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 3 (Verses 12:21–12:29): Joseph’s Firmness under Temptation


وَ قَالَ الَّذِی اشۡتَرٰىہُ مِنۡ مِّصۡرَ لِامۡرَاَتِہٖۤ اَکۡرِمِیۡ مَثۡوٰىہُ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّنۡفَعَنَاۤ اَوۡ نَتَّخِذَہٗ وَلَدًا ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ مَکَّنَّا لِیُوۡسُفَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۫ وَ لِنُعَلِّمَہٗ مِنۡ تَاۡوِیۡلِ الۡاَحَادِیۡثِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَالِبٌ عَلٰۤی اَمۡرِہٖ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱﴾

12:21 And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: Make his stay honourable. Maybe he will be useful to us, or we may adopt him as a son. And thus We established Joseph in the land, and that We might teach him the interpretation of sayings. And Allah has full control over His affair, but most people do not know.

وَ لَمَّا بَلَغَ اَشُدَّہٗۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہُ حُکۡمًا وَّ عِلۡمًا ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾

12:22 And when he attained his maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. And thus do We reward the doers of good.

وَ رَاوَدَتۡہُ الَّتِیۡ ہُوَ فِیۡ بَیۡتِہَا عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ وَ غَلَّقَتِ الۡاَبۡوَابَ وَ قَالَتۡ ہَیۡتَ لَکَ ؕ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّٰہِ اِنَّہٗ رَبِّیۡۤ اَحۡسَنَ مَثۡوَایَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَا یُفۡلِحُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾

12:23 And she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him, and bolted the doors and said: Come. He said: Allah forbid! Surely my Lord made good my abode. The wrongdoers never prosper.

وَ لَقَدۡ ہَمَّتۡ بِہٖ ۚ وَ ہَمَّ بِہَا لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ رَّاٰ بُرۡہَانَ رَبِّہٖ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡہُ السُّوۡٓءَ وَ الۡفَحۡشَآءَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا الۡمُخۡلَصِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾

12:24 And certainly she desired him, and he would have desired her if he had not seen the clear evidence of his Lord. Thus (it was) that We might turn away from him evil and indecency. Surely he was one of Our chosen servants.1

وَ اسۡتَبَقَا الۡبَابَ وَ قَدَّتۡ قَمِیۡصَہٗ مِنۡ دُبُرٍ وَّ اَلۡفَیَا سَیِّدَہَا لَدَا الۡبَابِ ؕ قَالَتۡ مَا جَزَآءُ مَنۡ اَرَادَ بِاَہۡلِکَ سُوۡٓءًا اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یُّسۡجَنَ اَوۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۵﴾

12:25 And they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from behind, and they met her husband at the door. She said: What is the penalty for one who intends evil to your wife, except imprisonment or a painful punishment?

قَالَ ہِیَ رَاوَدَتۡنِیۡ عَنۡ نَّفۡسِیۡ وَ شَہِدَ شَاہِدٌ مِّنۡ اَہۡلِہَا ۚ اِنۡ کَانَ قَمِیۡصُہٗ قُدَّ مِنۡ قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتۡ وَ ہُوَ مِنَ الۡکٰذِبِیۡنَ ﴿۲۶﴾

12:26 He said: She sought to seduce me. And a witness of her own family bore witness: If his shirt is torn in front, she speaks the truth and he is a liar.

وَ اِنۡ کَانَ قَمِیۡصُہٗ قُدَّ مِنۡ دُبُرٍ فَکَذَبَتۡ وَ ہُوَ مِنَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۲۷﴾

12:27 And if his shirt is torn from behind, she tells a lie and he is truthful.

فَلَمَّا رَاٰ قَمِیۡصَہٗ قُدَّ مِنۡ دُبُرٍ قَالَ اِنَّہٗ مِنۡ کَیۡدِکُنَّ ؕ اِنَّ کَیۡدَکُنَّ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۸﴾

12:28 So when he saw his shirt torn from behind, he said: Surely it is an intrigue of you women. Your intrigue is indeed great!2

یُوۡسُفُ اَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡ ہٰذَا ٜ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرِیۡ لِذَنۡۢبِکِ ۚۖ اِنَّکِ کُنۡتِ مِنَ الۡخٰطِئِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۹﴾

12:29 Joseph, turn aside from this. And (my wife), ask forgiveness for your sin. Surely you are one of the sinful.


  1. This does not show that Joseph had any desire for her, but that the temptation was so strong that, if he had not been strengthened by great faith in God, he would have fallen a prey to mortal weakness.
  2. The vindication of Joseph’s character on this occasion, and the pro­duction of the evidence of the shirt, are not related in the Bible. The next section proves that Joseph was not cast into prison for being guilty of having committed an outrage against his master’s wife.