One of the most beautiful stories told in the Holy Qur’an is the story of Prophet Yusuf. It probably is most people’s favorite story from the Qur’an.
The purpose of stories in the Qur’an is not only for the story to be told and retold. There are many important lessons to be drawn from the story that actually apply to our lives today, help us overcome difficult ordeals, boost our morale, and direct us how to behave in a myriad of situations.
The story of Prophet Yusuf in the Qur’an is rich in symbolism and in lessons that I can use in my life.
The first lesson to draw from the story of Yusuf with his brothers is that jealousy is a dangerous emotion and it is real.
No doubt, Prophet Yaqub was an ideal parent and he never showed favoritism to Yusuf over his other sons. However, Yusuf and Bin Yameen were still very young and their tender age required more attention and care from their father than the older children. Due to the attention Yaqub gave to his youngest children, the older sons said, “Yusuf and his brother are more beloved to our father than we.” (Qur’an, chapter 12, verse 8) The older sons merely perceived that their father loved Yusuf and Bin Yameen more than them, and the results were disastrous. Their jealousy drove them to plot to harm Yusuf, and even kill him, but they eventually abandoned him in a well.
This story should flag a clear warning to parents, not to favor one child over another, or show affection to one child while withdrawing it from another. Do not constantly praise one child while constantly criticizing the other; it can create jealousy and hatred between siblings.
The repeated theme, in the story of Prophet Yusuf and his father Yaqub, is patience, beautiful patience. And that is what we all need in our lives right now, especially through these challenging times; beautiful patience.
What did Prophet Yaqub say when his sons came home without his beloved Yusuf, the child’s shirt stained with blood, as they presumed the child had been eaten by a wolf? Yaqub said, “So patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.” (Qur’an, chapter 12, verse 18)