Woe to me for separation from my dear Yusuf. He wept so much that his eyes went blind and the grief of separation agonized his heart. Jacob’s sons said to him: By God, you will repeat Yusuf’s name so many times that you will get sick because of separation or you will die. Jacob said to his sons:

"I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know." (12:86)

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Religion As Seen By Him

It has been reported that Jacob asked the messenger who brought the good news on Joseph’s being alive: How is Yusuf? The messenger said: He is the king of Egypt and master of that territory. Jacob said: What am I to do with his kingdom and territory? In what religion did you find him? The man said: In Islam, then Jacob said: Now the favor has been completed.

وَرَوِيَ أَنَّ يَعْقُوبَ قَالَ لِلْبَشِيرِ لَمّا أَخْبَرَهُ بِحَياةِ يُوسُفَ كَيْفَ يُوسُفُ؟ قَالَ لَهُ إِنَّهُ مَلِكُ مِصْرَ، فَقَالَ يَعْقُوبُ: مَا أَصْنَعُ بِالْمُلْكِ؟ عَلى أَيّ دِينٍ تَرَكْتَهُ؟ قَالَ عَلى دِينِ الإِسْلامِ، فَقَالَ يَعْقُوبُ الآنَ تَمَّتِ النِّعْمَةُ.

His Fears Of Joseph Losing His Faith

When Jacob and Joseph met, they embraced each other and started weeping. Then Joseph said: O father! You have wept over me so much that you have gone blind. Don’t you know that we are gathered on the Day of Judgment when we will meet? Jacob said: Yes, my son! I knew this but I feared you might lose your faith and we will be separated on the Day of Judgment.

لَمّا الْتَقى يَعْقُوبُ وَيُوسُفُ عَلَيْهِما السَّلامُ عَانَقَ كُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا صَاحِبَهُ وَبَكِيا فَقَالَ يُوسُفُ يَا أَبَتِ بَكَيْتَ عَلَيَّ حَتَّى ذَهَبَ بَصَرُكَ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْقِيامَةَ تَجْمَعُنَا؟

فَقَالَ بَلَى يَا بُنَيَّ وَلَكِنْ خَشَيْتُ أَنْ تَسْلُبَ دِينُكَ فَيُحالَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكَ يَوْمَ الْقِيامَةِ.

His Advice To His Sons In The Bed Of Death

Being at the point of death, Jacob called his sons saying: What will you worship after me? They said: Your God, and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim, Ismail, and Ishaq. Then he said: O my sons! Truly God has chosen your religion. Die only as a Muslim.

فَلَمّا احْتَضَرَ جَمَعَ بَيْنَ بَنِيه وَقَالَ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ بَعْدي قَالُوا؟ نَعْبُدُ إِلَهَكَ وَإِلهُ آبَائِكَ إِبْراهيمُ وَإِسْمَاعيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ، ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفى لَكُمُ الدّينَ فَلا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ.

In The Service Of Baytul-Muqaddas

He was the first to enter it and the last to leave it. He used to light the candles there in.

إِنَّ يَعْقُوبَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ كَانَ يَخْدِمُ بَيْتَ الْمُقَدَّسِ وَكانَ أَوَّلُ مَنْ يَدْخُلُ وَآخِرُ مَنْ يَخْرُجُ وَكَانَ يَسْرُجُ الْقَنَاديلَ.