By: Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Delivered at Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
After the news of the whereabouts of Prophet Yusuf (a.s) was made known, in line with his further request, the whole family immediately prepared themselves to travel to Egypt to meet him.
Upon reaching Egypt and the point of actually meeting Prophet Yusuf (a.s), Verse 99 says:
فَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا عَلَي يُوسُفَ ءَاوَي إِلَيْهِ أَبَوَيْـهِ وَقَالَ ادْخُلُوا مِصْرَ إِن شَآءَ اللَّهُ ءَامِنِينَ
“And when they entered upon Yusuf, he took his parents to himself and said, “Enter Egypt, Allah willing, safe [and secure].”
In other words, Prophet Yusuf (a.s) immediately warmly embraced his parents when he saw them and offered them security which is opposite to what his brothers offered him when he was young.
The narrations state that Prophet Yusuf (a.s) actually went into the outskirts of Egypt to receive the caravan with his family and set up a special camp site to receive them.
MAKING SAJDA (PROSTRATION) FOR OTHER THAN ALLAH
Prophet Yusuf (a.s) shows an extraordinary amount of respect to his parents at this point when Verse 100 says:
وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَي الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّوا لَهُ سُجَّداً وَقَالَ يَآ أَبَتِ هَذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيايَ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبّي حَقّاً وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بِي إِذْ أَخْرَجَني مِنَ السّجْنِ وَجَآءَ بِكُم مّنَ الْبَدْوِ مِن بَعْدِ أَن نَّزَغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَينِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي إِنَّ رَبّي لَطِيفٌ لِمَا يَشَآءُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
“And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they bowed to him in prostration. And he said, “O my father, this is the explanation of my vision of before. My Lord has made it reality. And He was certainly good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you [here] from bedouin life after Satan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers. Indeed, my Lord is Subtle in what He wills. Indeed, it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.”
Prophet Yusuf (a.s) elevated his parents to his throne and at this point all of them fell into a position of sajda to him. And this is how the story concludes with the manifestation of the interpretation of his original dream when Prophet Yusuf (a.s) saw in his dream how the sun, moon and eleven stars prostrate to him! Now he witnessed his father, mother and eleven brothers making sajda to him.
How is it that the Quran narrates this story that thirteen people made sajda to other than Allah, which included a Prophet making sajda to another Prophet and all accepting this incident to be in order?
Commentators say that though this sajda is made to Prophet Yusuf (a.s), it was not made for him, but due to him. This was a sajda of shukr or thankfulness to Allah for having found Prophet Yusuf (a.s) who was lost, to be in such a high position and to be such a generous person. Furthermore it is indirectly showing honour to Prophet Yusuf (a.s).
Other commentators say sajda is haraam for anyone other than Allah with the intention that the person is your Lord. If it is a sajda of humility, then it is acceptable. However the use of the word “Harru sujjadaa” indicates that it was more than mere humility and thus this explanation is not plausible.
The manner of reprimanding his brothers was to indirectly say to them that satan was the cause, even though they accepted his invitation to sin out of their own free will. This manner of speaking indirectly was done to protect their dignity. Thus when siblings quarrel, one should be extra sensitive to protect us from satan’s influence. This idea should be extended to the relationships between brothers in faith too.
Furthermore, on the day of judgement, most people will try to blame satan for having misled them, but this argument will not be entertained as human beings have been granted free will. Allah will inform us that while satan was inviting us towards sin, Prophets and our intellect was inviting us towards doing good and we chose an evil destiny for ourselves by following satan.
The reference to entering Egypt in peace is reflective of the great blessings that Egypt enjoyed at the time being dependent on its security which is the foundation of progress and development in any society.
PRAYING FOR A GOOD ENDING
Prophet Yusuf (a.s)’s response to all this beauty is to immediately show gratitude to Allah reflecting upon the key blessings that he enjoyed. And this gratitude is further narrated in Verse 101 when Prophet Yusuf (a.s) prays for Allah’s blessing to extend until the end of his life into the next world. Though he has been granted with much power in this world, his only desire is to leave this world with a good ending and not to be deluded by his worldly achievements.
Verse 101 thus says:
رَبِّ قَدْ آتَيْتَنِي مِنَ الْمُلْكِ وَعَلَّمْتَنِي مِن تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ ۚ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَنتَ وَلِيِّي فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۖ تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ
“My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.”
Prophet Yusuf (a.s) was in a position of power, he emphasises the fact that he has been given knowledge which is the basis for having been successful in his position of power.
Though Prophet Yusuf (a.s) was in a position of power, he does not pray for prolonged power, but only prays for a good ending. In the kingdoms around us, we see their pseudo ulama praying for prolonging of the life of the king. But for Prophet Yusuf (a.s) it’s not important to die a king but to die with proper aqeedah as a Muslim.
In life we tend to go through phases when we sometimes pay little attention to our spirituality. The issue is that the state we leave this world in determines our everlasting after life. This is most important and thus Prophet Yusuf (a.s) prays for this and we should pray for this at all times. If we falter in our last days, we are doomed.
When the angel of death comes to us, satan also comes to try to misguide as until the last minute. Sometimes satan brings an image before us of something we used to love and threatens us that we going to lose that. So when we cling onto this, then satan gets us to deny Allah at our last moment. The moral then is that attachment to materialism might be the means to misguide us at the very end of our lives. If Prophet Yusuf (a.s) is concerned about this reality of how we leave the world, then surely it should be our focus too.
Furthermore, Prophet Yusuf (a.s) is not only keen on leaving this world as a Muslim, but in addition to leaving with the correct aqeeda, he wants to be attached to a group of people who are termed the “saaliheen” or “righteous ones.”
In Surah Fatiha, each day we pray for guidance to the “right path.” But it’s not a path on its own that we pray for, rather it is a path that is defined to be a path of a specific group of people and that it is “the path of those whom Thou has blessed.”
There is none more blessed than Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) for which Prophet Yusuf (a.s) is thus praying to be joined with this group of people.