قَالَتْ فَذَٰلِكُنَّ الَّذِي لُمْتُنَّنِي فِيهِ ۖ وَلَقَدْ رَاوَدتُّهُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ فَاسْتَعْصَمَ
She said: “This is the one about whom you have been taunting me. And, indeed, I did seek to enjoy myself by him, but he was resolute in his chastity.” (Yūsuf 12:32)
Prophet Joseph, upon him be peace, was a very handsome man with both his bodily composition and his manners. Also, he had a profound internal beauty, as every Prophet had. His physical structure was the manifestation or the concrete shape of his inner beauty.
As for Zulaykha, like all those who are defeated by carnality, she could never divert her view from what was mortal to what was eternal and thus comprehend the inner beauty of Joseph with the result that her pas-sionate love for Joseph remained restricted to what was physical. Zulaykha’s error in the face of Joseph’s inner and outer beauty, the ever-repeated fault of humanity, showed itself once more: and man deceived him-self and is, therefore, at loss once again.
The verse above was included in the Divine Word as the self-defense of the Minister’s wife Zulaykha because of her failing and her reproach upon the women who first taunted her because of her love for her “slave”—Joseph—and then cut their own hands with the knives in their hands when they saw Joseph’s beauty. She introduced Joseph to her aristocratic friends who taunted her, saying,
The minister’s wife has sought to enjoy herself by her slave-boy. Certainly it (her desire for him) has pierced her heart with love. We see that she has plainly lost her wits and her way. (Yūsuf 12:30)
So she said to them, This is the one about whom you have been taunting me.” Thus she got them to admit to Joseph’s exceptional beauty. They exclaimed: “God save us! This is no human mortal; he is but a noble angel!” After her friends’ confession, she herself confessed that Prophet Joseph was absolutely innocent. She said: “Indeed, I did seek to enjoy myself by him, but he was resolute in his chastity.”