Joseph (son of Jacob) - Islamic Tradition

Islamic Tradition

Joseph ("Yusuf") is regarded by Muslims as a prophet (Qur'an, suras vi. 84, xl. 34), and a whole chapter (sura xii.) is devoted to him, it is the only instance in the Qur'an in which an entire chapter is devoted to a complete story of a prophet. It is described as the 'best of stories'. Joseph is said to have been extremely handsome, which attracted his Egyptian master's wife to attempt to seduce him. Muhammad is believed to have once said, "One half of all the beauty God apportioned for mankind went to Joseph and his mother; the other one half went to the rest of mankind." The story has the same general outlines as the Biblical narrative, but with certain differences In the Qur'an the brothers ask Jacob ("Yacub") to let Joseph go with them. The pit into which Joseph is thrown is a well, and Joseph was taken as a slave by passing caravan (Qur'an 12:19).

In the Bible, Joseph discloses himself to his brethren before they return to their father the second time after buying grain. The same is true in the Islamic story but they are compelled to return to Jacob without Benjamin, and the former weeps himself blind. He remains so until the sons have returned from Egypt, bringing with them Joseph's garment which healed the patriarch's eyes as soon as he put it to his face (Qur'an 12:96).

It is also said in commentaries that Zulaikha, the wife of Potiphar who had tried to seduce Joseph when he was a servant in their household, later married him when he had risen to be governor of Egypt. Their mutual attraction and love is described as intense and deep in eastern poems and literature.

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