THE SHIRT: LOSS OF A SON 12: 11-18

bismillah chinese

Surah Yusuf 12:11-18
قَالُواْ يَـأَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأمَنَّا عَلَى يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ  لَنَـصِحُونَ (١١) أَرسِلهُ مَعَنَا غَدًا يَرتَع وَيَلعَب وَإِنَّا لَهُ  لَحَـفِظُونَ (١٢) قَالَ إِنِّى لَيَحزُنُنِىٓ أَن تَذهَبُواْ بِهِ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَألَهُ ٱلذِّئبُ وَأَنتُم عَنهُ غَـفِلُونَ (١٣) قَالُواْ لَن أَلَهُ ٱلذِّئبُ وَنَحنُ عُصبَةٌ إِنَّآ إِذًا لَّخَـسِرُونَ (١٤) فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُواْ بِهِ وَأَجمَعُوٓاْ أَن يَجعَلُوهُ فِى غَيَـبَتِ ٱلجُبِّ وَأَوحَينَآ إِلَيهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمرِهِم هَـذَا وَهُم لَا يَشعُرُونَ (١٥) وَجَآءُوٓ أَبَاهُم عِشَآءً يَبكُونَ (١٦) قَالُواْ يَـأَبَانَآ إِنَّا ذَهَبنَا نَستَبِقُ وَتَرَنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَـعِنَا فَأَلَهُ ٱلذِّئبُ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُؤمِنٍ لَّنَا وَلَو نَّا صَـدِقِينَ (١٧) وَجَآءُو عَلَى قَمِيصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ قَالَ بَل سَوَّلَت لَكُم أَنفُسُكُم أَمرًا فَصَبرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَٱللَّهُ ٱلمُستَعَانُ عَلَى مَا تَصِفُونَ (١٨)

Transliteration:
11    Qaloo ya abana ma laka la tamanna AAala yoosufa wainna lahu lanasihoona
12    Arsilhu maAAana ghadan yartaAA wayalAAab wainna lahu lahafithoona
13    Qala innee layahzununee an thathhaboo bihi waakhafu an yakulahu alththibu waantum AAanhu ghafiloona
14    Qaloo lain akalahu alththibu wanahnu AAusbatun inna ithan lakhasiroona
15    Falamma thahaboo bihi waajmaAAoo an yajAAaloohu fee ghayabati aljubbi waawhayna ilayhi latunabiannahum biamrihim hatha wahum la yashAAuroona
16    Wajaoo abahum AAishaan yabkoona
17    Qaloo ya abana inna thahabna nastabiqu watarakna yoosufa AAinda mataAAina faakalahu alththibu wama anta bimuminin lana walaw kunna sadiqeena
18    Wajaoo AAala qameesihi bidamin kathibin qala bal sawwalat lakum anfusukum amran fasabrun jameelun waAllahu almustaAAanu AAala ma tasifoona

Translation (Pickthall)
They said: O our father! Why wilt thou not trust us with Joseph, when lo! we are good friends to him? (11) Send him with us to-morrow that he may enjoy himself and play. And lo! we shall take good care of him. (12) He said: Lo! in truth it saddens me that ye should take him with you, and I fear lest the wolf devour him while ye are heedless of him. (13) They said: If the wolf should devour him when we are (so strong) a band, then surely we should have already perished. (14) Then, when they led him off, and were of one mind that they should place him in the depth of the pit, We inspired in him: Thou wilt tell them of this deed of theirs when they know (thee) not. (15) And they came weeping to their father in the evening. (16) Saying: O our father! We went racing one with another, and left Joseph by our things, and the wolf devoured him, and thou believest not our saying even when we speak the truth. (17) And they came with false blood on his shirt. He said: Nay, but your minds have beguiled you into something. (My course is) comely patience. And Allah it is Whose help is to be sought in that (predicament) which ye describe. (18)

TAFSEEER excerpted from Taleem ul Quran by Dr. Farhat Hashmi (with my take in italics from the retreat on Surah Yusuf with HY)

This is a 4000-year-old story…………a story of which Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had no knowledge. The Meccans. Both the Quraish and the Jews were bent on disproving prophet Muhammad’s Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)Prophet hood. Thus he was asked about Yusuf AS of which he had no knowledge. It is then that Allah Subhanawataala revealed this surah with the complete story of Yusuf in its entirety.

Here is how the story goes………………..

Yaqub (AS) was approached by his sons (the eleven brothers of Yusuf)……………..they started their conversation by making him feel guilty that he does not trust them with Yusuf.

They reminded him that they are a large, strong group, and nothing can overcome them. They asked him to let Yusuf go with them on a picnic and that they would guard him and bring him back safe and sound.  They of course had no intention of bringing him back period. Thus this falls into the earliest history of a premeditated crime.

What does a father do………….when one sibling is pitted against the other and is bent on mischief.

He appealed to them, and said, “ it fills my heart with sadness at the thought of Yusuf going away and I feel anxiety that something might happen to him like a wolf might devour him while you are busy……”

He watched as the brothers in a backhanded fashion accused him of not trusting them with Yusuf. They said that they were going for a picnic and did he not think that they were enough in number and strength to take care of one child and that being their own brother……?

The air was rife with treachery…….a murder had been planned and had been changed to abduction and disappearance.

The Nafs of the boys was riding rampant and its predatory tentacles had overcome their good sense. The whisperings of Shaitaan fanning their envy and jealousy for their younger sib.The mischief crystallized into a deliberate plan to get rid of their younger brother whom they believed to be the apple of their father’s eyes.

A parent can feel when something is amiss in his children. And so did Yaqub AS. He felt that the brothers were up to no good and yet………he submitted to Allah’s Divine Decree by making his fatherly anxiety and premonition yield to the will of God.

He let Yusuf go with them………..

Night had fallen. They came back with his shirt, stained with blood, which they said belonged to Yusuf…………The pain and anguish that he had spoken about when he was hesitant about sending Yusuf with them now filled his heart and overflowed through his eyes. Not a word of anger or complaint to anyone including Allah Subhanawataala escaped his lips………all he said was “ I will bear this sorrow with Sabr Jameel and only ask Allah for help” (a sabr that is beautified with perfection of the act).

The shirt……..covered with blood a reminder that Yusuf was lost, somewhere in the vast unending desert.  His dear sweet, handsome, agreeable, lovable, child Yusuf was lost and there was not a thing he could do except be patient, trust in God and seek His help. Sabr jameel! There was no end point to his anguish, but he had vowed to have Sabr Jameel and only ask Allah for help, but his anguish flowed from his heart to his eyes.

The shirt……….was the only thing left of Yusuf to remind him that he was gone, irrevocably. Somewhere in the back of his mind or from his instincts as a Nabi he knew that his lovely child was not dead……..and yet he was gone, lost in the vast desert and it is said that he cried his heart out till he became blind. A father blinded with grief.

The sorrows of a parent for a child…. dead or lost are unfathomable………it is only the mercy of Allah and trust in Him and Sabr, that keeps one sane and patient in the face of the incessant waves of sorrow that threaten to engulf and drown one into the fathomless sea of grief.

The shirt………….Yusuf’s (AS) shirt is symbolic through out this saga as it continues.

Yaqub (AS) grief and his promise of Sabr Jameel and asking only God for help, brings to us the human example of a grief stricken parent given strength to bear endless sadness.

Most of all it raises the bar for the level of trust in God that we can have and that of Sabr to Sabr Jameel.

Dedicated…………in memory of Nabeel


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