From amongst the twelve sons of Yaqoob, HAZRAT YUSUF ALAIHISSALAM was made a Prophet. In Chapter 12, Quran tells us in detail that Yusuf in his childhood saw a dream that the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing before him. His father Yaqoob asked him not to disclose the dream to his brothers. The brothers, who were jealous of him, took him, with an excuse for recreation, and threw him in a well and reported to his father that he was eaten by a jackal. Yaqoob expressed his extreme grief but kept patience. Yusuf was taken out of the well by some passing caravan of merchants and was sold in Egypt to Aziz, an Egyptian Minister. Aziz’s wife Zulekha could not resist the temptation of alluring Yusuf for the satisfaction of sexual desire but Yusuf resisted. Still he was put in jail for several years. In the jail he preached the Unity of God and interpretted the dream of the King who released him from the jail. Yusuf proved to be truthful and chaste throughout and ultimately became the ruler of Egypt. His father, mother and all brothers came to him. He forgave the brothers and allowed them to settle in Egypt peacefully. This, in short, is the account of events which led Yusuf from his childhood to his becoming the Monarch and establishing the Bani Israil in Egypt.
Prophet Yusuf, as we find in his story, had a protective and guiding mission. His ten brothers (sons from the step mother) reflect all the pettiness, wickedness, jealousy, spite, hatred, injustice, and lower propensities of human life, combined with the latent reasonableness and the capacity to repent and turn over a new leaf, which it was Yusuf’s mission to awaken at the expense of much suffering for himself. In the life of Yusuf is shown the better side of human nature struggling to assert itself as against the baser and grosser standards of man’s mentality, maintaining throughout the high standard of character and virtuous life of a human being. When after much suffering at the hands of his brothers, he gained power in Egypt, and when his brothers came to purchase the grain during the prolonged calamity of draught and famine, he did not refuse but gave them the grain and also returned the money as a gesture of kindness, and when they repented for their misbehaviour, he readily forgave them and prayed for their salvation.
Yusuf remained chaste throughout inspite of overwhelming persuations of Zulekha and preferred to live in the prison for a number of years rather than respond to her luscious call and shake the confidence of his own well-wisher Aziz.
In the prison Yusuf preached the Unity of God. He said “surely I have forsaken the religion of the people who believe not in Allah, and are deniers of the Hereafter. And I follow the religion of my ancestors Ibrahim, Ishaq and Yaqoob. It beseems us not to associate aught with Allah. This is by Allah’s grace upon us and on mankind, but most people give not thanks. 0 my two fellow prisoners! are sundry lords better or Allah the One, the Supreme? You serve not besides Him but names which you have named, you and your fathers—Allah has sent down no authority for them. Judgment is only Allah’s. He has Commanded that you serve none but Him. This is the Right Religion, but most people know not. (Yusuf, 12:37-40).
On the banks of Red Sea and the Bay of Aqba, in the North East of Arabia, and South of Palestine, and South-East of Mount Sanai, there dwelt a well-known mercantile community known as Midyan or Madayan. They were the descendants of Madyan or Midyan, the son of Prophet Ibrahim from his third wife Qatura. After about six hundred years after Ibrahim this community indulged in idolatory and dishonesty in business.