The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were in so much physical and emotional pain because of the intensity of the Islamophobic hate crimes towards their small Muslim community in Mecca. To give them strength in such difficulty, they requested from the Prophet (p), “Oh Messenger of God, why don’t you tell us the stories of those before who also suffered?”
And in response to the request of those who need strength in times of hardship, in times of weakness, in times of fear and vulnerability and pain, God Almighty revealed Surah Yusuf.
When you’re scared to leave the house, remember how Prophet Joseph (p) must have felt as he was thrown into a desolate well, with no one to stand up for him or support him
When you’re frustrated at hearing Islamophobic and hateful comments by people you thought you knew, remember how he must have felt when he was betrayed by his very own brothers
When you feel like people generalize, stigmatize and stereotype; when they blame YOU, imagine what it must have felt like for Yusuf to be thrown into jail for crimes he did not commit.
When you feel like it would be so much easier to just let go, remember when Yusuf was given that chance but prayed God strengthen him.
And then, think about despite the pain and turmoil, humiliation and betrayal, manipulation and oppression, he was given one of the highest political positions of a land he wasn’t from. He was the key to why so many people were saved from famine and death. And he was reunited with his family in forgiveness, in wealth and in honor.
How could anyone guess that the child who was abandoned and sold into slavery, the man who was forgotten in a prison cell for years for a crime he did not commit- would become a ruler, a savior and the one who the entire world continues to praise, celebrate and pray for today?
When we’re shaken, seek refuge with surah Yusuf. Yes, at times it may seem like we’ve been thrown into a dark, desolate well. But perhaps it’s only so that we, too, will rise, will surpass, will transform.
If He brought us to it, He will get us through it.
“When (will come) the Help of God?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of God is near!” (Quran, 2:214)