Lessons from Holy Qur'an

Punishment of a thief according to Israelite Law

Quran Chapter 12  70 & 71 (Pt-13, Stg-3) (L-1526) – درس قرآن

Punishment of a thief according to Israelite Law

Surah Yuusuf (Joseph) – 12

‘A-‘uu-zu  Billaahi minash-Shay-taanir- Rajiim. 
(I seek refuge in God from Satan the outcast.)


(In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.)

    قَالُوا۟ وَأَقْبَلُوا۟ عَلَيْهِم مَّاذَا تَفْقِدُونَ (71

قَالُوا۟ نَفْقِدُ صُوَاعَ ٱلْمَلِكِ وَلِمَن جَآءَ بِهِۦ حِمْلُ بَعِيرٍ وَأَنَا۠ بِهِۦ زَعِيمٌ (72

71.  They asked, coming toward them: What is it ye have lost?


72.  They said: We have lost the king’s cup, and he who bringeth it shall have a camel-load, and I (said Joseph) am answerable for it.

71.  Qaaluu  wa  ‘aqbaluu  ‘alay-him-maa-zaa  taf-qiduun.


72.  Qaaluu  naf-qidu  suwaa-‘al-maliki  wa  liman-  jaaa-‘a  bihii  himlu  ba-‘iirinw-wa  ‘anaa  bihii  za-‘iim.    




Suwaa-‘a – (a goblet, drinking vessel without handle), this word has come out from Saaa’, which is name of a measure (nearly less than 450 gram). Any thing which is contained equal to that measure is called a Saaa’.


Za-‘iim – (answerable), it is an adjective from the word za-‘ama, it means “to accept responsibility”.


When brothers of Joseph (peace be upon him) heard this voice, they turned unto the servants and said: which thing have you lost? Government servants answered them: A precious drinking-cup has been lost from the things of regal palace. The person, who will tell about it, will be given extra grain equal to the weight of a camel-load. Joseph (peace be upon him) said: It is my responsibility to put in possession of him this reward.


Joseph (peace be upon him) was aware that the lost drinking-cup would be discovered from the provisions of Binyamin, and according to the Divine Law of Israelite religion, punishment of a thief was that the owner of the theft thing was authorized to keep the thief as a slave of him for one year. With this trick, Binyamin would be able to live with his Brother lawfully.


Allah Almighty put in Joseph’s mind this plan of keeping His brother with Him (peace be upon him). Apparently Joseph (peace be upon him) was provided this opportunity from the circumstances that His those brothers, who troubled Him, should attend His court on that day for liability of the accusation of theft, and as they could not fulfill their covenant of His safety with their father, like it, their treaty about the safety of Binyamin should not be fulfilled, and after that they should feel bashfulness and they repent.


Transliterated Holy Qur’an in Roman Script & Translated from Arabic to English by Marmaduke Pickthall, Published by Paak Company, 17-Urdu Bazaar, Lahore, Lesson collected from Dars e Qur’aan published By Idara Islaah wa Tableegh, Lahore (translated Urdu to English by Muhammad Sharif).

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