Yet, of all the personalities of the Bible, Joseph has not gotten much press (unless, of course, you count the "Technicolor Dreamcoat" musical). His story is at the end of the Book of Genesis; in the Qur'an, the entire 12th chapter is devoted to and named after him. It is a most beautiful story of the triumph of good over evil, the Lord's will over that of man, and of undying patience in the face of extreme adversity. In the story of Joseph and his brothers, as the Qur'an so correctly notes, "are many signs for those who ask."
Joseph is the son of the Prophet Jacob, also known as Israel in the Bible, and the grandson of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon them all). Jacob had 12 sons from four different wives, and Joseph (and his brother Benjamin) were sons of Rachel. Jacob had settled with his family in Canaan (Palestine), where his father had settled before him. According to scholarly research, Joseph was born around the year 906 B.C., and the incident which begins the story in the Qur'an occurred around 890 B.C.
The Qur'anic chapter named "Joseph" was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the last days of his ministry in Mecca. At that time, the Prophet's uncle, his most solid protector and supporter, had died, and soon after that his wife of better than 25 years, Khadija, died as well.
After his uncle died, the persecution he suffered at the hands of the Meccans increased exponentially. The leaders of Quraysh, the Prophet's own kinsmen, were actively considering killing or exiling the Prophet to stifle the rapid spread of Islam among the Meccans. These were the most difficult days for the Prophet, and God chose this time to reveal this most beautiful story to him.
The revelation of this chapter accomplished many things for the Prophet, the most important being confirming the veracity of his claim to prophethood. The Quraysh challenged the Prophet by asking him how the Israelites came to reside in Egypt. It was well known that the Arabs did not know this information, and the pagan Meccans hoped that this question would expose the Prophet as a fraud either by his evading the question or asking a Jewish person about the story's details first.
To their surprise, the Prophet recounted the entire story to the Meccans--just as it was revealed to him--ruining their plan to stump the Prophet. In fact, the story of Joseph is the only one in the Qur'an revealed in total.
I love the story of the Prophet Joseph. After hearing the chapter a few times, I instantly fell in love and committed the entire chapter--in Arabic--to memory. Although I have heard the story countless times, I never get tired or bored. It soothes me when times are hard, and I constantly turn to this precious story for valuable lessons to help me live my life.
Normally, I read the story of Joseph in the Qur'an, but recently I read the story of Joseph in the Bible. To my utter surprise, the two stories are strikingly similar, although the Qur'an leaves out many of the details mentioned in the Biblical account. I adore walking with Joseph, and I want others to share in the ecstasy of walking with him as well. I do not think you will be disappointed one bit.