He was the son of Ya‘qub (Alayhis salam) and the grandson of Ishaaq (Alayhis salam). He was the next to youngest of twelve sons and a favorite of his father.
One day he had a dream in which eleven planets, the sun, and the moon were bowing down in front of him. When his father learned of this vision, he interpreted it as meaning that Allah would prefer Yusuf (Alayhis salam), would teach him the interpretation of dreams, and would perfect His grace upon him. But Ya’qub warned Yusuf (Alayhis salam) not to tell the dream to his brothers, because they would be extremely jealous and might wish to do harm to him.
The older brothers were indeed jealous of Yusuf (Alayhis salam) and his younger brother. They decided that, with Yusuf (Alayhis salam) out of the picture, their father would look upon the rest of them with more favor. Some wanted to kill him and some favored abandoning him in some distant land. One of the brothers suggested leaving him in a pit so that some caravan would pick him up and carry him away. That was the plot upon which they eventually agreed.
Yusuf’s brothers went to their father and asked if they could take Yusuf (Alayhis salam) out in the pastures with them on the following day, so that he could play and enjoy himself. At first Ya‘qub (Alayhis salam) dissented, because he feared that Yusuf (Alayhis salam) would be devoured by a wolf. But the brothers assured him that the wolf would not have a chance against so many of them. Finally Ya‘qub agreed to let Yusuf go with them.
The following day, the brothers led Yusuf (Alayhis salam) away and left him in the bottom of a deep pit. Allah revealed to Yusuf (Alayhis salam) at that time that one day he would tell them of this deed, when the brothers would not recognize him. After the brothers had left Yusuf (Alayhis salam) in the pit, a caravan came along and a water-drawer was sent to look for water at the bottom of the pit. He was delighted to find instead a healthy young man. Yusuf (Alayhis salam) was taken away in the caravan to be sold into slavery. The traders attached very little value to him and sold him for a very small amount of money.
Meanwhile the brothers stained Yusuf’s (Alayhis salam) shirt with the blood of some animal and returned, weeping and wailing, to their father, concocting a story about how a wolf had, after all, managed to slip past them and devour Yusuf . Their father recognized that their grief was not sincere, and he prayed to Allah to help him bear his own grief over the loss of Yusuf (Alayhis salam).
To be continued.