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Why didn't Yusuf (as) reveal his identity to his brothers, when they first came to him?

وَجَاءَ إِخْوَةُ يُوسُفَ فَدَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَعَرَفَهُمْ وَهُمْ لَهُ مُنكِرُونَ - 12:58

And the brothers of Joseph came [seeking food], and they entered upon him; and he recognized them, but he was to them unknown.

From what I understand, he was going to forgive his brothers and wanted to essentially bring his brothers & parents to Egypt, and this perhaps could have been achieved by just revealing his identity at the first instance?

As opposed to requesting that they bring Benjamin, then hiding a cup in his luggage etc.?

Not questioning what happened or whether this was the best course of action. Just interested to hear what scholars of tafsir/quran have said about this.

  • 1
    Welcome to Islam.SE. Questions are expected to be specific, on topic, and with some research done prior to asking. Please refer to how to ask a question, and take a tour in our help center. This is a question that would, at best, be answered through speculation, as no one would know the reason without Yusuf himself revealing it, which he did not. – III-AK-III Jun 24 '17 at 19:05
  • @III-AK-III Thanks for the reply. However just to clarify; I have tried to look for the answer, but could not find anything, hence I'm asking here. Plus I'm asking what actual scholars of tafsir have stated about this, as opposed to just anybody's theories/guesses. – passel Jun 24 '17 at 19:42
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In al-Bahr al-Moheet of ibu Hayyan al-Andalussi, I found the following statement:

وظاهر كل ما فعله يوسف - عليه السلام - معهم أنه بوحي ، وإلا فإنه كان مقتضى البر أن يبادر إلى أبيه ويستدعيه ، لكن الله تعالى أراد تكميل أجر يعقوب ومحنته ، ولتتفسر الرؤيا الأولى .

(My own translation take it carefully)

It appears that all Yusuf (peace be upon him) has done was following the revelation and orders, else for the sake of honouring (the parents) and inviting his father (immediately), but Allah wanted to finish or accomplish the rewards of Ya'aqub and his trial, to interpret the first dream!

A similar statement can be found in the tafsir al-Muharir al-Wajiz المحرر الوجيز of ibn 'Atyah ابن عطية الأندلسي (an other andalusian scholar) who seems to be the source of abu Hayyan's quote!.

وظاهر كل ما فعله يوسف معهم أنه بوحي وأمر، وإلا فكان بر يعقوب يقتضي أن يبادر إليه ويستدعيه، لكن الله تبارك وتعالى أعلمه بما يصنع ليكمل أجر يعقوب ومحنته وتتفسر الرؤيا الأولى.

(My own translation take it carefully)

It appears that all Yusuf (peace be upon him) has done was following the revelation (orders), else for the sake of honouring (the parents) and inviting his father (promptly), but Allah inspired him to do what he has done to accomplish the rewards of Ya'aqub and his trial, to interpret the first dream!

A-Tha'alibi محمد بن مخلوف الثعالبي followed this view also in his tafsir الجواهر الحسان في تفسير القرآن.

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