Joyce K. Jensen painting
Blogger's Note: The items which are in caps and/or parenthesis may be my own emphasis rather than in the usual studies on Republic of Rumi. Find more Yusef/Joseph teachings here and here
'The originality of this Quranic form may not be fully appreciated until we listen to the original text (even without knowing Arabic), and imbibe its resonation not with the critical left brain but the more holistic right brain. It could be a singularly enriching experience to encounter the powerful musical element in the diction of this surah, for instance in a “creative” recitation by someone like Mishary Rashid - highly recommended: you can listen to him in the Quran Explorer here or on his personal website here '
Here and in the posts above are the teacher's commentary intact yet with some occasional "framing" or "reshuffling" until I could more fully see what is being said. Please anyone correct me or show other ways to interpret and organize this material here and above if you see the need! I take responsibility for these arrangements and choice of visuals - willing to make changes...
Our teacher asked students to notice that through the terseness of the text there is specific characterization/VOICE of each person in the narrative. Thus:'Potiphar says, “Behold! It is a snare of you women! Truly, mighty is your snare,” and we get the impression of an honest but busy bureaucrat who is given to generalization for the sake of reaching quick decisions and preserving order at the cost of original thinking.'
The personal quality of presenting the story of Yusuf is continued here:
"Moving across such spectacular locations as stars and moon, deserts and oases, caravans, the Nile Rive Valley, and markets and palaces of ancient Egypt...the power of this surah can be felt apart from “representation and appearances” and its most important embellishment comes from the SOUL of its real protagonist --Moving across such spectacular locations as stars and moon, deserts and oases, caravans, the Nile Rive Valley, and markets and palaces of ancient Egypt, this narrative is singularly lacking in that vivid imagery which characterizes some other passages in the Quran. The reason is obvious: the power of this surah can be felt apart from “representation and appearances” and its most important embellishment comes from the soul of its REAL PROTAGONIST, THE READER. (and Contemplator?)
The Meditator (or The Contemplator) by Ivan Kramskoy, 1876
'As mentioned before, the “framing action” of the surah is dialogue between God and the reader, with which the surah begins. The subsequent story of Joseph, however interesting it may be, is just a kind of mise en abyme – a DESIGN WITHIN DESIGN ... and the “framing action” is resumed as soon as the subplot of Joseph finishes. “Such is one of the stories of what happened unseen, which We reveal by inspiration to you,” says God in Verse 102, and ends His epilogue on a spectacularly high note, nine verses later, declaring the surah to be:
“a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to any such as believe.” A detailed exposition of “all things” in only a hundred and eleven verses may also be (MIRROR) of the inexhaustible depth of the reader’s own soul.'