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Sura 12
Aya 1

Chapter 12

JosephYūsuf ( يوسف )

111 verses • revealed at Meccan

»The surah that narrates the edifying and enthralling life experience of the noble prophet and interpreter of dreams, Joseph—son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham—calling it “the fairest of stories,” an inspirational triumph of morality and faith. “Yūsuf” is the Arabic for “Joseph”, whose well-known story is told in this surah. Even though the surah primarily deals with the story of Joseph, it is framed by a three-verse introduction about the Quran and a ten-verse epilogue about the Meccans” response, the punishment met by earlier disbelievers, and encouragement for the Prophet.«

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ

Muhammad Asad: In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace:

الر ۚ تِلكَ آياتُ الكِتابِ المُبينِ

Muhammad Asad

ACCORDING to all the authoritative sources, this surah was revealed in its entirety in Mecca, almost immediately after the preceding one. The contention of some of the early commentators that the first three verses were revealed at Medina is, in the words of Suyuti, "entirely baseless and cannot be seriously considered". The story of the Prophet Joseph, as narrated in the Qur'an, agrees in the main, but not completely, with the Biblical version (Genesis xxxvii and xxxix-xlvi); the more important differences between the two accounts are pointed out in my notes. But what distinguishes the Qur'anic treatment of the story in a deeper sense is its spiritual tenor: contrary to the Bible, in which the life of Joseph is presented as a romantic account of the envy to which his youthful innocence is first exposed, of the vicissitudes which he subsequently suffers, and, finally, of his worldly triumph over his brothers, the Qur'an uses it primarily as an illustration of God's unfathomable direction of men's affairs - an echo of the statement that "it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know'.' (2:216). The whole of this surah might be described as a series of variations on the theme "judgment [as to what is to happen] rests with none but God", explicitly enunciated only in verse 67, but running like an unspoken leitmotif throughout the story of Joseph.
Alif. Lam. Ra.1 THESE ARE MESSAGES of a revelation clear in itself and clearly showing the truth:2
  • See Appendix II.
  • The participial adjective mubin may denote an attribute of the noun which it qualifies ("clear", "manifest", "obvious", etc.) as well as its function ("making clear" or "manifesting", i.e., the truth), either of which meanings is dictated by its context. In the consensus of authoritative opinion, both these meanings are comprised in the above instance; consequently, a compound phrase is necessary in order to render the term appropriately.