Joseph in the Quran

Question: What purpose does the retelling of the Joseph story serve in the sections of the Qur’an you’ve read?

There are potentially several purposes to retelling the story of Joseph in the Quran. One important reason might been to directly connect the Quran to other holy books such as the Bible. This would allowed Muslims to show the religious transition from previous holy books that were corrupted through the passage of time and their new holy book. Another reason might have been to simply retell a story to an audience and given them a better understanding of God’s intentions. In the beginning of the tale, Joseph is blessed with the ability of prophecy by God and though he suffers for it, getting thrown down a well and spending a significant period of time in jail, by the end of the story, Joseph is essentially the king’s adviser as a result of his God-given abilities.

2 thoughts on “Joseph in the Quran

  1. I agree with the thought of it being a simple telling of the intentions of god. Another part being the rewards and guidance one would have with that faith. As you pointed out Joseph’s journey and ending was a good representative of reward though his bond with god. The relation to the Bible was a rather interesting point as well. How it was a way to connect and give prospective for people of different religions.

  2. Just reposting this comment I made on another thread because I think you /did/ catch these nuances about Joseph that others missed, Samin. Great work!

    I’m glad you all picked up on the important thread that Joseph is rewarded for his total devotion to God, which eventually manifests in his rewards of a peaceful and prosperous life in Egypt for him and his descendants, but I’d also like to bring up some complications that I think are important to understanding his story more fully, namely: Joseph arguably tortures his brothers a little bit by not immediately revealing his identity and placing the cup in their belongings (seemingly framing them for stealing for a little while); he does eventually forgive them, but not without having some fun first; he’s also granted the gift of prophetic dreams and what might now be called good business acumen (storing grain and selling it to others during a famine or draught, which eventually leads to something like a tax system in Egypt). He has, to use the term Daisy used in another thread, a “personality” and is arguably one of the great early personalities in western literature. Just some things to consider.

Comments are closed.