Vayeishev–Joseph in the Koran, Part Two

In the end they thought it best, after seeing all the signs of his innocence, that they should imprison him for a while.  Sura 12, Joseph, v. 35.

A wonderfully cynical little verse.  It conforms with some of the Jewish traditions which assert that Potiphar actually knew his wife’s accusation was false, and therefore he did not have Joseph killed; however he had Joseph imprisoned to save the honor of his wife and children.

How did Potiphar know his wife was lying?   In the Koran, the very garment that she holds up as evidence of Joseph’s crime vindicates Joseph upon closer inspection.  “A member of her household suggested, ‘If his shirt is torn at the front, then it is she who is telling the truth and he who is lying, but if it is torn at the back, then she is lying and he is telling the truth.'” (v.27)

But when the women of the court deride Mrs. P for her attraction to Joseph, she orders Joseph to show himself to them.  They swoon over his great beauty.  Joseph, for his part, decides he would be safer in jail, as a kind of protective custody.  Joseph said, “My Lord! I would prefer prison to what these women are calling me to do. If You do not protect me from their treachery, I shall yield to them and do wrong,’ and his Lord answered his prayer.” (v. 33-4)

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