The Speaking Tree | July 9, 2017, p. 5
The brothers had a serious problem. How could they face their father,who had taken a pledge from them to bring Binyamin back? They pleaded with Yusuf to free Binyamin:“Noble prince, this boy has an aged father.Take one of us,instead of him.You are a generous man.”One of the brothers offered to remain there as a hostage in place of Binyamin.(According to a tradition,he was the same brother who had objected to killing Yusuf, suggesting that they cast him into a well instead.) But Yusuf turned down the request:“God forbid that we should take any but the man with whom our property was found: for then we should be unjust.” The brothers did not know what to do.The eldest of them refused to leave Egypt; he didn’t have the courage to face his father. He said:“Do you not know that your father took from you a pledge in Allah’s name, and that long ago you did your worst with Yusuf? I will not stir from this land until my father gives me leave or Allah makes known to me His judgment.”He asked his brothers to return to their father and tell him:“Father,your son has committed a theft.We testify only to what we know.How could we guard against the unforeseen? Inquire at the city where we lodged, and from the caravan with which we travelled.We speak the truth.” When they reached home without Binyamin,the brothers told their ailing father that his son had committed a theft and that the king’s minister had kept him as a punishment.The brothers swore that this was the truth, and they even made the people of the caravan bear witness.
Yaqub was stunned by the story. He knew his little Binyamin too well to believe that he had stolen anything. He flatly refused to believe them,thinking they had plotted to get rid of their youngest brother just as they had plotted against Yusuf. So he cried out,“No! Your souls have tempted you to evil. But I will have sweet patience (sabr jamil). Allah may bring them all to me... He alone is All-Knowing and Wise.” The loss of Yusuf and now Binyamin was so hard for Yaqub to bear that he lost his eyesight weeping. Ruefully, he thought of how Yusuf’s boyhood dreams had augured his greatness. For himself, the whole world had been plunged into darkness.He poured out his distraction and grief only to Allah. His faith was still as strong as ever and he observed the discipline of patience — the greatest virtue of the faithful. Turning away from his sons,Yaqub cried,“How great is my grief for Yusuf!” The sons retorted, “By God! You will never cease to remember Yusuf until you ruin your health or die.” But Yaqub forgave the sting and malice in the words of his sons and, like a prophet of Allah, he still wished them well, gave sound advice, and did not lose hope. “O my sons! Go and enquire about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy,” Yaqub said.“Truly, no one despairs of Allah’s soothing mercy, except those who have no faith.”
‘None shall reproach you’
So the sons of Yaqub once again set out for Egypt in the hope that the king’s minister would agree to their request to release Binyamin. Finally they reached Egypt, met Yusuf and pleaded with him to release Binyamin.They told him that their father was an old man who deeply grieved for his son.They also pleaded with Yusuf for charity as they had not brought much money this time. They said,“Noble prince,we and our people are scourged with famine.” They had spent a great part of their capital and stock-in-trade. “We have brought very little money. Give us some corn, and be charitable to us:Allah rewards the charitable.” To their pleadings, Yusuf replied: “Do you know what you did to Yusuf and his brother?”At once the brothers realised that they were in the presence of Yusuf. “What!” the brothers exclaimed. “Can you indeed be Yusuf ?”They could not believe their eyes. “I am Yusuf,” he answered, “and this is my brother.Allah has been very generous to us.Those who keep from evil and endure with fortitude will not be denied their reward by Allah.” They may suffer a great deal, but Allah at last rewards patience and right conduct.Tell Me About Prophet Yusuf, Goodword Books ¦