Fasting & Ramadan History Islamic Character

The Freedom of Responsibility

picccc Yusuf `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may Allah send his peace and blessings on him) faced many difficulties in life; over a period of decades he was thrown into a well by his brothers as a young boy, sold into slavery, seduced by a beautiful and powerful woman in his youth and then thrown into jail for refusing adultery. In the first two trials he had no choice, but in the last he chose to not commit adultery and was punished for it. Allah describes what follows in these verses:


“And women in the city said, ‘The wife of al-‘Azeez is seeking to seduce her slave boy; he has impassioned her with love. Indeed, we see her [to be] in clear error.'” (Qur’an, 12:30)


“So when she heard of their accusation, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut the foodstuff with), and she said [to Yusuf]: ‘Come out before them.’ Then, when they saw him, they exalted (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: ‘How perfect is Allah! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!'” (Qur’an, 12:31)


“She said, ‘That is the one about whom you blamed me. And I certainly sought to seduce him, but he firmly refused; and if he will not do what I order him, he will surely be imprisoned and will be of those debased.'” (Qur’an, 12:32)

Here we see the stark distinction between Yusuf (as) and the wife of the `Aziz. While Yusuf (as) feels a strong sense of responsibility for his actions, the wife of the `Aziz actually tries justifying her attempt. When word got around that she tried to seduce Yusuf (as), she calls the women to her home and shows them Yusuf (as). Once they have become bewildered and shocked at his beauty, she simply says: “That is the one about whom you blamed me.” In other words, “Now do you understand why I did it? He’s just too beautiful!”

This shifting of blame is problematic, and we naturally tend to fall into it as humans. Although we might seem stressed when we vent about things we have to do or things that we cannot do, many times we are just making excuses.

This Ramadan, it is time to stop making excuses every time we fail to utilize the opportunities this blessed month provides us with. It is time to take full advantage. With a sincere intention and some effort, Allah will make a way out for you just as He granted freedom and success to Yusuf (as) later in the story. Pick your friends wisely and get cracking!

About the author

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka was born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Irvine, where he was involved with the Muslim Student Union. Omar is married and received a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles.

Add Comment

  • subhan Allah, I’ve been thinking about this article and the meanings in it and how it applies to so many different things. jazak Allahu khayran for making the connection between what the Quran mentions about the wife of Aziz and justifiying actions simply because others do it. That’s so relevant to contemporary times! barak Allahu fik wa Allah yaftah alayk!

  • Wow, this article really hit home with me, subhan Allah. Just like maryam said above, the lesson from this story applies really well to our times.

    Jazak Allahu khayr for sharing this.

  • Responsibility is a very heavy thing. If you actually thought through how responsible we should as versus we are; and then we truly judged that we would go insane with worry and shock. We blame or let things take responsibility because we usually can not bear it,

    To give an example. I lived in an apartment. I worked a rotating shift.. Mostly swing and graveyard so I was home. I slept or ate. No way I checking how my neighbors are doing or feeling and when this one of our responsibilities as a Muslim. Doesn’t matter if your neighbor is muslim or not.

    I’ll see them a the christmas party or something.. I always thought. our Apt bldg got flooded and we got moved to University housing for a month or so… We all used get meals together and talked and I actually and knew my neighbors better and moved to day shift during this time., 6 months down the line… I’m back on graveyard… No contact with anyone again. The old guy Jack, really nice guy passed away and no knew for two days till his grocery guy came to give groceries…

    Too busy working and s***… What you doing do? Think and ponder and give urself grief and sorrow or tough luck and move on?

    I always wanted to grow up… I never knew about responsibility when I was kid.
    Responsibility is a real b****.

Leave a Comment