The Story of Prophet Yusuf (p) And Zulaikha – (2 Parts)

As Described in Holy Qur’an, Tafseer By Mir Ahmed Ali.  

Compiled By:  Samena Sabir, Vice President, Shia Youth, Inc. (MD)

Part  2

Zulaikha asked him to lie by her or to be with her. One day when there was no one in the house, she caught him by his garment saying, “Lie with me” and Yusuf let his torn garment in her hand and fled, and got outside the house. When master came, Zulaikha blamed Yusuf of assaulting her.


Yusuf Pleaded Not Guilty:

It was Zulaikha who made violent overtures and tried the worst to entangle Yusuf into a sinful act, but Yusuf who was wholly a pure, innocent and infallible, abstained himself. A witness bearing the witness refers to a miraculous event that when Yusuf pleaded that he was not guilty the Aziz asked “What is the proof?” Yusuf was inspired by God to point out to a baby 3 to 6 months old who was in the room. Aziz asked, “Hoe could the baby speak?”. Yusuf replied, “My God is omnipotent, thou only ask Him.” When asked by Aziz the baby in clear language declared aloud, “ O Aziz, if Yusuf’s shirt be torn from front, she(Zulaikha) speaks the truth and Yusuf is a liar, and if it is torn from the hind, Yusuf is true and she is a liar”. It had happened that when Zulaikha chased Yusuf he ran towards the door and she came running and held him holding his shirt from behind and the shirt was torn in the hind.
Zulaikha Invites Dignified Women To Meet Yusuf:

The imputation against Zulaikha’s conduct had spread almost in every house in the town. Zulaikha at last chose some of the dignified women and invited them to a feast with a fruit which needed to be cut with a knife. Zulaikha ordered Yusuf to enter the chamber and wish the ladies. When Yusuf did as commanded by his mistress, all the women were so stunned (of his beauty) and got so enchanted that instead of cutting the fruits they cut their own hands and did not know or even feel what they were doing. “Hasha lillah” is an exclamation of wonderful admiration seeking protection of God against getting beguiled to any wrong belief about any experience. It is reported that there were forty women of whom nine fell unconscious as they saw Yusuf.


Yusuf Imprisoned By The King:

When the women got hopeless of winning over Yusuf, they suggested Zulaikha to imprison Yusuf for a few days and subject him to the miseries therein so that he might then realize the value of the luxuries in the palace. Zulaikha readily accepted the suggestion, for that would make public know that it was Yusuf who was guilty and not she. Yusuf was enchained and taken through the streets of the town with an announcer announcing “Look ye!. This is the punishment for the attempt against the chastity against the wife of the “Aziz”, Zulaikha.  To know how Yusuf felt and whose help he sought, Zulaikha was in the guise of an ordinary spectator among the huge crowd witnessing the scene and heard every one in the street praising the beauty and the innocence of Yusuf and condemning her as an unchaste and crafty woman. Gabriel inspired Yusuf to cry out saying “ Getting imprisoned is far better than falling into displeasure of God and getting punished by the hell-fire”.  Zulaikha heard this cry and felt self condemned.  At last Yusuf was put into the prison.


Yusuf used to always weep in the prison remembering his old father. Two other persons (Saqi and Mahila) working in the palace were also imprisoned on the charge of attempting to poison the King (Aziz). Yusuf used to move very sympathetically among the prisoners, treating them very kindly and had been helping them by mending their worn-out clothes, and in other possible ways. Yusuf had a divine gift of interpreting dreams. The prisoners used to relate their dreams to Yusuf and seek the interpretations and so did (Saqi and Mahila) the two companions of Joseph.  Saqi had dreamt that he was drawing wine by squeezing the grapes, and Mahila had dreamt he was holding some bread in a bowl on his head and the birds were eating the bread away. Yusuf wanted to be quick in interpreting the dreams for there was death for one of them. He first preached Islam, the correct faith in God, and then interpreted the dreams.

 Companion Mahila Executed:

According to the interpretations, the two companions were summoned out of the prison and Mahila the cook, the charge against whom was proved, was executed, and the Saqi who was proved innocent and also faithful was released free and promoted into the service of the King. Before the prisoners were released Yusuf had desired them to remind King of his innocence. Yusuf was made to remain in the prison for a few more years. When Yusuf was informed of seeking help from King instead of seeking from God, he wept and prayed to God in tears. At last the prayers of Yusuf and his father Yaccob were heard, the period of imprisonment of Yusuf was brought to an end by a dream which the King was caused to have.

Yusuf Invited BY King To Interpret Dream:

When the great scholars who were experts in interpreting dreams got helpless against the confused nature of the dreams, the one of the fellow prisoners, Saqi requested permission to go to the prison and get the correct interpretation of the dream from Yusuf who had proved himself to be an expert interpreter of dreams. The King immediately consented. Saqi went into the prison and asked interpretation of the dream from Yusuf. Yusuf advises the ruling authority to hoard the surplus of the foodstuff for the unseen emergencies in the interest of the people and how to preserve it so it may not get rotten and useless. It is a lesson to the authorities to be always on guard against a possible famine which might overtake a country.


Zulaikha Makes Confession Yusuf Innocent:

When Saqi conveyed the interpretation to the King, the King got extremely pleased and wanted to hear the interpretation directly from the prisoner (Yusuf) and ordered to present the prisoner to him in person. When Zulaikha heard about Yusuf coming to the King, she made confession acknowledging the fault to be her own and declaring Yusuf as innocent.
Yusuf Achieves Most Honored Position:

Thus Yusuf became the dearest, the most honored and closest in position to the king, and was placed in-charge of the treasuries of the country.

Yusuf ordered that all people should start and carry on cultivation of food grains as much as they could. A huge grain store was built outside the town and all surplus food stuff were stored and secured. When the seven years of prosperity ended, the famine started by creating a violent appetite that people began to feel. When the whole land of Canaan got into grip of the famine, people flocked to the king to arrange for supply of grain. Yusuf arranged the sale of grains out of the storage in exchange of whatever assets (like cash, jewelry, animals, slaves, lands and wells etc.) they possessed. The ultimate result was that that nothing remained in Canan that did not become property of Joseph. Thus the whole land of Canaan was rendered enslaved to Yusuf which enabled
Prophet Yaccob (p) Permits Sons To Go To Egypt For Food Grain:

Yusuf to hold people in his grip to drive the people towards worship of One True God and live a godly life.

The region where Yusuf’s father Yaccob and his brothers lived was also affected by the famine. At last the sons of Yaccob approached him and said, “ Father, that the king of Egypt is reported to be very kind and a very charitable man, helping the famine-stricken people and hence we seek thy permission to go to Egypt and try there our luck and get some grain if possible”. Prophet Yaccob (p) permitted but kept Bin-Yameen, the brother of Yusuf with him. The party of the ten brothers entered Egypt and Yusuf recognized them, but they did not recognize Yusuf. Yusuf told them that supply of grains shall be according to the number of men that came, bring next time along with  them any one left behind.

Yusuf ordered the slaves to place the things which Yusuf’s brothers had paid as price of the wheat in their own bags without their knowledge, so that when after reaching their destination so that they would see that price of the grain had somehow been returned to them along with the supply and they would surely return.  Accordingly, the sons asked for permission to go and return the price. Yaccob permitted Bin-Yameen to also go to Egypt along with his brothers. Yaccob had given an advice to enter by different gates of the city because the other sons were also fair looking and if all of them entered through one and the same gate of the city, they might be affected by some evil eye. In spite of the caution taken, Bin-Yameen got separated and lost his way. Divine help at last guided him and he joined to his other brothers. They all entered the court of Yusuf and said they had brought with them their brother Bin-Yameen and they also wanted to return the price of the wheat which by some mistake had been left in the grains supplied to them.


Bin-Yameen Taken As A Slave:

Yusuf ordered for six trays of food for the brothers and desired that on each tray should sit the children of one and the same parents. On the five trays sat all the brothers, on the sixth tray Bin-Yameen was left alone standing with tears in his eyes. Yusuf asked the reasons for shedding tears. Bin-Yameen said that all others were one and the same parents and that he had been singled since losing his own brother Yusuf. Yusuf consoling Bin-Yameen said, “Grieve thou not, Come thou unto me, I shall be thy brother and join you in taking food from the tray.” Saying this Yusuf took Bin-Yameen into his own chamber and there he disclosed to him to who he actually was and informed him of the device by which he intended to detain him and let the other brothers go. Bin-Yameen told Yusuf that their father not trusting his brothers had sent him along with them, with a definite oath and if he did not return home, it might be unbearable for the old grief-stricken father. The valuable cup with which the supply of grain was measured was intentionally left in the bag of Bin-Yameen.  After a search Bin-Yameen was found guilty of stealing the cup and was detained to be a slave of the owner of the stolen property for one complete year.


Prophet Yaccob (p) Becomes Blind:

The brothers returned home without Bin-Yameen and told their father the entire story about Bin-Yameen taken as a slave for stealing a cup. Prophet Yacoob learning of losing another son began crying and weeping for several days which ultimately made him blind. He told them “O Children, Go back to Egypt and search for Yusuf and his brother Bin-Yameen.  All brothers went back to Egypt and after entering through the gates went to the Palace. Yusuf knew that brothers will come back soon. He asked them “do you remember what did you do to your brother during your journey when you were totally ignorant? The brothers were shocked and replied, “who are you and why are you asking this question?“  Yusuf replied, “ I am your brother Yusuf and this is my brother Bin-Yameen. They all put their heads down and said “verily Allah had preferred you above us.” Yusuf replied, I am not going to bring it up any more. Forget it. Consider it forgotten from today. He asked them to return to the Father along with Bin-Yameen. He gave them a shirt and asked them to take it to the father and touch it to his eyes and his sight will come back again. When they all reached home, their father said “I could smell, the smell of Yusuf. The brothers gave the garment (the shirt) and touched to his eyes, and his eye sight got restored. He said Didn’t I tell you, I knew from Allah that both my sons were alive and safe. The brothers asked, So you knew the person we were dealing with in Egypt turned out to be Yusuf:. The all surrendered and asked, ‘ oh Dad ask Allah to forgive us. The wolf did not eat Yusuf, we had thrown him into a well. We were wrong doers.  The father said, I am going to ask Allah to forgive you,  Allah is most Merciful.


  Prophet Yaccob (p) Visits Egypt To Meet Yusuf:

They all went to Egypt to meet Yusuf. Yusuf was also anxiously waiting for them. When Yusuf saw his Father, he grabbed him, hugged him. All his brothers prostrated including his father.That was a prostration of respect. Yusuf told his father remember once I had told you I had a dream of eleven planets, sun and moon prostrating to me”. The eleven planets are the eleven sons, the sun and moon were father and perhaps sister Dunya. Yusuf took all of them to the palace, and put his father next to him on the throne.

Note:  Any one who did not receive Part 1, please email your request for a copy to: [email protected].



Imam Ali (a.s.) Said: The  time wears our bodies, renews (our) desires, brings death nearer, and takes away aspirations.
Whoever is successful with it encounters grief and whoever misses its favors also undergoes hardships.

(Nahjul Balagha, Quote #72)