1130The Story of Joseph - Part II
- Nov 20, 20131982-83The Story of Joseph - Part IIBy Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Another note we should make right now is that the scripture of the people of this particular part of the world, bible. It warns them, of a time coming when there would be an appearance of a nation and a people just like that called modern Egypt. You have ancient Babylon modern Babylon ancient Egypt, modern Egypt. "So we might teach him the interpretations of stories or events". Now, the word for stories or events is the plural of Hadith. Hadith singular is Hadith. If you want to use the same term for many of such reportings it will be ahadith. And that is the term that is used here al ahadith. That G-d would teach him the tahweel. And in another place in the Qur'an, it says, "No one knows the tahweel of the Qur'an except G-d". And you know the Qur'an is also called the Hadith. That is one of the names of the Qur'an ahadith, because, it is a report, a recorded report, a recorded book or record of things that took place in a reporting form or in the form of a report. G-d would teach him the interpretation of some of the stories and events. In Arabic, it would mean Hadith. "And G-d has full power and control over his affairs, but most among mankind know it not".
The situation for a people can never become so bad, so hopeless that they can't be saved by G-d. "When Joseph attained his full manhood, we gave him power and knowledge. Thus do we reward those who do right. The word for those who do right is the plural "muhsineen" the doers of good. Joseph was one who practiced goodness.
Now, the big lady, she was fascinated by Joseph. And this verse says, "But she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his true self". And the expression in Qur'anic language is "an-nafsi" which means from his true nature, his true self just as it is given here. Now here you have a picture of an innocent victim, young when he was taken, right? He was a "ghulam" very young, young lad. He was young when he was taken. And he was taken and put in bad circumstances by his own brothers who plotted against him. And G-d says that there was something of great value in Joseph. But, they didn't respect that value in him. They treated him as though he was something mean and cheap. And here now we have favorable circumstances coming about wherein the big man in Egypt takes him into his own care and puts him in the house where the big lady was. Now, here the big lady of the house, she is enamored by him. And she now wants to seduce him, take him out of his true nature. So, obviously his true nature was that of a righteous person. He was a virtuous person. I am sure it wouldn't take a lot of you out of your true nature if a beautiful big lady wanted to go to sleep with you tonight. But for Joseph this was a threat to his very good nature, to his true self, because that was not his self to allow the woman to seduce him. She fastened the doors and said, "Now come thou dear one!" He said, "G-d forbid. Truly thy husband is my lord. He made my sojourn agreeable. Truly to no good come those who do wrong". So, he was aware of the consequences. He was aware of his obligation. He was aware that he was indebted to a man who favored him and trusted him. And he was aware that wrong begets wrong and bad consequences. It is not only that I owe this to him not to betray him behind his back. But I owe it to myself to keep my own good nature because if I lose it, I will fall into worser circumstances. This is a beautiful story! And to read it in Arabic is even more beautiful. More of us insha-Allah will learn Arabic. "And with passion did she desire him. And he would have desired her except that he saw the evidence of his Lord ". He was conscious of G-d that is what saved him. So what are we being told here? That he was human like she was. If it wasn't for divine protection, he would have been right into the same thing that she was weak for.
So for a people who are put in circumstances like that, their only protection is the fear of G-d. Once they lose the fear of G-d, they are finished. "Thus did We order that We might turn away from him all evil and shameful deeds". So here G-d orders this test for him. G-d ordered a test for him, to try him, to put him a situation to make his muscles of resistance and devotion to G-d stronger. See if you are good, your intentions is good your commitment is righteous and honorable then the more temptation you are put into, the stronger you become. And some times the young person in his virtuous life, he needs to be put into situations that will bring out that strength that is in him. Because once he says no to the big lady, he won't have much trouble saying no to the little ladies. So G-d wanted to hurry and prepare Joseph to survive. So he didn't give him the little ladies first. He gave him the big lady first. So to get it over quick, if you can stand the big lady, you will make it among the little ladies.
Now this story of Joseph is very mystical itself. It is a mystical story, a very mythical story. So we are to receive understanding on levels, understanding on one level may not be the same understanding for a higher level. So now we are thinking about the carnal weakness, the weaknesses of the flesh. The flesh is being put to the test. But there are higher levels upon which we are tested too, right? He said, "It was she who sought to seduce me from my true self and one of her household saw this and bore witness. If it be that his shirt is rent (that means torn) from the front then her tale is true and he is a liar. But if it be his shirt is torn from the back, then she is the liar and he is telling the truth". "So when he saw his shirt (that is the big chief, the big man) that it was torn at the back, her husband said, It is a snare of you women. Truly mighty is your snare'". Now, the big chief had a lady that would set traps. And he didn't like that in her. But he obviously accepted that in her, right? He was tolerating her with that in her. "O Joseph pass this over". He said, "O wife ask forgiveness for your sins. For truly thou has been at fault". So this kind of snare or trap setting of hers is not accepted as being right. It is a sin. Do you know that you are constantly being seduced by the powers of the land? They are constantly trying to seduce you out of your true self. Now they may think that G-d allows that they work these schemes, plots against the good nature that G-d created. But G-d says here it is a sin. And one who is guilty of it should pray for forgiveness. That didn't get Joseph out of the situation. He was still in that situation. She said to the ladies that also desired him very passionately that there before you is the man about whom you did blame me. When they saw him, they got into the same fix. But they had blamed the big lady for being weak. She said, "I did seek to seduce him from his true self. But, he did firmly save himself guiltless. And now if he does not do my bidding, he shall certainly be cast into prison. And what is more. He will be of the company of the vilest (meaning those who are low and debase)".
Here is a situation used to throw us among people who are among the lowest. So, obviously Joseph in his excellence as a person, as a human being he was very, very, very great in his virtuous life. He was very great. He was on a high standard. His value was his obedience to what is right. His value was moral value. His value was the virtuous life. That was his value. Now if a people are thrown into such circumstances, if they lose their moral excellence, their moral tenacity, their moral endurance, the moral consistency in their life wherein they hold to what is right if they lose that, they lose their value. They don't have any other value. What value has the African-American in his situation? He can not compete politically. He can not compete economically. He has no established ethnicity. So where is our value if it is not in moral consistency? Once we lose moral consistency, we have no worth as a people. We don't measure up anywhere. But for a long time that moral consistency in our life made us the envy of white people that stood above us in every other way. But, in the last fifteen or twenty years, we have lost our precious value, that value that gave us a sense of worth, and made us the envy of many people who had the things of this world. And G-d was with us. Yes, G-d was with us, but not anymore, no, not anymore. Don't think G-d is with the Black man, not anymore. The Black man has lost the favor of G-d by turning around right at the crucial moment when he could have saved himself totally. He turned around and picked up the ways of the wicked. And let his whole race fall under the influence of the wicked. Yes, it is a shame. So no more, it is going to take a very small number from among us to complete the work, because the majority is finished. They are out of it.
Now, in the prison situation he was put in a favorable situation by the big man in Egypt. Now, because he wouldn't go along with the deceit of the big lady, he is cast out of that good situation and now put back into a bad situation. Now he is among those who are in prison. Isn't that the ways of the great powers? Yes, it is the ways of the great powers. They will give you freedom for an advantage for them. And as soon as you begin to show an independent mind, they want to lock you up. You know, you don't have to be in the physical boundaries of physical measurements walls, prison walls to be in prison. The people who have an independent moral mind in Chicago today are imprisoned. They will not allow you to be free. I know because I am one of you. They deny us freedom. You might say well Imam how can you say that you are free. You are down here in the mosque saying all of this. But they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure that I have this audience. And that it doesn't be any bigger. Yes, so now he is cast into a bad situation again. But the good is like a mighty seed. If there is a situation for it to burst into life, it will. So, even in the prison situation, the mighty attributes of Joseph manifests. There were those who needed his help. And he became a helper to them. And the big people outside in the free world Egypt, they learned of the help that he was giving inmates. And they desired that help for the free. They said bring him up out of prison. We need him. We are in trouble too.
Now don't forget that G-d said when He allowed Joseph to fall into those circumstances and be taken up by the powerful people, He said, "Thus did We establish Joseph in the land". "Now in the prison there they came to him two young men. Said one of them, "I see myself in a dream pressing wine" Said the other, "I see myself in a dream carrying bread on my head and birds are eating thereof". "Tell us, they said, the truth and meaning thereof for we see thou art one that is of good to all (that's Joseph)". They say we are imprisoned here, we don't know you Joseph. We are strangers and convicts. But we know that you are a person that does good by all. So help us with our situation. He said, "Before any food come in the due course to feed any of you, I will surely reveal to you the truth and meaning of this that will befall you. That is part of the duty which my Lord has taught me. I assure you, abandon the ways of a people that believe not in G-d and even deny the hereafter". Now, listen he was a small lad when he came into the bad circumstances, right? And his own brethren put him into the bad circumstances. And then in the bad circumstances, the big man of the land saw good in him. So much that he said, "Let's take him because there may be some great good in him for us. Or maybe we will adopt him as our own son". Obviously, they did adopt him as their own son. Why? Because he says, "Now, I have turned from the ways of a people that believe not in G-d and deny the hereafter". He was a young lad. He was not experienced in the world to know what was happening. But because of his moral tenacity, moral strength and endurance, he held his moral life together. He wouldn't let anything take it apart. Because of that being in him, G-d was with him all of the time. Isn't that wonderful? And G-d aided him at every turn of the events. No matter how bad the circumstances, G-d was with him. And now he is talking to inmates in prison with him in another bad situation. And he tells them that "I have abandoned the ways of a people who believe not".