Literary CornerThe Structure of Dreams (in the Story of Joseph and His Brethren) 2 of 3 [Archives:2005/864/Culture]

August 1 2005

By Abu Alkalmah Al-Tayyibah
When Joseph (PAUH realizes that he is going to be put in an awkward position of having to fight off the promiscuity of the ladies of Egyptian nobility or the establishment at the time, he could see could see that this would mean trouble for him and his conscience, so the best way to avoid what would become a highly controversial social.

As a God-fearing individual, he saw prison as putting him in safety from the possibility of being tempted to submit to their evil prodding, as he sees the moral implications of such an abomination.

Thus he indeed is sentenced to prison, after some of the ladies were ready to cut their hands for refusing their prodding, after which his master's wife demanded that he submit to her or he would go to jail for causing such sadism in the court. He spent sometime in jail (maybe seven years) and his opportunity came upon the pharaoh having a strange dream, which he needed to be interpreted.

In the prison he had met tow fellow prison mates who had dreamed simultaneously, that one was to serve his master wine and the other was to have birds eat of the top of his head. The latter was executed (so the birds would eat of his head), while the former stayed a little while and then went out to serve in the court.

Meanwhile, Yusuf or Joseph (PAUH) continued to dwell in prison until the Pharaoh was telling his dream about seven fat cows eaten by seven lean cows and seven healthy or “green” stalks of wheat and another seven dry stalks. So the former prison mate of Joseph went to suggest to the pharaoh that he knows who can interpret this dream, after his experts and advisors had failed to come up with a discernible explanation.

When Joseph was able to interpret the dream (which will be explained later), the Pharaoh wanted to reward Joseph by releasing him from prison and assigning him a position close to him (personal advisor, minister, etc.) At first however, Joseph first requested that he clear himself from any implications in the charges for which he was imprisoned for made by his former master's wife. At that moment, the lady admitted her guilt and absolved Joseph of any suspicions, noting that it was her temptation that led to the dispute between them, when he refused to surrender to her seductive gestures.

At this stage Joseph's life has transformed from one of a lonely prisoner for seven years or so to one of the leading authorities in the land. He declined the offer of a senior position by the Pharaoh and opted to be assigned as Trustee over the state provisions, because he felt by his strong moral character, he can be of better service and ensure that no waste arises from the dispensing of the surplus grains. With the drought that was eminent in Pharaoh's dream coming into reality, people from all over the region came to Egypt to acquire grain supplies, since Egypt, thanks to Joseph had become prepared for the eminent drought.

It is at this juncture that Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to acquire grains for their stock. When they entered, Joseph immediately recognized them and kept this knowledge to himself. He asked that they present to him a brother (obviously asking for Benjamin, his younger brother), who apparently did not come with them on this journey. If they did not bring him over, they will not be provided with any provisions they wanted.

They said they will try to convince his father of this request. Joseph instructed his staff to return the goods they brought (to barter for the provisions), so that they only find them when they get back home, so that they can come back. When they reached Jacob, they told him that they have been given their merchandise back, and that means they can get more provisions, so why not send their brother with them on this round.

Jacob was not confident, but nevertheless he had no choice but to accede demanding that they give an undertaking to come back with him. After requesting his children to only “enter from different doors” lest they appear like a mob, he acceded to their wish. When the brothers arrived, he confided to his younger brother, that he was his brother, so as not to react to what his brothers were undergoing.

When the goods, they came for were prepared, Joseph asked his staff to implant an expensive beaker in the pack. Then one of the staff shouted that the beaker has been stolen, and a reward will be given to its finder. They searched the packs, and found the cup in his brother's pack.

Thus Benjamin was now to be apprehended for stealing the King's beaker. The other brothers were conscious of the pledge they had given their father, so they tried in vane to convince the Trustee to release him, because of his father's old age and to even take one of them instead. But, Joseph insisted that we only take, who we found our stolen good with.

When they returned to Joseph, they tried to explain what happened to their brother and that they really had nothing to do with it. He can ask anyone who was there and this time they are really telling the truth. Nevertheless, Jacob turned away from them with his grief very compelling on him, upon which he said, “Oh what a pity for Yusuf ” and his eyes turned blind from the despondency he was undergoing.

He then requested his sons to go and enquire about Joseph and his brother, maybe God will enlighten them to both of them, for they should not give hope on the mercy of Allah.

They went back to Egypt, hoping to seek their two brothers and release them from the anguish of their father, as a means of repentance. They pleaded with the trustee to release their brother explaining the terrible suffering he is undergoing.

At this juncture, Joseph turned them angrily, saying: “Have you forgotten, what you did to Joseph and his (full) brother?” reminding them of a secret that only Joseph, himself, and they knew!