Sūrat Yūsuf

Sūrah No. 12, Revealed in Makkah, 111 verses.

The story of Nabī Yūsuf A is the only story in the Quran which is narrated entirely in one Sūrah. The whole Sūrah is about the story except its last few verses. The Sūrah conveys God’s care for His sincere servants by giving them strength and success in very difficult conditions.

According to Tafsīr-e Namūneh the ahādīth that say Sūrat Yūsuf should not be taught to women, perhaps because of the story of Prophet Yūsuf (a) and the wife of the Minister, do not have a reliable chain of narrators. On the contrary there are Hadīth that emphasize teaching this Sūrah to families as it has many lessons for family relationships, including on preserving chastity in the face of temptation.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Whoever recites Sūrah Yūsuf every day, or every night, Allah will raise him on the Day of Judgement?

with the beauty of Yūsuf, and he will not experience any unpleasantness on that day, and he will be from the virtuous servants of Allah. Imam al-Sādiq (a)

Note: Scholars emphasize that such rewards are for those who ponder over the contents of the Sūrah and make efforts to follow its teachings in their lives.

If one recites Sūrat Yūsuf and teaches it to his family and his servants, God will ease death for him and will give him the power not to be jealous of any Muslim. Holy Prophet a

Note: This reward is for the one who reflects and acts on the teachings of the Sūrah.

General synopsis of contents

Almost the entire Sūrah talks about stories from the life of Prophet Yūsuf A. Prophet Yūsuf is mentioned 27 times in the Quran, 25 of which occur in this Sūrah. The other two are 6:84 and 40:34. The Sūrah consists of 12 different sections, 11 of which are on the life of Prophet Yūsuf (a), his brothers and their father Nabī Ya‘qūb (a) in a flowing and fascinating story line.

According to ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī in Tafsīr al-Mīzān, the main theme of Sūrat Yūsuf is how Allah looks after His sincere servants. If a person has sincere faith in Almighty Allah, He will train him in the best possible way and grant him honor and respect even when apparent causes aim to destroy him. The Sūrah shows that clearly in the life of Prophet Yūsuf (a).

Important Messages

1) The Quran is the best of narratives. (v. 3)

2) In the story of Prophet Yūsuf A and his brothers, there are signs for a people who

sincerely seek guidance. (v. 7)

3) Allah Y is with those who are wronged and inspires them. (v. 15)

4) Human soul makes serious matters seem light and decorous. (v. 18)

5) Those who do good are rewarded in the world. (v. 22)

6) When a person is sincere, Allah Y turns away from him all evil and indecency.

(v. 24)

7) To go through difficulties is better than falling into sin. (v. 33)

8) A pure belief in One God only is the foundation of an upright religion. (v. 40)

9) The nafs of the human being inclines towards evil except if Allah has mercy on it.

(v. 53)

10) To speak about your good qualities is necessary at certain times. (v. 55)

11) Although believers are rewarded in this world, the reward in the Hereafter will be

much better. (v. 57)

12) Expression of grief is not contradictory to patience. (v. 84)

13) Taqwā and patience are qualities of those who do good. (v. 90)

14) Asking a Prophet to seek forgiveness for oneself is a practice accepted by the Quran. (v. 97)

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 12:5 Shaytān is indeed man’s manifest enemy.

2) 12:18 Patience is graceful, and Allah is my resort against what you allege

3) 12:21 Allah has full command of His affairs, but most people do not know.

4) 12:38 This is by Allah’s grace upon us and on mankind, but most people do not give thanks.

5) 12:40 Judgment belongs only to Allah.

6) 12:56 We send down Our mercy on whom We please, and We do not waste the reward of those who do good.

7) 12:64 Yet Allah is the best of protectors, and He is the most merciful of merciful ones.

8) 12:76 We raise the degrees of whomsoever We please, and above everyone possessed of knowledge is the All-knowing one.

9) 12:86 I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know.

10) 12:92 There shall be no reproach on you today. Allah will forgive you, and He is the most merciful of the merciful.

11) 12:101 You are my guardian in this world and the Hereafter! Let my death be in submission [to You] and unite me with the Righteous.

Activities for self-study

1) Verses 4-6 narrate the conversation between Prophet Yūsuf and his father. What

points can you derive about their relationship? How does Prophet Ya‘qūb inspire his


2) There are many lessons in the narration of the brothers of Prophet Yūsuf A and

their conversations within themselves and with their father. Read verses 7-18 and

answer the following:

  1. a) How do the brothers justify their attitude towards their own brother?
  2. b) What is the hypocrisy evident in verse 9?
  3. c) What does verse 10 tell you about the brother who speaks up?
  4. d) How do the brothers speak to their father in verses 11-14 and 16-17?
  5. e) Verses 21-22 describe a complete turn-over of events for Prophet Yūsuf A. Name the different blessings he receives.

3) What words of Prophet Yūsuf (a) in verses 23-24 show his God-consciousness?

4) What qualities of Zulaykha are revealed in verses 31-32?

5) Study the speech of Prophet Yūsuf A to the two prisoners who ask him to interpret their dreams, verses 37-42. How does he make the most of the opportunity?

6) Read verses 58-67; a) How does Prophet Yūsuf (a) make sure the brothers return?

  1. b) What is the reaction of Prophet Ya‘qūb (a) to the request of his sons?

7) What does verse 80 tell you about the eldest brother?

8) Compare verse 83 and verse 18. What are the similarities and differences?

9) Read Prophet Ya‘qub’s response in verses 84-87. Outline the stages of his grief.

10) Verses 89-93 give the conversation between Prophet Yūsuf and his brothers when he reveals his identity. Reflect on the words exchanged. What does it tell you about them?

11) Verses 100-101 is a beautiful culmination of the story of Prophet Yūsuf A. How is his faith manifested so clearly in these verses?