Allah dedicates a whole surah in the Qur’an to the beautiful story of Prophet Yusuf. In it are many life lessons from being patient and relying upon Allah to practical methods of seeking refuge from sin and advice on how to spend your wealth.
Here are a couple of gems we can take from the story to help us in our lives as Entrepreneurial Muslims:
1) Avoid Jealousy
In the first few verses, Prophet Yusuf’s father teaches his son about jealousy. He warns him to not show off his bounties in order to protect himself from the jealousy his brothers have.
‘(Remember) when Yusuf said to his father: "O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the Sun and the moon. I saw them prostrating themselves to me. He (the father) said: "O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Shaitan is to man an open enemy!"’ [al-Qur’an 12:4-5]
>>> We should not boast and show off our bounties as this could lead others to be jealous of us.
>>> Nor should we be jealous of others because jealousy comes from Shaitan. It is Allah who bestows His bounties on whomsoever He wills.
2) Be Patient
The jealousy of the brothers of Yusuf leads them to have evil thoughts and they decide to get rid of him. In response, their father turns to Allah for help and is patient.
‘And they brought his shirt stained with false blood. He said: "Nay, but your ownselves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert.”’ [al-Qur’an 12:18]
>>> Be patient and have full reliance on Allah to help you to get through the tough times.
3) Seek Refuge in Allah from Life’s Temptations
Prophet Yusuf is thrown into a well and from there he is picked up by the king. When he reaches adulthood, the king’s wife attempts to seduce him. His response is to seek refuge in Allah.
‘He said: "I seek refuge in Allah! Truly, he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! Verily, the wrong and evil-doers will never be successful.”’ [al-Qur’an 12:23]
>>> Seek refuge in Allah when you are tempted to commit sin.
>>> Allah will never make you ‘successful’ by way of your disobedience to Allah. Always strive to be obedient to Allah.
4) Avoid Opportunities Where you Might be Inclined to Sin
The events begin to go against Prophet Yusuf and he asks Allah to completely remove him from this situation.
‘So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’ [al-Qur’an 12:34]
>>> Aim to eliminate sins by completely avoiding the opportunities that can lead you to commit the sin itself.
5) Ask Allah for help
When Prophet Yusuf needed help to get out of jail, Shaitan made him forget to ask Allah.
‘And he said to the one whom he knew to be saved: "Mention me to your lord (i.e. your king, so as to get me out of the prison)." But Shaitan (Satan) made him forget to mention it to his Lord [or Satan made [(Yusuf (Joseph)] to forget the remembrance of his Lord (Allah) as to ask for His Help, instead of others]. So [Yusuf (Joseph)] stayed in prison a few (more) years.’ [al-Qur’an 12:42]
>>> Ask Allah for help before asking people. Pray istikhara before making big decisions and put your reliance in Allah to help you make the right decisions.
6) Save Up your Money
Yusuf interprets the king’s dream and advises him to conserve his wealth for the periods of droughts which are due to come.
"For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in ears, (all) - except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that, seven hard (years), which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil)."’ [al-Qur’an 12:47-49]
>>> Save your wealth in the years of abundance for the years when you will not be as fortunate.
>>> Remember that after every hardship comes ease.
7) The Truth Always Prevails
Before Yusuf takes up the offer to become the finance minister of Egypt, he requests the king to look into the case of his imprisonment. After investigation, everyone realises that Yusuf is innocent.
‘(Yusuf said: "I asked for this enquiry) in order that he (the king) may know that I betrayed him not in secret. And, verily! Allah guides not the plot of the betrayers.’ [al-Qur’an 12:52]
>>> Always speak the truth. Betraying and lying to people can never lead you to success.
8) Never Lose Hope
After Prophet Yusuf becomes the finance minister, his brothers come to him for help. Through the following incidents, the realities of his brothers’ actions unfold and he is reunited with his father.
‘Thus did We give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to take possession therein, as when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost the reward of the good-doers.’ [al-Qur’an 12:56]
>>> Never lose hope and never despair at times of adversity.
>>> Always be obedient to Allah and continue to do good deeds. Allah does not make the reward of the good-doers to be lost.
The story ends with an important reminder that those who keep their faith through hard times will always succeed in the end. We will all be tested in our lives. It is up to us to remain patient, ask Allah for assistance and continue to do the actions that Allah loves and is pleased with.
May Allah guide us all.
Nabila S Ahmed
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