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[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan Thrown in a Well
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
Thrown in a Well | Lesson 6
The brothers have done their evil deed. They have ditched Yusuf ملاسلا هيلع at the bottom of that well and after
they have done their deed, now they have to face the consequences.
Now the scene cuts from leaving Yusuf ملاسلا هيلع in the bottom of the well, informing him that you will not stay
in this well, you will come out of this well, and you will be, amazingly, informing them about what they did to
you.
After that, now the scene cuts to the brothers.

Sirat Initiative | Lessons

69

Ustadh Asim Khan

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]
نَ و كبْيَ ءً اشَ عِ مْهُ ابَ َ أ اوءُ اجَ وَ ُ
نَ و كبْيَ ءً اشَ عِ مْهُ ابَ َ أ اوءُ اجَ وَ
ُ

16. That night they came back to their father in tears,

They came to their father, and then a particular time and state is mentioned.

They came at the time of Isha. It is the time when the glow in the sky that is left after the sun has left the horizon disappears, or begins to disappear. Meaning, it is very dark now. They chose that time to come back to their dad.

And when they did, yabkoon. They came back crying. Are these real tears? They were fake tears. For some people, when they read this, if it hadn’t been for movies, people may not know it’s not possible for someone to make themselves cry about something that’s not even true. Otherwise one would be surprised here that fake crying was possible.

There is a word choice here that is used, wa jaa’u. They came. As opposed to saying ata. Jaa’ has some connotation of coming with some hardship, some obstacle. As for ata, it is like coming with ease.

ه

حُ تفَْ لاوَ اللَّ رُ صْ

ْ

نَ

ءَ اجَ

َ

ا ذ إ

 

ِ

ه

َ

ِ

نَ و

ُ

ك شيُ امهعَ ىَ لاعَ تَوَ هُنَاحَ بْسُ

ْ

ر

ِ

ُۚهو ل جعْتَسْ تَ لافَ ِ اللَّ رُ مْ

ُ

َ

ِ

أ

ىتَ َ أ

Meaning the conquest of Makkah, the help of Allah came after 13 years of struggle in Makkah and 8 years of war in Madinah. It came after many struggles.

The amr of Allah came, the day of resurrection and everything that will take place. For Allah, it is effortless to

make all that happen.

So here, they came with heavy hearts. They did something terrible, horrible. It was difficult upon them. They

came to their father, at that time and they were crying false tears.

Incidentally, in Arabic there is a word in Arabic for fake crying. It called tabki
Incidentally, in Arabic there is a word in Arabic for fake crying. It called tabki (real) and tabaaki (fake). One
refers to real tears and the other to fake. The word used here is for real tears but actually they were crying fake
tears.
Like there is a word for fake tawakkul. Tawakkul means real conviction of the heart and relying on something.
Tawaakul is fake tawakkul.
The question here is, what is the significance of being told that they came at night time? Of all the details that
happened, the focus is on the time they came to their father. Why this time? Why not day time?
Hide their faces which may give away their deceit [al-Biqā_ī & al-Baghawi]
It is difficult to read the faces at night time. They are guilty. They are going to come and tell their dad, we had
nothing to with it, a wolf ate this. Their faces might give them away. They come at night time to hide their facial
expressions, and also, their eyes can be read. At night, the face and eyes are obscured to make it difficult to
read.
70 Lessons | Sirat Initiative
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan They waited till night
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
They waited till night time… as night time is easier for crime
In the cover of night, it is easier to do crime and sin. There are less people around. But more importantly, night
time brings with itself this type of feelings. Human beings feel more inclined to wrong things. The way people
drive at night is also more reckless. More crimes happen at night.
My Reflections
drive at night is also more reckless. More crimes happen at night. My Reflections Sirat Initiative

Sirat Initiative | Lessons

71

Ustadh Asim Khan

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]
انَ عِ اتَ مَ دَ نعِ فَ سُ ويُ انَْ كرَ تَ وَ قُ بتَسْ
انَ عِ اتَ مَ دَ نعِ فَ سُ ويُ انَْ كرَ تَ وَ قُ بتَسْ نَ انَبْهَ ذ ا إ انَابَ َ أ ايَ او ُ لاقَ
ْ
َ
ن
ه
ِ
ِ
َ
نَ يقِدِاصَ
ا ك وْ لوَ انََ ل نمِؤْمُ ب تَ
ن
ه ُ
َ
ن
ْ َ
أ امَوَ بُ
ئ
ْ ِّ
ذلا هُ لكَ أفَ
َ
ٍ
ِ
•17. saying, ‘Father, we went out to run a race and left Yusuf together with our things
and then a wolf appeared and ate him up but you are never going to believe us now,
not even though we really tell the truth.’

Now they are going to start explaining themselves to dad. They are already crying. Dad’s already seen them

to dad. They are alre ady crying. Dad’s already seen them and he is thinking what
and he is thinking what is going on here? First of all, look how late

and he is thinking what is going on here? First of all, look how late they’ve come. Secondly, they are all crying.

Where is Yusuf over there?

Then they say, o our father, indeed we went, then we began to have a

Then they say, o our father, indeed we went, then we began to have a competition. Some scholars say they were racing, others say they were practicing archery. We left Yusuf with our belongings. The thing that you

feared would happen, exactly that happened! Again, not zi’b, az-zi’b. The wolf! This is not very intelligent.

you feared would happen, exactly that happened! Again, not zi’b, az - zi’b. The wolf! This

There are so many indications that they are lying.

Before they even let dad speak, they say, you are not going to believe us even if we were telling the truth.

There are many indications that something is fishy.

My Reflections

72 Lessons | Sirat Initiative
72 Lessons | Sirat Initiative
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan مْ كسُ ُ ُ
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
مْ كسُ
ُ
ُ ف ْ أ مْ
ن َ
ك ُ ل َ ت ْ لوهسَ َ
لْ بَ لَ اقَ بٍ ذِ كَ مدَ ب هِ صِ يمِ قَ ىَ لعَ اوءُ اجَ وَ
ٍ
ِ
ْ
َ
نَ و
ُ فصِ تَ امَ ىَ لعَ نُ اعَ تَسْ مُ لا َََ ُ اللَّوَ لٌ يمِجَ رٌ بْصَ
فَ ارً مْ
أ
•18. They then produced his shirt with false blood on it. He said, ‘It is merely that your
lower selves have suggested something to you which you did; but beauty lies in
showing steadfastness. It is Allah alone who is my Help in face of the event that you
describe.’
Before dad even gets a chance to address them, they say something else.
The problem with the evidence

Ibn Ashur says that while this part that happened, while they are narrating the story, they bring out the shirt. They bring out Yusuf’s shirt. So somewhere before putting him in the well they took off his shirt. Then they poured blood over it. Some scholars said it was the blood of a goat.

The shirt was bloodied, and it was lying blood. How was it lying blood? It was real blood. Why is it being described as lying blood? Because it is not that of whom they claim it to be.

Now Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع speaks, and it is phenomenal. His most beloved son, something terrible has happened. He doesn’t know what has happened. He doesn’t know they have thrown him in a well. For all he knows, they could have killed him. He doesn’t know what has happened to his son. And who has done it? His other sons. They came and told him this. He doesn’t believe them.

He says, I don’t believe you. And rather, the case is this. Your souls have beautified this for your own selves.

لي و سَت to make something you desire to do fair-seeming to your soul [Ibn Ashur]

Sawwalat comes from tasweel. Tasweel is to make something you desire to do fair-seeing to your soul. When people plan to do something evil, they try to justify it to themselves before they do it.

ِ

So, for example, saying “everyone does it”. Or “they don’t pay me enough anyway”.

Muslims are being demonized and targeted by politicians and media. And the way they speak about it is always “those Muslims”. It is the other. And then on top of that, they begin to discriminate, mistreat the Muslim community by way of legislation or by way of defamation of our scholars, speakers, etc. but the way they manage to do the evil of discrimination is my dehumanising us. Speaking about us as if we are that awkward other group. They dehumanized Muslims before the discrimination process.

When they start talking bad, they justify it by making statements about us, which are not even true.

Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع is saying, I don’t even believe you, and all this hocus pocus is just you beautifying it for your own selves. Meaning you have done something terrible, I don’t know what it is, but the way you have done it is you have made Yusuf ملاسلا هيلع into next to nothing and then put on that many excuses. And all of that is just beautification.

Sirat Initiative | Lessons

73

Ustadh Asim Khan

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

Look at what he said and the way he says it as well.

ارً م َ

ْ

أ which issue?

He said this matter. What matter? He makes it ambiguous because he doesn’t now what it is, but whatever it is, this is the case regarding it.

The other thing is, there is an interesting linguistic point here as well. He doesn’t say al-amra. He uses the nakira form, amra, which gives the extra ta’theem, it is like an exclamation mark at the end.

He is really feeling the pain.

That’s all he says to his sons. What he says next, he says to himself and to Allah ىلاعت و هناحبس.

Next he says, and so, a beautiful sabr, that is what it will be for me now. And sabrun jameel is not a complete sentence. The complete sentence would be fa sabree, sabrun jameel. But when you are very emotional, you can’t really complete your sentences. Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع is really feeling the trauma. All he can say is sabrun jameel.

What is sabrun jameel?

First of all, it is to exercise patience. He is going to exercise patience now. But also, I am going to make it beautiful. It’s the perfection of sabr. And that is no complaining, no whining, no moaning. But at the end of the story, he says, I complain of my sadness to Allah.

So Ibn Taymiyyah ُ اللَّ هُ مَ حِ رَ

Allah. So he vents his sadness, grief and sorrow to Allah. And if somebody was to do that, it doesn’t negate

having sabrun jameel.

says, the sabrun jameel is when someone refuses to complain to anyone else except

ْ

ناعَ َت سْ لا ُ ِ الل و َ ُُ

ُ

م

two meanings

The last statement of Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع is wallahu al musta’aan. Istiana is to seek
The last statement of Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع is wallahu al musta’aan. Istiana is to seek help. Who is he going to seek
help from? Allah ىلاعت و هناحبس.
Musta’aan is the one whom you seek help from. Whom is Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع going to seek help from? Allah.
Regarding what exactly? There are 2 opinions:
1. He is going to seek help from Allah in order to have sabrun jameel.
2. He is going to seek help from Allah that Yusuf ملاسلا هيلع will be found and will come back safe and
sound (just with his heart)
There are 3 types of sabr,
1. Maqdoor, this is what Allah decreed and there is nothing you can do about it except sabr.
2. Mahzoor, sabr in staying away from things that are haram.
3. Sabr in fulfilling religious obligations.
74 Lessons | Sirat Initiative
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan Which one is happening
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
Which one is happening here? The first one. Allah decreed his will happen and he can’t do anything about that.
He can’t find Yusuf, he doesn’t know what has happened. There is nothing that you can do except sabr.
This realization that there is nothing I can do, let’s have sabr comes after some time. Usually people take their
time. But when it happens, usually people are not like that. They lose themselves and begin to complain.
Once there was a lady. She was in the graveyard. Her loved one had passed away, possibly her son. She was
crying. The Prophet ﷺ came to her, according to a hadith reported in Sahih Bukhari and said, fear Allah and
have sabr. She never realized who it was. She turned around and said, do you know who this was? This didn’t
happen to you, it happened to me. The Prophet ﷺ turned around and walked away. Then a man came to her
and informed her that was the Prophet ﷺ. She regretted and went to his house and waited and apologized.
The Prophet ﷺ said, as-sabr is at the first strike of the calamity.

When the calamity strikes, at that moment you are supposed to control yourself and have sabr in Allah و هناحبس ىلاعت. And that is exactly what Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع did. The moment they told him this is what happened to his son, he said fa sabrun jameel. That is an amazing level of eemaan.

The question is this. Even though there was nothing Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع could have done physically, he did do

something inwardly. Inwardly, what he did was that his heart was actively seeking the help of Allah

ىلاعت. Based on that, we can say that the actions of the heart are far greater in number than the actions of the limbs. How so?

و هناحبس

Wallahu al-musta’aan. The act of seeking help from Allah is an action of the heart. The heart is acting, it is exercising, hoping and seeking help from Allah. The mouth is doing nothing. The hands are doing nothing. And the thing is, in this situation, the road for action of the hands has come to an end. When the end of the road came for the actions of the tongue and limbs, the road for the actions of the heart continued on.

He couldn’t do ibadah from limbs but he had sabr with his heart and his heart was actively seeking Allah’s help.

This shows that ibadah comes from the limbs and the heart, and both of them are connected many times, but sometimes, the limbs come to the end of the road.

Just like a person who is paralysed, he can’t do anything neck down. What does that mean? No good deeds for him? No, the heart can be doing more ibadah than the limbs. We need to worship Allah with our hearts as well as our limbs.

هص ي م َ ق makes 3 appearances in the story

My Reflections

My Reflections

Sirat Initiative | Lessons

75

Ustadh Asim Khan

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

Key Lessons [16-17-18]

Crocodile Tears [al-Biqā_ī] Don’t Be Controlled By Emotion [Ibn ‘Ashur]

Then human being becomes emotional when they see the emotional of another person. However, here Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع never fell for the fake tears. He saw through them. Here, Ibn Ashur said this is the way of a true haakim (judge). He doesn’t become emotional when people become emotional.

Sometimes people become emotional in order to try and sell you a lie. This is not just the case for a judge. It is the case for all of us. Sometimes someone comes to you and they tell you the story of something that happened to them and the person is emotional in narrating what they said. You cannot judge whether it is true or not until you hear the perspective of the second party.

When the prophet sent Ali radhiAllahu anhu to Yemen, he taught him, if you judge, listen to both parties. Don’t judge based on the story of one party.

Sometimes people become emotional and it is for the wrong reasons.

And sometimes people cry because of the overwhelming emotion and the contradiction of thoughts.

Here, they love dad and want his love, but they have done something he will be very upset about.

Signs of a Guilty Conscience

There are some things the brothers are saying which show that they are guilty. When they brought back the shirt of Yusuf ملاسلا هيلع, they brought it back intact. Is that how a wolf would have attacked a person? The wolf would have ripped up the shirt.

i. contradictions Before going they said he will eat and play. When they came back they said we played and left him with our things.

Before going they said they would take care of him , and when they returned
Before going they said they would take care of him , and when they returned they said they left Yusuf to look
after their things!
ii. quick to pronounce their innocence
They say, you won’t believe us.
iii. use flimsy excuse
The one excuse they use is exactly what dad said he feared. They use that statement because they couldn’t
even come up with their own one. They never even planned that far ahead.
76 Key Lessons [16-17-18] | Sirat Initiative
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan When people do evil,
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
When people do evil, usually the justification for the evil comes after the evil and not before it. So they’ve done
everything, now they are trying to justify it. Or they are trying to find an excuse.
Ibn Taymiyyah said an amazing thing about tafseer of Qur’an. He said of you look at the false, innovated
tafaseer of the Qur’an, made up interpretations, what you find is that the interpretation came second and the
innovation came first. Those groups that innovated an idea, they first innovated the idea and then went to
Qur’an to try to bring the proof for it. What came first?
The justification of the brothers came afterwards. They already agreed to throw Yusuf in the well. Then later
they take the justification.

Major Lesson

ُ

َ

لو لْا

ْ

ى

ةِ مَدْصه

لا

ْ

دَ

نعِ

رُ بْصه

لا

ه

امَ ن

إ

ِ

[Sahih al-Bukhāri]

The real as-sabr comes at the first strike. When the calamity strikes, that is when the person has to exercise patience with Allah ىلاعت و هناحبس and with the calamity that He has decreed for him. And that is exactly what

Yaqoob ملاسلا هيلع did.

Analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah

Heretical view Proofs from Using this the salaf verse Criticism of Conclusion methodology Crucial Hypothetical
Heretical
view
Proofs from
Using this
the salaf
verse
Criticism of
Conclusion
methodology
Crucial
Hypothetical
difference in
scenario
lingustic
meaning

Sirat Initiative | Key Lessons [16-17-18]

Sirat Initiative | Key Lessons [16-17-18]

77

Sirat Initiative | Key Lessons [16-17-18] 77

Ustadh Asim Khan

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

[THROWN IN A WELL TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]

Ustadh Asim Khan [ THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF ]

This is a little complicated. The words of the brothers, when they said to their father, and you will not have eeman in us. Regarding this verse, Ibn Taymiyyah spoke a great deal. It was regarding the heretical view as to how eemaan is defined. According to one heretical view, eemaan is defined as merely tasdeeq (affirmation of the heart or affirmation of the heart and the tongue). That means if someone says I am a Muslim, and also affirms it with his heart, this is the definition of eeman, he is a mu’min. That heretical view is based on 2 things:

1. The word eemaan, in Arabic can refer to tasdeeq (affirming)

2. The tafseer of wa ma anta bi mu’minin lana means wa ma anta musaddiqun lana, meaning in this verse, the word eemaan is used to mean tasdeeq (affirm).

Ibn Taymiyyah said this is not true, this is not accurate to say that the definition of eeman is just affirm with ones tongue and heart.

What is the definition of eeman? According to early Muslims, it is the statement and actions of the heart and body. The statement and action of the heart means the heart professes an inward belief and acts as well. Acting includes the action of having tawakkul in Allah, loving Allah, fearing Allah, etc. Qawl and amal of the heart and of the body. The statement that comes from the tongue and then the body begins to perform acts of worship which testify to the person’s eeman.

According to the heretical view, Shaytan could be said to be a mu’min. He said, O my Lord, give me some time until we are resurrected. He spoke to Allah, affirmed that He was his rabb. So he believes in Allah, but we know the reality if different. So this cannot be the definition.

Now the analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah.

1. There is a falsity of reasoning here. Look at the argument they use. They are speaking of defining the most important thing with regards to Islam, which is eemaan. With regards to eemaan, eemaan and its

derivatives are of the words mentioned most often in Qur’an and on the tongue of the prophet . So this word is scattered all over the Qur’an and in hadith, but, although it is so significant and mentioned in so many places, why only go to this place? This surah is not even memorized by many people. In terms of an academic way of coming to a conclusion, this is not very strong as one is supposed to survey all of the evidences. This is a shortcoming in the methodology,

2. Once you come up with a definition, the definition should work anywhere that that
2. Once you come up with a definition, the definition should work anywhere that that word is mentioned
in the Qur’an or sunnah. Islam is a complete deen. No one thing in Islam or the shariah contradicts
another part. So here, you should be able to fit this conclusion in anywhere that is it referenced or
mentioned in Islam. But it doesn’t.
3. Now, Ibn Taymiyyah brings a hypothetical scenario. He says, a man could come to the Prophet ﷺ
and say, I believe in what you say. I believe that you are the messenger of Allah, and I believe Allah I
the only one who should be worshipped. But, I am not going to pray, I am not going to fast, I am not
going to do hajj, in fact, I am going to join the army that is going to attack you. Do you think the
prophet ﷺ is going to give him baya and affirm his eemaan? Would anyone in their right mind say he
is Muslim? No. But technically, according to the definition provided, it seems that he is Muslim.
This is a very powerful way of discussing this issue. This is a huge controversy and continues until present
times. Just say to the person who says eemaan is just believing with the heart and the tongue, that I want you
to imagine your next door neighbour, you lived your whole life next door to him. He never said that he is a
78 Key Lessons [16-17-18] | Sirat Initiative
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF] Ustadh Asim Khan Muslim. You never saw
[THROWN IN A WELL – TAFSEER SURAT YUSUF]
Ustadh Asim Khan
Muslim. You never saw him do any action from the actions of Islam. He never said a word that was from the
actions of Islam, he did not go to the masjid or pray, or fast, his lifestyle was completely unIslamic. Could he
have eemaan? Could that be possible? Yet not one action. Can a person exit like that and he is a mu’min? And if
you can’t imagine that then how can you imagine that such a person could exist?
The conclusion is that eemaan is more specific than tasdeeq. It is a more specific definition. It is to affirm but
them to follow that through with obedience to Allah and His messenger ﷺ. That is eemaan. It is just not to
say. It is to say and be followed up by actions.
My Reflections
not to say. It is to say and be followed up by actions. My Reflections Sirat

Sirat Initiative | Key Lessons [16-17-18]

Sirat Initiative | Key Lessons [16-17-18]

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