Surah Yusuf Ayat 76 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 76
So he began [the search] with their bags before the bag of his brother; then he extracted it from the bag of his brother. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother within the religion of the king except that Allah willed. We raise in degrees whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.
So he began (the search) with their baggage, before (he came to) the baggage of his brother: at length he brought it out of his brother’s baggage. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king except that Allah willed it (so). We raise to degrees (of wisdom) whom We please: but over all endued with knowledge is one, the All-Knowing.
Then Joseph began searching their bags before searching his own brother’s bag. Then he brought forth the drinking-cup from his brother’s bag. Thus did We contrive to support Joseph. He had no right, according to the religion of the king (i.e. the law of Egypt), to take his brother, unless Allah so willed. We exalt whomsoever We will over others by several degrees. And above all those who know is the One Who truly knows.
So he [Yusuf (Joseph)] began (the search) in their bags before the bag of his brother. Then he brought it out of his brother’s bag. Thus did We plan for Yusuf (Joseph). He could not take his brother by the law of the king (as a slave), except that Allah willed it. (So Allah made the brothers to bind themselves with their way of “punishment, i.e. enslaving of a thief.”) We raise to degrees whom We please, but over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allah).
Then he (Joseph) began the search with their bags before his brother’s bag, then he produced it from his brother’s bag. Thus did We contrive for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother according to the king’s law unless Allah willed. We raise by grades (of mercy) whom We will, and over every lord of knowledge there is one more knowing.
So he began with their sacks before his brother’s sack; thereafter he drew it forth out of his brother’s sack. Thus We plotted for Yûsuf; in no way indeed could he take his brother, in the king’s religion (OR: law) except that Allah decided. We raise in degree (s) whomever We decide; and above every (man) owning knowledge is One Who is Ever-Knowing.
[Joseph] began by searching their bags, then his brother’s, and he pulled it out from his brother’s bag. In this way We devised a plan for Joseph- if God had not willed it so, he could not have detained his brother as a penalty under the king’s law- We raise the rank of whoever We will. Above everyone who has knowledge there is the One who is all knowing.
Quran 12 Verse 76 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Yusuf ayat 76, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(12:76) Then Joseph began searching their bags before searching his own brother’s bag. Then he brought forth the drinking-cup from his brother’s bag. Thus did We contrive to support Joseph. He had no right, according to the religion of the king (i.e. the law of Egypt), to take his brother, unless Allah so willed. We exalt whomsoever We will over others by several degrees. And above all those who know is the One Who truly knows.
59. Now let us consider the question: How did Allah directly support Prophet Joseph with His plan? It is obvious that the plan of placing the cup in Benjamin’s pack was thought out and executed by Joseph himself. And it is also obvious that the royal servants checked their packs as a matter of routine for such is the procedure that is generally followed on such occasions. There is nothing in this passage that might be called supernatural support by Allah except that the servants asked the brothers to prescribe the punishment for the thief, and they answered that he should be made a bondsman. The sentence that follows also confirms this interpretation.
60. Had Allah willed it, He would not have removed the flaw in the plan of Prophet Joseph. It was this: he could seize his brother according to his plan only by the help of the king’s law, but it was not worthy of a Prophet of Allah to apply that un-Islamic law to his own personal case. For he had taken political power in his hands in order to establish gradually the Islamic law and not to enforce and keep the king’s law in vogue. Had Allah willed it, He would have left no other course for His Prophet except to have resort to the un-Islamic law. But He did not will it so because He did not like to tarnish the fair name of His Prophet. Therefore he made the servants inquire from the brothers (an unusual thing) about the punishment of a thief and they stated the law of Prophet Abraham. Thus not only was the flaw removed, but also no room was left for the brothers to raise any objection against this on the plea that they were not Egyptians, and therefore the law of the land could not be applied against them. As has already been pointed out, this was the support of Allah to which He has referred in the two subsequent verses as a token of His favor and a sign of the perfection of His knowledge.
The favor of Allah was that He saved Prophet Joseph from applying the un-Islamic law of the king of Egypt to his personal case, for he was liable to do so under the stress of human weakness. And there can be no greater favor for one than this that Allah Himself should arrange to guard his high moral position. It should, however, be noted that such a high rank is awarded only to those who prove themselves to be righteous in very hard trials.
By removing the flaw in his plan, Allah showed that His knowledge was far superior to the knowledge of those, whom (like Prophet Joseph) He had endowed with knowledge.
In this connection, there are some other points worthy of consideration and we will deal with them briefly.
(1) Generally the words are translated like this: Joseph could not seize his brother by the law of the king, or Joseph was not authorized to seize his brother according to the law of the king. In other words, it means: He could not do this, as there was no provision for it in the king’s law. Whereas it means this: He ought not to have seized him by the king’s law, as it did not behoove him to do so. This version is open to two objections. Firstly, this is against the Quranic usage which usually means, it did not behoove him, it was not right for him and he ought not to have done this. For instance, this is what it means in the following verses.
Indeed, Islam alone is the right way in the sight of Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 18). Whosoever will adopt any other way than the way of Islam, it shall not be accepted. (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 85).
Secondly, such a version is meaningless, for there could have been no reason why he had not the power to seize him for theft according to the law of the king. Can there be any kingdom without having a law for taking action against a thief?
(2) As the Quran uses the word which connotes the king’s way of life in addition to the king’s law, it helps to understand the meaning of the sentence under discussion. For it is obvious that the Prophet was sent to establish the way of Allah and not the un-Islamic way of the king. Though by that time he had only partially succeeded in this mission, it was not proper and worthy of a Prophet to adopt the way of the king for his own personal case. Though there was no legal hindrance in his way to seize his brother according to the king’s law, nevertheless, it was inappropriate for him, as a Prophet, to adopt the king’s way which he had hitherto scrupulously avoided as far as his own person was concerned. Thus it is clear that its appropriate interpretation will be this: It did not behoove Joseph to seize his brother by the king’s law.
(3) Besides this, by using the word for the law of the land, Allah has denoted the vast comprehension of the word deen and this cuts at the root of the conception of deen of those people who confine the scope of the message of the Prophets to mere worship of One Allah and believe that it has nothing to do with the cultural, political, social, judicial, legal and other mundane affairs of life. Or, they opine that, if at all it has any concern with those matters, it is merely to give some instructions of an optional nature in regard to these, and leave it to the believers to adopt these or their own man made laws, because, they think, there is no harm even in adopting the latter course. This erroneous conception of deen, which has been in vogue among the Muslims for a long time, has been responsible for rendering them neglectful of making exertions for the establishment of the Islamic way of life. As a result of this misconception of deen, they became reconciled to un-Islamic ways of unbelief and ignorance. Nay, they considered this misconception of theirs to be the pattern set by Prophet Joseph and became willing helpers and servants of these un-Islamic systems. Whereas this verse categorically refutes this misconception by declaring that the law of the land is as much a part of the deen of Allah as Salat, Hajj, Fast, and Zakat are. Therefore, the demand of the acceptance of ad-deen made in (Ayat 19 and Ayat 85 of Surah Aal-Imran), that is, “Indeed, Islam alone is the right way, in the sight of Allah” and “Whosoever will adopt any other way than the way of Islam, it shall not be accepted”, includes laws as well as Salat and other obligatory duties prescribed by Allah. Therefore the exclusion of this part of deen from any system would incur the displeasure of Allah.
(4) The above interpretation, however, is open to one objection. It does, at least, imply that an un-Islamic way was in vogue in Egypt at the time, when Prophet Joseph was, even according to the present commentator, the supreme head of the country. It is, therefore, a proof that that Prophet himself was enforcing the un-Islamic law of the king. What difference, then, could it have made, if Prophet Joseph had followed, in his personal case too, the system of law of the king which he himself was enforcing instead of the system of law of Prophet Abraham? Most certainly this would have made a vast difference because it would have compromised his position as a Prophet, because he was trying to establish the Islamic Way of life, which naturally could have been accomplished gradually in course of time, during which the king’s law would have inevitably remained in vogue. The same thing happened in Arabia during the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Al-Madinah, which took nine years to establish the Islamic system in its entirety. During that period, several un-Islamic laws remained in vogue. For instance, drinking, interest, the un-Islamic laws of inheritance and marriage and some wrong ways of trade, etc. had to continue for some time. Likewise the civil and penal codes of Islam took some time for their complete introduction. So there is nothing strange in this that the king’s law continued to be in vogue during the first nine years or so of Prophet Joseph’s reign. But the continuance of the un-Islamic law of the king during the period of transition is no argument to prove that Allah’s Prophet was sent to follow the way of the king and not to establish the way of Allah.
The tafsir of Surah Yusuf verse 76 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Yusuf ayat 73 which provides the complete commentary from verse 73 through 76.
Quick navigation links