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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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The Qurʾan What is This? A current English-language version of the Qur'an, published in 2004
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

12. Joseph (22 – 42)

22When he reached maturity, We gave him judgement and knowledge: this is how We reward those who do good. 23The woman in whose house he was living tried to seduce him: she bolted the doors and said, ‘Come to me,’ and he replied, ‘God forbid! My master has been good to me; wrongdoers never prosper.’ 24She made for him, and he would have succumbed to her if he had not seen evidence of his Lord—We did this in order to keep evil and indecency away from him, for he was truly one of Our chosen servants. 25They raced for the door—she tore his shirt from behind—and at the door they met her husband. She said, ‘What, other than prison or painful punishment, should be the reward of someone who tried to dishonour your wife?’ 26but he said, ‘She tried to seduce me.’ A member of her household suggested, ‘If his shirt is torn at the front, then it is she who is telling the truth and he who is lying, 27but if it is torn at the back, then she is lying and he is telling the truth.’ 28When the husband saw that the shirt was torn at the back, he said, ‘This is another instance of women's treachery: your treachery is truly great. 29Joseph, overlook this; but you [wife], ask forgiveness for your sin— you have done wrong.’

30Some women of the city said, ‘The governor's wife is trying to seduce her slave! Love for him consumes her heart! It is clear to us that she has gone astray.’ 31When she heard their malicious talk, she prepared a banquet and sent for them, giving each of them a knife. She said to Joseph, ‘Come out and show yourself to them!’ and when the women saw him, they were stunned by his beauty, and cut their hands, exclaiming, ‘Great God! He cannot be mortal! He must be a precious angel!’ 32She said, ‘This is the one you blamed me for. I tried to seduce him and he wanted to remain chaste, but if he does not do what I command now, he will be put in prison and degraded.’ 33Joseph said, ‘My Lord! I would prefer prison to what these women are calling me to do. If You do not protect me from their treachery, I shall yield to them and do wrong,’ 34and his Lord answered his prayer and protected him from their treachery—He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing.

35In the end theya The governor and his household. thought it best, after seeing all the signs of his innocence, that they should imprison him for a while. 36Two young men went into prison alongside him. One of them said, ‘I dreamed that I was pressing grapes’; the other said, ‘I dreamed that I was carrying bread on my head and that the birds were eating it.’ [They said], ‘Tell us what this means—we can see that you are a knowledgeableb Razi gives this interpretation of muhsinin. man.’

37He said, ‘I can tell you what this means before any meal arrives: this is part of what my Lord has taught me. I reject the faith of those who disbelieve in God and deny the life to come, 38and I follow the faith of my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Because of God's grace to us and to all mankind, we would never worship anything beside God, but most people are ungrateful. 39Fellow prisoners, would many diverse gods be better than God the One, the All Powerful? [No indeed!] 40All those you worship instead of Him are mere names you and your forefathers have invented, names for which God has sent down no sanction. Authority belongs to God alone, and He orders you to worship none but Him: this is the true faith, though most people do not realize it. 41Fellow prisoners, one of you will serve his master with wine; the other will be crucified and the birds will peck at his head. That is the end of the matter on which you asked my opinion.’ 42Joseph said to the one he knew would be saved, ‘Mention me to your master,’ but Satan made him forget to do this, and so Joseph remained in prison for a number of years.

Notes:

a The governor and his household.

b Razi gives this interpretation of muhsinin.

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