Reflection No. 135 on Q 12:92 – Nobility of spirit
قَالَ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Qāla lā tathrība ‘alaykumul-yawma, yaghfirullāhu lakum, wa-huwa arHamur-rāHimīn
He said: There shall be no reproof against you this day; Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of the merciful
(Sūrat Yūsuf, No. 12, Āyat 92)
When the brothers of Nabī Yūsuf (a) recognized him and realized who he was, they were greatly ashamed of themselves. They acknowledged the wrong they had done to him. But Nabī Yūsuf (a) was quick to put them at ease. He reassured them that he was not reproaching them for what was done, (prayed for them) and even made them hopeful for forgiveness from Allah.
The words of Prophet Yūsuf show great magnanimity. He did not want his brothers to be uncomfortable, or to feel embarrassed at all. He also did not want them to think even for a moment that he may want to seek revenge. Tafsīr Namune describes how Nabī Yūsuf made his brothers sit on the same table as him for meals. When they objected, he explained to them how he was actually obliged to them. People had looked upon him as a slave who had risen to great heights. But the arrival of his brothers made everyone realize that he came from a noble family of Prophets, and was not a slave originally. Thus, he told his brothers, they had done him a favor by coming back into his life.
The noble spirit of Nabī Yūsuf is reflected in the life of the Holy Prophet (s). During the conquest of Makkah, wen the enemies were defeated and took refuge near the Ka‘bah, the Holy Prophet (s) came there and thanked Allah for giving him victory. He then asked the people what they expected from him. They replied that they only expected good from him. The Prophet said: I say to you what my brother Yūsuf said, ‘there shall be no reproof against you today.’ Today is not the day for reproach and revenge. Some of the companions who had already threatened others with revenge were very much taken aback by the generosity of spirit displayed by the Prophet (s). Amīrul Mu’minīn Ali b. Abī Tālib advises to Muslims: When you overpower your enemy, then display your gratitude for being able to gain superiority over him by pardoning him. (Nahjul Balāgha, Maxim 11)
When the Almighty favors you by giving you victory over one who had done you wrong, show a noble spirit by overlooking and moving beyond the past. That is true gratitude for the victory. To continuously harp on wrong done in the past, and relive it through reminders only keeps the pain alive. Heal yourself through nobility of spirit as displayed by the Prophet in this verse.
Sources: Aytaullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirazī (ed.)