Sunday, October 5, 2014

Archgens Of Prophecy


As the Night of Eid-ul-Adha and Yom Kippur casts itself upon us, it is important that we reflect upon the life of a man and his descendants significant to the history of our faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a bloodline blessed to be the progenitor of many nations: the bloodline of Avinu Abraham and the Patriarchs – Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.

Prophet Abraham was born to a tribe of idolaters in the ancient city of Ur, in the Mesopotamian plains of Babylon, the modern-day location of Iraq. The language spoken there during his time was Akkadian, an extinct tongue today. His father was Azar, biblically known as Terah. The Torah traces his lineage through the bloodline of Shem of Babel.


He was critical of the idol-worshiping of his people from a very young age. His father, on the other hand, ironically, might I add, was a famous sculptor of pagan idols. As a child, he was sent to the marketplaces to sell these idols to the people for worship. Islamic traditions narrate that once there he used to call out to the passersby saying,
"Who’ll buy my idols? They won’t help you and they can’t hurt you! Who’ll buy my idols?"
His father, obviously, was not too pleased by this behavior and this resulted the two to often argue and quarrel. He started feeling angry towards his people, who could not realize that these are only stones that could neither benefit nor harm them. They could not be gods, they have no power. God is Greater than what his people were worshiping, Omnipotent, Magnificent, Supreme. One could not find Him sitting on a table in a temple!


One night, Abraham went up to the mountains, leaned against a rock, and looked up to the sky. He saw an extremely radiant, shining star, and pondered,
"Could this be my Lord?"

However, the star eventually faded and he surmised,
"That which fades cannot be my Lord."
The star has disappeared, it could not be God. God is always present.
Then he saw the moon rising in splendor and thought,
"How about this? Could this be my Lord?"

However, as dawn approached, the moon, too, faded, and, at daybreak, he saw the sun rising and said,
"No, perhaps this could be my Lord? This is bigger and brighter!"

However, at the end of the day, the sun also faded and he declared,
"O my people, I am free from all that you join as partners with God! I have turned my face towards Him Who created the Heavens and the Earth, and never shall I associate partners with God. Our Almighty Lord is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and everything. He has the power to make the stars and the sun and the moon rise and set. He is God, the One True God, Truly Supreme."
Abraham then heard the Lord calling out to him,
"O Abraham!"
Abraham replied, trembling,
"Here I am, my Lord!"
The Lord commanded,
"Submit to Me!"
Abraham fell on the ground, prostrating and crying. He said,
"I submit to the Lord of the Universe!"

Abraham kept prostrating until night fell again. Therein, he was promised fatherhood of many believing nations.
He got up and went back to his home, in peace, full of conviction that the Lord has guided him to the Truth.


And thus began Abraham's prophetic mission. He first reached out to his father, the one closest to him in bond of kith and kin, once again asking him why would he pray to the false of gods of mud and clay who bore him no benefit and harm, and why not, instead, pray to the One True God. Abraham implored his father in his kindest voice,
"O father! Why do you worship that which does not hear nor see, and cannot avail you in anything?
Father, I have received Knowledge which you have not; follow me, I'll guide you to the Straight Path."
His father retorted angrily,
"Do you reject my gods, O Abraham? If you don’t stop I will stone you.
Get away from me before I punish you."
Abraham said,
"Peace be on you! I will ask forgiveness of my Lord for you."

Dejected, Abraham left his father having lost hope to convert him to the Right Path, directing his efforts towards the people of his town. However, they, too, rejected his call and threatened him. Angered at this, he said,
"By God, I shall device a plan to destroy their idols!"

He knew that a big celebration was coming soon, where everybody would leave town for a big feast on the riverbank. After making sure that nobody was left in town, Abraham went towards the temple armed with an ax.


Statues of all shapes and sizes were sitting there adorned with decorations, and plates of food were offered to them, but the food was untouched. Abraham jeered and taunted the lifeless idols,
"Well, why don’t you eat? The food is getting cold."
Then, with his ax, he destroyed all the statues except the largest one. He hung the ax around its neck and left.


When the people returned to the temple, they were appalled and mortified. They gathered inside watching in awe, their gods broken in pieces. They wondered who had done this and recalled that the young Abraham was talking in jest and ridicule of their idols. They brought him to the temple for interrogation,
"Are you the one who has done this to our gods?"
Abraham answered,
"No, this statue, the biggest of them has done it. Ask them!"
"You know well that these idols do not speak!"
The crowd was growing impatient.
"Then how come you worship things that can neither speak nor see, nor even fend for themselves? Have you lost your minds?"

Abraham's response had the people stunned. He did have a valid point. Their minds and their senses were telling them that the Truth is with Abraham, but their pride prevented them to accept it, and reject the idols they were worshiping for generations. This, they thought, would be total defeat. They started yelling at him, shrieking,
"Burn him! Burn him! Avenge the fallen gods! Burn him!"

The decision to burn Abraham at the stake was affirmed by the priests and the King of Babylon, Nimrod. The news spread like a plague across the kingdom, and people were coming from all places to watch the execution.

A huge pit was dug up and a large quantity of wood was piled up. Then, the most colossal fire people had ever witnessed was ignited. The tongues of flames spiraled sky-high licking the edge of the heavens, obstructing even the birds from flying over it in fear of incineration.


Abraham’s limbs were chained, and he was lodged inside a catapult to launch him into the fire. At that time, the Archangel Michael manifested before him and pleaded,
"O Abraham! Is there anything you desire?"
Abraham could have asked to be saved from the fire, to be taken away, but no, instead he only supplicated,
"I desire that my Lord be pleased with me."
The catapult was released and Abraham was flung into the very heart of the fire. However, the Lord would never allow His Prophet to be killed. He ordered the fire,
"O fire, become tranquil for Abraham and accept him within your bosom in safety and peace."
And the miracle happened. The fire obeyed and melted away his chains. Abraham rose from its grasp as if he was sauntering out of a sanctuary, with serenity and grace, his face illuminated, and not a trace of smoke on his clothes. People watched in amazement, shouting,
"The God of Abraham has saved him from the fire!"

Abraham’s notoriety grew after this event and the King of Babylon felt that his throne was in danger, and that he was losing power, for he had been masquerading as a deity to his people. He sent for the Prophet of the Eternal God. He wanted to challenge him and prove that he, the king was indeed the true god, and Abraham was a prophet of lies.


As Abraham was summoned to Nimrod's court, he asked him,
"What can your Lord do that I cannot?"
Abraham replied,
"My Lord is He Who ordains life and death."
Nimrod countered,
"I, too, ordain life and death."
The king stated, proudly, and then commanded a man to be snatched off the streets and put to death while a criminal sitting on death row was ordered to be set free.


Undeterred, Abraham retaliated,
"My Lord makes the sun rise from the East and set in the West.
Can you, mighty King of Shinar, make it rise from the West and set in the East?
If so, perform the deed and I shall abandon my Lord to kneel before you."

The king was confounded. He was beaten at his own game, on his own territory, in front of his own people. Abraham left him there speechless and humiliated. Nimrod and his audience at the court was convinced of Abraham's Message but denied it out of arrogance, not willing to let go of their pride. They rather chose to disbelieve and thus their punishment in the afterlife was severe. Imprisoned within the vestibule of the Eighth and Ninth Circles of Hellfire, Nimrod was condemned to wander the Inferno fused with the edifice of his own construct, the Great Tower of Babel.


Abraham continued to preach but his efforts were constantly rebuffed by the people.
Only his half-sister, Sarah, and his nephew, Lot, believed and followed Abraham.


He realized that nobody else would listen to him, and decided to emigrate for the Cause of God in His Name, and to spread His Message elsewhere. Before leaving, he tried once again to convert his father to believe in One God, but to no avail. Abraham said to his father and his people,
"We are free of you and of whatever you worship besides God. We have rejected you and there has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred forever unless you believe in God and Him Alone."


Abraham, Lot and Sarah started their long travel. They crossed Babylon, went through Syria and Palestine calling people to God, helping the poor and doing good deeds.


By that time Abraham married Sarah, hoping to bear children who would spread the Message of God after them.


As for Lot, he emigrated to the region of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the people had given into an abnormal lust of a new kind, unprecedented before among any in humanity. They were lecherous and inhospitable, worshiping themselves, their own stained, fallen egos and desires, over God. Lot settled there for a while and began to preach the Message of the Lord of Abraham but none listened.

As the years went by, the denizens of the land grew more and more impatient of him until God sent him assistance in the form of three angels. The angels stopped by the tent of Abraham and informed him they were going to destroy the nations of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham was petrified at this news for he knew his nephew was there.

Abraham prayed to God for exemption and God replied saying He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there were at least fifty righteous people in the land but there were not fifty. God reduced the number to forty but still there was not any until God reduced the number to five and it was revealed that the only righteous folk of the land were Lot and his three daughters.

As the angels approached the country, the daughters of Lot saw them by the river and warned them of the people there. The angels were unfazed. They asked the daughters to take them to their father. As the people of the town saw Lot harbor the three angels who had come in the visage of three handsome men, they threatened to barge down Lot's door for they wished to rape his guests and loot them.

Lot, in fear, offered the people the hand of his daughters in marriage instead but none of them listened. Meanwhile, the wife of Lot was conspiring with the people to allow them through the backdoor. God immediately asked Lot and his daughters to leave the town. The angels granted them safe passage, even the wife, and she was asked not to look back but nevertheless she cast a glance over her shoulder and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters were safeguarded and escaped. The angels turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah upside down.


Time went by and no children were born to Sarah. She realized she was sterile. She accepted her fate and submitted to God's Will. Abraham and Sarah decided to relocate to Egypt. As they neared the land, Abraham said to his wife,
"See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and it will come about when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you."

Now, at this point of time, Sarah was sixty-five years old and it was a testament of her beauty that even at such age she was still so irresistible that Abraham thought the Egyptians might try to kill him for her. And the beauty was not just in Abraham’s eye. When the two entered Egypt, it came about that the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. The king’s officials saw her and praised her to the King; and the woman was taken into the king’s house.


While Abraham thought the Egyptians might murder him to get his wife, he was sure they would treat him as an honored guest if they thought he were her brother. And he turned out to be right. They gave him many animals and servants for her sake. Nonetheless, in exchange, Sarah was caught up in a nasty predicament.


Sarah was apprehended and brought before the king of Egypt who then proceeded to advance upon her illicitly but as soon as he laid his hand upon her, he was immobilized. He asked Sarah,
"Pray to your Lord for me, and I shall not harm you."
Thus, Sarah asked God to cure the king and he got cured. However, as soon as he recovered, the man tried once more to take hold of her and for the second time he was immobilized once more. He again requested to Sarah,
"Pray to your Lord for me, and I will not harm you."
Sarah prayed to God again, and the king was healed. He then called his guards and reprimanded them for enslaving Sarah in their custody, who, he deduced, was not Abraham's sister but rather his wife. The king then presented Hagar to Sarah as her maidservant and asked her to return to Abraham.

Sarah witnessed her husband Abraham’s hair gray, and it grieved her to see his chance of having any child slipping away. Having resigned to her barren fate, she offered Hagar, her handmaiden, as a wife to her husband, and prayed to God to bless Hagar and Abraham with a child. God heard.


Ishmael was born, destined to serve God and deliver His Message to Arabia and bear the flag of prophecy for them, eventually passing it down to Muhammad, the Final Prophet and Messenger of God. And all of it had come to pass because of Sarah's selflessness, a deed that would not go unrewarded.


Three angels descended unto Earth: Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. They came in the visage of men and saluted Abraham. Abraham arose and welcomed them. He took them inside his tent, thinking they were strangers and guests. He seated them and made sure that they were comfortable, then excused himself to fetch his wives.

Sarah responded the call. She had become old and white-haired. Abraham said to her,
"We have three strangers in the house."
She asked,
"Who are they?"
The Prophet answered,
"I do not know any of them. What food have we got?"
Sarah replied,
"Half a sheep,"
Abraham exclaimed,
"Half a sheep! Slaughter a fat calf for them! They are our guest!"

The servants roasted and served a calf. Abraham invited the angels to eat, and he started eating so as to encourage them. He continued, but when he glanced at his guests to assure they were eating, he noticed that none of them had touched the food. He said to them,
"Are you not going to eat?"
He resumed eating, but when he glanced at them again he found that they were still not eating. Their hands did not reach out for the food. He began to fear them.
Abraham’s fears increased. The angels, however, were reading his inner thoughts and one of them said,
"Do not fear."
Abraham raised his head and replied,
"Indeed, I am in fear. I have served you food, but you do not stretch out your hands to eat.
Do you intend me evil?"
One of the angels smiled and said,
"We do not eat. We are Angels of the Lord."
One of them then turned towards his wife and conveyed the Glad Tidings of the Birth of Isaac.


Sarah balked in astonishment,
"Woe unto me! Shall I bear a child while I am an old woman, and here is my husband, an old man.
Verily, this is a strange thing!"
The angels said,
"Do you wonder of God's Decree? The Mercy of God and Blessings be upon you,
O family of Abraham. Surely, He is Worthy of all Praise, Most Glorious."
And thus, Isaac was born.


Abraham woke up one day and asked Hagar to prepare herself and baby Ishmael for a long travel. Abraham and Hagar kept walking, crossed a fertile land followed by arid mountains till they arrived at Mecca in the Desert of Paran.


Abraham brought Hagar in between two hills called Safa and Marwah, also known as Kadesh and Bered, made her and her baby sit under a tree, placed a bag of dates and some water near her, and set out homeward. Hagar ran after him and asked,
"Are you going to leave us in this desert where there is no one to keep us company?"
She repeated this many times but he would not look back at her. She finally asked,
"Has the Lord ordered you to do so?"
Abraham replied in the affirmative.
Thus, Hagar said,
"Then He will not forsake us."
Abraham walked away until he got out of their sight, then raised his hands and prayed to God,
"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sanctuary, in order that they may offer prayers. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks."

Hagar went on nursing Ishmael and drinking from the vessel of water till exhaustion. She became very thirsty and the child was crying. She left him at the valley and hurried to the nearest hill, Safa. She stood there and scanned the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but found no-one. She descended from Safa, crossed the valley running and reached Marwah again. She stood and started looking but could see nobody.

Frantic, she kept running between Safa and Marwah traversing back and forth seven times. When she reached Marwah for the last time, she was in fumes. She sat next to the baby and then heard a voice. She stood up and said,
"O whoever you might be! Have you got something to help me?"
She saw an Angel of the Lord. It was Gabriel.


The Archangel had been digging the earth until a fountain water sprouted out of it. Hagar built a little basin around it, scooped water with her hands, drank, filled her water-skin, and nursed her baby. The place from which water flowed was the Well of Zamzam or Beer-lahai-roi. Muslim pilgrims even to this day drink from the holy water of Zamzam, and during Hajj they walk between as-Safa and al-Marwah seven times to commemorate this event.

Some Arab nomads traveling through Mecca saw birds flying around Marwah. The vagabonds assumed that they had been soaring around some source of water. When they arrived at the water, they found Hagar and asked her,
"Would you allow us to stay with you, and use the water from your well?"


She agreed and was pleased by their company. The people sent for their families, settled there and became permanent residents. The whole valley became alive.
Ishmael grew up, learned the language of the Arabs, and later married a woman from among them.


Meanwhile, Abraham, one night, had a dream. It was another vision. He sought out his son and said,
"O my son ! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you as a sacrifice to the Lord.
What do you think of this?"
They both realized that this was an Order from God. Abraham's son said without hesitation,
"Do what you are commanded, you shall find me very patient, by the Will of God."
They had both submitted to the God's Ordain. Abraham laid his son prostrate, put his forehead on the ground and directed a sharp knife towards his neck. At this very moment, the Archangel Gabriel intervened and the Lord called out to him,
"O Abraham, you have indeed fulfilled the dream! Thus do We reward the righteous!"
A ram was sent down from Heaven to be slaughtered instead of Abraham's son, which Abraham did, and they both had a big celebration that day. This event is celebrated every year by all Muslims. It is Eid-ul-Adha where we slaughter the sacrificial sheep.


Abraham and his household kept on calling people to the worship of the One True God. At that time there was no place built solely for the worship of God. Abraham wished there could be such a place where people would be in peace and concentrate entirely on the worship of God.

His wish was answered when God ordered him to build the Sacred House, the Kaaba. Abraham said to Ishmael,
"O Ishmael, the Lord has given me an order, will you help me execute it?"
Ishmael responded,
"Yes I will."
Ishmael said,
"God has ordered me to build a house here."
He said this pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it. They went towards the place and started building the foundations of the Kaaba. Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham built the walls, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought a large stone and put it in front of his father who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones. Both of them went on building and going around the Kaaba, supplicating,
"O our Lord, accept this service from us."


When they finished the building, the Archangel Gabriel descended from Heaven and showed Abraham the rituals of Hajj. Then Abraham stepped on the stone and called on his people,
"O people, obey your Lord."
This large stone which Abraham stepped on is still there today near the Kaaba. It is called the Station of Abraham.


Thus ends the story of Abraham, the Father of Prophets. From him descended all the prophets who came later, including Muhammad, peace be upon him. Abraham devoted all his life calling others to the Truth and Submission to the One Lord. Alone he stood against his people, his father, and even the mighty king of Babylon, unflinching, unfazed. Yet his method was always to gradually persuade them by bringing irrefutable proofs, that most often embarrassed those who refused to accept the Truth, but as the Ancient of Days has said,

"Any whom God abandons to be led astray, there is none to guide!"


اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ


Isaac was born in the Holy Land on the first day of the Passover and circumcised on the eight day following his birth. As per Divine Decree, he was to never leave his birthplace. He lived there till the end of his life and was buried with his parents and children within the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Isaac grew up to look just like his father in appearance and mannerism. This, too, was dictated by the Will of God for the people of the land had begun to spread rumors that Isaac was the son of Abimelech, king of the Philistines. God thwarted such slander by ordaining that Isaac resemble Abraham so that there be no doubt regarding his parentage.

During the final years of his life, as Abraham realized his demise was near, he wished to see Isaac married. However, he did not want Isaac to marry one of the Canaanites, who were pagans, so he sent a trustworthy servant of his, Eliezer, to Haran of Mesopotamia to choose a bride for Isaac. The servant's choice fell upon Rebecca, daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, a brother of Abraham. Isaac, at this point of time, was forty years of age.


Eliezer, in his search for the woman most worthy of the hand of his master's son, devised a test. As he stood at the central well in Abraham's birthplace with his men and ten camels laden with goods, he prayed to God,
"Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall ask for water and she agrees to provide me as well offer to water my camels, her will You have designated for Your servant, for Isaac"
To his surprise, a young girl immediately came out and offered to draw water for him to drink, as well as water to fill the troughs for all his camels. Rebecca continued to draw water until all the camels were sated, proving her kind and generous nature and her suitability for entering Abraham's household.


Eliezer immediately gifted her a golden nose ring and two golden bracelets, which Rebecca hurried to show her mother. Seeing the jewelry, her brother Laban ran out to greet the guest and bring him inside. Eliezer narrated them of the errand Abraham had asked him to run and all the details of his trip to and meeting with Rebecca in fine detail, after which Laban and Bethuel agreed that she could return with him.

After hosting the party overnight, however, the family tried to keep Rebecca with them longer. The servant insisted that they ask the girl herself, and she agreed to go immediately. Her family sent her off with her nurse, Deborah, and blessed her,
"Our sister, may you mother a myriad thousand, and may your offspring inherit the gate of their foes."

As Rebecca and her entourage approached Abraham's home, they spied upon Isaac from a distance in the fields of Beer-lahai-roi. Isaac was praying the afternoon prayer. Seeing such a spiritually exalted man, Rebecca immediately dismounted from her camel and asked the accompanying servant who he was. Eliezer responded it was Isaac.


When Rebecca heard that this was her future husband, she modestly covered herself with a veil. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, married her, and loved her. Sarah had recently died at the age of a hundred and twenty seven. She was buried in a cave of Machpela amid the hills of Hebron that her husband had purchased from Ephron the Hittite, son of Zohar. The cavern is now known as the Cave of the Patriarchs.


God had recompensed the loss of his mother for Isaac with the present of a loving wife. Rebecca was known to be the soothing coolness of his eyes and together they lived in prosperity and peace.

After twenty years of marriage, however, the couple failed to conceive a child and Isaac believed Rebecca to be barren. Isaac prayed for her and eventually the union of Isaac and Rebecca resulted in the birth of a set of twins, Jacob and Esau. At this time of his life, Isaac was sixty years old and his sight was faltering.


At seventy-five, Isaac moved to Beer-lahai-roi after his beloved father died at one hundred and seventy years of age. Abraham was buried with his wife at the Patriarch's Tomb. When Beer-lahai-roi experienced famine, he removed to the Philistine land of Gerar where his father once lived. This land was still under the control of King Abimelech as it was in the days of Abraham. Abimelech and the Philistines had blocked the wells his father had dug with dirt. Thus, Isaac unearthed them and began to dig for more wells all the way to Beersheba, where he made a pact with Abimelech, just like in the days of his father. And with this, Isaac amassed for himself great wealth.


When Isaac grew old and his eyesight was lost, he had a desire to eat venison, so he asked his son Esau to go hunting and bring him some of it. Esau asked him to bless the food and pray for him.

Esau, a hunter, went out to get his father the meat. Rebecca, overhearing this, ordered her son Jacob to slaughter two goats of his best flock and cook them as his father liked and bring it to him before his brother returned. She dressed Jacob in his brother's clothes and put goat skin on his arms, for Esau was hairy while Jacob was not.

When Jacob approached his father with the food, his father asked,
"Who are you?"
Jacob answered,
"I am your son."
When his father finished eating, he prayed for his son to be the more blessed brother and to prevail over them and all people, and for God to sustain him and his children.


When he left his father, his brother Esau, who had carried out his father's command, entered.
Isaac asked him,
"What is this my son?"
He answered,
"This is the food you like."
Isaac asked,
"Did you bring it an hour ago and ask me to pray for you?"
Esau said,
"No, I swear I did not."
Then he realized it was his brother who had preceded him in this matter and he became envious.


Esau threatened to kill his brother once their father was dead. He asked his father to pray for him that God make the Earth good for his offspring and multiply his fruits. Esau went on to father the Edomites, ancestors of the Byzantines.


When their mother knew that Esau threatened his brother Jacob, she thought it would be best for her son Jacob to go to her brother Laban in the land of Haran and abide with him for a time until his brother's anger had abated. She told her husband Isaac to command him with that advice and pray for him, and he did.

Jacob left his family and fled. During his migration, one night, while he had found a place to rest, he took a stone and put it under his head and slept. He dreamed of a Stairway to Heaven from Earth. Angels had mounted upon it and the Lord addressed him and said to him,
"I will bless you and your offspring and make this land for you and for those who come after you."

There are many parallels between this event and the event of the Night Journey of Muhammad who also experienced the phenomenon of witnessing his own Ascension to Heaven just days before the pagans of Mecca had plotted to kill him and he was to migrate to Medina, then known as city of Yathrib, for survival.


When Jacob woke up he felt joyful from what he had seen in his dream and vowed, for God's Sake that if he returned to his family safely, he would build here a temple for the Almighty Lord. He also vowed to give one tenth of his property for the Cause of God. He poured oil on the stone so as to recognize it and called the place Bias Ayle meaning "House of God." It was to be the location of the Holy City of Jerusalem later.


When Jacob arrived at the home of his maternal uncle in Haran, his uncle had two daughters: Leah and Rachel.


Jacob was infatuated by Rachel and his uncle agreed to marry his daughter to him on the condition that Jacob pasture his sheep for seven years. After the period of time had passed, his uncle prepared a feast and gathered people for the grand wedding. He married Leah, his elder daughter, to him at night. However, when morning came, Jacob discovered she was Leah and he complained to his uncle.
"You deceived me! I was engaged to Rachel and you married me to Leah."
His uncle said,
"It is not our tradition to marry the younger daughter before the elder daughter.
However, if you love her sister, work another seven years and I will marry you to both of them."

Jacob worked for seven years and then married Rachel. It was acceptable in their time, as described in the Torah, for a man to marry two sisters. Laban gave away two maids to his two daughters: Zilpah and Bilhah.


Leah was the first to produce sons: Reuben, Simon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel was barren. She gave her slave Bilhah to her husband and he had relations with her until she became pregnant. Bilhah gave birth to a son, Naphtali.



Leah was vexed that Rachel's slave had given birth to a son, so she in turn gave her slave Zilpah to Jacob and Zilpah gave birth to two sons, Gad and Asher. Then Leah got pregnant and gave birth to her fifth son, Issacher, and later she gave birth to a sixth son Zebulun. After this Leah gave birth to a daughter named Dinah. And thus, Leah had seven children from her union with Jacob.


Then Rachel prayed to God to give her a son from Jacob. God heard her call and responded to her prayer.
She gave birth to a son: great, honorable, and beautiful. She named him Joseph.


All of this came to pass when they were in the land of Haran and Jacob was pasturing his uncle's sheep, which he did for a period of twenty years.


Jacob then asked his uncle Laban to let him go and visit his family. His uncle said to him,
"I have been blessed because of you; ask for whatever money you need."
Jacob said,
"Give me each spotted and speckled goat born this year and each black lamb."
However, at Laban's command, his sons removed their father's goat that were striped, spotted or speckled, and the black lambs, lest others should be born with those traits. They walked for three days with their father's goats and sheep while Jacob tended the remaining flock.

Jacob took fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane. He peeled streaks in them and cast them into the water trough for the goats to look at. The young inside their abdomens were terrified and moved and they were born striped, spotted or speckled.

When the sheep were breeding, he set their faces towards the black sheep in Laban's flock and put the rods among them. Their lambs were born black. This was considered an example of supernatural powers, a miracle. Jacob had many goats, sheep, beast and slaves. His uncle and his sons faces changed as if the sheep and goats had been stolen from them.


The Almighty Lord inspired Jacob to return to the country of his father and people, and He promised to stand by him. Jacob told his family that, and they responded and obeyed him. Jacob did not tell Laban of his plans, however, and left without bidding farewell. Before leaving, though, Rachel, with the assistance of Bilhah, stole her father's idols.


After Jacob and his people had fled for his country, Laban and his people followed them. When Laban met with Jacob, he blamed him for leaving him without his knowledge. He would have liked to know so that he could have made them leave with celebration and joy, with drums and songs, and so that he could have bidden his daughters and sons farewell. And why have they taken his idols with them?


Jacob had no knowledge of his idols, so he denied that had taken them from him. Then Laban entered the tents of his daughters and slaves to search, but he found nothing, for Rachel had put the idols in the camel saddle under her. She did not get up, apologizing that she had her menses. Thus, he could not perceive what they had done.

Then they sat on a hill called Galeed and made a covenant there. Jacob would not ill treat Laban's daughters nor marry others. Neither Laban nor Jacob would pass the hill into the other's country. They cooked food and their people ate with them. Each bade the other farewell as they departed, each returning to his own country.

When Jacob approached the land of Seir, angels greeted him. He sent a messenger ahead with greetings to his brother Esau, asking forgiveness and humbling himself before him. The messenger returned greetings and told Jacob that Esau was riding towards him with four hundred men.

This made Jacob afraid and he entreated and prayed to God. He prostrated to Him in humility and asked Him to fulfill His Promise which He had made before. He asked Him to stop the evil of his brother Esau. then Jacob prepared a great present for his brother: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, and thirty milch camels, forty cows and two bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.


He commanded his slaves to take the animals, each drove by itself, and pass on ahead of him with a space between the droves. He instructed them,
"When you meet my brother Esau he will ask you to whom you belong and where are you going. You must answer him that they belong to your servant Jacob and they are a present to your master Esau. Moreover, he is behind us."

Jacob stayed behind with his two wives, his slaves and his children for two nights, then continued walking by night and resting by day.

When the dawn of the second day came, one of the angels appeared in the shape of a man. Jacob, startled by the appearance of this stranger, began to wrestle with him. They were neck and neck until the angel injured his hamstring. When the day was breaking, the angel asked him,
"What is your name?"
He answered,
"Jacob."
The angel said,
"After today you shall not be called anything but Israel."
Jacob asked,
"Who are you? What is your name?"
The angel disappeared and Jacob realized what he was. Jacob had become lame, and it is exactly because of this very reason that the Children of Israel do not eat the thigh muscle on the hip socket.


Jacob raised his eyes and saw his brother Esau coming. Jacob prostrated seven times before him for it was their salutation in that time. It was lawful then just as the angels had prostration in salutation to Adam.

When Esau saw him, he ran towards him, embraced and kissed him and wept. When Esau raised his eyes and saw the women and children he asked,
"Who are these with you?"
Jacob answered,
"Those whom the Lord has given me, your servant."
Leah, Rachel, their slaves, and all the children approached and prostrated before him.
Jacob asked Esau to accept his gift and insisted until he did so.


Esau returned and went in advance before him. Jacob and his family followed with the flocks and herds and slaves to the mountains. When he came to Sukkot, he built a house for himself and shades for his beasts. He, then, passed by the site of Jerusalem and camped at the village of Nablus.

He bought a farm from Shechem, son of Hamor, with one hundred goats and built an altar, which he called Ayl, as God commanded him. He built the altar where Jerusalem stands today and later Solomon, son of David, rebuilt it. It is in the place of the stone which he had earlier anointed with oil as was mentioned before. This is similar to the Shrine of Abraham at Mecca, a place of worship for God also marked off with an altar of black stone, the Kaaba.


A tragedy befell the prophetic household in Nablus, though. Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob had grown to blossom into a beautiful young lady. Her mystical charm was an allure to all across the Holy Land.


Her exceptional beauty had caught the eye of Shechem, the son of Hamor, and he seized Dinah brutally raping her.


Following this, he asked her father and brothers to let him marry her. Her brothers said,
"Circumcise, all of you, and we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves; but we do not marry with uncircumcised people."
The people of the city agreed to that, and all of them were circumcised. When the third day came, the pain from the circumcision had increased, Afterwards, Simon and Levi approached and killed them till the last one. They killed Shechem and his father for the evil they had committed against them and seized their money as spoils.


Then Rachel got pregnant and gave birth to a son, Benjamin, but she had a hard labor and died after delivery.


Jacob buried her in Ephrath. Jacob's sons were twelve men. From Leah there were Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. From Rachel there were Joseph and Benjamin. From Bilhah there were Dan and Naphtali, and from Zilpah there were Gad and Asher.


Jacob came to his father Isaac and settled with him in the village of Hebron which lies in the land of Canaan where Abraham had lived. Then Isaac fell ill and died when he was one hundred eighty years old. Esau and Jacob buried him with his father Abraham, the Friend of God, inside the Cave of the Patriarchs.


Joseph was a young boy: handsome, happy and very much loved by his father. He awoke one morning excited about a dream and ran straight to his father happily explaining what he had seen in his dream. Joseph’s father listened attentively to his beloved son and his face shone with joy, for Joseph related a dream that spoke of the fulfillment of a prophecy. Joseph said,
"O my father! I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating themselves to me."

Joseph was one of twelve brothers whose father was Jacob and whose great grandfather was Abraham. This prophecy spoke of keeping Abraham’s Message to worship the One True God alive. Prophet Abraham’s grandson Jacob interpreted the dream to mean that Joseph would be the one to carry the Light of God’s house. However as quickly as the joy had sprung into Jacob’s face, it vanished, and he implored his son not to relate his dream to his brothers. Jacob said,
"O my son, Relay not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you.
Verily, Satan is to man an open enemy. Thus will your Lord choose you, teach you the interpretation of dreams and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Jacob, as He perfected it on your fathers, Abraham and Isaac before us! Verily, Your Lord is Omniscient, Most Wise."

Jacob knew that his sons would not accept the interpretation of this dream or the advancement of Joseph over themselves. Jacob was filled with fear. The ten older brothers were already jealous of their younger brother. They recognized their father’s particular affection for him. Jacob was a prophet, a man dedicated to submission to God and he treated his family and his community with fairness, respect and equitable love; however his heart was drawn to the gentle qualities evident in his son Joseph. Joseph also had a younger brother named Benjamin, who, at this stage of the story, was too young to be involved in any of the trickery and deception brewing.

While prophets and righteous men are eager to spread the Message of Submission to God, Satan is waiting to entice and incite mankind. He loves trickery and deception and was now sowing the seeds of discord between Jacob and his elder sons. The jealousy the brothers felt toward Joseph blinded their hearts, disoriented their thinking and made small things seem insurmountable, large things seeming insignificant. Joseph heeded his father’s warning and did not speak of his dream to his brothers; but even so, they became obsessed and overwhelmed by their jealousy. Without knowing about Joseph’s dream, they hatched a plan to kill him and Satan made their thoughts fair seeming to them, their utter misguidance was shown clearly, when they spoke of killing Joseph and immediately repenting to God for this despicable act. They said,
"Truly, Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we, but we are a strong group. Really, our father is in a plain error. Kill Joseph or cast him out to some other land, so that the favor of our father may be given to us alone, and after that we will be righteous folk."

One among them felt the error of their ways and suggested that rather than killing Joseph, they should drop him into a well. When found by some passing traveler he would be sold into slavery, thus rendering him as good as dead to the family. They believed, in their blindness, that the absence of Joseph would remove him from their father’s thoughts. The brothers continued to hatch their evil plan. Satan was toying with them, casting thoughts into their minds and whispering misguidance into their ears. The brothers finished their discussion, pleased with themselves, believing they had drafted a clever plan. They approached Jacob with a plan to take Joseph into the desert with them, on the pretext of letting him play and enjoy himself. Fear leaped into Jacob’s heart. Jacob said,
"Truly, it saddens me that you take him away. I fear a wolf should devour him, while you are careless."

Satan works in subtle and deceitful ways, and with his words, Jacob unwittingly supplied his sons with the perfect reason for Joseph’s disappearance. The brothers immediately knew they would blame Joseph’s disappearance on a wolf, and this became part of their dastardly plan. Eventually Jacob agreed and Joseph left with his brothers on their journey into the desert.

They went directly to the well and without remorse, picked up Joseph and threw him down into the well. Joseph cried out in fear but their cruel hearts felt no pity for their young brother. The brothers felt secure in their plan that a traveler would find Joseph and sell him into slavery.


While Joseph called out in terror, the brothers took a lamb from their flock, slaughtered it and wiped the blood over Joseph’s signature coat of many colors that his father had gifted to him. Completely consumed by their jealousy, the brothers swore an oath to keep their foul deed secret and walked away pleased with themselves.

Terrified, Joseph clung to a ledge in the well, and God made known to him that one day he would confront his brothers. He told Joseph the day would come when he would speak to his brothers about this dastardly event, but the brothers would not know they were talking to Joseph. God revealed,
"Indeed, you shall inform them of this affair, when they know not."

The brothers returned to their father weeping. By this time it was dark, and Jacob was sitting in his house anxiously awaiting the return of Joseph. The sound of ten men crying confirmed his deepest fear. The darkness of the night was matched only be the darkness in their hearts. The lies rolled easily from their tongues and Jacob’s heart constricted agonizingly in loss and misery. They said,
"O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Joseph by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us, even when we speak the truth!"
And they brought forth his coat stained with blood.


While Joseph sat in the well, terrified, yet secure in his submission to God, Jacob, many miles way, felt his heart constricted by fear and pain yet knew his sons were lying. As befitting a Prophet of God, with tears streaming down his face, Jacob said,
"Nay, but your own selves have made up a tale. So patience is most fitting for me.
And it is God Alone Whose help can be sought against that which you assert."

Meanwhile, deep in the well, Joseph prayed. Father and son turned to God in the deep darkness of the night. A mixture of fear and hope filled their hearts, and the night gave way to the new day. For Jacob, the day dawned on the beginning of many years to be filled with trust in God and patience. For Joseph, the rays of the dawning sun shone down on the edges of the well. If he could have scanned the horizon, he would have seen a caravan approaching. Minutes later a man lowered his bucket into the depths of the well expecting to find cool clear water.

Joseph was startled as the bucket hurtled towards him. but before it hit the water, he reached out and clung to the rope. Surprised by the weight of the bucket, the man peered over the edge of the well. He was shocked and excited when he saw a child clinging to the rope. The man called his companions to help him draw the child from the well and all were amazed at the sight of this beautiful child, not quite a youth, who stood before them.

Looking at the boy, the water bearer could not hide his excitement and cried aloud, overjoyed; he immediately decided to sell Joseph, knowing that he stood to make a lot of money in the slave market. Just as the brothers had predicted, the men of the caravan took Joseph to Egypt expecting to sell him for a handsome price.


The slave markets of Egypt were teeming with people, some buying, and some selling, others just watching the proceedings. The beautiful boy found in the well attracted many onlookers, and bidding for him was swift. The price continued to rise beyond their expectations, and Joseph was eventually purchased at a hefty weight by the wealthy Theodore the Great, Chief Minister of Egypt.

Theodore the Great sensed immediately that this was no ordinary child. He took him to his home, one of the colossal mansions of Egypt, and said to his wife,
"Make his stay comfortable, may be he will profit us or we shall adopt him as a son."
Zuleikha, the beautiful wife of Theodore, however, lusted after the beauty of the boy. One day, she closed the doors and tried to seduce the slave Joseph, but he resisted her advances and sought refuge with God. Joseph told her he would not betray her husband. Joseph said,
"He has been good to me and treated me with respect."
Joseph knew that those who commit evil acts will never be successful. The wife of Theodore had an evil desire and tried to act upon it; Joseph however resisted the temptation and tried to escape. He drove any thoughts of sleeping with the wife of his master from his mind, sought refuge with God and attempted to remove himself from the complicated situation. Zuleikha's beauty, status and wealth meant that most men or boys would succumb to her desires easily. Joseph however was no ordinary man, and when he immediately turned to God for help, God heard.


Joseph is one of the leaders among those who will be shaded by God on Judgement Day. Prophet Muhammad explained that the heat of the Day of Judgment would be fierce, and people will be mingling with fear as they wait to be judged by God. There will be however, certain categories of people shaded from this brutal heat. One of them is a man who resisted the temptations of a beautiful, desirable woman by seeking refuge with God. Joseph’s refusal only increased Zuleikha's passion. He tried to flee and they raced with each other to the door. Zuleikha reached for Joseph’s shirt and tore it from his back.


At that moment, the door opened and her husband walked in. Immediately, without even a moment of hesitation, the wife of Theodore attempted to turn the situation around. She cried out to her husband,
"What is the punishment for one who had an evil design against your wife?"
This was a clear lie, yet she pronounced it easily and suggested that Joseph be put in prison. Joseph tried to defend himself and said,
"No, it was she that sought to seduce me."
One of their relatives suddenly appeared and offered a way to solve this dilemma. He said,
"If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true, and he is a liar. But if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth."
If his shirt was torn from the back, which it was, it meant that he was trying to escape and she was running after him, tearing the shirt from his back. The proof was unmistakable. The Chief Minister, although clearly upset, was more concerned with covering up this affair. He did not want his good name and position to be sullied by a scandal. He asked Joseph to be silent about the situation and told his wife to ask forgiveness from God. This should have been an end to the matter, but as is common in more wealthy societies, people have a lot of time on their hands. Many hours are wasted having meals and gossiping about the affairs of their friends, neighbors and relatives.

The women of the city began to talk about the wife of Theodore the Great and her infatuation with her servant-boy. The news was spreading and the women asked themselves how she could desire a slave and put her reputation in jeopardy. The wife of Theodore thought she would teach these women a lesson and show them just how beautiful and desirable Joseph was.

Zuleikha invited them to have lunch with her, laid a beautiful table before them and handed them knives to cut the food. The room was full of tension and silent looks as the women hoped for a glimpse of this slave, while at the same time considering themselves better then the wife of Theodore. The women started eating, and at that moment, Joseph walked into the room. They looked up, saw his beauty and forgot that they had knives in their hands. The women were so entranced by his shape and form that they cut clear through their own flesh. They described Joseph as a noble angel. Zuleikha, confident and haughty said to her guests,
"This is he about whom you did blame me and I did seek to seduce him, but he refused. And now if he refuses to obey my order, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and will be of those disgraced."
Joseph called out to God for help. He prayed,
"O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do the deeds of the ignorant."
Joseph believed living in prison was preferable to living in the house of the Chief. The environment was filled with lust and greed, decadence and seduction. He believed prison would be preferable to succumbing to the trials and tribulation around him. God answered Joseph’s supplication and rescued him. Although convinced of Joseph’s innocence, Theodore, Chief Minister of Egypt put Joseph in prison. He could see no other way of safeguarding the reputation of his name and position.

Imprisoned with Joseph were two men who acknowledged his piety and righteousness. Both had been plagued by vivid dreams and now hoped Joseph would be able to interpret the dreams for them. One man saw a dream in which he was pressing wine; the other saw a dream in which birds were eating bread from his head. Joseph said,
"I will inform you of the meaning of these dreams before your next meal is served."

Joseph is very careful to make a distinction between what is from God and what is from himself. He makes his religion clear. He does not believe the religion being practiced around him but believes in the true religion that includes belief in the Hereafter. Joseph asserts that his family, the family of Abraham, hold the Knowledge of the Oneness of God, and that his religion and family do not attribute partners to God. Although the people of Egypt knew about God they chose to worship other deities as partners to Him.

After informing his companions that false gods have no substance and explaining the Unity and Omnipotence of God, Joseph interpreted their dreams. He said,
"One of you will be a close associate of the king; the other, crucified and birds will eat from his head."

Joseph approached the companion who was destined to be close to the king and pleaded him to mention of Joseph to the ruler. He hoped that the king would look into his case, see his oppression and free him. However, the whispering and subterfuge of Satan, caused the companion to forget about mentioning Joseph to his master and consequently he remained in prison for a few more years continuing to trust in God with patience and fortitude.

One day, the king dreamed he was standing on the banks of the Nile watching seven fat cows emerge from the river, followed by seven lean ones. The seven lean cows devoured the fat ones. Next, the dream changed and he watched seven green ears of grain growing on the banks of the Nile. They disappeared into the mud and on the same spot grew seven dry ears of grain. The king awoke shocked and frightened, and sent for his soothsayers, divines and ministers. They failed to interpret the dream and reached the unanimous conclusion that it was just a nightmare. Joseph’s companion from the prison came to hear of the dream and remembered Joseph. With the king’s permission, he rushed to the prison and asked Joseph to interpret the dream.

As the news of the king's dream was relayed to the Prophet, he said of it,
"For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that the harvest which you reap you shall leave in ears, all except a little of it which you may eat.
Then will come after that seven hard years, which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, all except a little of that which you have guarded.
Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press wine and oil."

The king was astonished at this interpretation; not only did Joseph give the meaning but also recommended a course of action. The king demanded Joseph be summoned before him. However, Joseph refused to leave the prison and insisted the messenger return to the king and ask him what happened to the women who had accused him for attempting to take advantage of them. Joseph did not want to leave the prison until his innocence was established.

Joseph refused to be freed without clearing his name of any wrongdoing. He wanted his master, Theodore the Great, to be completely sure that he had not betrayed his trust. Joseph respectfully demanded that the king investigate the affair of the women who cut their hands. The king, curious, called for Zuleikha and her perjurious associates.

The king interrogated the women,
"What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Joseph?"
The women said,
"God forbid! No evil know we against him!"
The wife of Theodore came clean and said,
"Now the truth is manifest, it was I who sought to seduce him, and he is surely of the truthful."

Once his innocence was established, Joseph appeared before the king. After hearing Joseph’s words, the king became even more impressed and entrusted him to a position of high rank. Joseph said,
"Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge."

The young boy betrayed and thrown into the well was now established as the Finance Minister of Egypt. His patience and perseverance, and, above all, his total submission to the Will of God had already resulted in great reward. Joseph knew however that the greatest reward for patience and righteousness would be in the Hereafter.

The time passed. During the seven good years, Joseph prepared for the time of famine to come. The drought and famine correctly prophesied by Joseph did not only affect Egypt, but also the surrounding lands including the place where Jacob and his sons were living. Joseph managed the affairs of Egypt so well there was enough grain to feed the people of Egypt and those in the surrounding areas. As life became difficult and food scarce, people began to flock to Egypt to buy the grain Joseph was selling at a fair price.

Among those seeking provisions were Joseph’s ten older brothers. When the brothers were ushered into Joseph’s presence, they did not recognise him. Joseph looked at his brothers and his heart filled with longing for his father and his young brother Benjamin. He greeted them respectfully, asked questions about their family and homeland, and explained that the rations of grain would be distributed per head; therefore, if they had bought their younger brother they would have received more rations. Joseph was hoping to encourage them to bring Benjamin, in fact Joseph went far as to say that without their young brother they would receive no provision at all. 


When they returned to their father, Jacob, they explained to him that no more grain would be provided to them unless they traveled with their young brother. Benjamin had become very close to his father, especially after Joseph’s disappearance. Remembering his previous loss, Jacob did not want to part with his young son. Once again, the brothers promised to safeguard their youngest brother, and once again Jacob felt his heart constrict with fear. The brothers then found that the money they paid for the grain had been secretly returned to them.

Jacob had complete trust in God and gave them permission to take Benjamin only after they had sworn an oath in God’s Name to protect him. Although Jacob was particularly close to his sons Joseph and Benjamin, he loved all his sons dearly. They were strong, handsome, capable men, and Jacob was afraid that some harm might befall them on yet another trip to Egypt. To minimize the risks, he made his sons promise to enter the city by different gates.


The brothers returned to Egypt, entered by different gates and went to Joseph for the promised provisions. During this meeting, Joseph took Benjamin aside and revealed that he was his long lost brother. The two embraced and their hearts were filled with joy. Joseph, however, asked Benjamin to keep their meeting a secret for the time being. After providing the brothers with their rations of grain, Joseph arranged for a golden jorum to be covertly placed in Benjamin’s bag. Then, according to Joseph’s arrangements, someone cried out,
"O you caravan of looters and thieves!"

The brothers were astonished because they were not thieves. They inquired about the stolen item, and were astounded to hear it was a golden jorum belonging to the king. Whoever returned it, they were told, would be rewarded with a camel’s load of grain. The brothers of Joseph claimed to have no knowledge of this theft. They asserted that they were not thieves and did not come to Egypt to create mischief.

One of Joseph’s men asked,
"What is your punishment for one who steals?"
The brothers replied that under the Law of the God of their Ancestors, the one who steals is taken as a slave. Joseph did not want his brother punished under the laws of Egypt but wanted the opportunity to keep his brother with him while the others returned to their father Jacob. The bags were searched, and the golden jorum was found among Benjamin’s possessions.

This upset the brothers greatly. They were afraid of returning to their father without his beloved youngest son. One of the brothers offered to accept the punishment on Benjamin’s behalf, but the offer was refused. Another brother, the eldest, chose to stay in Egypt while the others returned to their homeland to face their father Jacob. When the brothers arrived home they went immediately to their father and said,
"O father! Your son has stolen, we testify not except according to what we know, and we cannot know the unseen! And ask the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned. Verily, we speak the truth."

Jacob had heard this all before. When the brothers betrayed Joseph and threw him in the well, they went to their father pleading and crying yet their words were nothing but lies. This time Jacob refused to believe them. He turned away from them saying,
"Nay, but your own selves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting for me."
Jacob had spent years grieving for Joseph and trusting in God. When this new sorrow overwhelmed him, his first reaction was to be patient. He knew, without a shred of doubt, that the affairs of his beloved youngest sons were controlled by God.

Even though he trusted God completely, Jacob behaved as any father would in the same circumstances. He was overcome with grief and wept uncontrollably. He remembered Joseph, and wept until he became ill and lost his sight. The brothers were concerned about his pain and sorrow and questioned his constant grief. They asked him,
"Will you cry until the day you die?"
Jacob answered that he only complained of his grief to God and that he knew, from God, things that they did not.

Though many years had passed, Jacob had not forgotten his son Joseph. Jacob reflected on Joseph’s dream and understood God’s Plan would come to fruition. Jacob was deeply hurt by the loss of his sons, but his faith in God sustained him, and he ordered his sons to go back to Egypt in search of Joseph and Benjamin.

The brothers once again set off on the long journey to Egypt. The famine had taken its toll on the surrounding areas and people were poor and weak. When the brothers stood before Joseph, they too were among the poor. Their level of weakness forced them to ask for charity. They pleaded,
"O ruler of the land, a hard time has hit our family, and we have brought but poor capital, so pay us full measure and be charitable to us. Truly, God does reward the charitable."

Joseph could not bear to see his family in this position, even though these were the men who had betrayed him. He looked at his family and could keep his secret no longer, he said,
"Do you know what you did with Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?"

The brothers recognized Joseph immediately, not because of his looks, for they had seen him many times before, however who else could know the true story of Joseph but Joseph himself?
“I am Joseph, and this is my brother. God has indeed been Gracious to us. Verily, he who fears God with obedience to Him, and is patient, then surely, God lets not the reward of the righteous be lost."

The brothers were afraid, their past deeds were grave sins, and they were now in a position of weakness. They stood in fear before the Financial Minister of Egypt, no longer a tender, beautiful boy named Joseph. Through his trials and tribulations, Joseph, like his father, found comfort in submission to God. He understood patience and the qualities of mercy and piety embedded in true patience. He looked down at his brothers who were trembling in fear and said,
"No reproach of you this day, May God forgive you."
These would be words echoed by Muhammad on the day of the Conquest of Mecca, when his brethren among the Quraysh feared that he had returned to his homeland and he would surely avenge himself and his Companions by executing them. However, to their surprise, Muhammad forgave them, saying,
 "No reproach of you this day, May God forgive you."

Joseph immediately made plans to reunite his family. He requested the brothers return to their father and cast Joseph's coat of many colors over his face. This, he said, would cause him to become clear sighted. Immediately, although the old man was so far away, he turned his face towards the heavens and sniffed, believing that he could smell Joseph in the air. This is one of the miracles, made possible by God, of Prophet Joseph. When the brothers arrived, they cast the coat over Jacob’s face and he became clear sighted. He exclaimed,
"Did I not say to you, I know from God, that which you know not?"

The family of Prophet Jacob gathered their belongings together and traveled to Egypt. Jacob was eager to be reunited with his sons. They went straight to Joseph and found him sitting on an elevated throne. Joseph spoke to his family saying, enter Egypt, if God wills, in security.

Joseph's dream prophecy had come true. The eleven stars were his brothers, the sun his father and the moon was his stepmother. And he raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. He said,
"O my father! This is the fulfillment of my ancient dream! My Lord has made it come true!
He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of prison, and brought you all here out of the life of nomads, after Satan had sown enmity between my brothers and I.
Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He wills.
Truly He, Only He is the Omniscient, Most Wise."



— Fahim Ferdous Promi

2 comments:

  1. fantastic story. thank you very much for sharing.
    well done.
    travis d.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for this. Very informative

    ReplyDelete