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Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) Interprets Pharaoh's Dream

Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream

Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) PBUH is an important figure in Islam and the story of Joseph is one of the most inspiring stories of the Quran. In Islamic tradition, dream interpretation was a favor that Allah (God) had bestowed on Prophet Joseph (Prophet Yusuf). Interpreting pharaoh’s dream is one of the most important parts of Prophet Joseph’s story in the Quran. Watch this scene of one of the movies made about Prophet Joseph’s life according to the Islamic tradition (Prophet Yusuf’s Dream Interpretation).


More Facts about the Story of Prophet Joseph in Islam

Prophet Joseph (Prophet Yusuf, Nabi Yusuf, Hazrat Yousuf, Yusuf the Prophet) is an important figure in Islam and other Abrahamic religions aka Judaism and Christianity. The story of Joseph is one of the most inspiring stories in Islamic tradition which the Quran (The Muslim holy book) refers to as “the most beautiful of stories.” Joseph from the Quran corresponds to Joseph (son of Jacob), a person from the Tanakh, the Jewish religious scripture, and the Christian Bible. Of all of Jacob’s children, Joseph was trusted with prophethood.

Although the narratives of other prophets are mentioned in various Surahs (Chapters) of the holy Quran, the complete story of Joseph is uniquely narrated in a single chapter. The story of Joseph in the Quran is a continuous narrative and the Quran itself relates to the story’s importance in the third verse of Surah Yusuf: “and We narrate unto you best or most beautiful of stories (aḥsanal-qaṣaṣ)”.

The story of Prophet Joseph (Story of Prophet Yusuf) is said to be the most detailed narrative in the Quran and bears more details than the Biblical counterpart. The Islamic and the Biblical sources bear considerable similarities in narrating the story of Joseph. Joseph (Yusuf) is believed to have been the eleventh son of Jacob (Yaqub). He along with his family lived in the land of Cana’an. The story of Joseph (Prophet Yusuf story) in Islam begins with Joseph revealing a dream he had to his father, which Jacob recognizes as a prophecy.

Joseph’s half-brothers were jealous of him because they knew that he was their father, Jacob’s favorite son, and therefore plotted to kill him. Upon suggestion by one of his brothers, they threw Joseph into a well and a camel caravan carrying spices and perfumes to Egypt, found Joseph and took him into slavery.

They sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Potiphar took him home and asked his wife, Zuleika (Zuleikha, Zulaikha), to treat him well. This is the point of the story that many scholars of Islam report as being central (contrasting to other religious traditions) to Joseph’s story. Under Potiphar’s watch, Joseph grows to a man and moves to a high position in his household. Zuleika falls in love with Joseph and tries to seduce him into an affair. Prophet Joseph rejects her indecent offers. Zuleika, Potiphar’s wife that was angered by his running away from her, made a false accusation of rape, and thus assured his imprisonment.

It happened that Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker, who had offended the Pharaoh, were also thrown into the prison. Both men had dreams, and Joseph, who by God’s grace was able to interpret dreams asked to hear. The cupbearer’s dream was about a vine with three branches that was budding. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out and they produced grapes. The cupbearer took those grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph interpreted this dream as the cupbearer being restored as cupbearer to the Pharaoh within three days. The baker’s dream was about three baskets full of bread for the Pharaoh, and birds were eating the bread out of those baskets. Joseph interpreted this dream as the baker being hanged within three days and having his flesh eaten by birds. Joseph requested that the cupbearer mention him to Pharaoh to secure his release from prison but the cupbearer, reinstalled in office, forgot Prophet Joseph.

Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) had remained forgotten within the confines of the prison walls for a number of years, busy perfecting himself and guiding the prisoners around him. After two more years, the Pharaoh dreamt of seven lean cows, which devoured seven fat cows; and of seven withered ears of grain, which devoured seven fat ears. When the Pharaoh’s advisers failed to interpret these dreams, the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Joseph was then summoned. He interpreted the dream as seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine, and advised the Pharaoh to store a surplus grain.

Following the prediction, Joseph became Vizier. (the highest official in ancient Egypt to serve the pharaoh (king) during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms). During the seven years of abundance, Joseph ensured that the storehouses were full and that all produce was weighed. When the famine came, it was so severe that people from surrounding nations came to Egypt to buy bread.

Many movies, TV serials, cartoons, etc. have been made based on the story of Prophet Yusuf’s life in accordance with the narratives of different religions, especially Islam.

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