Tuesday 24 November 2020

O Creator of heavens and earth! Cause me to die in submission to You

Today, in our series of posts on Selected Invocations from Qur'an, we are sharing a beautiful supplication attributed to Prophet Yusuf (Joseph, peace be upon him) in the 101st verse of Surah 12. Yusuf. In this supplication he prays to God acknowledging his blessings and asking to live and die as a Muslim and be joined with the righteous. One is amazed at the humbleness of prophets when they supplicate to their Lord and how beautifully they choose words that are most appropriate and befitting to the soul Creator of the universe, and the heavens and the earth: 

رَبِّ قَدۡ اٰتَيۡتَنِىۡ مِنَ الۡمُلۡكِ وَ عَلَّمۡتَنِىۡ مِنۡ تَاۡوِيۡلِ الۡاَحَادِيۡثِ​ ۚ فَاطِرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ اَنۡتَ وَلِىّٖ فِى الدُّنۡيَا وَالۡاٰخِرَةِ​ ۚ تَوَفَّنِىۡ مُسۡلِمًا وَّاَلۡحِقۡنِىۡ بِالصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏ 
(12:101) My Lord! You have bestowed dominion upon me and have taught me to comprehend the depths of things. O Creator of heavens and earth! You are my Guardian in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die in submission to You, and join me, in the end, with the righteous."

The few sentences that were uttered by Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) at the happiest occasion of his life help depict the most graceful pattern of the virtues of a true believer. There is the man from the desert, whom his own brothers had, out of jealousy, attempted to kill, now sitting on the throne after passing through many vicissitudes of life. All the members of his family have been forced by famine to come before him for help. The same jealous brothers, who had made an attempt on his life, are now standing before him with downcast heads. Had there been a “successful man of the world” in his place, he would have used this opportunity for boasting of his greatness and bragging of his successes, and giving vent to his grievances and hurling malicious taunts at his defeated enemies. In utter contrast to this, the true man of God behaves in a quite different way. Instead of boasting and bragging of his own greatness, he is grateful to his God Who had shown grace to him by raising him to such a high position of power, and for arranging his meeting with his people after such a long period of separation. Instead of giving vent to his grievances against his brothers, making taunts at them for their ill treatment, he does not make even a mention of such things but puts up a defense for them, saying that it was all due to Satan, who had stirred up strife between them: nay, he even puts it forward as a blessing in disguise, being one of the mysterious ways of Allah by which He had fulfilled His design of raising him to the throne. After saying these things in a few concise sentences, he at once turns to his Lord in gratitude for bestowing on him kingdom and wisdom, instead of letting him rot in the prison, and prays to Him to keep him as His faithful and obedient servant as long as he was alive, and to join him with the righteous people after his death. What a pure and high pattern of character.

It is strange that this speech of Prophet Joseph has neither found a place in the Bible nor in the Talmud, though these books are full of irrelevant and unimportant details of this story and others. It is an irony that these Books are void of those things that teach moral values and throw light on the real characters and the mission of the Prophets. Now that this story has come to an end, the readers are again reminded that this story of Prophet Joseph as given in the Quran is not a copy of the story given in the Bible and the Talmud for there are striking differences between them. A comparative study of these Books will show that the story in the Quran differs from that given in the other two Books in several very important parts. The Quran contains additional facts in some cases and omits certain facts in other cases or even refutes some parts as contained in the Bible and the Talmud. Therefore there is absolutely no room for anyone to allege that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) related this story merely in the form he heard it from the Israelites.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
This is the invocation of Yusuf, the truthful one, to his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored. He invoked Allah after His favor was complete on him by being reunited with his parents and brothers, after He had bestowed on him prophethood and kingship. He begged his Lord the Exalted and Ever High, that as He has perfected His bounty on him in this life, to continue it until the Hereafter. He begged Him that, when he dies, he dies as a Muslim, as Ad-Dahhak said, and to join him with the ranks of the righteous, with his brethren the Prophets and Messengers, may Allah's peace and blessings be on them all. It is possible that Yusuf, peace be upon him, said this supplication while dying. 

In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that while dying, the Messenger of Allah was raising his finger and said - thrice, (O Allah to Ar-Rafiq Al-A`la - the uppermost, highest company in heaven.) It is also possible that long before he died, Yusuf begged Allah to die as a Muslim and be joined with the ranks of the righteous.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Then he, Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) turns to Allah in prayer, and again his modesty is predominant. He held supreme power under the king, but he calls it "some power" or authority. His reading of events and dreams had saved millions of lives in the great Egyptian famine; yet he refers to it as "something of the interpretation of dreams and events". And he takes no credit to himself, "All this," he says, "was Thy gift, O Allah! For such things can only come from the Creator of the heavens and earth."

Power in the doing of things as well as power in intelligent forecasts and plans,-both must look to Allah: otherwise the deed and the plan would be futile.

Joseph's prayer may be analyzed thus: (1) I am nothing; all power and knowledge are Thine; (2) such things can only come from Thee, for Thou art the Creator of all; (3) none can protect me from danger and wrong, but only Thou; (4) Thy protection I need both in this world and the next; (5) may I till death remain constant to Thee-, (6) may I yield up my soul to Thee in cheerful submission to Thy will; (7) in this moment of union with my family after many partings let me think of the final union with the great family of the righteous. How marvelously apt to the occasion!

The story of Joseph is a lesson for all of humankind.   True patience and the ability to forgive are lofty characteristics worthy of inculcating. Please do read Surah 12. Yusuf for the complete account of life of Prophet Yusuf (peace e upon him) and draw relevant lesson for your own life and see how total faith on Allah pays dividends even when all all odds are against you.
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Invocations / Dua " دُعا " from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs / verses (ayat) of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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