Yusuf’s (AS) Plan
So the brothers returned to Egypt with Benyamin to get another share of grain. When they arrived, Yusuf (AS) took Benyamin aside and told him, ‘I am your brother, Yusuf! So do not worry about what they did to me.’
After Yusuf (AS) had given his brothers their grain, he slipped the golden measuring cup into Benyamin’s bag. This was a part of his plan. Then, as they were leaving, a crier called out, ‘O people of the caravan, you are definitely thieves!’
The brothers turned back and denied this. Then they asked, ‘What have you lost?’
‘The king’s measuring cup. Whoever returns it will be rewarded a camel-load of grain.’
Once again the brothers denied that they had done anything, ‘By Allah, you know that we did not come to cause trouble, and we are not thieves!’
‘What should be the punishment be then, if you are lying?’
‘You can take the thief himself, and keep him. This is how we punish the wrongdoers.’
So Yusuf (AS) began to search the bags of his brothers. First he searched the bags of all ten of his older brothers, before finally coming to bag of Benyamin. There he pulled out the golden measuring cup. When the older brothers saw this, out of anger they claimed, ‘If he has stolen, so did his full brother before!’ By this they meant Yusuf (AS) himself.
Yusuf (AS) hid his anger when he heard this lie, and did not reveal who he was to them but instead shouted, ‘You are in a more evil position, and Allah knows better about what you claim.’
The brothers knew that their father would be extremely upset when he heard that his youngest son had been lost like Yusuf (AS) had been lost before, so they began to panic. They tried to convince Yusuf (AS) to let Benyamin go and take one of them instead, but Yusuf refused. ‘Allah forbid that I take someone other than the thief. Otherwise, we would be wrong.’
In the end, they could not convince Yusuf (AS) to let Benyamin go. The oldest brother, Reuben, was too ashamed to go back to their father without Benyamin, so he declared that he would also stay behind until his father let him return. So the nine brothers who were left went back alone.
When Yaqub (AS) heard about what had happened, he did not believe his sons and thought they had done something to Benyamin like they had done something to Yusuf (AS), ‘No! Instead, your souls must have tempted you to do something evil. So I have nothing left but beautiful patience. I trust Allah will return them all to me. Indeed, He is All-Knowing and All-Wise.’ He then turned away from them, heartbroken, and cried ‘O poor Yusuf.’ It was Benyamin who had been taken from him this time but it had reminded him of Yusuf (AS). He began to cry, so much that eventually his eyes became white and he stopped being able to see.
The story of Yaqub’s (AS) patience is amazing. Here he was tested again by the loss of another son in the same way he had lost his first. This caused him so much pain and grief that he cried till he could not see anymore, but still he showed sabrun jameel and left the matter in Allah’s hands.
His sons were so frustrated that he was still sad about Yusuf (AS), even though it had been so many years, that they shouted angrily, ‘By Allah! You will stop remembering Yusuf until you become ill, or even die!’
Yaqub (AS) simply responded, ‘I complain of my pain and sadness only to Allah, and I know from Allah things that you do not know.’ By this he meant the dream that Yusuf (AS) had as a child. Yaqub (AS) knew that what was meant to happen in the dream had not happened yet, and so he knew that Yusuf (AS) must still have been alive. He ordered his sons, ‘Go and search for Yusuf and his brother. And do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah, because no one loses hope in the mercy of Allah except those who have no faith.’
A key part of faith is having hope. If you lose hope in Allah, that is a sign of disbelief. When you can complain to no one, complain to Allah. He alone knows your struggles like no one else, so you can always turn to Him when you can turn to no one else.