Yusuf AS: His Time in the Well and Prison
  • Question:

    How long was Prophet Yusuf in the well and in jail? Also how long was Prophet Ayub affected with his illness?


    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    There are several opinions regarding the questions you have posed, but in general, the following is noted in the books of tafseer (Quranic exegesis):

    1. The Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) was in the well for three days.

    2. The Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) remained in prison for twelve years. According to others it may have been approximately more or less ten years.

    3. The Prophet Ayub (pbuh) remained with his sickness for seven years. Other opinions are also mentioned.
    Please note the references as follows:

    • "Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) remained (in the well) for three days" (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Maarif Al Quran of Mufti Shafi)
    • "The caravan came, after the passing of three days according to an opinion, or two days according to another opinion, from the time they threw the Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) in to the well" (Tafseer Ruh Al Maani)

    • "Prophet Yusuf's (pbuh) time was seven years, in prison" (Safwat Al Tafaaseer of Imam Al Saabuni)

    • "Prophet Yusuf's (pbuh) duration of stay in the prison was more than seven years" (Maarif Al Quran of Mufti Shafi)

    • "Prophet Yusuf's (pbuh) time in prison was for some years: it is said [that he remained] for seven years, or for twelve". (Tafseer Al Jalaalain)

    • "(So he (Prophet Yusuf) stayed in prison for some years), twelve years". (Tafsir Tanwir Al Miqbas)

    • "The duration of Prophet Yusuf's (pbuh) stay in prison was either five, seven, twelve, fourteen or an unknown number of years" (Tafseer Ruh Al Maani)

    • "According to Mujahid and Qatadah. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "Ayub suffered from the illness for seven years, Yusuf remained in prison for seven years and Bukhtanassar (Nebuchadnezzar - Chaldean king of Babylon) was tormented for seven years.'' (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)

    • "Prophet Ayub (pbuh) was afflicted with the trial of sickness in his body for eighteen, thirteen, seven or three years according to the several opinions that are reported" (Tafseer Ruh Al Maani)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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