IN PRISON: ETIQUETTE, DAWAH & DREAM INTERPRETATION……..Surah Yusuf 36:42

Bismillah bird

وَدَخَلَ مَعَهُ ٱلسِّجۡنَ فَتَيَانِ‌ۖ قَالَ أَحَدُهُمَآ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰنِىٓ أَعۡصِرُ خَمۡرً۬ا‌ۖ وَقَالَ ٱلۡأَخَرُ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰنِىٓ أَحۡمِلُ فَوۡقَ رَأۡسِى خُبۡزً۬ا تَأۡكُلُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ مِنۡهُ‌ۖ نَبِّئۡنَا بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦۤ‌ۖ إِنَّا نَرَٮٰكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ (٣٦) قَالَ لَا يَأۡتِيكُمَا طَعَامٌ۬ تُرۡزَقَانِهِۦۤ إِلَّا نَبَّأۡتُكُمَا بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن يَأۡتِيَكُمَا‌ۚ ذَٲلِكُمَا مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِى رَبِّىٓ‌ۚ إِنِّى تَرَكۡتُ مِلَّةَ قَوۡمٍ۬ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَهُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ كَـٰفِرُونَ (٣٧) وَٱتَّبَعۡتُ مِلَّةَ ءَابَآءِىٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَ‌ۚ مَا كَانَ لَنَآ أَن نُّشۡرِكَ بِٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ مِن فَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡنَا وَعَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَشۡكُرُونَ (٣٨) يَـٰصَٮٰحِبَىِ ٱلسِّجۡنِ ءَأَرۡبَابٌ۬ مُّتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيۡرٌ أَمِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡوَٲحِدُ ٱلۡقَهَّارُ (٣٩) مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦۤ إِلَّآ أَسۡمَآءً۬ سَمَّيۡتُمُوهَآ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُم مَّآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ بِہَا مِن سُلۡطَـٰنٍ‌ۚ إِنِ ٱلۡحُكۡمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ‌ۚ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ (٤٠) يَـٰصَٮٰحِبَىِ ٱلسِّجۡنِ أَمَّآ أَحَدُكُمَا فَيَسۡقِى رَبَّهُ ۥ خَمۡرً۬ا‌ۖ وَأَمَّا ٱلۡأَخَرُ فَيُصۡلَبُ فَتَأۡڪُلُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ مِن رَّأۡسِهِۦ‌ۚ قُضِىَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ ٱلَّذِى فِيهِ تَسۡتَفۡتِيَانِ (٤١) وَقَالَ لِلَّذِى ظَنَّ أَنَّهُ ۥ نَاجٍ۬ مِّنۡهُمَا ٱذۡڪُرۡنِى عِندَ رَبِّكَ فَأَنسَٮٰهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ ذِڪۡرَ رَبِّهِۦ فَلَبِثَ فِى ٱلسِّجۡنِ بِضۡعَ سِنِينَ (٤٢)

This recitation starts at ayah 30 and goes on to 42:

Now with him there came into the prison two young men. Said one of them: “I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” Said the other: “I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head, and birds are eating thereof.” “Tell us” (they said) “the truth and meaning thereof: for we see thou art one that doth good (to all).” (36) He said: “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 befall you. That is part of the (Duty) which my Lord hath taught me. I have (I assure you) abandoned the ways of a people that believe not in Allah and that (even) deny the Hereafter. (37) “And I follow the ways of my fathers― Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and never could we attribute any partners whatever to Allah: that (comes) of the grace of Allah to us and to mankind: yet most men are not grateful. (38) “O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the One Supreme and Irresistible? (39) “If not Him ye worship nothing but names which ye have named― ye and your fathers― for which Allah hath sent down no authority: the Command is for none but Allah: He hath commanded that ye worship none but Him: that is the right religion, but Most men understand not… (40) “O my two companions of the prison! as to one of you he will pour out the wine for his lord to drink: as for the other, he will hang from the cross, and the birds will eat from off his head. (So) hath been decreed that matter whereof ye twain do enquire…” (41) And of the two, to that one whom he considered about to be saved, he said: “Mention me to thy lord.” but Satan made him forget to mention him to his lord: and (Joseph) lingered in prison a few (more) years. (42)

TAFSEER BY DR FARHAT HASHMI (translated)

In prison, when two prisoners seek out Yusuf (AS) to interpret their dreams…………he takes this opportunity to precede his interpretation with dawah with gentle humility. He begins with explaining that all he has as wisdom and knowledge of interpretation of dreams comes from Allah Subhanawataala.

INTRODUCING TAWHEED

He uses the method of asking simple questions, whereupon the answers lead the listeners to the correct answers of a complex subject by deduction.

He then in a series of questions shows them a scenario of many Gods fighting with each other for power and the Universe going berserk with their conflict, versus One powerful God orchestrating everything in the Universe and everything and everyone obeying Him, resulting in harmony.

He asks them: is it easier to have one God or several who may differ or may conflict with each other?  He says: isn’t it easier to have one God, undivided, and who dominates everything in the Universe

APPROACHES TO DAWAH

  1. When asked a question, he precedes it with an introduction to where the answer of this question is coming from
  2. He then explains how this world can only run smoothly by one hand, one God who dominates everything.
  3. He explains how having different names of these numerous Gods are the product of a human mind.
  4. He explains that any of these names of Gods have no power; all power is with Allah the only one.
  5. Allah Subhanawataala, who is the only One God, has commanded us to worship none except him. Ask for anything that you need only for him. This is the true Deen.

PEARL FOR DAWAH: Thus, when one is asked a question regarding Deen, it is best not to give a yes or no answer without preceding it with an explanation.

Interpretation of the dreams of his (YUSUF AS) fellow prisoners.

He said “O my companions, One of you will give wine to his master, the other will be hanged and will hang for so long so that the birds will pick his brain”

Etiquette of answering the query of the fellow prisoners:

  1. Preceded his interpretation with Dawaah
  2. Addressing with politeness and equality, with no touch of arrogance for his  ability and knowledge of interpretation of dreams.
  3. Succinct and simple explanation without adding his personal opinions to it

Yusuf (AS) asked one of the prisoner to say some good words to the king about him, but the prisoner after getting out of prison forgot.

QADAA WAL QADAR FOR A PROPHET:

Every happening in our life has a fixed time and so it was also for Yusuf (AS) thus his time in prison was fixed and not a day could he leave it earlier or later

End Tafseer

MY TAKE:

The three things that struck me that I need to practice repeatedly are:

  1. Etiquette is not only for times of comfort but also for times in which one is angry, hungry, tired, irritated, frustrated, feeling unjustly imposed upon agitated and or sad. Ramadan being a great opportunity to practice this.

How to get to the point that Muslim etiquette becomes a seamless part of us?

Answer: Practice, Practice, Practice, till it becomes second nature!

2.                  The preamble to Dawaah and Dawaah itself:

    1. Practice, learn and practice again an opening statement……….I remember Shaykh Estes saying “Thank you for asking me that question” and then have a preamble ready that can be modulated depending on the circumstances.                   A basic body of verbal text must be ready, memorized, practiced so that it is delivered with equanimity, serenity and beauty. This sets the stage for the explanation of the beauty of the words of Allah
    2. For Dawaah someone once said  “ if you have nothing to offer, how can you invite someone in,” Nothing to offer here means, one has none or inaccurate knowledge of Deen, which derails whatever good, was going to come of it.
    3. Thus a regular diet of ilm is necessary, we can learn it in the car by CDs, by downloading tafseer of the Quran and listening to it on the IPOD while on the train or bus, or by picking the brain of another Muslim who knows more. Most of all by studying everyday consistently, the words of Allah and his Messenger, inshallah!
    4. If you know the preamble to the dawah well, then you can actually assess the recipient’s expression and fashion your dawah according to their readiness, level of interest, enthusiasm or hostility, while maintaining serenity in yourself.

Supplication: For ease of speech before you say the words of dawaah, make this dua that was invoked by Moses (AS) before he went to give the message of Tawheed to the Pharaoh:

O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And make my task easy for me. And loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue. That they may understand my speech. (TAHA: 25-28)

For the actual dua, its Urdu meaning and to listen to it CLICK HERE

3. Even Prophets have to bow their head to Qadaa wal Qadar, as Yusuf AS had to stay in the prison for the appointed time that Allah Subhanawataala had designated, but there is no harm in trying and making the effort to change circumstances as he did.

A beautiful explanation of the story in the prison by Shaykh Anwar Awlaki

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