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Shared Stories, Rival TellingsEarly Encounters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims$
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Robert C. Gregg

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190231491

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190231491.001.0001

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Yusuf with Zulaykha

Yusuf with Zulaykha

(p.288) Chapter 9 Yusuf with Zulaykha
Shared Stories, Rival Tellings

Robert C. Gregg

Oxford University Press

Features particular to the Qur’an’s presentation of Yusuf’s temptation necessarily influence the interpreters’ treatments of the narrative. Importantly, Surah 12:24 states that sexual desire of Zulaykha (the Arabic name given to wife of the Aziz) also stirred in Yusuf until a warning from God cooled his ardor and caused him to flee her. There is mention of a “witness” who suggested that the Aziz would be helped in determining who was at fault in the incident if he inspected the way Yusuf’s garment was torn. Considerable commentary engaged the qur’anic report of a banquet Zulaykha gave for women of the city, who suffered dramatic consequences from laying eyes on Yusuf’s beauty. Interpreters’ interests in Zulaykha led to a sequel in which, wearied and aged, she reappeared in Yusuf’s life as a person reformed. This extended narrative inspired the philosophy of spiritual love in Jami’s fifteenth-century classic, Yusuf and Zulaykha.

Keywords:   Qur’an Surah 12, ‘isma doctrine, soul’s weakness, banquet, longing, Jami

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