Qur'an Reflections

A Gem from the Dream of Yusuf alayhi salaam


In the beginning of Surah Yusuf, Allah ta’ala shares with us the private conversation between a father and son:

إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ

(Remember) when Yusuf (Joseph) said to his father: “O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon – I saw them prostrating themselves to me.” (12:4)

As usual, the gem is not captured in the English translation.

Yusuf alayhi salaam describes the stars, sun and moon prostrating to him, by using the word  Saajideen. Saajideen is classified as a “Jam’ mudakkar saalim”, which means a sound masculine plural and it is only used for beings with free will such as humans and jinn.

Allah azza wa jal describes a creation that has no free will as if it has free will. We find this in other ayaat in the Qur’an as well:

In surah Inshiqaaq, Allah ta’ala describes the sky:

وَأَذِنَتْ لِرَبِّهَا وَحُقَّتْ

“And listens to and obeys its Lord.” (84:2)

Athinat is from uthun which means ear, the sky will listen to Allah ta’ala.

In surah Ahzaab, Allah azza wa jal describes:

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

Truly, We did offer the trust to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results). (33:72)

The heavens, earth and mountains did not want to be given the free choice to believe or disbelieve so man was given the trust. Allah ta’ala gave us reasoning to choose what benefits us. He ta’ala gave us the choice to submit, and only the person who has true understanding will choose to obey Allah ta’ala.

So when those 11 stars, the sun and moon were commanded to prostrate themselves to Yusuf (as) in the dream, Allah ta’ala uses the form used for humans to show the reasoning and choice behind their prostration.

How many humans have the choice to prostrate to Allah and don’t do it? It only took one sajdah to remove Iblis from Jannah.

-Taken from Dr. Reda Bedeir, Tafseer Surah Yusuf.

About the author



Amatullah is a student of the Qur’an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta’leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur’an, Tajweed (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and will be completing a Masters program in 2014. Her experiences include working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

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  • salaam, very nice reflection, us people who do not understand arabic are at such a massive disadvantage.
    One question though, I always thought angels did not have free will, u said, “used for beings with free will such as humans and angels” Please do clarify

  • wa alaykum salam. Jazak Allahu khayran for catching that, I meant to say humans and jinn. Fixed.

  • wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullah,

    Angels are a creation with no free will, they do not commit sins and they carry out the commands of Allah azza wa jal. Allah knows best.

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Sister Amatullah– I don't know you in person, but I just wanted to say– I love you for the sake of Allah!

    Your sister,
    Muslema Purmul

  • wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullah sister Muslema,

    May He for whose sake you love me, love you, Ameen. 🙂 Jazaaki Allahu
    khayran for the beautiful comment.

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