In the Footsteps of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam)

Sulaimaan bin Yasaar (rahimahullah) was an outstanding jurist and a famous scholar of Madeenah Munawwarah. He had the honour of benefiting from many illustrious Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Initially, he was the slave of Sayyidah Maimoonah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), the respected wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). However, he later purchased his freedom by paying her a certain amount of wealth which they had agreed upon. Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) had also been blessed with exceptional and stunning beauty, together with a very high level of piety. (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 72, pg. 226 and Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 2, pg. 86)

Once, while he was travelling from Madeenah Munawwarah to Makkah Mukarramah on a journey of hajj with a companion of his, he camped at a place called Abwaa. His companion went to the market place in order to purchase some items which they required, while Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) remained in the tent.

A bedouin woman caught sight of his beauty from her tent which was at the top of the mountain and became infatuated with him. Hence, she climbed down the mountain and proceeded towards his tent, whilst she was completely covered by her veil and gloves. She then stood before him, uncovered her face, which shone like a piece of the moon (in beauty), and said to him, “You have taken me aback.” Assuming that this woman is asking for food, Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) advanced towards some leftover food in order to give it to her. Upon seeing this, she exclaimed, “I do not desire this (food). (Rather,) I desire that which a man does with his wife.”

Sulaimaan bin Yasaar (rahimahullah) remarked, “Iblees has sent you to me (in order to deviate me)!” He then placed his face between his sleeves and began crying profusely. When the woman witnessed this (and realized that he has no interest in her,) she donned her veil, got up and proceeded towards her tent.

Shortly thereafter, his companion returned from the market place with their necessities and found Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) crying profusely to such an extent that his eyes had become swollen. His companion thus asked him, “What makes you cry?” Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) did not wish to disclose to him the actual reason for his crying, and hence covered it up by saying that he was thinking of his children. After much insistence, Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) finally related to him what had transpired.

Upon hearing this, his companion began to cry profusely. When Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) asked him the reason for him crying, he explained that he is more worthy of crying than Sulaimaan (rahimahullah), because he feared that if he had been in that situation, he would have not been able to restrain himself from her. Thus, they both continued crying for some time.

When Sulaimaan bin Yasaar (rahimahullah) reached Makkah Mukarramah and completed his tawaaf and sa‘ee, slumber overcame him whilst sitting in the hateem. In this condition, he saw an extremely handsome and well-dressed person in his dream, from whom a beautiful fragrance was emanating.

Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) asked: “May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on you. Who are you?” He answered: “I am Yusuf the son of Ya’qoob (‘alaihimas salaam).” Sulaimaan (rahimahullah) said to him: “Your incident with the wife of the minister is really amazing.” Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) replied: “Your story with the woman in Abwaa is even more amazing. I am that Yusuf who (still) had (some level of natural) inclination (towards Zulaikhaa), whereas you are that Sulaimaan who did not have any inclination (towards that woman).” (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 2, pg. 86)

Note: Nabi Yusuf’s (‘alaihis salaam) inclination towards Zulaikhaa was the natural inclination which a man has towards a woman, although he completely restrained himself and did not act upon that feeling at all, despite being locked up by her. Hence, the restrain carried out by Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) was undoubtedly greater and far more rewarding than that of Sulaimaan bin Yasaar (rahimahullah). However, Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) perhaps mentioned this to him in order to lift his spirits and as a means of encouragement for him.

Lessons: 

1. When a person develops the consciousness and love of Allah Ta‘ala, he will remain committed to pleasing Allah Ta‘ala and will be undeterred, no matter the situation and the challenge that comes before him. Furthermore, Allah Ta‘ala will inspire him and guide him towards His pleasure.

2. At times, an individual may find himself in a similar situation; where a person of the opposite gender is showing interest and tempting him, either openly or through an ‘invite’ on some social media platform. One must be extremely firm and follow in the noble footsteps of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam). Allah Ta‘ala will really appreciate this sacrifice and reward one in this very life with far better, together with the great rewards and pleasures that will be in store for him in the Hereafter.

3. Beauty is an amaanah (trust) and favour of Allah Ta‘ala, which must appreciated and not abused. Hence, it must be preserved and reserved for one’s spouse, and not used in the disobedience of Allah Ta‘ala. In the case of a woman, she must even conceal her beauty and not flaunt it before any non-mahram.

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