From Wikipedia:

Muslims believe that Zuleikha, after many years of suffering and longing and eventually becoming a true believer, ends up marrying Prophet Joseph.

Does Islam teach that Joseph married Asenath? If so, does that mean he eventually married his mother-in-law? I cannot find this part of the story directly.

Genesis 41:45 JPS

And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה שֵׁם-יוֹסֵף, צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ, וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ אֶת-אָסְנַת בַּת-פּוֹטִי פֶרַע כֹּהֵן אֹן, לְאִשָּׁה; וַיֵּצֵא יוֹסֵף, עַל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.‏

One other reference:

Reflecting on these verses suggests that she had turned to Joseph's religion, monotheism. His imprisonment was a great turning point in her life. After this, the Quranic style neglects the story of the chief minister's wife completely. We do not know what happened to her after she gave her clear evidence. Yet still, there are legends about her. It has been said that after her husband died she married Joseph, and, behold she was a virgin. She confessed that her husband had been old and had never touched women. Other legends said that she lost her sight, weeping for Joseph. She abandoned her palace and wandered in the streets of the city.

Please see story of Prophet Yousuf and Zalikha on www.youtube.com "12:31. 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 foods with), and she said [(to Yusuf]: "Come out before them." Then, when they saw him, they exalted him and cut their hands. They said: "How perfect is Allah ! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!" appears to be part of the story
According to some narrations that have been mentioned in the books of Tafseer (commentary of the Qur?aan), Yusuf (Alayhis salaam) did eventually marry Zulekha. (Tafseer Jalaalayn pg.194) askimam.org

  • There is no reference mentioned on Wikipedia that Zuleikha married the prophet. There is none in Quran about this either. I have never heard in any Hadith about this (though I have not heard the majority of Ahadiths anyway). Do you have a solid reference from Quran or Hadith, not just Wikipedia?
    – Farhan
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:52
  • Somewaht related islam.stackexchange.com/questions/7800/…
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 11:16

5 Answers 5


Allah mentions stories to educate us and provide a source of wisdom. Personal details that happen frequently in the normal human life are not mentioned as long as they do not provide any wisdom or ethical lessons. For example, Mose's Pharaoh is not surely known, the value of the story is mentioned many times, but the name of the Pharaoh was never mentioned.

Similarly, what ethical values does this marriage add if narrated? For historical information, you can check historical reference books.

As pointed by others, some Tafseer books do mention this marriage as a historical event, but it cannot be authenticated religiously.

  • So this is not a standard Islamic teaching? Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 2:30
  • 2
    @DanAndrews I don't think it is. It's not mentioned in the Quran.
    – Noah
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 6:13

The Quranic story of Joseph is in Chapter 12: Surah Yusuf and it does not mention anything about whether or whom Joseph married. Nor do we have any hadith from the Prophet that mention anything about his marital life. Hence no categorical claim can be made regarding whether or not he actually married her.

However, such a tradition does exist, mainly narrated from Ibn Ishaq, which goes as follows:

عَنِ ابْنِ إِسْحَاقَ ، قَالَ : لما قَالَ يوسف للملك : اجْعَلْنِي عَلَى خَزَائِنِ الأَرْضِ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ سورة يوسف آية 55 ، قَالَ الملك : قد فعلت ، فولاه , فيما يذكرون , عمل إطفير ، وعزل إطفير عما كان عليه ، يقول الله تبارك وتعالى : وَكَذَلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الأَرْضِ يَتَبَوَّأُ مِنْهَا حَيْثُ يَشَاءُ نُصِيبُ بِرَحْمَتِنَا مَنْ نَشَاءُ وَلا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ سورة يوسف آية 56 قَالَ : فذكر لي , والله أعلم , أن إطفير هلك في تلك الليالي ، وأن الملك الريان بن الوليد زوج يوسف امرأة إطفير راعيل ، وأنها حين دخلت عليه ، قَالَ : أليس هذا خيرا مما كنت تريدين

Ibn Ishaq said:

When Joseph said to the king of Egypt: "Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian." 12:55, he dismissed Itfir (Potiphar) and appointed Joseph as the Aziz in his place, and this is what is referred to in the Quran in: "And thus We established Joseph in the land to settle therein wherever he willed. We touch with Our mercy whom We will, and We do not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good."12:56

And he [Ibn Ishaq] said: It has been related to me, and Allah knows best (whether it is correct or not), that in those days, Potiphar died and the King of Egypt, Riyan bin Walid, married Potiphar's wife, Raeyl to Joseph. When she came to him, he said: is this (marriage) not better than what you desired (adultery).

قالت : أيها الصديق لا تلمني ، فإني كنت امرأة , كما ترى , حسناء جميلة ناعمة ، في ملك ودنيا ، وكان صاحبي لا يأتي النساء ، وكنت , كما جعلك الله , في حسنك وهيئتك , فغلبتني نفسي على ما رأيت ، فيزعمون أنه وجدها عذراء ، وأصابها , فولدت له رجلين : أفراييم بن يوسف ، وميشا بن يوسف

She replied: O truthful one, don't blame me. As you can see, I am a beautiful and wealthy woman, whereas my husband was impotent, and seeing that Allah has granted you such beauty, my desire overtook me.

And it is said that she was virgin till she wed Joseph. And from her were born two sons to Joseph: Ephrahim and Manasseh.

— Recorded by Tabari in his Tarikh and Tafsir, my own translation so treat with caution

There is an opposing tradition to this as well:

ومن زعم أنها زليخاء قال : لم يتزوجها يوسف ، وأنها لما رأته في موكبه بكت ، ثم قالت : الحمد لله الذي جعل الملوك عبيدا بالمعصية ، والحمد لله الذي جعل العبيد بالطاعة ملوكا ، فضمها إليه ، فكانت من عياله حتى ماتت عنده ، ولم يتزوجها ; ذكره الماوردي ; وهو خلاف ما تقدم عن وهب ، وذكره الثعلبي ; فالله أعلم

And the one who assumes that this was Zulekha, Joseph did not marry her. Rather she saw him in the crowd and she cried out: "All Praise be to Allah, who made kings into slaves because of disobedience, and all praise be to Allah who made slaves into kings because of obedience".

And on seeing her, Joseph gave her shelter and she lived with his family till she died, and Joseph did not marry her. This was narrated from Marwi. This is against Wahab's narration and has also been narrated by Thalbi. And Allah knows best.

Tafsir Qurtubi, my own translation so treat with caution

As for Asenath, AFAIK this name is not mentioned in Islamic tradition, though I could be wrong.


Prophet Joseph peace be upon him never married Zuleikha, this is an addition to the history of prophets. Yes, in that time Zuleikha later on believed in him, but never married Joseph Peace be upon him.


There is nothing in Quran and authentic Hadith to indicate whether Joseph (AS) married Zulaikha or not. All of the stories are made up by people which can not be authenticated or proved.

  • Would it be possible to provide a scholarly reference to support this claim? Commented May 10, 2018 at 4:17
  • Nothing could be said about the matter since it's from Unseen of which we have no knowledge except from what is revealed. So if someone makes a claim that such and such thing happened, proof is supposed to be brought from main Islamic texts i.e. Quran and Authentic hadith. Since no such text could be brought ahead so such stories can not be said to be based upon Islamic text. If it happens to be in Jewish or Christian's text, Only God knows if it's true or not since much of their text has been modified according to Muslims.
    – Haniya
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 17:53
  • Such stories exist in book's of tafseer , which can not be attributed back to the reliable sources of revelation.So to say, Islam is completely silent on the issue and does not seem it necessary for a Muslim to know whether Joseph (AS) married her or not.
    – Haniya
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 18:03

In Quran nothing has been said about the marriage of prophet Yousuf AS ( Joseph ).There are different stories regarding this subject.Even in Bible it is not mentioned.Even no other authentic book give any details of marriage of prophet Yousuf AS. with Zulaikha. Zaheer Qadri

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