Abdullah Yusuf Ali, (1872
–1953) was an Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English. His
translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely-known and used in the
English-speaking world. In his childhood, Ali received a religious education
and could recite the entire Qur'an from memory. He spoke both Arabic and
English fluently. He studied English literature and studied at several
European universities. Yusuf Ali's best-known work is his book
The Holy Qur'an: Text,
Translation and Commentary,
are the Symbols (or Verses)
of the Perspicuous Book.
have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'án, in order that ye may learn wisdom.
do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee
before this, thou too wast among those who knew it not.
Joseph said to his father:
see eleven stars and the sun and the moon:
them prostrate themselves to me!"
(dear) little son!
relate not thy
vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for
Satan is to man an avowed enemy!
will thy Lord choose thee and teach thee the interpretation of stories (and
perfect His favor to thee and to the posterity of Jacob -- even as He perfected
it to thy fathers Abraham and Isaac aforetime!
Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."
in Joseph and his brethren are Signs (or Symbols)
for Seekers (after Truth).
"Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we: but
we are a goodly body!
Really our father is obviously wandering (in his mind)!
ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown)
land, that so the favor of your father may be given to you alone: (There will be time enough)
you to be righteous after that!"
one of them:
not Joseph, but if ye must do something, throw him down to the bottom of the
will be picked up by some caravan of travellers."
dost thou not trust us with Joseph -- seeing we are indeed his sincere
"Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and we
shall take every care of him."
"Really it saddens me that ye should take him away:
fear lest the wolf should devour him while ye attend not to him."
the wolf were to devour him while we are (so large)
a party, then should we indeed (first)
have perished ourselves!"
they did take him away, and they all agreed to throw him down to the bottom of
We put into his heart (this Message):
surety thou shalt (one day) tell them the truth
of this their affair while they know (thee) not."
they came to their father in the early part of the night, weeping.
our father! we went racing with one another, and left Joseph with our things:
and the wolf devoured him... But
thou wilt never believe us even though we tell the truth."
stained his shirt with false blood.
but your minds have made up a tale (that may pass)
patience is most fitting:
against that which ye assert, it is Allah (alone) whose help can be
there came a caravan of travellers: they
sent their water-carrier (for
and he let down his bucket (into the well)... He
"Ah there! Good news! Here is a (fine) young man!
they concealed him as a treasure!
Allah knoweth well all that they do!
sold him for a miserable price -- for a few dirhams counted out:
such low estimation did they hold him!
man in Egypt who bought him said to his wife:
his stay (among us)
he will bring us much good, or we shall adopt him as a son."
did we establish Joseph in the land, that
We might teach him the interpretation of stories (and events).
Allah hath full power and control over His affairs; but
most among mankind know it not.
Joseph attained his full manhood, We gave him power and knowledge:
do We reward those who do right.
she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his (true)
fastened the doors, and said:
"Now come, thou (dear one)!"
is my lord! He
made my sojourn agreeable!
to no good come those who do wrong!"
did she desire him, and he would have desired her, but that he saw the evidence
of his Lord: thus
(did We order)
that We might turn away from him (all) evil and shameful
he was one of Our servants, sincere and purified.
they both raced each other to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back:
both found her lord near the door.
said: "What is the (fitting) punishment for one
who formed an evil design against thy wife, but prison or a grievous
was she that sought to seduce me -- from my (true)
one of her household saw (this) and bore witness,
it be that his shirt is rent form the front, then is her tale true, and he is a
if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then is she the liar, and he is
telling the truth!"
when he saw his shirt -- that it was torn at the back -- (her
"Behold! it is a snare of you women!
Truly, mighty is your snare!
Joseph, pass this over!
ask forgiveness for thy sin, for truly thou hast been at fault!"
said in the City:
wife of the (great)
'Aziz is seeking to seduce her slave from his (true)
hath he inspired her with violent love: we
see she is evidently going astray."
heard of their malicious talk, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for
gave each of them a knife; and
she said (to Joseph),
"Come out before them.
they saw him, they did extol him, and (in their amazement)
cut their hands: they said
"Allah preserve us! no
mortal is this!
is none other than a noble angel!"
"There before you is the man about whom ye did blame me! I did
seek to seduce him from his (true)
self but he did firmly save himself guiltless!
now, if he doth not my bidding, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and
(what is more) be in the company of
Lord! the prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me:
unless thou turn away their snare from me, I should (in my
feel inclined towards them and join the ranks of the ignorant."
his Lord heard him (in his prayer),
and turned away from him their snare:
verily He heareth and knoweth (all things).
it occurred to the men, after they had seen the Signs, (that it
to imprison him for a time.
with him there came into the prison two young men.
one of them: "I see myself (in a dream)
the other: "I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my
head, and birds are eating thereof."
us" (they said)
"the truth and meaning thereof: for
we see thou art one that doth good (to all)."
"Before any food comes (in due course)
to feed either of you, I will surely reveal to you the truth and meaning of this
ere it come to pass: that
is part of the (Duty)
which my Lord hath taught me.
abandoned the ways of a people that believe not in Allah and that (even)
deny the Hereafter.
I follow the ways of my fathers -- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and
never could we attribute any partners whatever to Allah:
of the grace of Allah to us and to mankind: yet
most men are not grateful.
my two companions of the prison! (I ask you):
many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the One, Supreme and
not Him, ye worship nothing but names which ye have named -- ye and your fathers
which Allah hath sent you no authority:
Command is for none but Allah: He
hath commanded that ye worship none but Him:
is the right religion, but most men understand not...
my two companions of the prison!
one of you, he will pour out the wine for his lord to drink:
for the other, he will hang from the cross, and the birds will eat from off his
hath been decreed that matter whereof ye twain do enquire..."
of the two, to that one whom he considered about to be saved, he said:
"Mention me to thy lord."
Satan made him forget to mention him to his lord: and
(Joseph) lingered in prison a
few (more) years.
king (of Egypt)
see (in a vision) seven fat kine, whom seven lean ones devour --
seven green ears of corn, and seven (others)
expound to me my vision if it be that ye can interpret visions."
confused medley of dreams: and we are not skilled in the interpretation of
the man who had been released, one of the two (who had been in prison)
and who now bethought him after (so long)
a space of time, said:
will tell you the truth of its interpretation:
send ye me (therefor)."
Joseph!" (he said),
"O man of truth! expound to us (the dream)
fat kine whom seven lean ones devour, and of seven green ears of corn and (seven)
others withered: that
I may return to the people, and that they may understand."
seven years shall ye diligently sow as is your wont: and
the harvests that ye reap, ye shall leave them in the ear -- except a little, of
which ye shall eat.
will come after that (period)
seven dreadful (years),
which will devour what ye shall have laid by in advance for them -- (all)
except a little which ye shall have (specially)
will come after that (period)
a year in which the people will have abundant water, and in which they will
press (wine and oil)."
the king said:
"Bring ye him unto me."
when the messenger came to him, (Joseph)
thou back to thy lord, and
ask him, 'What is the state of mind of the ladies who cut their hands?'
my Lord is certainly well aware of their snare."
said (to the ladies):
"What was your affair when ye did seek to seduce Joseph from his (true)
ladies said: "Allah preserve us! no evil know we against him!"
the 'Aziz's wife:
is the truth manifest (to all): it
was I who sought to seduce him from his
indeed of those who are (ever) true (and
in order that he may know that I have never been false to him in his absence, and
that Allah will never guide the snare of the false ones.
do I absolve my own self (of blame): the
is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but
surely certainly my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
the king said:
"Bring him unto me; I will take him specially to serve about my own person."
Therefore when he had spoken to him, he said:
assured this day, thou art, before our own Presence, with rank firmly
established and fidelity fully proved!"
me over the storehouses of the land: I
will indeed guard them, as one that knows (their importance)."
did We give established power to Joseph in the land, to take possession therein
as, when ,or where he pleased.
bestow of Our mercy on whom We please, and
We suffer not, to be lost, the reward of those who do good.
verily the reward of the Hereafter is the best, for those who believe, and are
constant in righteousness.
came Joseph's brethren:
entered his presence, and he knew them, but they knew him not.
when he had furnished them forth with provisions (suitable)
for them, he said:
"Bring unto me a brother ye have, of the same father as yourselves, (but a
ye not that I pay out full measure, and that I do provide the best hospitality?
if ye bring him not to me, ye shall have no measure (of corn)
from me, nor shall be ye (even)
come near me."
said: "We shall certainly seek to get our wish about him from his father: indeed
we shall do it."
told his servants to put their stock in trade (with which they had bartered)
into their saddlebags, so
they should know it only when they returned to their people, in order that they
might come back.
when they returned to their father, they said:
no more measure of grain shall we get (unless we take our brother): so
send our brother with us, that we may get our measure; and
we will indeed take every care of him."
"Shall I trust you with him with any result other than when I trusted you with
his brother aforetime?
Allah is the best to take care (of him), and
He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!"
when they opened their baggage, they found their stock in trade had been
returned to them. They
what (more) can we desire?
our stock in trade has been returned to us: so we
shall get (more)
food for our family;
shall take care of our brother; and add (at the same time) a full
camel's load (of grain to our provisions):
is but a small quantity."
"Never will I send him with you until ye swear a solemn oath to me, in Allah's
ye will be sure to bring him back to me unless ye are yourselves hemmed in
(and made powerless)."
when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said:
all that we say, be Allah the Witness and Guardian!"
not all by one gate: enter
ye by different gates.
that I can profit you aught against Allah (with my advice): none
can command except Allah:
Him do I put my trust and let all that trust put their trust on Him."
when they entered in the manner their father had enjoined, it
did not profit them in the least against (the Plan of)
was but a necessity of Jacob's soul, which he discharged. For
he was, by Our instruction, full of knowledge (and experience): but
most men know not.
when they came into Joseph's presence, he received his (full)
brother to stay with him. He
said (to him):
"Behold! I am thy (own) brother; so grieve
not at aught of their doings."
length when he had furnished them forth with provisions (suitable)
them, he put the drinking cup into his brother's saddlebag. Then
shouted out a Crier:
"O ye (in) the Caravan!
Behold! ye are
thieves, without doubt!"
said, turning towards them: "What is it that ye miss?"
miss the great beaker of the king; for him who produces it, is (the
reward of) a camel-load; I will
be bound by it."
said: "By Allah! well ye know that we came not to make mischief in the land, and
we are no thieves!"
said: "What then shall be the penalty of this, if ye are (proved)
penalty should be that he in whose saddle bag it is found, should be held (as
bondman) to atone for the
it is we punish the wrongdoers!"
he began (the search) with their baggage,
before (he came to)
the baggage of his brother:
length He brought it out of his brother's baggage.
did We plan for Joseph. He
could not take his brother by the law of the king except that Allah willed it
raise to degrees (of wisdom)
whom We please: but
over all endued with knowledge is One, the All-Knowing.
he steals, there was a brother of his who did steal before (him)."
these things did Joseph keep locked in his heart, revealing not the secrets to
(simply) said (to
are the worse situated; and
Allah knoweth best the truth of what ye assert!"
exalted one! Behold! he has a father, aged and venerable, (who will
grieve for him): so
take one of us in his place: for
we see that thou art
in doing good."
"Allah forbid that we take other than him with whom we found our property:
indeed (if we did so),
we should be acting wrongfully."
when they saw no hope of his (yielding),
they held a conference in private. The
leader among them said:
ye not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah's name, and
how, before this, ye did fail in your duty with Joseph?
Therefore will I not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah
commands me; and
He is the best to command.
ye back to your father, and say,
our father! Behold! thy son committed theft: we
bear witness only to what we know, and
we could not well guard against the unseen!
at the town where we have been and the caravan in which we returned,
(you will find)
we are indeed telling the truth.'"
but ye have yourselves contrived a story (good enough) for you.
patience is most fitting (for me).
Allah will bring them (back)
all to me (in the end): for
He is indeed full of knowledge and wisdom."
he turned away from them, and said: "How great is my grief for Joseph!"
his eyes became white with sorrow, and he fell into silent melancholy.
wilt thou cease to remember Joseph until though reach the last extremity of
illness, or until thou die!"
only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allah and I know from Allah that
which ye know not...
and enquire about Joseph and his brother, and
never give up hope of Allah's Soothing Mercy:
no one despairs of Allah's Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith."
when they came (back)
presence they said:
distress has seized us and our family; we have (now)
brought but scanty capital: So
pay us full measure, (we pray thee),
and treat it as charity to us: for
Allah doth reward the charitable."
ye how ye dealt with Joseph, and his brother, not knowing (what ye
said: "Art thou indeed, Joseph?"
Joseph, and this is my brother:
has indeed been gracious to us (all):
behold, he that is righteous and patient -- never will Allah suffer the reward
to be lost, of those who do right."
Allah! indeed has Allah preferred thee above us, and we certainly have been
guilty of sin!"
day let no reproach be (cast)
will forgive you, and
He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy?
with this my shirt, and cast it over the face of my father: he
will come to see (clearly).
come ye (here) to me together with
all your family."
the caravan left (Egypt),
their father said:
indeed scent the presence of Joseph:
think me not a dotard."
said: "By Allah! truly thou art in thine old wandering mind."
when the bearer of the good news came, he cast (the shirt)
over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight.
said: "Did I not say to you, 'Know from Allah that which ye know not?'"
said: "O our father! ask for us forgiveness for our sins, for we were truly at
said: "Soon will I ask my Lord for forgiveness for you:
He is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Merciful."
when they entered the presence of Joseph, he provided a home for his parents
with himself, and
"Enter ye Egypt (all)
in safety if it please Allah."
he raised his parents high on the throne (of dignity),
and they fell down in prostration (all)
before him. He
is the fulfillment of my vision of old! Allah
hath made it come true!
was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and
brought you (all here)
out of the desert, (even)
after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers.
Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do: for
verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom.
hast indeed bestowed on me some power, and taught me something of the
interpretation of dreams and events,
Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth!
art my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter,
thou my soul (at death)
as one submitting to Thy Will (as a Muslim), and
unite me with the righteous."
is one of the stories of what happened unseen, which We reveal by inspiration
unto thee: nor
wast thou (present)
with them when they concerted their plans together in the process of weaving
no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently thou dost
no reward dost thou ask of them for this: it is
no less than a Message for all creatures.
how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by?
they turn (their faces) away from them!
most of them believe not in Allah without associating (others as
they then feel secure from the coming against them of the covering veil of the
wrath of Allah --
the coming against them of the (final) Hour
all of a sudden while they perceive not?
my way: I do
invite unto Allah -- on evidence clear as the seeing with one's eyes -- I and
whoever follows me:
never will I join gods with Allah!"
did We send before thee (as Messengers) any but men, whom We
did inspire -- (men) living in human
they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before
the home of the Hereafter is best, for those who do right. Will
ye not then understand?
will be granted)
until, when the apostles give up hope (of their people)
and (come to) think that they were
treated as liars, there
reaches them Our help. And those whom We will are delivered into safety.
never will be warded off Our punishment from those who are in sin.
is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding.
not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it -- a
detailed exposition of all things, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as