Back to the Sahara

Dear Sahara Trekkers and Moonlit TrailBlazers!

Welcome back to the Moonlit Sahara! We’ve been on a long snore due to unavoidable circumstances (which happen quite often out here in the Sahara), but we’re as excited as you are to jump back into business. The Moonlit Sahara’s new look has motivated us to keep posting, and we hope it motivates you to keep reading! Insha’Allah commencing January we’ll be finishing up the  2 series we had started earlier this year including:

1- Youth Under the Shade Series: Extensive posts on the lives of some of the courageous youth who stood up for the truth and left a legacy to be carried on by the youth of today. Having discussed the lessons in the life of Ibrahim (AS) and now wrapping up the story of Yusuf (AS), drop by to see who our next hero is. Hint: Have your sword sharpened and armor ready!

2- The Hadith Series 1: Short and simple posts which extract lessons from authentic ahadith collected by Imam Al-Tirmidhi in his book, Shama’il Al-Muhammadiyyah.

So stay tuned and ride the dunes with us to make our Sahara a flourishing oasis of knowledge.  Your feedback is important to us and we’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until the next sandstorm,

The Sahara Bloggers

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to be notified as soon as we post. Jazakum Allahu Khairan


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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.


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Yusuf is Rescued from the Well and sold as a Slave

(Surah Yusuf verses 19-22)

وَجَاءَتْ سَيَّارَةٌ فَأَرْسَلُوا وَارِدَهُمْ فَأَدْلَىٰ دَلْوَهُ ۖ قَالَ يَا بُشْرَىٰ هَٰذَا غُلَامٌ ۚ وَأَسَرُّوهُ بِضَاعَةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ

And there came a caravan of travellers; they sent their water-drawer, and he let down his bucket (into the well). He said: “What good news! Here is a boy.” So they hid him as merchandise (a slave). And Allah was the All-Knower of what they did.

وَشَرَوْهُ بِثَمَنٍ بَخْسٍ دَرَاهِمَ مَعْدُودَةٍ وَكَانُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الزَّاهِدِينَ

And they sold him for a low price, – for a few Dirhams (i.e. for a few silver coins). And they were of those who regarded him insignificant.

After his brothers threw him down the well, they hung around for the whole day waiting to see what he might do and what might happen to him. They left at nightfall and he remained in the well for three days.

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Yusuf’s brothers ask for permission, Ya’qub’s response, Yusuf being thrown in the well 

(Surah Yusuf verses 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)

قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأْمَنَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَنَاصِحُونَ

They said: “O our father! Why do you not trust us with Yusuf (Joseph), – when we are indeed his well-wishers?”

Once they had their plan set out for them, the brothers began to take it to the next level. The problem they had was that Yusuf never left the company of their father, and so it would be difficult for them to kidnap him and hide his whereabouts. They said, “Why is it that you do not trust us with Yusuf though we are indeed his well-wishers?” They persistently nag him about not trusting them! This is a tactic they used as reverse psychology making Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam give in to their request. They tell him that they are well-wishers and mean no harm, even though they really intended its opposite.


 أَرْسِلْهُ مَعَنَا غَدًا يَرْتَعْ وَيَلْعَبْ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

“Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily, we will take care of him.”

They mask their horrendous plan as a mere picnic trip that they want to take their “beloved” little brother to in order that he may enjoy himself and play, and ensure their father that he will be protected by them. 


  قَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحْزُنُنِي أَن تَذْهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأْكُلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَأَنتُمْ عَنْهُ غَافِلُونَ

He [Ya’qub] said: “Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him.”

Ya’qub’s responses in this Surah tug at the heartstrings. He was a man who knew the distinction of Yusuf in the near future, thus showering him with love and mercy. His answer to them covers sadness because Yusuf is the coolness of his eyes, and it covers fear because he knows that the brothers have never been kind to Yusuf. He uses the word “الذئب” which accurately translates to “the wolf” rather than “a wolf”; he is slightly hinting to the fact that he fears their harm, rather than an actual wolf devouring him. And Allah knows best.

قَالُوا لَئِنْ أَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّا إِذًا لَّخَاسِرُونَ

They said: “If a wolf devours him, while we are ‘Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely in that case, we are the losers.”

The irony is that in faking his death and lying to their father, they do become losers later in the story. 

فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَجْمَعُوا أَن يَجْعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَابَتِ الْجُبِّ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

So, when they took him away, they all agreed to throw him down to the bottom of the well, and We inspired in him:”Indeed, you shall (one day) inform them of this their affair, when they know (you) not.”

Their intent and agreement was to throw him into the well, yet when they took him from his father, they pretended otherwise, so that his father sends him with a good heart and feeling at ease and comfortable with his decision. It was reported that Ya’qub, peace be upon him, embraced Yusuf, kissed him and supplicated to Allah for him when he sent him with his brothers. Once they left the premises in which their father could see them, they started abusing Yusuf verbally, by cursing, and harming him by beating. When they reached the well that they agreed to throw him in, they tied him with rope and lowered him down. When Yusuf would beg one of them, he would smack and curse him. When he tried to hold to the sides of the well, they struck his hand and then cut the rope when he was only half the distance from the bottom of the well. He fell into the water and was submerged. However, he was able to ascend a stone that was in the well and stood on it. (Tafsir ibn Kathir) The word “الْجُبّ” specifies a well of shallow water, so it is evident that Yusuf ‘alayhissalam survived. 

It is the Sunnah of Allah to send good news to His righteous slaves in times of difficulty in order to strengthen their resolve and relieve them through His compassion and mercy. Hence, Allah reveals to Yusuf that he should not be distressed or saddened by his brothers’ actions, and that aid will come to him from Allah, who will elevate his status and raise his rank. Someday, Yusuf ‘alayhissalam will remind his brothers of their evil action against them while they will be unaware of him, nor will they be able to recognize him.

وَجَاءُوا أَبَاهُمْ عِشَاءً يَبْكُونَ

قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا إِنَّا ذَهَبْنَا نَسْتَبِقُ وَتَرَكْنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَاعِنَا فَأَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَّنَا وَلَوْ كُنَّا صَادِقِينَ

And they came to their father in the early part of the night weeping. 

They said:”O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Yusuf (Joseph) by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us even when we speak the truth.”

Allah narrates to us the deceit that Yusuf’s brothers resorted to, after they threw him to the bottom of the well. They went back to their father, during the darkness of the night, crying and showing sorrow and grief for losing Yusuf. The wisdom, or should I say lack of wisdom, in going at night is so that their father would not be able to discern the deceit on their faces and the fake show they put on for him. They started giving excuses for what happened to Yusuf, falsely claiming that they went racing and left Yusuf behind to guard their luggage, and a wolf devoured him. They tried to lessen the impact of the grave news they were delivering by using the words “Our father”, trying to trick him into believing in their false sincerity. It is as though they are saying, “You have reason not to believe in us because of the coincidence and amazing occurrence that happend.” 

Here’s a list of all the tactics they use, and considering they thought they were being extremely smart and coy, these acts actually prove them to be quite the opposite:

1-They come in the darkness of night so that he cannot discern the deceit and evil on their faces

2-They start to cry, or pretend to cry

3-Their crying precedes the bad news they’re about to tell him, as though they’re preparing him for the worst

4-They use the word “Our father”, trying to soften his heart and pretend that they actually care about the brother they so easily got rid off

5-They lied about the wolf devouring Yusuf, just what Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam had feared, which is an unlikely coincidence

6-They use a sarcastic attitude with him, “You will never believe us, even if we told you the truth.”

7-They stain Yusuf’s shirt with blood, which is mentioned in the next verse:

وَجَاءُوا عَلَىٰ قَمِيصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ ۚ قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا ۖ فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ ۖ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ

And they brought his shirt stained with false blood. He said: “Nay, but your ownselves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert.”

 They brought his shirt stained with false blood because:

1- It was not Yusuf’s blood- they had slaughtered an animal and stained the shirt with it

2- The shirt was not torn up 

 The wolf in that case must have been extremely intelligent in that he devoured Yusuf without tearing up his shirt! Obviously, Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam was intelligent and he knew they were lying, he said, “Shaitan and your evil souls and egos have come up with this lie.” He refuses their false claims and says, “I will firmly observe patience for this plot on which you agreed, until Allah relieves the distress with His aid and compassion.” He knew his kids and he acknowledged the fact that screaming and yelling at them would only make them increase in their ugly lies and deceit; therefore, he did what no parent could do without making an enormous amount of effort: he told them that he would observe “beautiful patience.” Just a few hours ago he had held his little boy Yusuf in his arms, and although he knows that Yusuf is not dead, he is still helpless. His little boy has been left out in the dark world and he does not know what may happen to him. 

 Once again though, he proves himself to be THE role model for all parents.

Since he can’t get them to admit their lies, he will practice what he has been commanded to in times of extreme stress and pain: patience. Patience that will suffice him against complaining to the creation, and motivate him to complain to the Creator without whom there is no power or might. 

Allah says in another Surah, 

فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا

So be patient, with a good patience. (Surah Al Ma’arij) 

To summarize, patience is a virtue that has been mentioned over seventy times in the Quran. In Islam, patience does not mean to suffer silently, nor does it mean to complain about your misery to each and every person who is willing to hear. Patience is a plant that grows when watered and whithers when left unattended to. It takes practice to be patient; and its not an exaggeration to say that patience is one of the most beautiful and rare gifts that Allah blesses His chosen slaves with. 


At this point, it is important to remember two things that will recur in the upcoming verses:

1- Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s shirt

2-Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam’s statement, “beautiful patience”

The story has just started to unfold The first part to it is over: the brother’s have overstepped their mark, Yusuf has been thrown into the dark well and Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam is certain of their deceit. The next part will discuss the amazing protection and mercy of Allah that Yusuf ‘alayhissalam is shaded by as he makes his way through the world without any parental guidance or help. 


It’s also worth mentioning that it isn’t possible for our limited human minds to extract all the gems and jewels from this amazing sea which is the Quran… and this is not even a tiny speck of the beauty in Allah’s words. A story which He labels “the best” can never get tedious or tiresome, nor will we ever be able to appreciate it the way it should be; and that is a very humbling thought. No matter how complete and perfect we may think our grasp is, and no matter how complacent we may be, the truth of the matter is that we can never, ever reach the heights of it’s beautiful eloquence.


اللهم ذكرنا منه ما نسينا و علمنا منه ما جهلنا و ارزقنا تلاوته آناء الليل و أطراف النهار على الوجه الذي يرضيك عنا

I ask Allah to remind us (from the Quran) of what we have forgotten, and teach us of what we are ignorant of, and to bestow upon us it’s recitation in the days and nights in the way that He is pleased with.



-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

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There are lessons to draw from the story of Yusuf

(Surah Yusuf verses 7, 8, 9, 10)

لَّقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِّلسَّائِلِينَ

Verily, in Yusuf and his brethren, there were Ayat for those who ask.

Allah says that there are Ayat, lessons and wisdom to learn from the story of Yusuf and his brothers, for those who ask about their story and seek its knowledge. Surely, their story is unique, strange, worthy of being narrated. The Jews who inquire about his story, poking and prodding it to find the slightest deficiency in it’s miraculous nature should have submitted due to the truth they found in it; yet they stubbornly turn away.

To really understand the gist of this amazing story, we need to try and put ourselves in the shoes of these characters. We need to imagine for a few moments that we are a part of these people and live amongst them. The most important aspect to remember is that Yusuf ‘alayhissalam had an amazing relationship with his father that the brothers were jealous of. Instead of talking to him about it, they decided to take dangerous routes to get rid of him.

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Yusuf’s Dream and Ya’qub’s response

(Surah Yusuf verses 4-6)

إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ) سورة يوسف آية رقم 4)

((Remember when Yusuf  said to his father: “O my father! Verily, I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me.”))

From the greatest lessons we can glean from Yusuf ‘allayhissalam’s story is his complete trust and ability to open up comfortably to his Prophet father, Ya’qub ‘allayhissalam. By the end of this post, we’ll find that Allah s.w.t is hinting something very significant to those who wish to reflect.

In the last verse Allah s.w.t says that He is narrating to us the best of stories, (and from these stories) is when Yusuf mentioned to his father Ya’qub, son of Ishaaq, son of Ibrahim, of a dream in which he saw eleven stars, the sun and the moon prostrating to him.

Yusuf was a young boy who saw a dream that alarmed him for one main reason: he knew that this was huge. He knew the interpretation of the dream which alarmed his juvenile mind, and he immediately seeks solace in his father’s wise and comforting words. 

There are many factors in this verse that prove that Yusuf ‘allayhisalam knew what this dream meant despite his young age:

1-  His alarm is clearly depicted in the way he expressed his astonishing dream when he said: O my beloved father!  Indeed, surely, undoubtedly, I saw a dream in which eleven stars, and the sun, and the moon- I saw them prostrating to me.”

2- He uses the word ساجدين and not ساجدات – relaying that those stars, moon and sun depict real people and not just non-living objects.

Additionally, Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s good manners and righteous upbringing is proved by the endearing terms with which he addresses his father; (O my beloved father.)

What a classic yet timeless scenario! And this is just the beginning of the story! A scared, confused, astonished child. Where does he first turn to for comfort and answers? His friends? The Internet? Or does he just bottle up his thoughts and feelings because he’s afraid he might not be taken seriously for such a childish dream?


He turns to his father.

The most essential, comforting and significant role in Yusuf’s childhood was that of Ya’qub ‘allayhissalam. Not only did he understand and accept Yusuf’s dream, but he immediately foresaw the reaction that Yusuf would get from his brothers. He warns Yusuf not to mention his dream to his jealous brothers, lest they should conspire and plot against him to cause his demise:

 قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تَقْصُصْ رُؤْيَاكَ عَلَىٰ إِخْوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُوا لَكَ كَيْدًا ۖ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلْإِنسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ)) سورة يوسف آية رقم 5))

 ((He (the father) said: “O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Shaitan  is to man an open enemy!))

The wisest fathers know their children, and Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam definitely hit the nail on the head. Allah s.w.t tells us that Shaitan causes enmity between the sons of Adam, and warns us against his plots. There are many benefits we can extract from this:

Benefits from the verse on the topic of dreams:

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has given us specific guidelines when it come to dreams: 

(If any of you saw a vision that he likes, let him narrate it. If he saw a dream that he dislikes, let him turn on his other side, blow to his left thrice, seek refuge with Allah from its evil and not tell it to anyone. Verily, it will not harm him in this case.) Sahih Muslim 

Benefits from the verse on the topic of the evil eye and jealousy:

From the wisdom of hiding a good dream or the prospects of a bounty is to protect oneself from envious people. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: 

(Earn help for fulfilling needs by being discrete, for every owner of a blessing is envied.)  

In Islam, the evil and envious eye is a topic that many scholars have discussed due to the shocking reality of it’s deep impact. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“The evil eye is real and if anything were to overtake destiny, it would be the evil eye.” Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

Generally speaking, scholars have agreed that there are precautions that a person may take to prevent the effects of the evil eye, from these precautions is:

1- Dua’a- constantly being in the remembrance of Allah thus causing a person to be in His Divine protection (there are specific duas for protection against the evil eye in the saheeh sunnah)

2- Hiding your blessings and being discrete about matters that may cause people to become jealous and envious

  وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَجْتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ كَمَا أَتَمَّهَا عَلَىٰ أَبَوَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ)) سورة يوسف آية رقم 6))

((Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) and perfect His Favour on you and on the offspring of Ya’qub, as He perfected it on your fathers, Ibrahim  and Ishaq aforetime! Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.))

Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam continues his speech and tells Yusuf that just as Allah chose him to see the eleven stars, the sun and the moon to prostrate before him, thus He will choose him to be a Prophet and teach him the interpretation of dreams, and perfect His favor on Him by granting him Prophethood, just as He granted it to his forefathers, because Allah knows best whom to choose for His Message. 

Allah s.w.t is teaching us a significant lesson in parenting and raising our children according to Islamic standards. Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam is THE role model for all Muslim parents, especially fathers. 

To sum up for today, there is a beautifully profound hadith of the Messenger of Allah that summarizes the nobility of Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s lineage:


 (الكريم ابن الكريم ابن الكريم ابن الكريم: هو يوسف ابن يعقوب ابن إسحاق ابن إبراهيم) 

Ibn ‘Umar radhiallahu ‘anh narrated that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: (The noble, son of the noble, son of the noble, son of the noble: he is Yusuf ibn Ya’qub ibn Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ‘alayhimasalam.) Sahih Bukhari 


-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)


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The Separated Letters and the Qualities of the Quran

(Surah Yusuf verses 1-3)

الر ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ) سورة يوسف آية رقم 1)

((Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the clear Book))

This surah is amongst the twenty nine surahs that begin with the separated letters. Scholars have differed upon the meaning of these letters, and have extracted many benefits as to the reason Allah s.w.t has kept this knowledge from us. They have  said, “There is no doubt that Allah did not reveal these letters for jest and play.”

The recitation of these letters is a unique feature of the format, and ignites the curiosity of anybody who is learned in the Arabic language. Scholars of the Quran have said that whenever a Surah begins this way, the next verse is always about some special, miraculous aspect of the Quran. On the contrary, some ignorant people have said that some parts of the Quran do not mean anything; thus committing a huge mistake.

Point to be noted here is that there are no authentic ahadith from the Messenger of Allah that explains these letters and if we find one, we will embrace his statement. Otherwise, we will stop where we were made to stop and will proclaim,

 آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا)) سورة آل عمران آية رقم 7))

((We believe in it; all of it (clear and unclear verses) is from our Lord))

Coming towards the linguistic aspect, if we remove the repetitive letters, then the numbers of letters come down to fourteen, half the number of the letters in the Arabic alphabet.

ألف/ لام/ ميم/ صاد/ را/ كاف/ حا/ يا/ عين/ طا/ سين/ ها/ قاف/ نون

Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad, Ra, Kaf, Ha, Ya, `Ayn, Ta, Sin, Ha, Qaf, Nun.

Now, the letters are mentioned in ones, twos, threes, fours, and fives:

ص/ حم/ الر/ المص/كهيعص

Those who are well-versed in the Arabic language will know that Arabic is a language of patterns, and most of the words used in speech comprise of one, two, three, four, or five letters!

I remember once during tajweed class, the professor was explaining the elongation (مد) of these separated letters. She explained that a native speaker of the Arabic language will not recite these letters except that he will feel the miracle of the Quran. Indeed, alif, laam, meem are the letters that make up the Quran, and these are the letters he uses to speak to his own kind, but he will never be able to produce something like the Book of Allah. The verse continues to highlight a unique aspect of the Quran: (These are the verses of the clear Book) i.e. the Quran; which is plain and apparent and makes known the unclear matters.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ) سورة يوسف آية رقم 2)

((.Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand))

Allah s.w.t then tells us about the wisdom behind revealing the Quran in Arabic: so that we may understand, because Arabic IS the most eloquent of languages. Therefore, the most honorable Book was revealed in the most honorable language to the most honorable Prophet by the most honorable angel in the most honorable land on Earth during the most honorable month of the year, making the Quran perfect in every single aspect!

Taking a closer at the ayah, Allah s.w.t says أنزلناه which is derived from the word إنزال and in other ayat of the Quran, Allah s.w.t says تنزيل. Both these words: إنزال and تنزيل mean “to send something down”, however, there is a slight change in meaning due to the change in pattern. إنزال is to send something down all at once, while تنزيل means to send something down little by little. Both these words are used to describe the revelation of the Quran. In this ayah of Surah Yusuf, however, إنزال is used, and that is an indication that the Surah was revealed all in one go. 

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ) سورة يوسف آية رقم 3)

((We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an although you were, before it, among those who knew nothing about it.))

Ibn Jarir recorded that Abdullah bin Abbas said, “They said, O Allah’s Messenger! Why not narrate to us stories about nations that have passed?” Later on, this Ayah was revealed.

Allah s.w.t is telling us here in the present tense form (We are relating to you, narrating to you, telling you…) that this is the best of stories! What more do we need to understand that the Quran is sufficient for us?

Allah s.w.t tells us that He is narrating to us the most excellent of stories, but is it just for the sake of telling a story? NO. That is one of the biggest differences between the Quran and any other book in the world. Lets jump a little ahead to glean the answer to this question: Allah s.w.t says in verse 111 of Surah Yusuf:

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

 Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It is not a forged statement but a confirmation of Allah’s Book and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe. 

And so, unlike any other story in the world, the stories of the Quran contain valuable lessons from our Creator. For men of understanding and for those who wish to analyze, to open their eyes, there is a profound realization in these stories. There is guidance, enlightenment, an invitation to Allah s.w.t’s Mercy, and a warning from His Wrath. 

The next post will be about Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s dream and Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam’s response inshaAllah. Stay tuned!


-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)


Youth Under the Shade Series Part Two: Yusuf ‘alayhissalam Introduction


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The whole Quran is a manifestation of beauty and eloquence, but there are certain Surahs that just hold a special place in people’s hearts. Surah Yusuf is one of those profound and beautiful Surahs of the Quran and it is the subject matter that makes it so amazing. You’ll find this Surah has the most views on YouTube, books have been written about gems from this Surah, articles are posted, tafsir halaqat are organized and lectures are delivered; yet we *never* cease to extract benefit from this remarkable Surah.

This post might be a tad bit lengthy; because this is our chance to vent out obsessions that we’ve had for this story. I remember talking continuously for an hour and a half about Surah Yusuf on our way to university in Makkah, and we still had so much to say! I remember pondering over Ya’qub alayhissalam’s reaction to Yusuf’s dream, and his gentle concern and encouragement (actually, that was more of a rant), wondering where he took parenting lessons from. I remember telling an engaged group of little boys about Yusuf ‘alayhissalam’s adventures and his “scary” experience in the dark well. I remember when I finally memorized this Surah and recited it over and over in my salawat, honored and blessed to be able to (somewhat) relate to all the humane emotions so beautifully depicted in the Book of Allah. I remember hoping to one day study this Surah in depth and fall in love with what Allah s.w.t, tells us is the best of stories!

And thats what we’re going to do here. Going through a list of resources, we’ve made a comprehensive compilation of benefits derived from Surah Yusuf in many different aspects, including the Arabic rhetoric, all the while sticking to the Saheeh ahadith and majority opinion of Sunni scholars of tafasir.


This Surah, according to the majority consensus, was revealed all at once in Madinah.

In the biography of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are signs and lessons. And in the most critical and severe of times in Makkah, three years before the migration, Khadeejah passed away. Soon after, his paternal uncle Abu Talib passed away. Within a year, the Messenger of Allah lost two of his best friends, loyal supporters and adamant protectors. Soon after, Allah s.w.t. blessed the Messenger of Allah with the Isra’a and Mi’raj, which caused the kuffaar of Makkah to belie him and shun his message altogether; calling him absurd and mad; they turned away and rejected him until no one was entering into Islam.

The Messenger of Allah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam dubbed that year: the year of sadness. He was going through a tough time, experiencing severe jolts of loneliness and sadness, and the believers suffered with him as Quraysh intensified their torturous moves. 

Now, how many times has one of us gone through a rough patch in our lives? How many times have we needed the calm soothing assurance of a good end for those who do good? How many times have we been separated from those we love, not knowing if our paths will cross again? How many times have we struggled with oppression from the “strong group”?

And finally, how many times have we repeated to ourselves in reassuring whispers the Promise of Allah to His faithful believers that victory is for the pious and the patient?

This Surah is a manifestation of the Promise of Allah; it is a manifestation of Allah’s wisdom, and the fruits of true reliance from a sincere slave.

The way of Allah is that before victory He gives us hope through His Book. It is our direct connection to our Creator, the One in Whose Hands are our souls, and the One Who has full control over our hearts.

During this hardship that Rasulallah went through, Allah revealed Surah Al-Israa and Al-Furqaan, then Surah Yunus and Hood were revealed. In these Surahs were comforting stories and beneficial lessons for the Messenger of Allah and his followers. It was a reminder to the Messenger of Allah that there were messengers before him that went through adversities in pursuit of this truth, and he sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a part of that brotherhood of messengers. Messengers who were appointed by Allah to deliver His message were susceptible to these human emotions and weaknesses and Allah s.w.t comforted and consoled them through the Quran. Undoubtedly, the Quran remedies sadness and loneliness.

Beautiful stories of steadfastness, success, justice, patience, and the true essence of trusting Allah mark these Surahs. Finally, at the end of Surah Hood, Allah s.w.t. says:

 وَكُلًّا نَّقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الرُّسُلِ مَا نُثَبِّتُ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۚوَجَاءَكَ فِي هَٰذِهِ الْحَقُّ وَمَوْعِظَةٌ وَذِكْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

((And all that We relate to you of the news of the messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this Quraan has come to you the truth, as well as admonition and a reminder for the believers.))

And the last of these beautiful Surahs is Surah Yusuf. Its so true that words can paint pictures. A picture would give just the surface material look,  while words can take you right in.

The gist of the story is felt right from the beginning, so stay tuned for the next post and we’ll delve straight into the Surah itself!

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)


Youth Under the Shade Series Part 1: Ibrahim Khaleelullah (AS)


Ibrahim (AS)The first personality we will encounter from our vast history of courageous youth is the shining example of Khaleel-ul-Allah Ibrahim (AS). He was Abul Anbiya, Father of the Prophets, and was described as a “nation standing alone.”

(إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ)

(Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (a leader having all the good righteous qualities), or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikun-idolaters) {16:120}

He was among the أولو العزم من الرسل”” – The ‘Top 5’ prophets, and Allah (SWT) granted him utmost honor by choosing him as His close friend.

(وَٱتَّخَذَ ٱللَّهُ إِبرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلاً)

(And Allâh did take Ibrâhim (Abraham) as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!

So let’s look at the life of this great prophet during his youth and emulate his personality through our everyday sayings and actions.


Ibrahim (AS) faces his father

The first portrait being studied from his life is the beautiful conversation mentioned in the Quran between Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam and his father.

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam was born into a family of polytheists, with his father being an idol-maker. However, young Ibrahim always abhorred idols as he was destined to stand against his own family and entire community. Allah had enlightened his heart and mind with spiritual understanding from a very young age.

(وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ رُشْدَهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا بِه عَالِمِينَ)

(And indeed We bestowed aforetime on Ibrahim his (portion of) guidance, and We were well acquainted with him) {21:51}

When the message of prophethood was revealed to him, Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam actively began calling his people to the truth. Realizing the duty and weighty responsibility on his shoulders, he first confronted his father- the man who loved him and raised him from the very day he entered this world. He addressed his father respectfully and lovingly, saying:

(إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِي عَنكَ شَيْئًا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي قَدْ جَاءَنِي مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَمْ يَأْتِكَ فَاتَّبِعْنِي أَهْدِكَ صِرَاطًا سَوِيًّا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ عَصِيًّا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ فَتَكُونَ لِلشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيًّا)

When he said to his father:

“O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not, and cannot avail you in anything?

O my father! Verily, there has come to me of the knowledge that which came not to you. So follow me, I will guide you to a Straight Path.

O my father! Worship not Shaitan. Verily, Shaitan has been a rebel against the Most Gracious (Allah).

O my father! Verily, I fear lest a torment from the Most Gracious (Allah) should overtake you, so that you become a companion of Shaitan (in the Hellfire).” {19: 42-45}

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam began his speech with the beautiful phrase: “Oh my father!”, thus displaying the respect and humbleness he held for him. He then presented his message clearly, assuring his father that he had certain knowledge which would guide him to the Straight Path. He also explained that he was only advising him out of love and concern for him to be saved from the Hellfire. Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam called his father to the truth using logic, respect, love, and concern. Nevertheless, his father’s blind heart only led him further away. Out of his extreme love for his gods, he threatened to stone his own son to death. He commanded his son to leave his home. Persistence in Kufr and strong determination of Iman tore apart the close relationship of the father and his son.

(قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا)

(He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibrahim? If you stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely (before I punish you).”) {19:46}

No doubt, such harsh comments pierced Ibrahim’s heart deeply. It hurt to see his father dwell in misguidance while he himself knew the path to salvation. But what was Ibrahim’s ‘alayhissalam reaction to such statements? Did he raise his voice out of anger for his father’s ignorance? Did he lose hope and give up his da’wah? No, rather Ibrahim’s response reflects the height of wisdom and respect a son could have for his father at such a young age.

He gave the exemplary response of the people of taqwa to the ignorant:

(قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا)

(Ibrahim said: Peace be upon you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily, He is to me Ever Most Gracious.) {19:47}

His father’s stern threats did not stop him from preaching the truth. Instead, he promised to ask forgiveness for his father. With a sad heart, he dissociated himself from him. Ibrahim’s ‘alayhissalam dissociation from his father contains an important principle for us. As Muslims, we must protect our identity without separating ourselves physically from the society. This calls for a balance between psychological separation and physical participation.


Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam challenges his people

Ibrahim (AS) now took his da’wah to the next stage: Da’wah to his society. His unmatched skills of persuasion and speech eloquence became his key weapon while challenging his people. He posed logical and rhetorical questions to them, causing them to contemplate the reality of the universe and its Creator. However, jealousy and hatred for Ibrahim, and blindness from the truth engulfed their hearts and minds.

Another incident portraying his zeal and cleverness is the well known Da’wah presentation he performed for his people. As soon as the townspeople deserted the city for their festive day, Ibrahim got to work. He headed for the temple and, with a big axe, shattered all the idols into pieces. He hung the axe on the biggest idol and waited to see his plan unfold.

parrot-broken-hammer Upon their return to the temple, the people were astonished and furious. Who could have done such a crime?! Some said:

(قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا فَتًى يَذْكُرُهُمْ يُقَالُ لَهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ)

“We heard a young man talking against them, who is called Ibrahim.” {21:60}

Before moving further, let’s reflect on this ayah for a moment. The people mentioned two important points about Ibrahim (AS) which assist us in visualizing his position in their society.

1. “A young man”: Ibrahim was not more than 16 years old when he caused such a big stir in his society. Throughout history, all major da’wah work and changes in society were done by the youth. It is reported than Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “Allah did not send a prophet except that he was a youth, and knowledge is not given to a scholar except that he is a youth.”

2. “Who is called Ibrahim”: This shows that Ibrahim wasn’t known in the society. He was a young boy planning to make major changes that would cause the society to crumble.

Ibrahim (AS) was brought forth in front of the masses and put to trial- a young boy alone against an entire nation. They questioned him for his actions, but his rhetorical replies left them dumbfounded.

(قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ)

 (أُفٍّ لَّكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ) 

Ibrahim said: “Do you then worship besides Allah, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you? Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allah! Have you then no sense?”

They miserably lost in the battle of dialogue, so they resorted to physical battle. They resolved to throw young Ibrahim (AS) into a burning fire.

(قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ)

They said: “Burn him and help your gods, if you will be doing.”


 Upon hearing his people’s decision to punish him, Ibrahim put his complete trust in Allah. He was at the threshold  of his youth, yet he prepared to meet his fate and did not turn back.

Put yourself in Ibrahim’s shoes for a moment. You are tied to a catapult with no means to escape. The smoke of the fire is fogging the sky due to its intense heat. All odds are against you and your very own parents are witnessing your plight, yet they side with your enemies. What would be your response in this intense situation-a matter of life and death? What would be mine? Would we step down and be ready to compromise? Would we ask for forgiveness for insulting their religion and offending their gods? Or would we take the firm stand that our forefather, Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam, took at the threshold of his youth?

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam, sitting in the catapult, with certain death before his eyes, did not flinch. He did not plea for mercy or compromise. Rather, he remained firm as a mountain, brave as a lion; and said: “Sufficient for me is Allah, and He is the best disposer of all affairs.” Yes! He was certain that his Lord-the One who created him, guided him to the truth, fed him when he was hungry, cured him when he was sick- would not abandon him. He had certainty of faith.

(قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيم)

Indeed, Allah heard the prayer of Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam and commanded the fire to be safe and cool for him. He emerged from the burning fire without a single scratch. Not only that, but he would often say later on: “The best moments I spent were when I was in the fire.”

A significant lesson for us from this miracle is that Allah can do whatever He wants for the believer. Allah stopped the sun for Yusha, split the sea for Musa, cured diseases through Isa, and split the moon for Muhammad- salatullahi wa salamuhu alaihim ajma’een. All we need is Tawakkul-trust in Allah azza wajal.


Ibrahim Debates with the King

Ibrahim’s miraculous emergence from the fire only declared utter defeat for the disbelieving people. His fame spread throughout the kingdom. Feeling threatened, King Nimrud summoned him to his royal court. Here, a significant event took place, manifesting Ibrahim’s influential qualities of courage, self-confidence, strength and persuasion. Allah (SWT) describes the scene in Surah Al-Baqara:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّـهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

(Have you not seen him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him a kingdom? When Ibrahim said (to him): My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.”

He said, “I give life and cause death.”

Ibrahim said, “Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated.) {2:258}

Sunrise In Space Wallpapers 2

Ibrahim left King Nimrud speechless. With his high level of faith in Allah and clever debating tactics, Ibrahim (AS) brought forth an undefeatable challenge, forcing the king to unwillingly accept his weakness and helplessness. Again, truth prevailed over falsehood.


After Ibrahim’s endless debates and attempts to convince his people, his efforts were met with nothing but rejection and stubbornness. He was forced to leave the town he called “home”, to escape the persecution of his people and worship Allah freely. His only supporters were his wife, Sarah, and his nephew, Lut.

Such moral-rich stories need to become leading examples for us, youth today. Our Anbiya’ must be our role models, with their stories being our lessons, their footsteps being our path to piety, and their companionship being our lifelong goal, bidhnillahi ta’ala. Their efforts, endurance, and patience carry hidden treasures for us to discover, as we walk through the hurdles of life, striving for Allah’s pleasure and reward.


اللهم إنا نسألك عيش السعداء و موت الشهداء و الحشر مع الأتقياء و مرافقة الأنبياء

Oh Allah! We ask You for the life of happiness, the death of the martyrs,  to be resurrected with the pious, and the companionship of the Prophets. Ameen


    1. Stories of the Prophets, By Imam Ibn Kathir (English and Arabic versions)

    2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir

    3. Tafsir of Surah Maryam, By Yahya Ibrahim (Audio Set)

    4. Youth under the Shade, By Safi Khan

~The Sahara Bloggers (By Niqabinja)


Introduction: Youth Under the Shade Series



Our upcoming project will be an in-depth study into the lives of the youth that carried Islam on their shoulders. Youth that were always found on the front lines, nothing to lose and so much to gain. 

We aim to draw inspiration and life lessons from their rich history thus trying to figure out solutions to the many problems that we as young adult Muslims face today.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال :سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : (سبعة يظلهم الله في ظلّه يوم لا ظل إلا ظله: إمام عادل، وشاب نشأ في عبادة الله، ورجلان تحابا في الله اجتمعا عليه وتفرقا عليه، ورجل ذكر الله خالياً ففاضت عيناه، ورجل قلبه معلق بالمساجد، ورجل تصدق بصدقة فأخفاها حتى لا تعلم شماله ما تنفق يمينه، ورجل دعته امرأة ذات منصب وجمال فقال: إني أخاف الله رب العالمين ) أخرجه البخاري ومسلم

It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are seven whom Allaah will shade with His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His: the just ruler; a young man who grows up worshipping his Lord; a man whose heart is attached to the mosque; two men who love one another for the sake of Allaah and meet and part on that basis; a man who is called by a woman of rank and beauty and says ‘I fear Allaah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it to such an extent that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives; and a man who remembers Allaah when he is alone, and his eyes fill up.” (Agreed upon, narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 620; Muslim, no. 1712; and others).

Stay tuned! 🙂

– The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)