When Yusuf (as) was thrown down the well; Fake news began!
Our lives are just in a tailspin because we believe everything we see and hear. We are hoodwinked to the extent that we have given up the power to think, reason and to discern right from wrong. It is like we in this deep well but, believe it to be an ocean all because we feel and see water. Fake news is not new and this reality needs discussion. Historically, fake news existed and it took more desperate measures to make it real enough to beguile the masses however, today it is much easier because of technology.
When the brothers Prophet Yusuf/Jospeph (as) contrived the plan to get rid of him, it included making up a story that their father Ya’koob/Jacob (as) would believe. The detail is amazing and the clarity of the Holy Quran on this matter provides prodigious evidence of the truth and gives a clear caveat to mischief mongers regarding falsifying evidence. Indulge yourself into what Allah, the all Knowing says.
Allah, the all Knowing says:
لَمَّا ذَهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَجْمَعُوا أَن يَجْعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَابَتِ الْجُبّ وَأَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْهِ لَتُنَبّئَنَّهُم بِأَمْرِهِمْ هَذَا وَهُمْ لاَ يَشْعُرُونَ
“So when they took him [out] and agreed to put him into the bottom of the well… But We inspired to him, “You will surely inform them [someday] about this affair of theirs while they do not perceive [your identity].”Holy Quran. Evidence 15, Chapter Yusuf.
After having achieved their purpose, the brothers of Yusuf (a.s) returned home. The Quran says in Evidence 16:
وَجَآءُوا أَبَاهُمْ عِشَآءً يَبْكُونَ
“And they came to their father at night, weeping.”Holy Quran. Evidence 16, Chapter Yusuf.
Indeed they had to put up a show that had to look, feel and have the aura of authenticity. This is an important lesson to be careful to not be fooled by some people who act as if they are sad as they only intend to manipulate your emotions. They achieved this in their minds but, could not diminish the hope in the heart of their father.
Evidence 17 indicates:
قَالُوا يَآ أَبَانَآ إِنَّا ذَهَبْنَا نَسْتَبِقُ وَتَرَكْنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَاعِنَا فَاَكَلَهُ الذّئْبُ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَنَا وَلَوْ كُنَّا صَادِقِينَ
“They said, “O our father, indeed we went racing each other and left Yusuf with our possessions, and a wolf ate him. But you would not believe us, even if we were truthful.””Holy Quran. Evidence 17, Chapter Yusuf.
The fact of the matter is that they faked the news. They did not have a race, nor did a wolf chase them and nor did they leave Yusuf (as) to look after their possessions. In order to give their story greater credibility they had to produce alarming evidence. They did as well. What did they do to fake it all?
وَجَآءُوا عَلَي قَميِصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنْفُسُكُمْ أَمْراً فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَي مَاتَصِفُونَ
“And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Ya’koob] said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something.”Holy Quran. Evidence 18, Chapter Yusuf.
Prophet Ya’koob (a.s) exposed them at that very point and rejected their excuse and told them that they deceived themselves. Here you see the caveat presented in clear terms but, the givers of fake news were blinded by the rage of their jealousy, hatred, fear and lack of wisdom. All they worked for was the deception which had to be ripe, robust, ‘real’, dramatic, sensational and absolutely emotional. In their minds they achieved it but; in the minds of the wise they looked foolish, devious and devilish.
The devilish act of faking news and the consequences thereafter, led to Prophet Ya’koob (as) becoming blind. His incessant weeping was the cause. However, his inner eye was not blind to the truth and his patience gave him fortitude. The sons, on the other hand, were blinded by their fake news and their eyes were just balls in the socket that could not change their thinking and; the condition of their heart. In fact, when they met with their brother Yusuf (as) during the famine to collect rations, they could not recognise him. This is the result of fake news. Fake news is not new and so too, is its consequences. Fear, lies and deceit are the hallmarks of fake news.
Fake news begins with fear and lies. Consider the war on Iraq that was based on a lie and believed by the USA at first and then by the world. The news spread like wild fire and the few thousand out of the 7 billion people saw right through the false evidence but, they were powerless to make a change. Take a look at the lack of wisdom and despair of a man who believed then and now that lies would bring prosperity.
Like Prophet Ya’koob (as) the few thousand who knew it was all a lie held their breath and prayed because they thought it was the Armageddon. When the lies played out into war, Mandela got the world’s attention.
In the events that erupted after the war in Iraq, the world began to see what the few thousands saw with their inner eye. Fake news disrupted the world into a war on terror such that today, we live on the blood of war economies, lies and and deceit with an expectation of peace. Faugh! Fake news is here to stay with greater rigour and tenacity because, truth is too harsh to face. Here is a small bite of truth again camouflaged with war talk because the impotencies of liars have to be given a Vigara boost of dramatic and sensational overtones of alleged greatness. Blair knows how to fake it. Take a look:
If you are following the trend, you will identify that fake news actually becomes so real and true that it becomes a shaped worldview for billions. This is enhanced by the refined and careful construction of stereotypes, generalisations, innuendoes, propaganda and indoctrination through all forms of media of the so called enemy. In the above case on Iraq, Muslims became the target. Fake news has a target, an aim, a long term objective and is the means to a greater plan of deceit, destruction and social engineering. Our minds are shut but, our eyes are open to the fake news and; we believe everything we see.
In the story of Yusuf (as) we see so many things more with the mind’s eye than with our physical eyes. You need to pay attention! Later in the story, when the wife of the Governor of Egypt tried to seduce him, again his shirt bore testimony to his truthfulness and the falsehood of the lady. This incident is referred to from as follows:
وَاسْتَبَقَا الْبَابَ وَقَدَّتْ قَمِيصَهُ مِن دُبُرٍ وَأَلْفَيَا سَيّدَهَا لَدَي الْبَابِ قَالَتْ مَا جَزَآءُ مَنْ أَرَادَ بِاَهْلِكَ سُوءاً إِلآَّ أَن يُسْجَنَ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
قَالَ هِيَ رَاوَدَتْنِي عَن نَفْسِي وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ مِنْ أَهْلِهَآ إِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
وَإِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ فَكَذَبَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
فَلَمَّا رَءَا قَمِيصَهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِن كَيْدِكُنَّ إِنَّ كَيْدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ
“And they both raced to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back, and they found her husband at the door. She said, “What is the recompense of one who intended evil for your wife but that he be imprisoned or a painful punishment?”
[Yusuf] said, “It was she who sought to seduce me.” And a witness from her family testified. “If his shirt is torn from the front, then she has told the truth, and he is of the liars.
But if his shirt is torn from the back, then she has lied, and he is of the truthful.”
“So when her husband saw his shirt torn from the back, he said, “Indeed, it is of the women’s plan. Indeed, your plan is great.””Holy Quran. Evidence, 25 to 28. Chapter Yusuf.
Clearly we see that the fake news that the woman gave was truly sensational and very appealing then and today it will be hyped in exponential ways. In the news today, sex sells. Slander embellished with rumour and spiced with names of the famous and rich has a reach beyond time and space and that garnishes profits exponentially. These devilish ingredients makes money and tonnes of it too. Popularity is boosted and people soak it better than the rays of the sun on a beach. It was the visceral pure nature of Yusuf (as) that gave him protection but, it was proven beyond reasonable again when he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. However, her fake news had to make sound waves and it had to be protected because it was her plan to have something she just could not have.
We have to read with the mind’s eye. It was very interesting to read Mariam Nabilah Mohd Noor and Mohd Shafiee Hamzah of the Faculty of Islamic Contemporary Studies, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia article titled:Defamation by Women Mentioned in Surah Yusuf According to Hamka: A Review. It made me think deeply. I read the article and contemplated on the following:
In one hadith, the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “I met Yusuf. Verily, he possesses half the beauty of this world”(Muslim, 429). Zulaikha was seen as losing her mind over her love with Yusuf PBUH so much so that she was willing to accuse him and cause him to be jailed for years (Zulkarnain, 2003). Zulaikha’s love for Yusuf PBUH was seen as aggressive as it fulfilled her sexual desires and neglected the norms and limits that safeguarded the sanctity of love (M.Quraish, 2001;Masykur, 2014)Defamation by Women Mentioned in Surah Yusuf According to Hamka: A Review
The point I want to make here in light of the above is that Zulaikha in her obsession got Yusuf (as) imprisoned and she still did not get what she wanted. Her fake news did not get her what she wanted. It only got her victim in more misery yet, he was happy because he was saved from a grave misdeed. Similarly, all the fake news on Iraq, Osama bin Laden, Dr Aafia Siddiqui’ and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin amongst millions of examples have not given the creators of fake news and their powerful masters what they really want in the lands they currently invade or lay siege too. The treachery of Syria and Yemen too, based on so many untruths is a stain on humanity’s presence on earth. The fake news around these catastrophic events is a telling fact that we have come fearful to face the real truth and nothing but the truth. The spirit of the few thousands of people seeking the truth; like Ya’koob (as) see with the mind’s eye. They know that a time will come when the truth will be revealed like a blessing.
The story of Yusuf (as) is a blessing. Towards the end of the story Yusuf (a.s) gives his brothers his shirt to take it to their father to prove to him that Yusuf (a.s) was still alive and to use it as a miracle cure by rubbing it over the eyes of their father so that his eyesight would be restored. This blessing is such that the world sees the greatness of a man who overcame fake news although it was after a long time. His greatness is forever embedded in the Holy Quran, a book wherein there is no doubt. For the makers of fake news, their ignominy and their pugnacious temperaments, the Holy Quran also reveals their characteristics and shames them forever. Fake news is here to stay and it all depends if you want to be a Yusuf in the story of life or not.
Fake news is not new. Fake news is what it is – Fake! Do not fall in the well of deception of fake news because you and I are not Yusuf (as). We are who we are and we have this story to teach us what we must do in this world where fake news has become the new norm. Truth emerges like the sunrise every day – we are fast asleep to encounter the majestic splendour that adorns the earth. Truth too, adorns the earth whilst fake news is bound to perish. Like how your eyes cannot look directly into the majesty of sun, it will not also be able to see truth for what it is if you enjoy the deception of everything fake.