Surah Yusuf (12) - The Best Of Stories 12/15

"Nahnu naqussu 'alayka ahsan al-qasasi bimaaa awhainaaa ilayka haadha al-Qur'an"(12:3) "We do relate unto thee [Muhammad] the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an".

A'udhu billahi, as-samee', al 'aleem, min al-shaytan al-la'een al-rajim. Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Al-hamdulillahi rabb il-'alameen, thumma as-salaat wa as-salaam 'ala sayyiddina Muhammad wa 'ala ahli baytihi at-tayyibeen at-tahireen. Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad. Dear viewers, salamun 'alaykum jamee'an wa rahmat Ullahi wa barakatuh.

Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in the Holy Qur'an, In the second chapter mentions: Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim Alif, Laam, Mim, dhaalika-l-kitaab la rayba fih, huda-l-lil muttaqin'(2:1-2). Talking about the Qur'an, as some say, Allah mentions that it is a book of guidance, but it is a book of guidance for those who are God-conscious. He has given the Qur'an for all of mankind, it is not simply to guide a specific group of people, so anyone who is conscious of God from the creation of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala can be guided by the Qur'an but one has to be conscious.

One has to be God-conscious, one has to know that God is watching over them, one has to know that they are in the presence of God. One has to know that they have a duty in this life to cleanse their souls in order to gain proximity to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. It is not Allah who is causing a 'hijaab' and bringing about a veil between Himself and us. It would be unfair of such a merciful Lord to place a third party veil between Himself and His most beloved creation.

At the end of the day, you and I are the most beloved to Allah from His creation because we are the only ones who He mentions about in the Qur'an, where He says- 'khalaqtuhu bi yadayy'(38:75) -'I created with My own two hands', obviously metaphorically, but no other time does Allah say about any other creation that He created it with His own two hands.

When you give that expression, you show that you love it so much, it is like your prototype. The prototype is the first thing you create by your hands, everything else is then created by machine, you took pain and effort. Obviously this does not occur to Allah, but for us to understand this shows that He loves us so much, we are the best of His creation. And anyone from mankind who is willing to be conscious about God, who wants to know God, who understands that there is a God who is watching over us and that we have a duty in this life.

We have not been created out of haste. (23:115) We have not really created simply for 'abatha'- for no particular reason. We have been created for a purpose there must be a purpose for our creation. Our bodies are so intricate, this world is so intricate, so many things are happening around us, so many creatures are eating and drinking at the same time, there are so many food chains that are present. There must be a reason for all of this very moment.

Where Imam Al-Husayn 'alayhi assalaam in Du'a 'Arafah thanks Allah for the creases on his foreheads, for the large intestine, for the small intestine, for the fingernails that we have. Have you ever wondered that without fingernails you and I would not be able to hold and grip anything? would not be able to pick things up? You would not have been able to write with a pen? Without eyebrows our sweat would have come to our eyes and burnt our eyes. All of these are intricacies of creation that Allah has created the human being with. There must be a reason. A reason cannot simply be to live 70, 80, 90 years and then pass away and disintegrate in the ground. There must be something greater.

Obviously, there must be a hereafter, a next life. We will be accountable for the actions that we did, accountable for the blessings that we took but never shared, accountable for the time that we had, but never used in the correct manner, the health that we had or we did not use it in the correct way. Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has given us this Book and requires that the believers contemplate on it so that they can understand from it.

In our last episode, we spoke about certain trials and tests that Yusuf was going through. (12:23-31) We looked at how Zulaykha tried to seduce him, we looked at how she failed and how he was innocent and how it was made clear that he was innocent. Thereafter, how she gathered the chief women of the town so that they, too, could bear witness as to how handsome Yusuf was that she was not to blame for falling in love with him.

They then after that, the women, the chief women also tried to attack Yusuf and finally he was given with two alternatives either to commit the actions they wanted or to accept to go to prison. (12:32) And he called out to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and he said, I prefer prison over what they are calling me to.(12:33) Not because of the action, understand that Yusuf is not making decisions because of the external factors, his decisions are based on where the pleasure of Allah lies. If the prison has the pleasure, then that is where I am going, and if the displeasure is in this action and that is what I am going to refrain away from.

We looked at how Yusuf was being played with trials and tests, not because Allah did not love him. One would think that you test somebody and you put them through difficult times when you do not love them, but that is through a very different perspective. Allow me to shine a different light on it.

An oft repeated anecdote about the caterpillar. There was a young child who was sitting in his lounge looking out of the doors into the garden, and he saw a caterpillar ascending a tree, weaving for itself a cocoon. And day after day, he would come and sit and he would look at how the caterpillar was struggling, how it was struggling to break free. And finally, months on end, he saw that the caterpillar finally is beginning to emerge from this cocoon and within a couple of days, it broke free and it was a beautiful butterfly and flew away.

The child, after a few days came back and he saw another caterpillar ascending another tree. This time he felt that he would assist in this process, he would assist in this test and in this trial and in this difficulty. So as soon as the caterpillar wove for itself a cocoon, the boy came out of the house into the garden and broke the cocoon open to help the caterpillar or the butterfly to fly away. But as he broke the cocoon, he finally found that there was this disfigured caterpillar, half caterpillar trying to form into a butterfly, an insect that now could not fly and could barely be distinguished from a caterpillar either.

The moral of this story is to understand that when Allah gives us test trials and tribulations, we have to see them through to the end. We have to be victorious and be patient with them, thank Allah for giving us the ability to get through it. Ask Allah to remove the test quickly, but not remove it in a sense that we are complaining of it, remove it in the sense that allow us to pass through it with flying colors. When we look at tests like this, we will realize that the only reason God gives us tests is because He wants to give us something great. He wants our capacity to increase so they can He can give us more of his gifts from His magnanimous and His great kingdom.

There is a beautiful mentioning of a story of Majnun and Laylah when it comes to tests. And this is how you can see Yusuf when Yusuf is put in prison he does not complain. When Yusuf was attacked, he never complained. When Yusuf was distanced from his father, he never complained. He never turned around to Allah and said Allah why me?

In actual fact, other prophets in the Qur'an have shown us how to speak to Allah when we were in tests. Ayyub for example, when he was taken by this immense test, his cattle were taken away from him and died overnight so his business went overnight, went into administration, as we may understand today, collapsed overnight. You find that his body began to get taken by an illness such that he had boils on his body, then began to emanate a stench from himself, worms were coming out from his body and his boils such that his own wife had to distance herself from him.

At that time when it was getting very difficult for Ayyub, Ayyub turns around to Allah and he says: 'anni massaniya-d-durr'(21:83)- 'Allah, evil has touched me'. And then what does he say? Did he say, why did you do it to me? Why me? Why could not you have chosen somebody else? Take it away from me? He says: 'anni massaniya-d-durr, wa anta arhama-r-Rahimin' (21:83) - 'And you are the most Merciful of the most Merciful ones.'I know that if You are in control of the situation, only good can be coming to me. It is not possible that Allah loves us so much, yet inflicts pain and difficulty on us but that that pain and difficulty is good for us, He would not have given it to us otherwise.

In the same manner, the story that I was going to mention about Layla and Majnun. Laylah had made soup, had cooked soup for the whole town, and everybody had come with the pots, Majnun was in line as well. Everybody came to the front one by one, and Laylah would pour soup into the pot and give it to the individual.

When it is Majnun's turn, Majnun came to the front and Laylah took his pot and smashed it on the ground. Majnun became ecstatic, he began to jump for joy, he began to be pleased, there was a smile on his face and the people of the town could not understand. They came and told him, What is wrong with you? You are running after this woman, you say that you love her, but she hates you, she gave all of us soup and she smashed your pot. How can you be smiling about this? What are you happy about? So Majnun turned around and he said it is because you have not understood. He said Majnun, Oh, people, listen to me, Laylah treated all of you equally she gave all of you soup. But she treated me differently she smashed my pot, she did not smash your pots, that shows that she looks at me with a different lens compared to how she looks at you.

In the same way, when we are put into tests and tribulations, we should look at the benefit and the positive in it. How can we get through it in the quickest fashion? Yes, but what is there to learn in this test and difficulty? You know, when the seventh Holy Imam was put in prison, he turned to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala wa Ta'ala he didn't complain. He didn't turn and say, Oh, Lord, why did you put me in prison? Instead, he turns to Allah and say, O Allah, you know that I used to ask You to make me free of all my responsibility so that I could spend time in Your worship and You have done just that. He took prison as being a time when he could worship Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

As Yusuf is now put into prison the actions of the ladies have gotten too much. The advisers, the Aziz, the kings have come together and they are saying that, yes, Yusuf is clean, but he is causing too much mischief. Because of his presence, too much, his presence, too much is happening in our kingdom, in our palace so they put him in prison.

Now that they put him in prison, look at the opportunity to Yusuf takes. He could have turned to God, he could have complained. But instead, he thanks God, obviously but he seizes the opportunity in prison to do what? To call people to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

He uses this time that when these two individuals also come to prison and they come and they see him and they see his face and they say that you are a man who, in our opinion, has been given gifts.Tell us about the interpretation of our dreams.(12:36) What does Yusuf do first? Does Yusuf interpret their dreams? Yusuf does something very important, first and foremost, he seizes the opportunity of speaking to them, to call them to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. We shall expand upon this in our next episode.

We ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala that when He test us with trials and tribulations, He should make us steadfast so that we do not complain to Him. We ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala that He makes it easy for us to pass through His test that He has given to us. We ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala to give us the wisdom to understand why He is testing us, in which manner and what He wants from us during this test.

The nights of Ramadan are passing away swiftly. These are the nights where you and I should remember Allah as much as possible, our tongues should become dry because of our remembrance of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Try and seize every opportunity at night, at school, at work, on the train, in the car to remember Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala for every remembrance in this month especially is amplified and the reward will be great in this life and the next.

Wa sall-Allahu 'ala Muhammad wa 'alaa ahli baytihi, at-tayyibeen, at-tahireen.