12 - Yusuf (Joseph)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 12.1


Alif lām rā’: God knows best what He means by these [letters]. Those, verses, are the verses of the Book, the Qur’ān (the genitive annexation carries the meaning of [partitive] min, ‘from’) that makes plain, the one that manifests truth [distinguishing it] from what is falsehood.


Alif lām rāÌ. Those are the verses of the Book that makes plain: [the interpretation of] this has already been mentioned.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

The Arabic word (Qur`an: "to read") is originally the infinitive form of the verb When the infinitive form of a verb in Arabic is used as a name, it implies that that thing (or person) possesses the characteristics in their perfection. This Book has been named "Qur'an" to indicate that it is meant to be read by all and sundry and is to be read often and over and over again.

This does not mean that this Book has been sent down exclusively for the Arabs. What it means is only this: "Of all the people, O Arabs, you should understand the excellences of the Qur'an, which are a sure proof of its being Divine Revelation, for it is in your own language and you have no excuse to put forward that it is in a foreign language which you do not understand. "

Some people wrongly infer from this verse that this Book had been sent down for the Arabs and not for the non-Arabs; therefore, they assert, it cannot be claimed that it is the Guidance for the whole mankind. But obviously this is a frivolous objection raised by hose who do not understand its real significance. It is obvious that a book, though meant for universal guidance, will necessarily have to be put in words in some language so that the people speaking that language should understand its teachings and then become the means of conveying its guidance to other peoples. This is the only natural way of spreading the message of a movement on a universal scale.

This was to impress indirectly on the unbelievers of Makkah the fact that the Messenger did not know anything about the story of the settlement of the Israelites in Egypt, but was being informed of this by Revelation from Allah. This introduction was necessary because, as has been stated in the preface to this Surah, the disbelievers had put an abrupt question concerning this matter in order to "expose" the Holy Prophet by this test. The answer is to this effect: "Tell them, O Muhammad, that, though you did not know anything about the settlement of the Israelites in Egypt before this, you have now received a Revelation about this from Us."

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his own narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said in the explanation of the saying of Allah, Exalted is He, (Alif. Lam. Ra.): '(Alif. Lam. Ra.) Allah says: I am Allah, I see what you do and what you say. That which Muhammad (pbuh) recites unto you is My speech; it is also said that (Alif. Lam. Ra.) is an oath that Allah swore by. (These are verses of the Scripture that maketh plain) this surah, or verses of the Qur'an, expounds the lawful and unlawful, the commands and prohibitions.