The Prophets of Islam

The Prophets of Islam0%

The Prophets of Islam Author:
Publisher: www.al-huda.com
Category: Prophethood

The Prophets of Islam

Author: Sayyid Muhammad Hussain Shamsi
Publisher: www.al-huda.com
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The Prophets of Islam

The Prophets of Islam

Author:
Publisher: www.al-huda.com
English

PROPHET NUH

Nuh (Noah) was bom to Lamak in the tenth generation of Adam. He was a grand son of ldris. He preached oneness of Allah but the people turned to idolatory. They laughed at Nuh and ridiculed his preaching. They tortured him and his family. Their hearts had hardened and they had shut their ears to his words. Yet he remained patient and continued preaching. When he got tired about the obstinacy and hostility of his people towards him, his family and towards his teachings, he complained to Allah about them. Allah told Nuh that they had transgressed His limits and would meet His punishment which would serve as a lesson for generations to come. He told Nuh that he would send an enormous flood that will engulf and destroy all nonbelievers and their dwellings along with their false gods.

The Deluge

Allah instructed Nuh to build a large boat and bring on board all believers and a pair of each species of animals before He unleashed His floods. Nuh carried out the instructions of Allah, and started building an enormous ark. Since there were no sea or gulf but only a meager river, people laughed at him for constructing a boat of such large dimensions. Upon completion of his task, Nuh invited people to come on board, but they ridiculed him. The family of the prophet, three of his four sons and a handfull of true believers along with a pair of each species of animals boarded the ark.

No sooner Nuh entered the ark, thunderous rain started to pour from the heavens and springs burst from the bottom of the Earth. As the waters rose higher and higher, people climbed up the tallest trees and headed towards high grounds. The waters began to engulf these refuges too. Some people repented and wanted to board the ark, but alas it was too late. The ark had been sealed to protect against the down-pour and the turbulence of the roaring waters. The floods spread far and wide, covering the entire terrain, destroyed all except those who had believed in the prophet, and heeding his warning, had boarded with him.

It is said that the flooding lasted one hundred and fifty days. When the waters receded, the ark came to rest over Mount Ararat. The occupants of the ark came out and thanked the Lord for their miraculous survival. They then spread out to inhabit the Earth again with the blessings of their Lord.

Nuh is known as Noah in Torah. He lived for nine hundred and fifty years and left a large progeny after him. His eldest surviving son Yaffath (Japheth) went north west towards Europe and settled there. His descendents are known as the Japhetic race. His middle son Sam (Shem) remained with his father in the Middle East. His descendents are known as the Semetic race. The youngest son Ham went south west and settled in northern Africa. His descendents are called the Hemetic race.

References:

al Qur'an: Ale Imran, Anam, Aaraf, Yunus, @ud, Ibrahim, Bani Israel, Anmbiya@,Momenoon, Furqan, Shu'ra', Ankaboot, Zatiyat, Najam, Qamar, Hadeed, Tahreem, Haqah and Nuh.

PROPHET HUD

Prophet Hud was bom to Shaleh in the fifth generation from Nuh. He was appointed as the messenger from Allah to the people known as Aa'd. These people were a tall and sturdy race. They had abandoned the worship of Allah in favor of idols hewed from stone. Hud preached them the true path for salvation and reminded them of the benevolences that their Creator had bestowed them without their asking. But they refused to pay attention.

Hud warned them of the punishment Allah could unleash over them for their disobedience. They arrogantly rejected his warnings. They thought that no such punishment could ever come over them. They had forgotten the story of the terrible deluge that had come over the people of Nuh for their rejecting of the teachings of their prophet. At first they had to endure a total drought for three years. When Hud tried to ask for their subjugation, they taunted him: "Go ahead and do whatever you could, because we consider you only a fool."

When Allah saw those people 'paid no heed to His signs, a terrible storin overtook them for an overwhelming duration of eight days. There was an utter darkness, and debris flew in all directions. The whole nation of these arrogant people perished, and Hud and only a small group of believers were saved by the Grace and benevolence of Allah.

He is known as A'eeber or A'aber in Torah.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura: Aaraf, ]Lud, Ibrahim, Furqan, Shu'ra'. Ankaboot, Ha-Meem Sajdah, Ahqaf, Zatiyat, Najan, Qamar, Alhaqah and Fajar.

PROPHET SALEH

Saleh was bom in the ninth generation from Nuh. He was appointed prophet for the Thamud people who inhabited the moutanous territory between Hejaz and Palestine. They built their homes by hewing the rocky faces of cliffs. They lived long lives and worshiped gods made from stone.

They refused to listen to the wisdom of Saleh and challenged him to show them any sign to prove that an invisible God existed. They demanded a miracle at their annual festival. They told Saleh: "You pray to your God and we will pray to ours. Let us see whose prayer is accepted, yours or ours. That will decide the matter between us.

They came in drones from around the land and gathered around their decorated stone gods and brought offerings for fulfilments of their prayers. Clearly the stone gods were unable to respond to their prayers. They then turned to Saleh and one of them asked him to pray to his God and to bring out a pregnant camel from the large boulder that was lying on the ground, and if this she-camel had an off-spring bom in front of their eyes, they would accept Saleh's God as theirs as well.

Saleh prayed to The Almighty Allah and sure enough a pregnant she-camel rose out of the large boulder and gave birth to a calf as they watched. They were clearly struck with wonder on this miracle.

In accordance with Allah's Command, Saleh told the people that they must share their drink with the camel. It was agreed that the people would use the water from the village well on all days of the week except one day which was reserved for the camel and her baby. But they were a disobedient people. They refused the animals to drink or graze freely in the territory as agreed, and forced Saleh to assume their full responsibility. Saleh told them that the camel and her baby were there because they had asked for the miracle, and they must take care of the animals. They threatened to kill the two animals. He then reminded them of the benevolence of Allah that only He could bestow over His creation without asking for it, namely water, rain, fertility of the land where crops grow, the stone cliffs where they built their homes, and the clean air that they breathed. They must refrain from their threatened acts otherwise they would bring down a disaster over themselves.

One day the people carried out their threat and slew both the mother and her baby camel. This invited Allah's immediate wrath.

Allah instructed Saleh to leave the territory along with his family and a small group of true believers before His wrath would strike that insolent people. No sooner the pious group of believers had crossed over the last of the cliffs, than a tremendous earth quake -shook the land with a blinding lightning and an ear shattering thunder. The entire people in that territory perished along with their false gods.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Araf, ]Lud, Ibrahim, Hajar, Furqan, Shu'ra' Nahl, Ankabooi, Ha-Meem Sajdah, Zariyat, Qamar, al-Haqah, Fajar, Shams.

PROPHET IBRAHIM

The Birth of Ibrahim

Ibrahim was bom in the fifth generation from Hud, and during the reign of a tyrant known as Namrood (Nimrod). Namrood, a powerful king, made his subjects bow to him as a god. One night he dreamt that a star rose from the horizon and its brilliance eclipsed the moon and the sun. He woke up wondering about the interpretation of his dream. He summoned the astrologers and fortune tellers to come up with the most acceptable explanation of his dream. They conferred with one another and told him: 'A person will be bom in your kingdom who will wreck your power and destroy your influence.' He asked if that person had actually been bom or would be bom in the near future. They told him that he was not yet bom. Upon hearing that, Namrood ordered a ban on all marriages, separating men from women and ordered the killing of all new boms.

Allah is All Powerful and All Knowing. His intentions come to be whenever He deems them to be. The mother of Ibrahim successfully concealed her pregnancy. She went out of the city limits and gave birth to her child in a cave. She stayed in that cave with her child until the senseless slaughter of the new boms had come to an end and the king's own fear of his destruction had abated. By this time Ibrahim had grown up to be a tall and handsome lad. They returned to their ancestral home in the city of Ur.

His Intelligence, Cognition, and Rejection of Idolatory:

In those days people believed in the celestial bodies as their deities. One night, Ibrahim also selected the brightest of all the stars for his observation. By the morning its light faded and it disappeared. He thought that the most brilliant of the stars could not be the creator as it faded away in the brightness of another celetial body. Similarly he noted that the moon changed phases, and was but a shadow in front of the brightness of the sun. He concluded that the moon could not be the creator either. He pondered if the sun were the ultimate god, as he had also noted people bowing in subjugation to the sun. But the sun was out only for the duration of the day, and gave way to the stars and the moon at night. He reflected upon this phenomenon and concluded that the one who put these celestial bodies in their respective places has the supreme power over them and must be the God Almighty, even though He were not visible or physically tangible. He was pleased with this conclusion and enthusiastically began to tell people how wrong they all had been to ignore the obvious power behind their daily lives, the Supreme power of Allah. He invited them to give up their false gods and return to the truth.

Some laughed at his idea, some ignored him as he was only a youth "with little knowledge of life," while others were offended and admonished him for his lack of respect for their gods.

T'hey invited him to come to the annual festival and see for himself how they had decorated their gods along with fabulous offerings brought over from far and wide. Ibrahim excused himself and did not go to the festival. As the towns people had all gone to the fair grounds to indulge in their festivities, Ibrahim went to their temple, broke all their idols and left his axe hanging on the shoulder of the biggest of them all in the center of the temple.

Next day when people went to the temple and saw what had happened to their gods, they knew that Ibrahim had done it, since he had made no secret of his dislike of those idols. The village chief asked Ibrahim if he knew who had broken their idols. Ibrahim, pointing towards the big idol said, "Why don't you ask him?" The cheif said, "How could a stone idol do such a deed?" There upon Ibrahim said, "If the stone idol was incapable of doing it, or protect itself and the other idols, how could it be a god, the provider and the protectors " They obviously had no answer to the logic of Ibrahim. However, they were not prepared to follow his path. They wanted him punished for being disrespectful to their gods. They sent a deputation to Namrood, their god-king for a judgement against Ibrahim.

Ibrahim was summoned to the court of Namrood to answer his charges and face the punishment.

When all the people had gathered in the court, Namrood arrived. All subjects bowed down to the ground for their total submission except for Ibrahim who remained upright and did not bow to the king-god. When asked why he refused to bow to him, Ibrahim replied that he submitted only to his God, The Creator, The Sustainer. This was an open insult to the king who commanded an absolute power over his subjects and claimed himself to be a god. By his act, Ibrahim had provoked the king's wrath. However, surprised at the courage of Ibrahim, the king decided to question him.

Debate in the Court of Namrood on the existence of Allah

The king asked Ibrahim to explain to the entire audience who his god was. Ibrahim said that his God was one who gave life and who took it away. The king said that he did that every day!

Ibrahim said that his God brought forth the sun from the east. He asked the king that if he had the power, could he cause the sun to rise from the west! Clearly the king was unable to carry out such a feat.

The king then turned around and asked Ibrahim why he had broken all the idols in the temple. He gave the same reply to the king as he had given to the chief of the village before. The king said to Ibrahim that he knew that the idols did not talk and yet he kept on referring to the biggest of them to answer the question that actually pertained to him. Ibrahim said that since the king and all his subjects knew that idols did not talk why then they worshiped them as gods.

As there were no answers to the logic of Ibrahim the king ordered his courtiers to dig a large pit, light a wood fire and throw Ibrahim in it alive, to make an example so that nobody would again disobey or ridicule their god-king.

The Miraculous escape of Ibrahim from the fire

The pit was dug and a large fire was lit in it. When it was roaring with flames and the heat could be felt from a distance, Ibrahim was thrown in it. Ibrahim prayed to the true God, Allah, for His mercy in that hour of trial. By the Grace of Allah neither the fire nor the heat touched Ibrahim. He walked around as if in a garden and left the pit totally unharmed. This indeed was a miracle that convinced some of the onlookers who bowed to the true God and accepted the true religion of Allah and gave up idolatory.

Ibrahim left his ancestoral city of Ur and migrated north to Haran where he stayed for a short period of time. Then he moved west to Kin'an (Canan in Torah), along with his wife Sarah and nephew Lut (Lot in Torah). After a while, Lut was appointed messenger by Allah to the people of Sidom and Gomorrah who lived north of Kin'an.

The Progeny of Ibrahim

Before finally settling in Kin'an, Ibrahim visited Egypt where the king gave him a maiden (according to some, his daughter) in marriage. Her name was Hajirah(Hager in Torah). Allah gave Ismail as the first bom child to Ibrahim through his second wife Hajirah at a old age of eighty six years. Sarah was infertile and became jealous of Hajirah. Under instructions from Allah, Ibrahim took his son Ismail and his wife Hajirah from Kin'an and brought them down south in the land of Arabia where they were left to live for rest of their lives. Ismail grew up to be a handsome and tall young man who had many children and is popularly known as the patriarch of the Arabs.

Back in Kin'an, after a few years, Sarah who had grown old, and given up hope of ever bearing a child of her own, also conceived and bore a son to Ibrahim named Ishaq. It is worth noting here that Ibrahim had then turned ninety nine years of age. Ishaq was a great prophet of Allah in the land of Kin'an. He remained settled in Kin'an and had several prominent prophets amongst his progeny.

After the death of his wife Sarah, Ibrahim took another wife named Qutura from whom had many sons and daughters. These children of Ibrahim settled and populated the lands of Madain, Midyan and Saba.

The Trial of Ibrahim by Allah

One night Ibrahim saw in his dream that he had sacrificed his son Ismail to please Allah. He wondered over this dream and pondered over its meaning. He saw the same dream on three consecutive nights. He called his son Ismail and told him about his dreams. The son asked his father to do exactly what he had seen in his dreams, if that was the wish of the Creator Almighty, and that he would find him patient. Ibrahim tied his son just as he would tie a sacrificial lamb, and placed the knife on the throat of his son to carry out the sacrifice. The Sustainer of life and of all mankind sent the archangel Jibril (Gabrial) with salutations from Allah and told the father and the son that their belief in Allah and their resolve to give their most valued possession in life in His way had pleased Him greatly. Allah had sent a lamb to be sacrificed in place of Ismail. Ibrahim thanked the Lord for the acceptance of his service and returned home with humility and gratitude towards Allah. This act of Ibrahim has been perpetuated by Allah for ever, and is celebrated by Muslims all over the world every year when they sacrifice a lamb. This event is known as Eid-al-Adha.

The Construction of Kalba and Hajj

Ibrahim and his son Ismail built the Ka'ba and inserted the Black Stone in one of the comers of the building in accordance with the Will of Allah. The ritual of Hajj was initiated at that time and has continued to this day.

Solution to the question of Death and Resurrection

Once Ibrahim asked Allah how would He bring them to life again when the living had died and perished. Allah asked Ibrahim if he had doubts over that question. He said he had no doubt about the absolute powers of his Lord but he wanted to satisfy his curiosity over the mechanism of resurrection.

Allah instructed Ibrahim: 'gather four birds, let them become familiar with you, then sacrifice them, mix their meat and scatter it on four hills across from one another. Then call the birds by their names, and they will come to you.' Ibrahim did as instructed, and verily the same happened as predicted by the Supreme One, Allah. Thus Ibrahim solved the riddle of resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgement. Allah will call His creation as He Wills, and they will all rise from their graves.

The Ritual of Circumcision

When Ibrahim turned ninety nine years of age, Allah ordained that he himself, his male progeny, and all believers be circumcised. The divine order was obeyed. It might be noted here that Ishaq was bom to Ibrahim at that old age and after the ritual of circumcision. This ritual is practiced by the Muslims and the Jews, the followers of Ibrahim, and all those who recognize the hygienic advantages of circumcision.

The Death of Ibrahim

This great prophet and a friend of Allah, also known as the patriarch of all subsequent prophets, died at the age of one hundred and seventy five years.

Major Lessons from the Life of Ibrahi

1. Do not remain ignorant about religion,nor be stubborn about the old ways of our forefathers. Seek the truth. Accept it when discovered.

2. Do not associate any thing or any one with The Creator. Nothing can share with Him the glory of His Oneness.

3. Submit to Allah in total submission to enjoy His bounty and benevolence.

4. When it is difficult to practice your faith in safety and in peace, move to another place, for His territory is vast and His bounty limitless.

5. Whenever occasions arise requiring sacrifice to preserve or protect Faith, do not hesitate, for all we have, came from Him. We are independent owners of nothing in this world.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Baqra, ale Imran, Nisa', An'am, Taubah, Lud, Yusuf, Ibrahim, Hajar, Nahl, Mariyam, Anmbiyaa, Hajj, Shu'raa, Ankaboot, Sa fat, Jinn, Zakhraf, Hadeed, Mumtahna, Zariyat, Najam, Taha.

PROPHET LUT

Lut was a nephew of Ibrahim, bom to his brother name Haran in the city of Ur. Haran had died when Ibrahim quit Ur, and Lut accompanied his uncle Ibrahim in his travels. When Ibrahim finally settled in Kin'an, Allah appointed Lut as His messenger to the people inhabiting the northern vally of River Jordan, in the region of Motaffakah. There were two prosperous cities in this region known as Sodom and Gomorrah.

The people living in this region were morally corrupt. They openly practiced homosexuality. They defied the teachings of Lut and ridiculed and tortured him. In fact the degree of defiance was so high that Lut and his family lived 1 constant threat of persecution.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

It was the year when Allah sent instructions to Ibrahim for ritual circumcision. He received Angels who informed him of the doom that was in stock for the people of Sidom and Gomorrah. Ibrahim asked for the safety of his nephew Lut and his family. After assurances from Allah about the safety of his nephew and his family, the angels left for the territory of the ill fated people.

The angels arrived at the door of Lut in the form of handsome lads. The towns people rushed to grab them for their pleasure. Lut pleaded for their release but failed due to their superior numbers and determination. The angels delivered the instructions from Allah to Lut and told him to quit the region immediately and none of them should look back.

No sooner the family of Lut had climbed the hills beyond the territory of Sodom and Gomorrah, than a terrible earth quake struck the region. A fire of sulphur and huge boulders flung from above and from the bowels of the earth, fully destroying the people and the two cities. The wife of Lut sympathized with the sinful people and disobeyed the instructions of Allah. She turned back to look at the raging destruction down in the valley and was converted to a pillar of rock. Lut hurried out of the region with rest of his family to the sanctuary promised by Allah.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Anam, A'raf, ]Lud, Hajar, Anmbiya'. Shu'ra', Nahl, Ankaboot, Sa:faat, Zafiyat, Najan, Qamar, Tahreem.

PROPHET ISMAIL

Ismail was the elder son of Ibrahim bom to Hajirah. Sarah, the first wife of Prophet Ibrahim had no child of her own. She became jealous of Hajirah. But Allah had his own designs for Sarah. Allah instructed Ibrahim to take his wife Hajirah and his son Ismail to Hejaz, deep south in the desert of Arabia where the city of Makkah stands today. It was a desolate place at that time.

The Miracle of Zam Zam

The place where Allah had instructed Ibrahim to leave his wife and child was without any vegetation or habitation. Ismail was thirsty and the mother had run out of water. She ran several times between two hills trying to look out for help, water or vegetation. She was unsuccessful in her quest. However as the child cried kicking the ground with his heels, a spring of fresh water gushed out. This spring runs with unlimited fresh water to this day, and is treated as holy water by pilgrims to Makkah. The act of Hajirah became so significant in her effort to save the life of her child who would be a prophet, that Allah deemed this an essential part of the Haj ritual for all times to come.

The Founding of the City of Makkah

Awandering tribe of the land known as Banu Jarham arrived in the desolate territory to find Ismail and his mother encamped with the fresh water spring which never existed there before. They were fascinated when they heard the story of the spring. They knew that there had been no such spring at that site before. They paid reverence to the holy family and erected their tents by the spring. This temporary sojourn became a permanent settlement, and later came to be known as Makkah.

The Trial of Ibrahim by Allah

Ismail was only nine when his father Ibrahim saw in a dream, that he sacrificed his only son to please Allah. On seeing the same dream on three consecutive nights, he told Ismail about it. Ismail replied that it must be a test from Allah to test their wills, and he was willing to be sacrificed in the way of Allah. Ibrahim took his son Ismail to Mina, laid him on the ground, and tied his arms and legs with a cord. As he placed his knife on the throat of his son, the Archangel Jibril (Gabrial) appeared and announced that the test of their ultimate submission to Allah was complete. Just then, by the Grace of Allah, a healthy lamb appeared there to be sacrificed in place of Ismail. Ibrahim was given the happy tiding that Allah was pleased with them, and their position would be elevated. Ibrahim was also given the happy news of another son, Ishaq.

This act of the great prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail became an essential part of Hajj for all times, and is celebrated a day before the annual Eid al-Adha'.

The Building of Kalba

Ibrahim and his son Ismail, following divine instructions, built the Ka'ba in Makkah as a House of worship for Allah. On completion of the Holy structure, both of them prayed to Allah for acceptance of their service. They called upon the people to come for pilgrimage (Hajj). Since then, the tradition of the two prophets has continued to be performed through the centuries. The black stone (Hajre Aswad) was placed in one comer of the building by the Prophet Ibrahim. According to some traditions, this stone had descended from the heaven!

For the muslim pilgrim, one of the center points of the rituals of Hajj is to go round the Ka'ba seven times and to kiss Hajre Aswad. This is done in remembrance to the act of devotion by the patriarch of our prophets. It is one of the essential obligations of the faithful to go to Makkah and perform the ritual Hajj at least once during his life time.

Ismail had many sons and daughters who migrated to several parts of the Arabian peninsula and they imparted the teachings of Ibrahim wherever they settled. However Makkah remained the central place of congregation throughout the ages, and Ka'ba continued to be the most revered house of worship.

Ismail is also known as Abul Arab, the patriarch of the Arabs.

The last of the messengers of Allah, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was bom in the clan of Quraish who descended from Ismail and were amongst the most powerful people of Arabia.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Baqara, Anam, Maryam, An'mbiya'. Sa ffat, Jinn.

PROPHET ISHAQ

Ishaq was bom to Sarah the first wife of Ibrahim nine years after the birth of Ismail to Hajirah. In fact the news of the birth of the second son was given to Ibrahim after passing the trial of the sacrifice of his son Ismail in Mina'. Ishaq lived in Kin'an and was appointed prophet towards his people by Allah. He had two sons, who were twins. They were named Issau and Ya'qub (Jacob). Banu Israil are named after Ya'qub who was also known as Israil.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Baqarah, An'am, Yusuf, Amubiya', Sa'ffat, Jinn.

PROPHET YA’QUB

Ya'qub was one of the twin sons of Ishaq. He was appointed prophet towards his people after the death of his father. His popular name was Israil, and his progeny is called Banu Israil (the children of Israil).

He had twelve sons and one daughter. The twelve tribes of the children of Israil are named after his twelve sons. Yusuf was one of his sons. He was extremely handsome and was dearly loved by his father. His brothers were jealous of him and they always looked for an excuse to get him away from their father. Finally they took him away at the pretext of hunting and threw him in a well. Ya'qub cried so much at the separation of his beloved son that he lost his eye sight.

As will be seen in the narrative on the life of Yusuf, Allah rescued Yusuf from the well and made him the king of Egypt. There was famine in the land of Kin'an, and his brothers came to get grain from the king. Yusuf recognized them, for they were the same fellows who had thrown him in the well. He forgave them and had them move, along with his father, to Egypt.

The children of Israil remained in Egypt for about four hundred and thirty years until Musa ultimately rescued them from the ill treatment rendered by King Rameses III.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Baqara, Anam, Ale Imran, Yusuf, Anmbiya', Jinn, Momen.

PROPHET YUSUF

Yusuf was one of the twelve sons of Ya'qub. His mother's name was Raheel. He had a younger sister and a brother named Benyamin (Benjamin) from the same mother. Yusuf was exceptionally handsome and was very dear to his parents.

The dream of Yusuf and its interpretation by his father

One day Yusuf told his father about a dream he had seen the previous night. He saw that the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down before him. His father was the prophet of the time and knew the meaning of the dream. He told him that he would be a prophet of Allah and will be a powerful king over all, including his parents and his brothers.

III treatment of Yusuf by his brothers

Interpretation of the dream by Ya'qoub did not sit well with his sons who were already distraught due to their father's special affections for Yusuf. They decided to get rid of their brother Yusuf. They threw him in a well and brought his shirt, smothered in sheep's blood. They put up a false scene upon entering their home, wailing and crying. They told their parents that a wolf had devouvered their young brother, and that they were unable to save him from the terrible fate.

Ya'qub was so grieved at the story and was so saddened by the apparent loss of his son that he wept profusely all day and all night. It is said that he lost his eye sight due to excessive crying.

Yusuf retrieved from the well and sold as a slave

Having thrown their younger brother in the well, the older brothers stayed around to see what may happen. A caravan headed for Egypt stopped at the well, for water and rest. Seeing a handsome youth in the well they pulled him out and wondered at his beauty and youth. The brothers showed up in front of the leader of the caravan and said that the youth was their slave who had escaped from them and had hidden himself in the well. The leader of the caravan saw the potential of higher sale value for Yusuf in the slave market of Egypt and he paid a lowly price to his brothers for legitimising his ownership.

Upon arriving in Egypt, the caravan leader placed Yusuf on the market. His price increased every day. The ruler of Egypt heard about the sale of an exceptionally handsome youth in his city and he came down to see him. He was stunned at the beauty of the lad and paid the highest price at the bidding. He took him to his palace to serve his beautiful wife, Zulaikhah who had no child.

Yusuf in servitude of the Pharaoh of Egypt

Yusuf served the king and his wife with such honesty and efficiency that he was made incharge of the ruler's house-hold. It so happened that Zulaikhah developed infatuation for Yusuf and started to love him with increasing passion.

The story of Zulaikhah's love for Yusuf

Zulaikhah fell madly in love with Yusuf, but he took every opportunity to avoid her advances. At one occasion she was successful in trapping him into her chamber so that she could be alone with him. No sooner he realized the wicked designs of the queen than he made for the door of the chamber. She lunged after him and was able to grab his shirt from behind. In the short scuffle that followed, Yusuf's shirt was tom from behind. Just as he escaped through the chamber door, he bumped into the king himself. Realizing the acuteness of her situation, the queen yelled out for help. The ruler was greatly angered by the rather strange circumstances and looked at Yusuf demanding an explanation. Yusuf said that he was innocent, and that Zulaikhah was the guilty one. One of Zulaikhah's own relatives from the house-hold came forward to clear the matter. He said that if Yusuf's shirt was tom from front, then he was the aggressor and culpable for his actions, but if it was tom from behind, then Zulaikhah was guilty. As Yusuf's shirt was tom from behind, the ruler found his wife to be culpable for the embarrassing event.

He told Yusuf to forget the event, and told his wife to refrain from seeing Yusuf when alone. However, the story of the scandel got out of the palace, and spread far and wide. Women of other nobles maliciously gossiped about this happening.

Zulaikhah arranged a party and invited the women of nobility to her palace. As they were busy cutting and eating fruits, she summoned Yusuf into her audience. As he arrived in their presence, the women got totally stunned by his beauty, and many cut their fingers instead of the fruits in their hands. They were now convinced over what they had heard about Yusuf and his beauty. Yusuf prayed to Allah to save him from the wickedness of the queen and other women of Egypt.

The imprisonment of Yusuf

When the king leamt about the scandalous involvement of the wives of other nobles in his kingdom over Yusuf, he considered it best to take Yusuf away from his palace, and threw him into the prison. However the supervisor of the prisons noted the purity of character and conduct of Yusuf and started to treat him with respect. He made him his deputy in managing the affairs of the prison.

Interpretation of dreams by Yusuf

It so happened that two other young men were thrown in the same prison. Each one of them saw a dream. One saw that he was extracting juice from ripe grapes and the other saw that he was carrying a basket of bread over his head, and birds ate freely from it. They asked Yusuf if he could interpret their dreams. He gave them serinon on virtuous conduct and belief on the oneness of Allah. He then gave them the interpretation of their dreams. He told the one who saw himself extracting juice from grapes, that he would be pardoned for the allegations and would be set free, and that he would return to his old employment of serving drinks to his master. He told the other intem that he would be crucified for his deeds, and birds of prey would feed on his corp after his death. Yusuf then asked the first prisoner to make a plea for his release as soon - as he got out of the prison. But the man forgot his promise.

Now the king saw a dream over successive nights that got him concerned. His courtiers and astrologers failed to satisfy him with any plausable interpretation. At that time, one of the prisoners who had survived, remembered Yusuf. He told the ruler that he could find the interpretation of his dreams if he was allowed to visit Yusuf in the prison. He was pen-nitted to do so.

He greeted Yusuf and narrated the dream to hilin. The ruler, in his dream, had seen seven fat cows emerging from the river, followed by seven weak ones. The weak cows devoured the fat ones. He then saw seven green and healthy ears of wheat followed by seven dry ones. The dry ones ate up the green ones.

Yusuf said that both the dreams had the same interpretation. The seven fat cows and the seven healthy ears consist of seven years during which the country would see high productivity. That would be followed by seven years of femine. Unless the years of high productivity were managed wisely, the years of femine would totally destroy the kingdom. He told the ruler that it would be prudent to save for the years of femine, for the femine would be wide spread.

The ruler carefully listened to the interpretation of his dreams by Yusuf, and he knew that it must be true. He called Yusuf back to his court and restored his position with full respect. Zulaikhah , by now had admitted her mistake.

Yusuf rises to the highest status in Egypt

The ruler made Yusuf the chief administrator of the country's produce. He gave Yusuf his ring that testified his total authority on his behalf. Yusuf was only thirty years of age at that time. He went straight to work and began the implementation of methods to enhance the produce. He built large graineries for storage.' He conserved resources over expenditure, in preparation for the bad times he had predicted.

Brothers of Yusuf in Egypt

As foretold, femine srtuck the land of Egypt as well as the lands affound Egypt. The news of the graineries of Egypt had already spread far and wide. People flocked to Egypt for jobs and food. Thus Egypt flourished with cheap labor even during the days of wide spread femine. This was a clear sign of the intelligence and foresight of Yusuf.

Like other lands, femine visited the land of Kin'an as well. Ya'qub sent his sons to Egypt to procure grain.

When they came in the presence of Yusuf in their wretched attire, they could not recognise their own brother who was wearing his royal attire and had grown into handsome manhood. But Yusuf recognised them. He gave them love,affection, shelter and food, but did not reveal his identity to them. He asked them about their family and they told him about his father who had lost his eye sight from crying over the loss of his beloved son. When they were leaving with grain. Yusuf insisted that they had to leave one of them as security. They must also bring their youngest brother when they return or else they would not be given additional grain. They had no choice and one of them had to stay in Egypt.

Yusuf's brothers returned to Egypt with their youngest brother Benyamin, who was his sibling from the same mother. They brought the price of the previous cargo, and gifts from their old and ailing father. The reminiscence of his childhood and separation from his beloved parents made Yusuf cry. He revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back laden with gifts and grain. He invited them to come and live in Egypt, as the femine was to last for a few years.

They returned to Egypt with their parents as well as other members of their clan. They bowed to him as subjects do before the king. This indeed was the true interpretation of the dream that Yusuf had had as a child. Although his brothers had reacted to that dream with such cruelty, yet Yusuf paid them back with sympathy, love and forgiveness.

The death of Ya'qub

Ya'qub lived for seventeen years in Egypt before his death. He called his sons at his death bed and advised them on matters of their mutual benefit and wished that upon his death that his body should be carried back to Kin'an for burial near his forefathers. His wishes were carried out with royal ceremonials.

The death of Yusuf

Yusuf lived for one hundred and ten years. He was buried in Egypt according to the rituals of the land, and when Musa finally took the children of Israil out of Egypt, he took the coffin of Yusuf to Kin'an, to be buried alongside his ancestors

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Yusuf, Momin.

PROPHET SHO'AYB

Sho'ayb was a direct descendant of Ibrahim from his later wife named Quturah. He was appointed prophet by Allah to the people of Midyan and Aykah, who lived on the east of Mount Sinai. He was the father-in-law of Musa, who had taken refuge with him after the Pharaoh of Egypt had banished him into the Sinai desert.

The people of Midyan and Aykah cheated on weights and measures.They waylaid caravans and were corrupt morally. They jeered at the teachings of Sho'ayb and challenged him to show them what he meant by the punishment of Allah, if indeed there was such a God. Their insolence reached such heights that Allah sent His wrath upon them which they had demanded. The people of Midyan were destroyed by roaring thunder and violent earth quakes. The people of Aykah were covered with darkness that emitted fire, destroying most living beings. None except for a handful of true believers survived these calamities.

References:

al Qur'an: Sura Aaraf, Hud, Hajar, Shu'ra', and Ankaboot.