Lecture by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi | Transcribed by Sameera T.
This lecture is brought to you by the Memphis Islamic Center (MIC). For more information about MIC, please visit www.memphisislamiccenter.org
[The following is the audio and transcript of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi's lecture "There is always hope in Allāh despite the size of the sin." The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity].
Allāh has called Surah Yusuf the best of all stories in the Qur'an. Alḥamdulillāh most of you have attended the series we gave at MIC on Surah Yusuf, and they are all online.
I just want to re-emphasize two points. The first of these is the issue of the family. Every single family has its politics and its ups and downs, but we still need to work to make that family unit one. I think there is no better story in the Qur'an to illustrate that than the story of Yusuf and his brethren. Look at what his brethren attempted to do. They were so angry, jealous, and full of venom towards their own younger brother that one of them said, “Go ahead and kill him.” The compromise was to abduct him and kidnap him and sell him into slavery. This is between blood brothers. If this is the case with the brethren of Yusuf, I hope inshā'Allāh that the problems we have with our family are nothing of this nature. I hope inshā'Allāh none of your brothers have tried to kill you. I hope inshā'Allāh that none of your siblings uncles or relatives has sold you into slavery.
Whatever is happening in our families is not as bad as what happened in the family of Yusuf. What was the ending of the story? The brethren come together and say, “We are sorry, O Yusuf. We made a mistake. We shouldn't have done that.” If there is hope for a family like that where the brethren literally sold their brother into slavery.
SubḥānAllāh, look at the love of the father and the love of parents. Ya'qub knows his sons have done something. He doesn't know what. He knows that his sons have done something, but he still cannot help but live with them and love them. This is the love of a father. No matter what a son does, it is an amazing mu'jizah (miracle) of Allāh that the mother and father will continue to love the son until the very last breath. This is the reality that we see with Ya'qub. Look at what the children have done. He knows it. He says, “I know you have done something. Allahu'l-musta'an.” He is still living with them and has some love for them. This is the love only a father and mother can have. If there is hope for the family of Yusuf, then there is hope for all of our families.
Hope in Allāh
The second point I want to emphasize also deals with the family of Yusuf but on a different tangent. Look at the crime of the brethren of Yusuf. Look at the evil they have done. The story is pathetic when you read the tafsir literature. They abducted their younger brother and tore his shirt off and teased him. They threw him into the well, and he was clawing at the well. They pried his fingers loose and some of them continued to verbally make fun of them. He is not even baaligh. At that time, how hard of a heart must they have had? They are doing this to their own kith and kin and flesh and blood, and he is just a child. Even if he had been an adult, this would have been a major crime. As a child, he is begging and pleading and they all agreed and unanimously helped one another to throw him into the well.
And yet, what was their end fate? In the beginning of the surah, Allāh tells us their end fate. They became stars in the Eyes of Allāh. According to one interpretation, eventually Allāh chose them to become prophets. This is not at all far-fetched because at this point, if they were not prophets, eventually Allāh raises them and exalts them to the 12 tribes of Israel. These are the people who formed the 12 tribes of Israel. According to one opinion, all of them were prophets. Even if they were not prophets, they were stars – Allāh literally called them stars.
If there is hope for people who attempted to murder their own brother, and if there is hope for Allāh's salvation and mercy for those who did such a major crime – now I hope that inshā'Allāh in this audience there is nobody who has thrown his younger brother into a well and there is nobody who has abducted and sold his brother into slavery. If there is hope for the brethren of Yusuf, then there is hope for me and you.
The surah has over 150 benefits, which we mentioned in the lectures we gave. Family is family, but if you want that family to be a family, one of you has to act like Yusuf. One of you has to forgive and forget. If you both act like the brethren of Yusuf, then there will not be any hope. One side has to compromise, and that side will be the better side in the Eyes of Allāh and gets to sit on the throne as Yusuf did. That side will be raised up in the Eyes of Allāh. If both sides stoop down to that level, then it is difficult. Family is family.
Allāh's forgiveness is infinite. No matter what we have done, if we turn to Allāh and ask Allāh to forgive us and we recognize our fault – the brothers of Yusuf said, “We were in error. We were sinners. O our father, ask Allāh to forgive us.” They go to Yusuf and say, “Forgive us! We were mistaken.” They go to their father and brother and beg for forgiveness. Clearly they have turned over a new leaf. If there is hope for the brethren of Yusuf, there is hope for every single one of us.