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Quran Chapter 12 [part 2] - Joseph - Joseph’s Innocence is Established, Dream Prediction Fulfilled

43 The king said, ‘I dreamed about seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean ones; seven green ears of corn and [seven] others withered. Counsellors, if you can interpret dreams, tell me the meaning of my dream.’ 44 They said, ‘These are confusing dreams and we are not skilled at dream-interpretation,’ 45 but the prisoner who had been freed at last remembered [Joseph] and said, ‘I shall tell you what this means. Give me leave to go.’

46 ‘Truthful Joseph! Tell us the meaning of seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean ones, seven green ears of corn and [seven] others withered, 47 then I can return to the people to inform them.’ Joseph said, ‘You will sow for seven consecutive years as usual. Store all that you reap, left in the ear, apart from the little you eat. 48 After that will come seven years of hardship which will consume all but a little of what you stored up for them; 49 after that will come a year when the people will have abundant rain and will press grapes.’

50 The king said, ‘Bring him to me,’ but when the messenger came to fetch Joseph, he said, ‘Go back to your master and ask him about what happened to those women who cut their hands– my Lord knows all about their treachery.’ 51 The king asked the women, ‘What happened when you tried to seduce Joseph?’ They said, ‘God forbid! We know nothing bad of him!’ and the governor’s wife said, ‘Now the truth is out: it was I who tried to seduce him– he is an honest man.’ 52 [Joseph said, ‘This was] for my master to know that I did not betray him behind his back: God does not guide the mischief of the treacherous. 53 I do not pretend to be blameless, for man’s very soul incites him to evil unless my Lord shows mercy: He is most forgiving, most merciful.’

54 The king said, ‘Bring him to me: I will have him serve me personally,’ and then, once he had spoken with him, ‘From now on you will have our trust and favor.’ 55 Joseph said, ‘Put me in charge of the nation’s storehouses: I shall manage them prudently and carefully.’ 56 In this way We settled Joseph in that land to live wherever he wished: We grant Our mercy to whoever We will and do not fail to reward those who do good. 57 The reward of the Hereafter is best for those who believe and are mindful of God.

A Dream Prediction Fulfilled

58 Joseph’s brothers came and presented themselves before him. He recognized them– though they did not recognize him– 59 and once he had given them their provisions, he said, ‘Bring me the brother [you left with] your father! [a] Have you not seen me giving generous measure and being the best of hosts? 60 You will have no more corn from me if you do not bring him to me, and you will not be permitted to approach me.’ 61 They said, ‘We shall do all we can to persuade his father to send him with us, indeed we shall.’ 62 Joseph said to his servants, ‘Put their [traded] goods back into their saddlebags, so that they may recognize them when they go back to their family, and [be eager to] return.’

63 When they returned to their father, they said, ‘Father, we have been denied any more corn, but send our brother back with us and we shall be given another measure. We shall guard him carefully.’ 64 He said, ‘Am I to entrust him to you as I did his brother before? God is the best guardian and the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ 65 Then, when they opened their packs, they discovered that their goods had been returned to them and they said, ‘Father! We need no more [goods to barter]: [b] look, our goods have been returned to us. We shall get corn for our household; we shall keep our brother safe; we shall be entitled to another camel-load of grain– an extra measure so easily achieved!’ 66 He said, ‘I will never send him with you, not unless you swear by God that you will bring him back to me if that is humanly possible.’ [c] Then, when they had given him their pledge, he said, ‘Our words are entrusted to God.’

The Brothers Return

67 He said, ‘My sons, do not enter all by one gate– use different gates. But I cannot help you against the will of God: all power is in God’s hands. I trust in Him; let everyone put their trust in Him,’ 68 and, when they entered as their father had told them, it did not help them against the will of God, it merely satisfied a wish of Jacob’s. He knew well what We had taught him, though most people do not.

69 Then, when they presented themselves before Joseph, he drew his brother apart [d] and said, ‘I am your brother, so do not be saddened by their past actions,’ 70 and, once he had given them their provisions, he placed the drinking-cup in his brother’s pack. A man called out, ‘People of the caravan! You are thieves!’ 71 and they turned and said, ‘What have you lost?’ 72 They replied, ‘The king’s drinking-cup is missing,’ and, ‘Whoever returns it will get a camel-load [of grain],’ and, ‘I give you my word.’ 73 They said, ‘By God! You must know that we did not come to make mischief in your land: we are no thieves.’ 74 They asked them, ‘And if we find that you are lying, what penalty shall we apply to you?’ 75 and they answered, ‘The penalty will be [the enslavement of] the person in whose bag the cup is found: this is how we punish wrongdoers.’ 76 [Joseph] began by searching their bags, then his brother’s, and he pulled it out from his brother’s bag.

In this way We devised a plan for Joseph– if God had not willed it so, he could not have detained his brother as a penalty under the king’s law– We raise the rank of whoever We will. Above everyone who has knowledge there is the One who is all knowing.


a. Or a paternal half-brother (Benjamin).

b. This understanding of the phrase ma nabghi is supported by Razi.

c. Literally ‘unless you are totally surrounded’. Razi suggests by death or the enemy.

d. Literally ‘accommodated him’ or ‘took him as a guest’. Some interpret this as suggesting that the brothers were offered lodgings in pairs and Benjamin, as the odd one out, was given lodging with Joseph; another suggestion is that the two full brothers dined together: either way the sense is that Joseph drew Benjamin apart from the others.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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