Shared Prophets

Joseph, Son of Jacob

The Governor's Wife

Shared ProphetsJoseph’s story will provide an opportunity for Allah to offer an opinion on rape and why women who complain of being raped are usually lying, and how you can tell using the example of the wife of the Egyptian who bought Joseph. She will attempt to seduce the reluctant Joseph after being told by her husband to make his stay an honourable one.

12:21 And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: “Make his stay honourable; perhaps he will profit us or we may take him for a son.” Thus We established Joseph in the land and taught him the interpretation of dreams. Allah has control over His Affairs though most people do not know.

12:22 When he was fully grown, We gave him judgement and knowledge, and thus We reward the beneficent.

12:23 And the woman, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors firmly and said: “Come.” He said: “Allah forbid. It is my Lord who gave me a good abode. Surely, the wrongdoers do not prosper.”

12:24 Certainly she made for him and he would have made for her if it were not for a sign from his Lord. And that was to divert him from evil and indecency. He was indeed one of Our sincere servants.

A woman can also be expected to lie about a sexual assault, for example, falsely accusing a man of attempted rape when in reality she was the aggressor.

12:25 They raced to the door, and she ripped his shirt from behind. When they met her husband at the door, she said: "What is the penalty of one who intended evil for your wife except imprisonment or severe punishment?”

Exceptionally, Allah, when recounting this encounter, acknowledges that men can, on rare occasions, be the aggressors and how you can tell.

12:26 He (Joseph) said: “She sought to seduce me.” And a member of her household bore witness: “If his shirt was torn from the front, then she is telling the truth and he is a liar.

12:27 “But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she lies and he is one of the truthful.”

While admitting that men can, on occasion, be forceful in the pursuit of intimacy, Allah makes another generalization about women, that they are skilled in the art of deception.

12:28 When he (the husband) saw that his shirt was torn from behind, he said: “This is part of your guile, you women. Your guile is indeed very great.

The husband asked Joseph to overlook his wife's attempt at getting him to share an intimate moment, and told his spouse to ask forgiveness for her sins.

12:29 “Joseph, overlook this matter; and you, woman, ask forgiveness for your sin. You are indeed one of the sinners.”

In the Bible, the husband is a fellow by the name of Potiphar, “an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard”. In the Koran, he is "the governor."

12:30 And some women in the city said: “The wife of the governor has been seeking to seduce her slave; he has infatuated her with his love. We see her in manifest error."

The governor's wife, rather than ask Allah’s forgiveness for having sinned, invites Joseph to dine, and perhaps exchange more than the usual pleasantries (it all depends on your interpretation of “Come out unto them” in the following verse) with some of the women who have been spreading rumours about her attempt to seduce him.

12:31 When she heard about their wiles, she sent after them and prepared for each of them a dining couch. Then she gave each one of them a knife and said to him (Joseph): “Come out unto them.” But when they saw him, they admired him and cut their hands and said: “Allah forbid! This is no mortal, he is but a noble angel.”

The women are completely mesmerized by Joseph’s presence and cut themselves. Whatever the governor’s wife had in mind, her wily guests want none of it after seeing Joseph, and neither does he, judging by the wife's reaction.

12:32 She said: “This is the one you reproached me for. I have in fact sought to seduce him, but he held back. If he will not do what I command him, he will surely be imprisoned and will be one of the humbled.”