The “Miṣr” of Yūsuf AH

by vazir, Saturday, October 19, 2013, 00:14 (1400 days ago) @ vazir

The following paragraph (#13) are the observation made in The Original Catholic Encyclopedia:

According to this theory, Agar, Sarai's handmaid (Gen., xvi, 1), was not Misrite or Egyptian, but Musrite, i.e. from Musri, in northern Arabia. Abraham (Gen., xii, 10) did not go down into Misraim, or Egypt, where he is said to have received from the Pharaoh a gift of menservants and handmaids, but into Misrim, or Musri, in northern Arabia. Joseph, when bought by the Ismaelites, or Madianites, i.e. Arabs, was not brought into Egypt (Misraim), but to Musri, or Misrim, in north Arabia, which was the home of the Madianites. In I Kings (A. V., I Sam.), xxx, 13, we should not read "I am a young man of Egypt [Misraim], slave of an Amalecite", but of Musri in north Arabia.

The “Miṣr” of Yūsuf AH: The First Storage System

The first mention of the term Miṣr in the Qur’ān occurs in the story of the prophet Yūsuf, in Surah 12. The first clue as to what Miṣr really is comes to us in the following sign:

One among them said: "Do not kill Yūsuf, but if you are going to do a thing, then cast him into the bottom of the well, so that any traveling caravan will pick him up. [Quran, 12:10]

From the above sign, we can deduce that Ya‘qūb (P) and his children lived close to a trade route, since they knew for certain that a caravan would pass and pick Yūsuf up. The Qur’ān gives us another clue:

And they came back to their father, in the evening, crying. [Quran, 12:16]

This tells us that the distance separating Ya‘qūb’s home from the trade route wasn’t very far, since the children (Yūsuf’s jealous brothers) returned home in the evening, after having thrown the boy in the well, that same day.

Later on in the story, we come to the following key event:

And a traveling caravan came and they sent their man to draw water, but when he drew he said: "Good news, there is a boy!" So they hid him as merchandise. And Allah is aware of what they did. [Quran, 12:19]

And they sold him for a low price, a few coins, and they regarded him as insignificant. [Quran, 12:20]

And he who had bought him from Miṣr said to his wife: "Make his stay generous, perhaps he will benefit us or we may take him as a son."
And it was thus that We established Yūsuf in the land and would teach him the interpretation of the narrations. And Allah has full control over the situation, but most of the people do not know. [Quran, 12:21]

The passage clearly says that the man bought him from Miṣr, which means that the place of purchase differed from the home village of the man. Had it been otherwise (i.e. had the place of purchase been the man’s village itself), we would not have read the phrase “from Miṣr”. It would have simply said: “And he who had bought him said to his wife...”. The text does not say that the buyer himself was from Miṣr. It is simply telling us that the man made the purchase there.

From our understanding of the sign, we can see that the man came to Miṣr from his village, bought the boy for a cheap price, then went back to his village and asked his wife to take care of the boy. This gives us a clue as to how the trade routes of ancient Arabia functioned. Obviously, they did not branch to pass through every village. The merchants would empty their cargo in certain stations placed at intervals along those trade routes. As for the villages where the people lived, they were located some distance from the main trade route, and could be reached by following secondary paths branching off from that route. That is exactly where Ya‘qūb’s tented village was located. His children left their father’s home in the morning, went down to the main trade route, dropped Yūsuf in the well, and returned home in the evening of the same day. This means the trade route did not pass through Ya‘qūb’s village.

This realization explains the nature of those trade stations, which were located at intervals along the trade routes, providing not only markets for trade, but also rest and service stops for the caravans, and places where the traders could meet with the inhabitants of the nearby towns and could sell their own goods (pottery, crops, or service labor).

It is a fact that the trade caravans could not afford to burden themselves with supplies (food and water), as that would take up too much precious space – space that could be used to carry profitable goods for trade instead. So, they relied on such caravan stops to provide the services they needed. In fact, this was one of the many ways that ancient Arabia became fabulously rich in that bygone era.

Certain caravan stops achieved significant strategic importance, either due to the fact that they were located on the intersection of several trade routes, or because they were surrounded by many villages, hence providing them large markets. These important centers, where services would be offered to the caravan owners, and where a wide range of goods were made available, were called amsār in Arabic. Amsar is a plural form of misr.

Next, we come to a crucial detail in the story of Yūsuf (P), where we find a major hint that the events, as mentioned in the Qur’ān, could not have taken place in Egypt. The king of the land surrounding Miṣr saw a vision in a dream: Seven fat cows being eaten by seven thin ones. Being that dreams are symbolic, he sought the aid of Yūsuf, who by that time was in prison. Yūsuf went on to interpret the dream to the people as a warning that years of drought would eventually come. He told them to start storing grain for the next seven seasons/cycles, in order to prepare for the coming dearth. After the drought, rainfall would come, and the crops could be grown again.

Here is what the Qur’ān tells us:
Then after that will come a year in which the people will have rain and they will be able to produce once again. [Quran, 12:49].

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the story of Yūsuf (P) took place in a land that depended on rain for growing crops.
This does not fit with the climate of Egypt, because Egypt has always depended on the flooding of the Nile for its agriculture, and not on RAIN.

In fact,Theodor Noldke a well-known Christian Zionist, once mocked the “author” of the Qur’ān, by claiming that there was a glaring geographical inaccuracy in it concerning Egyptian agriculture. The following are Noldke's exact words, quoted from his book History of the Koran: “....The problem with this passage is that the Egyptian civilization has never depended on rain for the success of its crops. Egyptian agriculture has always depended on the flooding of the Nile for water. Clearly, Muhammad was ignorant of Egypt's geography and climatology and he demonstrates this by associating good harvests with rainfall.”

Of course, Muslims could not defend their "beloved prophet Muhammad (P)" from the claims of the Zionist Noldke, because they have been victims of the same delusion that the rest of the world has believed in for centuries: The delusion that the Misr mentioned in the Qur’ān is none other than Egypt. As a result of their adoption of the Septuagint translation of the Bible as the source which supersedes the Qur’ān, they found themselves cornered and unable to defend Muhammad (P) from such allegations. Had they known the truth, they would have found the response to Noldke - and others of his ilk - quite easily. They would have pointed out to him that the events being described in the Qur'an did not take place in Egypt. The Qur’ān is talking about a land that depended on rainwater for agriculture; a land whose plentiful rivers could dry up if rain stopped for a lengthy period;a land whose rivers are not permanently flowing like the Nile, the Amazon, or the Euphrates. It is a land whose inhabitants built wells to store rainwater, which explains why Yūsuf (P) was found in a well, in the beginning of the story.

Apparently, neither Noldke nor the Muslims had any idea what the Qur’ān is talking about.

We also learn from the Qur’ān that Yūsuf asked the king or high ruler (al-malik) to let him manage all the affairs of the storage system in the land for the next seven seasons, in preparation for the coming drought. The king, understanding Yūsuf’s wisdom and vision, accepted the offer.

He said: "Appoint me over the granaries of the land, for I know how to keep records and I am knowledgeable.” [Quran, 12:55]

What Yūsuf (P) did was that he organized a complex system not only for the storing of the grains and crops (which are perishable), but also to protect from theft, and to oversee the division of rations during the years of drought. This no doubt required vast resources, and a complex logistical effort; not to mention convincing the farmers to give up a large portion of their product, every year, in order to store it, rather than sell it. This project required the building of silos for the storage of grains, as well as walls around the trade station (Misr), turning it into a veritable citadel with several doors or gates. Yet Yūsuf (P) knew he was up to the challenge, so he asked the king to appoint him for this task.

And then came the years of drought, the effects of which were felt by all the people in the region, including Ya‘qūb (P) and his children, who were also in the same geographical area and affected by the same lack of rainfall. This of course is completely contradictory to the Septuagint “translation” of the Bible, according to which Ya‘qūb was in Palestine, while Yūsuf was in Egypt. According to their logic, both Egypt and Palestine were hit by a drought at the same time.

And the brothers of Joseph came and entered upon him, and he recognized them, but they did not recognize him. [Quran, 12:58]

By that time, Yūsuf (P) had of course become the new governor (al-‘aziz) of the citadel, and reported directly to the ruler of the land (al-malik). And it is clear that he was in direct charge of managing the distribution of the reserves and meeting all kinds of people face to face. This also could not have been possible in Egypt,whose protocols dictated the building of huge royal courts and the servants of their king to number in the thousands, not to mention his viziers, war generals, and guard battalions rivaling in size those of Rome and Persia. To imagine a bunch of Bedouins (Yūsuf’s brothers) casually strolling into the home of the highest official of ancient Egypt, with the ease that we read about in Yūsuf’s story, is out of the question. This is further evidence that the events did not take place in Egypt, but in a simpler, and more humble pastoral society.

The proof that Yūsuf’s brothers were no more than Bedouins (livestock herders) is found in the following verse:

And he raised his parents upon the ‘arsh and they fell in prostration to Him. And he said: "My father, this is the interpretation of my vision from before. My Rabb has made it true, and He has been good to me that he took me out of prison and brought you out of the badou after the shaytan had made bitterness between me and my brothers. My Rabb is kind to whom He wills. He is the Knowledgeable, the Wise. [Quran, 12:100]

In the end, Yūsuf’s successful system of storage management not only saved his village, but made the nearby citadel a prime destination for the people of the land. And among those were Yūsuf’s brothers, who came to Misr after all those years of being separated from their brother.

If you are still not convinced, then how do you explain the following sign?

And he said: "My sons, do not enter from one gate, but enter from separate gates; and I cannot avail you anything against Allah, for the judgment is to Allah. In Him I place my trust, and in Him those who place their trust should trust." [Quran, 12:67]

Ya‘qūb (P) advised his children to enter Miṣr from different gates to avoid attention to them. The question is: Was Egypt surrounded by a wall that had several gates leading into it? Erecting a wall with various gates is only possible in fortified towns (citadels), not around entire lands or geographical regions!

Compiled from: Search for Pharaoh, Page 69-79

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