A brief commentary on Q12:16-18 of the Holy Qur’an and how the story of Yaʿqūb (as) teaches us on how to deal with children.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts channel! So far our way of approaching the audience has been through introducing various topics. Our aim this time is to do something a little different. We want to bring three verses from the Holy Qur’an and reflect on their possible meaning. There’s an important reason why we are doing this.
One of the unfortunate tendencies we find with some individuals today is that they sometimes find reading the Holy Scripture boring. This is not so much a problem with the text of the Qur’an, but the unfortunate state of the reader.
There are many reasons why this is the case, but here we’ll mention two. One of the primary reasons we get bored is because our interests and minds are largely shaped by the kind of lives we lead. Often enough, our primary concerns are with worldly things which are largely based on the pleasure of worldly gain and the fear of its loss. Our point here is not to say these are not legitimate concerns, but these concerns are a problem when they become the sole object of our focus.
Now, how does this relate to the Qur’an? Well, when the world becomes the sole object of our focus and love, how can the subject material of the Qur’an, that is, the salvation of the human soul, be of any interest to him or her? Boredom is therefore not produced by the Qur’an, it is, instead, produced by the way we lead our lives.
A second reason is that a lot of commentaries on the Qur’an, although excellent works of scholarships, are often irrelevant to the lives Muslims live today. If they are relevant, the way they are written are often not very inviting and sometimes pedantic.
Here we will offer a very brief commentary or interpretation on the possible meaning of three verses in the Holy Qur’an concerning the Prophet Yaʿqūb’s (as) role as a parent. Our intention here is to try to tie the verses to modern experiences. We feel that this approach will further encourage daily reflections on Allah’s Holy Book.
BODY OF TEXT
And they came to their father at night, weeping. They said, "O our father, indeed we went racing each other and left Joseph with our possessions, and a wolf ate him. But you would not believe us, even if we were truthful." And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Jacob] said, "Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe." (Chapter 12, verses 16-18 of the Holy Qur’an)
Prophet Joseph (or Yusuf in Arabic) (as) was Prophet Jacob’s (or Yaʿqūb in Arabic) favorite son. Prophet Yusuf’s (as) brothers were indeed jealous of their father’s affection towards him. The brothers, out of jealousy, had wanted to get rid of Yusuf one way or another. They came up with a plan to take him on a trip. On that trip, they put him down a well and came back to their father with a fake bloody shirt claiming that their younger brother was eaten by a wolf.
Yaʿqūb (as), as a Prophet and wise man, and was very much aware that his sons were lying. He knew that they were guilty, but instead of punishing them, or yelling at them, he decided that patience was better. The question here is why? Didn’t the brothers commit a crime and weren’t they deserving of punishment?
Here comes the wisdom of Yaʿqūb. His guilty sons were already distant from the path of Allah (swt) and His religion. He knew that at this point there was nothing he could do to bring his son back. He knew that by punishing his older sons nothing would change Yusuf’s situation.
The only thing that would happen would be that his sons would be driven away further from him and from Allah (swt). Yaʿqūb therefore swallowed his pain and opted for patience lest his reaction drive his sons further way from the path of Allah.
What is the primary reason why our children lie to us? One of the main reasons why our children lie to us is because they have difficulty trusting us. They believe that by telling us the truth they will get punished or be shamed.
The fact that they have to lie to us may indicate that they are distant and aliened from us, at least to a certain extent. As parents, we are often the source of religion for our children. It is quite common to see that the alienation of children from their parents also results in alienation from religion, and in our case, alienation from Islam.
Sometimes this alienation is not our doing as parents. It is the product of many factors, including the time and place the children were raised which are different than ours. It is also the kinds of friends they have, and/or the type of media the consume. Whatever the reason may be, Yaʿqūb (as) teaches us that our primary role and gut reaction with our children is not to attack or punish them, but to show beautiful patience (sabr).
Through patience, we have the possibility of lessening this alienation and gap between us and our children. As the story of Yaʿqūb shows, in the end, his sons, through years of patience and kindness, found their way back into assuming good moral character, turning away from sin, and living the Godly path.
Notice how much we unraveled from the Qur’an from just a brief meditation over a few verses. Now imagine how much more treasure we can dig out if we reflect even more, and take, let’s say, a 100 verses. How many life lessons can we derive from them?!
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Why do some people find the Qur’an boring?
For many reasons. Sometimes it is because their prime focus is their sole love of the world and as a consequence, they lose interest in matters of salvation.
What are other reasons why the Qur’an seems unattractive to people?
People must focus on making their writings relevant and understandable, especially when it comes to communicating the Qur’an to the masses. Too much abstract discussion and pedantic writing alienates people from Islam’s Holy Book.
What is the greatest lesson we learn from Yaʿqūb’s (as) relation to his sons, especially after they got rid of their younger brother Yusuf (as)?
Patience instead of immediate punishment
holy scripture of Islam
Islam’s holy book
guidance of mankind
interpretation of the Qur’an
Al-Mizan by Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai