The wife of ‘Aziz plots, the news reaches women in the city
(Surah Yusuf verses 23-30)
وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الْأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ ۚ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ
And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him, she closed the doors and said: “Come on, O you.” He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly, he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimun (wrong and evil-doers) will never be successful.”
This situation proves Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s patience more than any other mishap he fell into. Back when his brothers deserted him, he was a boy and had no choice but to be patient and wait for a way out. Now he’s reached adulthood and his chivalry is matchless.
She, on the other hand, displayed extremely shallow characteristics that would never have been expected from a woman of her social and political standard. So she sought to seduce him and make him slip from the determination and strong will he always possessed; considering she saw him grow up, she knows him very well. He was intensely pressured in this situation because he was alone with her; ignoring her command and avoiding her would not be as easy as it would if there people around. She bolted the doors with multiple locks, (“ghalaqqat”) and yelled at him to be quick in doing the act.
He immediately refuses her intention, seeking Allah’s protection, and reminding himself of her husband’s favors on him. He was not one to repay good with evil by deceiving the man in whose house he grew up! She wasn’t satisfied with his answer and his resolve only increased her impatience.
وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ ۖ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلَا أَن رَّأَىٰ بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاءَ ۚ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
And indeed she did desire him (and he would have inclined to her desire,) had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.
She tried and tried, running after him, and naturally he would have given in if it wasn’t for the protection and security of Allah. HE WAS A PROPHET. A lesson never to be forgotten: don’t ever be too confident of your piety and righteousness. Here we have proof that no matter how in control you think you are, there will be times when you fall into temptation, and there is no protection except with Allah. When we stop relying on Allah in persevering in these difficult situations and instead rely on our own weak devices, there will definitely be falls.
Also its fascinating to contemplate on subtle words in the description of this heated situation that we all know too well. There’s no obscene language or immodest, wanton illustrations, and the whole situation is perfectly clear so there’s no need to be straight out and give every little detail.
The word هَمَّ can have many meanings: worry, confusion, desperation. Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s هَمَّ was different from hers, while both were in extremely profound emotional states.
وَاسْتَبَقَا الْبَابَ وَقَدَّتْ قَمِيصَهُ مِن دُبُرٍ وَأَلْفَيَا سَيِّدَهَا لَدَى الْبَابِ ۚ قَالَتْ مَا جَزَاءُ مَنْ أَرَادَ بِأَهْلِكَ سُوءًا إِلَّا أَن يُسْجَنَ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌقَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحْزُنُنِي أَن تَذْهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأْكُلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَأَنتُمْ عَنْهُ غَافِلُونَ
So they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back. They both found her lord (i.e. her husband) at the door. She said: “What is the recompense (punishment) for him who intended an evil design against your wife, except that he be put in prison or a painful torment?”
She still doesn’t give up and now he’s running away from her. She’s adamant in her decision and won’t stop, so they race one another to the door and he’s trying to open it. When they find her husband at the door, she immediately puts on a fake attitude and looks all flustered and flushed, pointing at Yusuf ‘alayhissalam and throwing the blame on him. His shirt is now ripped from the back and the husband saw this. Her first crime was trying to seduce him, and now to cover it up, she commits the second crime by lying to her husband and putting the blame on innocent Yusuf. Once the door has been opened, there’s no closing it. She appeals to her husband saying there’s no recompense except that Yusuf should be imprisoned or flogged.
قَالَ هِيَ رَاوَدَتْنِي عَن نَّفْسِي ۚ وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
He [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: “It was she that sought to seduce me,” – and a witness of her household bore witness (saying): “If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true and he is a liar!
وَإِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ فَكَذَبَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
“But if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth!”
He defends himself, saying in all honesty that it was she who sought the deed and he was free from it. Fortunately, a witness from her household spoke up saying that the evidence is in the shirt. There’s a difference of opinion about the age and gender of this witness, some say he was an adult male and some say he was a child. But that isn’t an important detail. Basically he said, if it was torn from the back, then he was running away, and she was running after. But if it was torn from the front, then she was trying to defend herself against him.
فَلَمَّا رَأَىٰ قَمِيصَهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِن كَيْدِكُنَّ ۖ إِنَّ كَيْدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ
So when he (her husband) saw his [(Yusuf’s (Joseph)] shirt torn at the back; (her husband) said: “Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is your plot!
يُوسُفُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَٰذَا ۚ وَاسْتَغْفِرِي لِذَنبِكِ ۖ إِنَّكِ كُنتِ مِنَ الْخَاطِئِينَ
“O Yusuf (Joseph)! Turn away from this! (O woman!) Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful.”
Surprisingly, he was very easy with the situation. This could be because either he was of the same corrupt character as his wife, or because he knew for certain that she would some day fall for the young boy. He’s worrying about a scandal that might break out and ruin his political standing, and so rather than looking further into it or taking some practical steps to ensure it won’t happen again, he brushes away the matter quickly and asks all of them to forget about what happened!
وَقَالَ نِسْوَةٌ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ امْرَأَتُ الْعَزِيزِ تُرَاوِدُ فَتَاهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ ۖ قَدْ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّا ۖ إِنَّا لَنَرَاهَا فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
And women in the city said: “The wife of Al-‘Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily we see her in plain error.”
The news spread anyway. The gossiping women living in the city were definitely not righteous, nor did they respect the wife of ‘Aziz. They knew her character and since she was a politician’s wife, they closely followed the news. They talk about her and say that she’s been blinded by her slave boy, belittling and mocking her. The word “shaghafa” indicates that her heart was veiled and clouded with this unruly emotion, and it was as though she was suffering an illness or ailment that prevented her from functioning properly.
Next week: the wife of ‘Aziz sets these women up and they plot against him
-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)