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Was Yusuf’s (‘alayhis salam) prison sentence increased?

What is the authenticity of the narration found in the Tafsir books regarding Yusuf (‘alayhis salam)? The gist of the narration is as follows:

Yusuf (‘alayhis salam) has requested his fellow inmate to intercede on his behalf upon his release. Jibrail (‘alayhis salam) rebuked Nabi Yusuf (‘alayhis salam) due to him not asking Allah Ta’ala, instead he asked his fellow inmate. Jibrail (‘alayhi salam) reminded Yusuf (‘alayhis salam) of Allah’s favors upon him and said to him that he is going to be punished for this by spending a longer time in prison.


The Mufassirun have cited various different versions of the narration in question as the statements of certain Tabi’un and Tab’ut Tabi’un. ‘Allamah Baghawi (rahimahullah) has also cited a version as the statements of Ka’b Al Ahbar, who was famous for narrating Israiliyyat [Historical Narrations]. This incident seems to be sourced from the Historical Narrations.

(Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim, Tafsirul Baghawi, Tafsirul Qurtubi, Surah: Yusuf, verse: 42)

Imam Ibn Hibban has recorded a shorter version of the Hadith in question as a Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Although the chain of narrators are reliable, Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has severely criticized the text of this Hadith and has deemed it extremely weak (munkar). He further states that narrations in Sahihayn (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) which clearly contradict the Hadith in question, indicate towards the [unreliability] of the Hadith in question.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Yusuf, verse: 42 and Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah, vol. 1 pg. 299)

Also see Al Isra-iliyyat wal Mawdu’at fi kutubit Tafsir of Shaykh Muhammad Abu Shahbah (rahimahullah) – an Egyptian scholar of the recent past-, pg. 222-224

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist. 

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