Basic Information and Facts on Surah Yusuf
- Surah (Chapter) Number: 12
- Number of Verses: 111
- English Meaning: Named after Prophet Yousuf (Joseph)
Summary of Story Mentioned in Surah Yousuf
Surah Yusuf is the 12th chapter of the Qur’an and is unique in that it focuses on the story of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) from beginning to end, making it a continuously narrated story within the holy book.
The Surah begins with a dream in which Yusuf, the eleventh son of the Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob), sees eleven stars, the sun, and the moon prostrating before him. He shares this dream with his father, who, recognizing the prophetic nature of the dream, advises Yusuf not to mention it to his ten older brothers, as he fears they might plot against him out of jealousy.
As it turned out, Yusuf’s brothers were already envious of their father’s apparent favoritism towards Yusuf and his younger brother, Benyamin (Benjamin). They conspired to get rid of Yusuf, and under the pretext of taking him out to play, they threw him into a well and returned home with his shirt stained with fake blood, telling their father that a wolf had killed Yusuf.
Meanwhile, a passing caravan rescued Yusuf from the well and sold him as a slave in Egypt to a high-ranking official known as the ‘Aziz. Despite his hardships, Yusuf grew up to be a young man of extraordinary beauty and wisdom. The wife of the ‘Aziz was infatuated by Yusuf and attempted to seduce him. Yusuf, a virtuous man, rejected her advances, resulting in a series of accusations and trials that led to his imprisonment.
In prison, Yusuf’s reputation for interpreting dreams led him to interpret the dreams of two fellow prisoners. One of them was later freed and appointed as the cupbearer to the king. When the king had a disturbing dream, the cupbearer remembered Yusuf and called for his help. Yusuf interpreted the king’s dream to predict seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Impressed, the king ordered Yusuf to be released from prison and appointed him as his chief minister.
During the years of famine, Yusuf’s brothers came to Egypt seeking provisions and did not recognize Yusuf. Yusuf gave them their provisions but requested that they bring their younger brother Benyamin to him as a condition for further assistance. When they returned with Benyamin, Yusuf secretly placed a drinking cup in his brother’s bag and then accused him of theft. Under Egyptian law, the penalty for theft was enslavement, which allowed Yusuf to keep Benyamin with him.
However, seeing the grief of his brothers and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for Benyamin, Yusuf revealed his true identity to his brothers. He forgave them for their past actions and invited them, along with their father, to live with him in Egypt.
The Surah ends with the fulfillment of Yusuf’s initial dream. His brothers, father, and mother bow before him, acknowledging his high rank, not only as the Aziz of Egypt but also as a prophet of God. The Surah concludes by reminding the reader of God’s mysterious and wise ways, the value of patience in the face of trials, and the rewards of righteousness.
Surah Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) Arabic and English Translation
1. Alif-Lam-Ra. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings].
These are the Verses of the Clear Book (the Qur’an that makes clear the legal and illegal things, legal laws, a guidance and a blessing).
2. Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand.
3. We relate unto you (Muhammad ) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Qur’an. And before this (i.e. before the coming of Divine Inspiration to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (the Qur’an).
4. (Remember) when Yusuf (Joseph) said to his father: “O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me.”
5. He (the father) said: “O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Shaitan (Satan) is to man an open enemy!
6. “Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) and perfect His Favour on you and on the offspring of Ya’qub (Jacob), as He perfected it on your fathers, Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ishaque (Isaac) aforetime! Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
7. Verily, in Yusuf (Joseph) and his brethren, there were Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for those who ask.
8. When they said: “Truly, Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are ‘Usbah (a strong group). Really, our father is in a plain error.
9. Kill Yusuf (Joseph) or cast him out to some (other) land, so that the favour of your father may be given to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk (by intending repentance before committing the sin).”
10. One from among them said: “Kill not Yusuf (Joseph), but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travellers.”
11. They said: “O our father! Why do you not trust us with Yusuf (Joseph), – when we are indeed his well-wishers?”
12. “Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily, we will take care of him.”
13. He [Ya’qub (Jacob)] said: “Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him.”
14. They said: “If a wolf devours him, while we are ‘Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely, we are the losers.”
15. So, when they took him away, they all agreed to throw him down to the bottom of the well, and We inspired in him:”Indeed, you shall (one day) inform them of this their affair, when they know (you) not.
16. And they came to their father in the early part of the night weeping.
17. They said:”O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Yusuf (Joseph) by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us even when we speak the truth.”
18. And they brought his shirt stained with false blood. He said: “Nay, but your ownselves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert.
19. And there came a caravan of travellers; they sent their water-drawer, and he let down his bucket (into the well). He said: “What good news! Here is a boy.” So they hid him as merchandise (a slave). And Allah was the All-Knower of what they did.
20. And they sold him for a low price, – for a few Dirhams (i.e. for a few silver coins). And they were of those who regarded him insignificant.
21. And he (the man) from Egypt who bought him, said to his wife: “Make his stay comfortable, may be he will profit us or we shall adopt him as a son.” Thus did We establish Yusuf (Joseph) in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not.
22. And when he [Yusuf (Joseph)] attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge (the Prophethood), thus We reward the Muhsinun (doers of good – see V.2:112).
23. And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: “Come on, O you.” He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly, he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimun (wrong and evil-doers) will never be successful.”
24. And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.
25. So they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back. They both found her lord (i.e. her husband) at the door. She said: “What is the recompense (punishment) for him who intended an evil design against your wife, except that he be put in prison or a painful torment?”
26. He [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: “It was she that sought to seduce me,” – and a witness of her household bore witness (saying): “If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true and he is a liar!
27. “But if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth!”
28. So when he (her husband) saw his [(Yusuf’s (Joseph)] shirt torn at the back; (her husband) said: “Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is your plot!
30. And women in the city said: “The wife of Al-‘Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily we see her in plain error.”
31. So when she heard of their accusation, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut the foodstuff with), and she said [(to Yusuf (Joseph)]: “Come out before them.” Then, when they saw him, they exalted him (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: “How perfect is Allah (or Allah forbid)! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!”
32. She said: “This is he (the young man) about whom you did blame me (for his love), and I did seek to seduce him, but he refused. And now if he refuses to obey my order, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and will be one of those who are disgraced.”
33. He said:”O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one (of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds) of the ignorants.
34. So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.
35. Then it appeared to them, after they had seen the proofs (of his innocence) to imprison him for a time.
36. And there entered with him two young men in the prison. One of them said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” The other said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head and birds were eating thereof.” (They said): “Inform us of the interpretation of this. Verily, we think you are one of the Muhsinun (doers of good – see V.2:112).”
37. He said: “No food will come to you (in wakefulness or in dream) as your provision, but I will inform (in wakefulness) its interpretation before it (the food) comes. This is of that which my Lord has taught me. Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people that believe not in Allah and are disbelievers in the Hereafter (i.e. the Kan’aniun of Egypt who were polytheists and used to worship sun and other false deities).
38. And I have followed the religion of my fathers , – Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaque (Isaac) and Ya’qub (Jacob), and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the Grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men thank not (i.e. they neither believe in Allah, nor worship Him).
39. “O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible?
40. You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgement) is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.
41. “O two companions of the prison! As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine for his lord (king or master) to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat from his head. Thus is the case judged concerning which you both did inquire.”
42. And he said to the one whom he knew to be saved: “Mention me to your lord (i.e. your king, so as to get me out of the prison).” But Shaitan (Satan) made him forget to mention it to his Lord [or Satan made [(Yusuf (Joseph)] to forget the remembrance of his Lord (Allah) as to ask for His Help, instead of others]. So [Yusuf (Joseph)] stayed in prison a few (more) years.
43. And the king (of Egypt) said: “Verily, I saw (in a dream) seven fat cows, whom seven lean ones were devouring – and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry. O notables! Explain to me my dream, if it be that you can interpret dreams.”
44. They said: “Mixed up false dreams and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.”
45. Then the man who was released (one of the two who were in prison), now at length remembered and said: “I will tell you its interpretation, so send me forth.”
46. (He said): “O Yusuf (Joseph), the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.”
47. [(Yusuf (Joseph)] said: “For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in ears, (all) – except a little of it which you may eat.
48. “Then will come after that, seven hard (years), which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored).
49. “Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil).”
50. And the king said: “Bring him to me.” But when the messenger came to him, [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: “Return to your lord and ask him, ‘What happened to the women who cut their hands? Surely, my Lord (Allah) is Well-Aware of their plot.'”
51. (The King) said (to the women): “What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Yusuf (Joseph)?” The women said: “Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!” The wife of Al-‘Aziz said: “Now the truth is manifest (to all), it was I who sought to seduce him, and he is surely of the truthful.”
52. [Then Yusuf (Joseph) said: “I asked for this enquiry] in order that he (Al-‘Aziz) may know that I betrayed him not in secret. And, verily! Allah guides not the plot of the betrayers.
53. “And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the (human) self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
54. And the king said: “Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.” Then, when he spoke to him, he said: “Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted.”
55. [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: “Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge” (as a minister of finance in Egypt, in place of Al-‘Aziz who was dead at that time).
56. Thus did We give full authority to Yusuf (Joseph) in the land, to take possession therein, as when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost the reward of Al-Muhsinun (the good doers – see V.2:112).
57. And verily, the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and used to fear Allah and keep their duty to Him (by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds and by performing all kinds of righteous good deeds).
58. And Yusuf’s (Joseph) brethren came and they entered unto him, and he recognized them, but they recognized him not.
59. And when he had furnished them forth with provisions (according to their need), he said: “Bring me a brother of yours from your father; (he meant Benjamin). See you not that I give full measure, and that I am the best of the hosts?
60. “But if you bring him not to me, there shall be no measure (of corn) for you with me, nor shall you come near me.”
61. They said: “We shall try to get permission (for him) from his father, and verily, we shall do it.”
62. And [Yusuf (Joseph)] told his servants to put their money (with which they had bought the corn) into their bags, so that they might know it when they go back to their people, in order that they might come back.
63. So, when they returned to their father, they said: “O our father! No more measure of grain shall we get (unless we take our brother). So send our brother with us, and we shall get our measure and truly we will guard him.”
64. He said: “Can I entrust him to you except as I entrusted his brother [Yusuf (Joseph)] to you aforetime? But Allah is the Best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
65. And when they opened their bags, they found their money had been returned to them. They said: “O our father! What (more) can we desire? This, our money has been returned to us, so we shall get (more) food for our family, and we shall guard our brother and add one more measure of a camel’s load. This quantity is easy (for the king to give).”
66. He [Ya’qub (Jacob)] said: “I will not send him with you until you swear a solemn oath to me in Allah’s Name, that you will bring him back to me unless you are yourselves surrounded (by enemies, etc.),” And when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said: “Allah is the Witness over what we have said.
67. And he said: “O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily! The decision rests only with Allah. In him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.”
68. And when they entered according to their father’s advice, it did not avail them in the least against (the Will of) Allah, it was but a need of Ya’qub’s (Jacob) inner-self which he discharged. And verily, he was endowed with knowledge because We had taught him, but most men know not.
69. And when they went in before Yusuf (Joseph), he betook his brother (Benjamin) to himself and said: “Verily!I am your brother, so grieve not for what they used to do.”
70. So when he had furnished them forth with their provisions, he put the (golden) bowl into his brother’s bag, then a crier cried: “O you (in) the caravan! Surely, you are thieves!”
71. They, turning towards them, said: “What is it that you have missed?”
72. They said: “We have missed the (golden) bowl of the king and for him who produces it is (the reward of) a camel load; I will be bound by it.”
73. They said: “By Allah! Indeed you know that we came not to make mischief in the land, and we are no thieves!”
74. They [Yusuf’s (Joseph) men] said: “What then shall be the penalty of him, if you are (proved to be) liars.”
75. They [Yusuf’s (Joseph) brothers] said: “The penalty should be that he, in whose bag it is found, should be held for the punishment (of the crime). Thus we punish the Zalimun(wrong-doers, etc.)!”
76. So he [Yusuf (Joseph)] began (the search) in their bags before the bag of his brother. Then he brought it out of his brother’s bag. Thus did We plan for Yusuf (Joseph). He could not take his brother by the law of the king (as a slave), except that Allah willed it. (So Allah made the brothers to bind themselves with their way of “punishment, i.e. enslaving of a thief.”) We raise to degrees whom We please, but over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allah).
77. They [(Yusuf’s (Joseph) brothers] said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his [Yusuf (Joseph)] who did steal before (him).” But these things did Yusuf (Joseph) keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in worst case, and Allah knows best the truth of what you assert!
78. They said: “O ruler of the land! Verily, he has an old father (who will grieve for him); so take one of us in his place. Indeed we think that you are one of the Muhsinun (good-doers – see V.2:112).”
79. He said: “Allah forbid, that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property. Indeed (if we did so), we should be Zalimun (wrong-doers).”
80. So, when they despaired of him, they held a conference in private. The eldest among them said: “Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s Name, and before this you did fail in your duty with Yusuf (Joseph)? Therefore I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case (by releasing Benjamin) and He is the Best of the judges.
81. “Return to your father and say, ‘O our father! Verily, your son (Benjamin) has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not know the unseen!
82. “And ask (the people of) the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned, and indeed we are telling the truth.”
83. He [Ya’qub (Jacob)] said: “Nay, but your ownselves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting (for me). May be Allah will bring them (back) all to me. Truly He! only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
84. And he turned away from them and said: “Alas, my grief for Yusuf (Joseph)!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing.
85. They said: “By Allah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf (Joseph) until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.
86. He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not.
88. Then, when they entered unto him [Yusuf (Joseph)], they said: “O ruler of the land! A hard time has hit us and our family, and we have brought but poor capital, so pay us full measure and be charitable to us. Truly, Allah does reward the charitable.
89. He said: “Do you know what you did with Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother, when you were ignorant?”
90. They said: “Are you indeed Yusuf (Joseph)?” He said: “I am Yusuf (Joseph), and this is my brother (Benjamin). Allah has indeed been gracious to us. Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinun(good-doers – see V.2:112) to be lost.
91. They said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.”
92. He said: “No reproach on you this day, may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!
93. “Go with this shirt of mine, and cast it over the face of my father, he will become clear-sighted, and bring to me all your family.”
94. And when the caravan departed, their father said: “I do indeed feel the smell of Yusuf (Joseph), if only you think me not a dotard (a person who has weakness of mind because of old age).”
95. They said: “By Allah! Certainly, you are in your old error.”
96. Then, when the bearer of the glad tidings arrived, he cast it (the shirt) over his face, and he became clear-sighted. He said: “Did I not say to you, ‘I know from Allah that which you know not.’ ”
97. They said: “O our father! Ask forgiveness (from Allah) for our sins, indeed we have been sinners.
98. He said: “I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
99. Then, when they entered unto Yusuf (Joseph), he betook his parents to himself and said: “Enter Egypt, if Allah wills, in security.”
100. And he raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you (all here) out of the bedouin-life, after Shaitan (Satan) had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He will. Truly He! Only He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
101. “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali(Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.
102. This is of the news of the Ghaib (unseen) which We reveal by Inspiration to you (O Muhammad ). You were not (present) with them when they arranged their plan together, and (also, while) they were plotting.
103. And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.
104. And no reward you (O Muhammad ) ask of them (those who deny your Prophethood) for it, it(the Qur’an) is no less than a Reminder and an advice unto the ‘Alamin (men and jinns).
105. And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom.
106. And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him [i.e. they are Mushrikun -polytheists – see Verse 6: 121].
107. Do they then feel secure from the coming against them of the covering veil of the Torment of Allah, or of the coming against them of the (Final) Hour, all of a sudden while they perceive not?
108. Say (O Muhammad ): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah i.e to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah; those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah).”
109. And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men, whom We inspired from among the people of townships. Have they not travelled through the earth and seen what was the end of those who were before them? And verily, the home of the Hereafter is the best for those who fear Allah and obey Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds). Do you not then understand?
110. (They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied (by their people), then came to them Our Help, and whomsoever We willed were delivered. And Our Punishment cannot be warded off from the people who are Mujrimun (criminals, disobedients to Allah, sinners, disbelievers, polytheists).
111. Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah’s existing Books [the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah] and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe.