Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

12:21 Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of stories (and events)

2 min read

The man in Egypt who bought him, said to his wife: “Make his stay (among us) honourable: may be he will bring us much good, or we shall adopt him as a son.” Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of stories (and events). And Allah hath full power and control over His affairs; but most among mankind know it not.

The Qur’an does not mention his name or position; but a later reference to him (in verse 30
below)
as al-aziz (“the great [or “mighty”] one”) points to his having been a high official or a nobleman.


Lit., “sayings”. or “tidings” (ahddith). Most of the commentators assume that this refers
specifically
to Joseph’s future ability to interpret dreams; but Razi points out that in this context the term
hadith (of which ahadith is the plural) may be synonymous with hadith (“something that newly
comes
into existence”, i.e., “an event” or “a happening”). This is, to my mind, much more convincing
than
a mere reference to dream-interpretation, the more so as the term ta’wil is often used in the
Qur’an (e.g., in 3:7, 10:39 or 18:78) in the sense of “final meaning”, “inner meaning” or “real
meaning” of a happening or statement or thing, as distinct from its outward, prima-facie
appearance.
The use of the particle min (“of”) before the term ta’wil indicates that absolute knowledge of
what
a thing or event implies rests with God alone (cf. 3:7 – “none save God knows its final
meaning”),
and that even God’s elect, the prophets – albeit their vision is much wider than that of ordinary
men –
are granted only a partial insight into the mysteries of God’s creation.

References:

Asad, Muhammad (1980). The Message of the Quran. http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/55877864-54484011-Message-of-Quran-Muhammad-Asad-Islam-Translation.pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.