English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 12: Yusuf — Joseph (Revealed at Makkah: 12 sections, 111 verses)

Section 10 (Verses 12:80–12:93): Joseph Discloses his Identity


فَلَمَّا اسۡتَیۡـَٔسُوۡا مِنۡہُ خَلَصُوۡا نَجِیًّا ؕ قَالَ کَبِیۡرُہُمۡ اَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اَبَاکُمۡ قَدۡ اَخَذَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مَّوۡثِقًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ مَا فَرَّطۡتُّمۡ فِیۡ یُوۡسُفَ ۚ فَلَنۡ اَبۡرَحَ الۡاَرۡضَ حَتّٰی یَاۡذَنَ لِیۡۤ اَبِیۡۤ اَوۡ یَحۡکُمَ اللّٰہُ لِیۡ ۚ وَ ہُوَ خَیۡرُ الۡحٰکِمِیۡنَ ﴿۸۰﴾

12:80 So when they despaired of (persuading) him, they conferred together privately. The eldest of them said: Do you not know that your father took from you a promise in Allah’s name, and how you fell short of your duty about Joseph before? So I shall not leave this land, until my father permits me or Allah decides for me; and He is the Best of the judges.

اِرۡجِعُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَبِیۡکُمۡ فَقُوۡلُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَاۤ اِنَّ ابۡنَکَ سَرَقَ ۚ وَ مَا شَہِدۡنَاۤ اِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَ مَا کُنَّا لِلۡغَیۡبِ حٰفِظِیۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾

12:81 Go back to your father and say: Our father, your son committed theft. And we bear witness only to what we know, and we could not keep watch over the unseen.

وَ سۡـَٔلِ الۡقَرۡیَۃَ الَّتِیۡ کُنَّا فِیۡہَا وَ الۡعِیۡرَ الَّتِیۡۤ اَقۡبَلۡنَا فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ اِنَّا لَصٰدِقُوۡنَ ﴿۸۲﴾

12:82 And ask the town where we were, and the caravan with which we proceeded. And surely we are truthful.

قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَکُمۡ اَنۡفُسُکُمۡ اَمۡرًا ؕ فَصَبۡرٌ جَمِیۡلٌ ؕ عَسَی اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِـیَنِیۡ بِہِمۡ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ اِنَّہٗ ہُوَ الۡعَلِیۡمُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۸۳﴾

12:83 (Jacob) said: No, your souls have contrived an affair for you, so patience is best. Maybe Allah will bring them together to me. Surely He is the Knowing, the Wise.

وَ تَوَلّٰی عَنۡہُمۡ وَ قَالَ یٰۤاَسَفٰی عَلٰی یُوۡسُفَ وَ ابۡیَضَّتۡ عَیۡنٰہُ مِنَ الۡحُزۡنِ فَہُوَ کَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۸۴﴾

12:84 And he turned away from them, and said: My sorrow for Joseph! And his eyes were filled1 (with tears) on account of the grief, then he repressed (grief).

قَالُوۡا تَاللّٰہِ تَفۡتَؤُا تَذۡکُرُ یُوۡسُفَ حَتّٰی تَکُوۡنَ حَرَضًا اَوۡ تَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡہٰلِکِیۡنَ ﴿۸۵﴾

12:85 They said: By Allah! You will not cease remembering Joseph till you are a prey to disease or you perish.

قَالَ اِنَّمَاۤ اَشۡکُوۡا بَثِّیۡ وَ حُزۡنِیۡۤ اِلَی اللّٰہِ وَ اَعۡلَمُ مِنَ اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۸۶﴾

12:86 He said: I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know.2

یٰبَنِیَّ اذۡہَبُوۡا فَتَحَسَّسُوۡا مِنۡ یُّوۡسُفَ وَ اَخِیۡہِ وَ لَا تَایۡـَٔسُوۡا مِنۡ رَّوۡحِ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَا یَایۡـَٔسُ مِنۡ رَّوۡحِ اللّٰہِ اِلَّا الۡقَوۡمُ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۸۷﴾

12:87 My sons, go and inquire about Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of Allah’s mercy.3 Surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except the disbelieving people.

فَلَمَّا دَخَلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِ قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡعَزِیۡزُ مَسَّنَا وَ اَہۡلَنَا الضُّرُّ وَ جِئۡنَا بِبِضَاعَۃٍ مُّزۡجٰىۃٍ فَاَوۡفِ لَنَا الۡکَیۡلَ وَ تَصَدَّقۡ عَلَیۡنَا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَجۡزِی الۡمُتَصَدِّقِیۡنَ ﴿۸۸﴾

12:88 So when they came to him, they said: O chief, distress has afflicted us and our family, and we have brought little money, so give us full measure and be charitable to us. Surely Allah rewards the charitable.

قَالَ ہَلۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ مَّا فَعَلۡتُمۡ بِیُوۡسُفَ وَ اَخِیۡہِ اِذۡ اَنۡتُمۡ جٰہِلُوۡنَ ﴿۸۹﴾

12:89 He said: Do you know how you treated Joseph and his brother, when you were ignorant?

قَالُوۡۤا ءَاِنَّکَ لَاَنۡتَ یُوۡسُفُ ؕ قَالَ اَنَا یُوۡسُفُ وَ ہٰذَاۤ اَخِیۡ ۫ قَدۡ مَنَّ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡنَا ؕ اِنَّہٗ مَنۡ یَّـتَّقِ وَ یَصۡبِرۡ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُضِیۡعُ اَجۡرَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۹۰﴾

12:90 They said: Are you indeed Joseph? He said: I am Joseph and this is my brother; Allah has indeed been gracious to us. Surely he who keeps his duty and is patient — Allah never wastes the reward of the doers of good.

قَالُوۡا تَاللّٰہِ لَقَدۡ اٰثَرَکَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡنَا وَ اِنۡ کُنَّا لَخٰطِئِیۡنَ ﴿۹۱﴾

12:91 They said: By Allah! Allah has indeed chosen you over us, and we were certainly sinners.

قَالَ لَا تَثۡرِیۡبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡیَوۡمَ ؕ یَغۡفِرُ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ ۫ وَ ہُوَ اَرۡحَمُ الرّٰحِمِیۡنَ ﴿۹۲﴾

12:92 He said: There is no reproach against you this day.4 Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.

اِذۡہَبُوۡا بِقَمِیۡصِیۡ ہٰذَا فَاَلۡقُوۡہُ عَلٰی وَجۡہِ اَبِیۡ یَاۡتِ بَصِیۡرًا ۚ وَ اۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِاَہۡلِکُمۡ اَجۡمَعِیۡنَ ﴿٪۹۳﴾

12:93 Take this shirt of mine and cast it before my father’s face — he will come to know.5 And bring to me all your family.


  1. The word used can carry the meaning of being filled. Even if we accept the ordinary significance, his eyes were whitened, the meaning is that they were whitened with tears, which naturally came at the mention of Joseph.
  2. This shows clearly that Jacob knew by Divine revelation that Joseph was alive.
  3. Here the Quran again differs from the Bible and shows that Jacob was so certain of Joseph being alive because of the knowledge he received from God, that he sent his sons a third time to Egypt to ascertain about Joseph. It appears that he had an inkling also that Joseph was in Egypt.
  4. It is related that the Holy Prophet took hold of the two sides of the gate of the Ka‘bah on the day of the conquest of Makkah and said to the Quraish: How do you think I should treat you? They said: We hope for good, a noble brother and the son of a noble brother. Then he said: I say as my brother Joseph said: “There is no reproach against you this day”.
  5. The Quran does not say anywhere that Jacob had become blind. The shirt was sent as being a reminder of the torn shirt of Joseph, which Joseph’s brothers had brought to Jacob (v. 18).