Surah Yusuf Ayat 54 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 54
And the king said, “Bring him to me; I will appoint him exclusively for myself.” And when he spoke to him, he said, “Indeed, you are today established [in position] and trusted.”
So the king said: “Bring him unto me; I will take him specially to serve about my own person.” Therefore when he had spoken to him, he said: “Be assured this day, thou art, before our own presence, with rank firmly established, and fidelity fully proved!
The king said: “Bring him to me. I will select him exclusively for my own service.” So when Joseph spoke to him the king said: “You are now one of established position, fully-trusted by us.”
And the king said: “Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.” Then, when he spoke to him, he said: “Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted.”
And the king said: Bring him unto me that I may attach him to my person. And when he had talked with him he said: Lo! thou art to-day in our presence established and trusted.
And the king said, “Come up with him (i.e., Bring him) to me! I would faithfully (attach) him to myself.” So, as soon as he spoke to him, he said, “Surely today you are close to us established, and devoted.”
The king said, ‘Bring him to me: I will have him serve me personally,’ and then, once he had spoken with him, ‘From now on you will have our trust and favour.’
Quran 12 Verse 54 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Yusuf ayat 54, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(12:54) The king said: “Bring him to me. I will select him exclusively for my own service.” So when Joseph spoke to him the king said: “You are now one of established position, fully-trusted by us.”
47. It implied this: we have such a high opinion of you that we can safely entrust you with the highest office of responsibility in the country.”
47a. As this verse has given rise to some important questions, let us consider these one by one.
The first question is: Was it an application made by Prophet Joseph to the king for some post? In the light of the preceding explanatory notes, it would have become obvious that it was neither an application nor a request made by an ambitious person who had been on the lookout for an opportune moment for its submission, and no sooner did the king express his approval of him than he presented his request before him. As a matter of fact, this was a sort of proposal, giving his assent to the great desire of the king and the courtiers that he should be appointed as governor over the land. For, according to the Talmud, the Hebrew has proved himself wise and skillful, and “…surely there can be none more discrete than myself to whom God has made known all these things.” The king, his courtiers, his princes, officers, and men of rank, had by that time, come to know and recognize his true worth and had had experience of his moral superiority during the last decade of the vicissitudes of his life. He had proved that there was none equal to him in honesty, righteousness, forbearance, self discipline, generosity, intelligence and understanding. They knew and believed that he was the only one who knew how to guard and utilize the resources of the land and could be safely entrusted with them. Therefore, as soon as he showed his willingness, they heartily put these in his trust. This is also confirmed by the Bible that the king had formed a very high opinion of Prophet Joseph. He said to his servants: Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is? Above all, he said to Prophet Joseph: There is none so discreet and wise as thou art. (Gen. 41: 38-39). Accordingly, therefore, the king, of his own accord, set him over his house and land. (Gen. 41: 41).
Let us now take up the second question: What was the nature of the powers that were entrusted to Prophet Joseph? This is important because those who are not well versed in the Quran have been misled by the words in this verse and by his subsequent work of the distribution of grain. They wrongly conclude from these that this post was like the present day posts of a “Treasury Officer” or a “Famine Commissioner” or a “Finance Minister” etc. etc. In fact, it was none of these, for, according to the Quran and the Bible and the Talmud, Prophet Joseph had been invested with the full powers and privileges of a ruler. That is why he sat on the throne (Ayat 100) and they used the title of malik, king, for him. (Ayat 72). He himself was grateful to Allah for bestowing the kingdom on him. (Ayat 101). Above all, Allah Himself testifies to this fact: Thus We gave power to Joseph in the land, so he had every right to take possession of any piece of it, if he so desired. (Ayat 56). As regards the Bible, it says: And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt…. and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt, and called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah (savior of the world). (Gen. 41: 40-45). And according to the Talmud, when his brothers returned with their father, Prophet Jacob, from Egypt, they said about Prophet Joseph: The king of Egypt is mighty potentate, over his people he is supreme; upon his word they go out and upon his word they come in; his word governs, and the voice of his master, Pharaoh, is not required.
Another pertinent question is: What was the object for which Prophet Joseph made a proposal for powers in the land? Did he offer his services for the enforcement of the laws of a non-Muslim state? Or did he intend to establish the cultural, moral and political systems of Islam by taking the powers of government in his own hands? As for its answer let us quote the comments on this (verse 55) by Allamah Zamakhshari in his Kashshaf. He says, “When Prophet Joseph proposed: Please place all the resources of the country under my trust, he meant to get an opportunity for enforcing the commandments of Allah and for establishing truth and justice, and to gain that power which is essential for fulfilling the mission for which the Messengers are sent. He did not make this demand for the love of kingdom or for worldly desires and ambitions. He did this because he knew well that there was none else who could perform that work.
In fact, the above question leads to a very important and basic issues. These are: Was Joseph a Prophet of Allah or not? If he was, does the Quran put forward such a conception of a Prophet that he himself should (as they allege Prophet Joseph did) offer his services to a system of unbelief to carry on its work on un-Godly principles? Nay, it leads to a more delicate and important question: Was he a righteous person or not? And, if he was, could it ever be expected that he would (according to their interpretation,) practically accept the theory that Sovereignty belongs to the king and not to Allah, whereas in the prison he preached, “Sovereignty belongs to none but Allah (Ayat 40)? For if, as they interpret, he submitted an application for service to the king, it meant that he did so against his own principles which he inculcated while in prison: “Which is better: various gods or the One Omnipotent Allah?” As the king of Egypt was one of the gods they had set up, so to offer services to carry on the work of the un-Islamic system under the existing un-Islamic law would have been tantamount to acknowledging the king as his Lord. Are they prepared to place Prophet Joseph in that position?
It is an irony that such Muslims as interpret this verse in this way, lower the character of Prophet Joseph. They have evinced the same mentality that the Jews had developed during the period of their degeneration. When they became morally and mentally depraved, they deliberately began to represent their Prophets and saints as people of low character like themselves in order to justify their own degraded characters and to make room for excuses for going still lower. Likewise, when the Muslims came under the sway of non-Muslim governments, they wanted to serve under them, but the teachings of Islam and the patterns of their worthy forefathers stood in their way and they felt ashamed of this. So, in order to pacify their consciences, they sought refuge in this verse and by its misinterpretation thought that that great Prophet had made an application for a post to serve under a non-Muslim under un-Islamic laws. Whereas the Prophet’s own life taught the lesson that even a single Muslim could all by himself bring about the Islamic revolution in a whole country by his pure Islamic character, his faith, intelligence and wisdom and that a true believer is able to conquer, by the proper use of his moral character, a whole country without any army, ammunition or material provisions.
54. And the king said: “Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.” Then, when he spoke to him, he said: “Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted.” 55. Yusuf said: “Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.”
Allah states that when he became aware of Yusuf’s innocence and his innocense of what he was accused of, the king said,
(Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.), `that I may make him among my close aids and associates,’
(Then, when he spoke to him), when the king spoke to Yusuf and further recognized his virtues, great ability, brilliance, good conduct and perfect mannerism, he said to him,
(Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted.) The king said to Yusuf, `You have assumed an exalted status with us and are indeed fully trusted.’ Yusuf, peace be upon him said,
(Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.) Yusuf praised himself, for this is allowed when one’s abilities are unknown and there is a need to do so. He said that he is,
(Hafiz), an honest guard,
(`Alim), having knowledge and wisdom about the job he is to be entrusted with. Prophet Yusuf asked the king to appoint him as minister of finance for the land, responsible for the harvest storehouses, in which they would collect produce for the years of drought which he told them will come. He wanted to be the guard, so that he could dispense the harvest in the wisest, best and most beneficial way. The king accepted Yusuf’s offer, for he was eager to draw Yusuf close to him and to honor him. So Allah said,
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