In the second ayah of Surah Yusuf is:

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ

We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur'an

I want to know what does it mean to be the best of stories? What features does it have that makes it the best? And is it considered to be better than the stories and novels written by humans too? (considering the features that makes it the best from Quran's viewpoint)


The word 'ahsan' should probably be translated as 'most beautiful' rather than 'best'. The story of Yusuf is the most beautiful story because it demonstrates the power of forgiveness and patience even in the face of great wrong. Yusuf, as a prophet with a pure soul, persisted in patience to such a degree that he retained his purity when confronted by the treachery of his brothers, who sold him into slavery. He retained his pure character when he found himself in a pagan society, whose licentiousness caused his patron's wife to attempt to entrap him; an act for which he endured with monumental patience an unjust term in prison. Yusuf further retained his purity when he attained political power. As a political appointee of a kindly Pharaoh, he governed with justice and compassion. When his brothers came to him, he forgave them for he recognized that it was the shaitan who had really caused the strife between him and his brothers:

Yusuf (12:100)

And he placed his parents on the dais and they fell down before him prostrate, and he said: O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream of old. My Lord hath made it true, and He hath shown me kindness, since He took me out of the prison and hath brought you from the desert after Satan had made strife between me and my brethren. Lo! my Lord is tender unto whom He will. He is the Knower, the Wise.

This story closely parallels the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who also faced betrayal by his own family, i.e., his uncles and who endured banishment and war at the hands of the treacherous Meccans, who were his fellow clansmen. Like Yusuf, the Prophet endured these trials with enormous patience and forgave his clansman for he too realized that it was the Shaitan, who was trying to subvert the religion by disrupting the unity of the ummah. Forgiveness, persistent patience, compassion and a unified ummah are major characteristics of Islam, which caused the rapid spread of this religion. And, finally, Allah (swt), through the examples of His messengers (peace be upon them all) demonstrated to Adam, the vast dimensions of His own mercy to all of Bani Adam.

And Allah (swt) knows best!

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  • As-Salamu alaikum, Why did you say that "ahsan" should be translated as "most beautiful" and not "best"? – Qataada Nov 7 '19 at 19:22

This Ayah does not say that the story of Yusuf is the best of stories, but it says that Allah reveals the best of stories of the past and of the previous nations. The story of Yusuf is among these stories. This Ayah came when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked to tell a story:

أُنْزِلَ الْقُرْآنُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَتَلاهُ عَلَيْهِمْ زَمَانًا ، فَقَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَوْ قَصَصْتَ عَلَيْنَ ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ سورة يوسف آية 3 : فَتَلاهُ عَلَيْهِمْ زَمَانًا ، فَقَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، لَوْ حَدَّثْتَنَا ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ سورة الزمر آية 23

The Quran was revealed to the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him, so he recited to them awhile, then he was asked to tell a story, so Allah sent down: "We relate to you, the best of stories" Surat Al Yusuf Ayah 3, then they ask the Prophet to give them statements, so Allah sent down: "Allah has sent down the best statements" Surat Azzumar Ayah 23

أسباب النزول الواحدي(Asbabul Nuzool)

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Syrah yusuf is a good example to people. It shows full trust and reliance on allah. It also demonstrated the befits of forgiveness and patience. Yusuf was always patient when something goes wrong and understands the tests from allah

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