After hearing what they said, their father answered: لَنْ أُرْسِلَهُ مَعَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ تُؤْتُونِ مَوْثِقًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لَتَأْتُنَّنِي بِهِ (I shall never send Benyamin with you until you give me a pledge in the name of Allah that you will definitely bring him back to me - 66). But, could someone with the ability to see reality ever miss to realize that man, no matter how strong he may be, is, after all, dependent and helpless before the all-pervading power of Allah jalla thana'uhu - how then, and on what basis, would he give a pledge to bring back someone safe? The reason is that he does not have the absolute power and control to accomplish it. Therefore, when Sayyidna Ya` qub علیہ السلام asked his sons to give him a pledge, he added an exception to it by saying: إِلَّا أَن يُحَاطَ بِكُمْ ` unless you are overpowered (by circumstances).' Early Tafsir authority, Mujahid explains it as: unless all of you are killed. Another early Tafsir authority, Qatadah says that it means: unless you become totally helpless and overpowered.
In the last sentence of verse 66, it was said: فَلَمَّا آتَوْهُ مَوْثِقَهُمْ قَالَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ (So, when they gave him their pledge, he said, "Allah is watchful over what we say" ), that is, when his sons gave the pledge as desired on solemn oaths to satisfy their father, then, Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) told them that the giving and taking of solemn oaths being undertaken by them is something which ultimately rests with Allah Ta ala alone. It is with His taufiq only that one person can keep the other protected and thus become enabled to fulfill his pledge. Otherwise, man is helpless. He has nothing under his personal control.
There are many elements of guidance and injunctions for people in the verses explained above. Please take note of them and keep them in mind.
Notes of Guidance
1. If children make mistakes, relations should not be cut off with them. One should, rather, think of ways to reform their conduct. The mistakes made by the brothers of Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام) were serious.
They were sins, major and grave:
(1) They lied to their father and made him agree to send Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام) for an outing with them.
(2) They gave a pledge to their father, then broke it.
(3) They treated their young and innocent brother cruelly.
(4) They caused extreme pain to their father and did not care much about it.
(5) They conspired to kill an innocent human being.
(6) They sold a free human being forcibly and unjustly.
These were extreme and severe crimes which demanded that Sayyidna Ya’ qub (علیہ السلام) once he had understood that they had lied and wasted the life of Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام) knowingly, should have severed his relationship with these sons, or turned them out of his house. But, Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) did not do that, rather, let them keep living with him, even sent them to Egypt to bring back food grains from there. On top of this came the situation when they had another opportunity to prevail upon their father once again in the case of their youngest brother and on this occasion too he yielded to them and allowed them to take his young son with them.
This tells us that should one's children fall into sin or make mistakes, it is the responsibility of the father to seek their correction through appropriate education and training, and as long as there is hope of betterment, let him not severe his relationship with them. This was what Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) did - and finally, all of them were ashamed of their wrongdoings, turned away from sins and lived a reformed life. However, should there remain no hope of betterment in their condition, and parents realize that maintaining relationship with them poses a danger to the religious upbringing of others, then, under that condition, severing relationship with them is more appropriate.
2. Promoted here are two great qualities of character, good dealings and good manners - of which Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) was a mirror. Despite such serious crimes committed by his sons, he kept dealing with them in a manner that they faced no qualms of conscience when they made their second request to take their younger brother with them.
3. Another instruction inferred from here is that it is appropriate to admonish a wrongdoer in the interest of his betterment. This would amount to telling him that his behavior demanded that the plea made by him should be rejected, but then, he should be given the feeling that he is being given a fresh chance by forgoing what has gone before - so that his sense of shame returns to him later and he becomes totally repentant. This is what Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) did in the first instance. He made a caustic reference to their past record: ` Shall I trust you about Benyamin as I had trusted you earlier about Yusuf?' But, after having warned them pointedly, he realized their penitence from their apparent condition, placed his trust in Allah and handed over his young son into their custody.
4. Placing one's trust, in the real sense, in the promise or protection of a human being is wrong. The real trust should be in Allah Ta` ala. He alone is the real mover and maker of things and He alone is the causer of causes. To bring forth causes and to give them effect is what lies but in His control. Therefore, Sayyidna Ya’ qub (علیہ السلام) said: فَاللہ خیر حَافظا (Well, Allah is the best guardian).
According to a saying of Ka'b al-Ahbar, since Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) this time, did not simply trust the word of his sons, instead, entrusted the matter with Allah Ta’ ala, therefore, Allah Ta’ ala said: ` By My honour, now I shall send both of your sons back to you.'
5. If some property or thing belonging to someone else is found in our baggage, and strong indications prove that he has tied it up in our baggage with the specific intention of giving it to us, then, keeping it and using it is permissible - as was the case with this ` capital' which came out from the baggage of the brothers of Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام) ، and where strong indications proved that it did not happen as a result of some oversight or forgetfulness, in fact, it was given back intentionally. That is why, Sayyidna Ya’ qub (علیہ السلام) did not give instructions that these articles of value be returned. But, in case there is a doubt that it has come to us, perhaps by oversight or forgetfulness, then, using it without making necessary inquiries from the owner is not permissible.
6. No one should be asked to give a pledge on oath, the fulfillment of which does not lie fully in his control - as it was, when Sayyidna Ya` qub (علیہ السلام) took a pledge on oath from his sons that they would bring back Benyamin safe and sound, he exempted from it the situation in which they may become totally helpless or become themselves subjected to near-death circumstances.
Therefore, when the Holy Prophet ﷺ asked the noble Companions ؓ to give him a pledge of their obedience to him, then, he himself added a restriction to it, that is, the restriction of ability. Thus, the pledge stipulated: ` we shall obey you fully - as far as it is within our ability and control.'
7. That the brothers of Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام) have been asked to give a pledge that they would bring Benyamin back shows that کَفَالۃ بِالنَفس (Kafalah bin-nafs) is permissible. Being a technical term of Islamic Law, it means that it is correct to tender a personal bail or guarantee for the due appearance of a person involved in a case on its hearing date in the court.
The view of Imam Malik (رح) differs in this respect. According to him, it is only financial guarantee that is allowed in Shari` ah. He does not hold the personal bail (Kafalah bin-nafs) as permissible. ,