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Introducing "The Best of Stories" Series
This is the first of a series of articles reflecting over "the best of stories" in the Qur'an: the story of the Prophet Joseph, upon whom be peace.
It was the worst moment in his life.
His wife, who was his most steadfast of supporters - financially, emotionally, spiritually - had died. Soon thereafter, his uncle - who was the only father he had ever known - died as well. His people’s persecution, already harsh, became that much harsher once his uncle was no longer there to protect him.
Having lost hope of his people ever following him, he sought support elsewhere, and he was brutally rejected by the people of the town. The elders sent the street urchins to literally stone his feet until they were bloodied. In shock and despair, he called out to the Lord:
To You, my Lord,
I complain of my weakness,
lack of support and the humiliation I am made to receive.
Most Compassionate and Merciful!
You are the Lord of the weak,
and you are my Lord.
To whom do You leave me?
To a distant person who receives me with hostility?
Or to an enemy You have given power over me?
As long as you are not displeased with me,
I do not care what I face.
I would, however,
be much happier with Your mercy.
I seek refuge in the light of Your Face, by which
all darkness is dispelled and both this life and the life to come
are put in their right course, against incurring your wrath
or being the subject of your anger.
To You I submit
until I earn Your pleasure.
Everything is powerless without your support.
The man making this prayer was the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, and he uttered this prayer after he was brutally expelled from the city of Tai’f, not far from his hometown of Mecca. The year in which all of these events occurred is called “the Year of Sorrow.”
It was not long after this incident that the answer of the Lord came, and one of those answers was the twelfth chapter of the Qur’an, the chapter named “Joseph.”
Almost the entire chapter tells the complete story of the Prophet Joseph, and it is the only chapter in which a story was told in its entirety. It is my favorite chapter of the Qur’an, and I have read, studied, and listened to it dozens upon dozens of times. It never gets boring.
Verse 7 of the chapter says this:
Indeed in the story of Joseph and his brothers are miracles for those who inquire.
This story is indeed full of signs and miracles. So, dear reader, we will explore those miracles together in this series of articles. I will be going over the chapter’s verses and reflecting over their meanings and significance, gleaning lessons for us in our daily lives. I pray that you enjoy and benefit from the miracles of Joseph’s story as much as I have.
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