The Freedom of Responsibility

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.’” (Quran, 12:30)

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“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!’” (Quran, 12:31)

12_32

“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.’” (Quran, 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!

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