What's in a Story?
Stories are powerful. Hollywood knows it; media moguls know it; book publishers know it.
We know it too.
It’s in our nature to be drawn to stories. Perhaps this is why a third of the Qur’an consists of stories.
Allah tells us stories about prophets and believers—about their unwavering belief and beautiful character, the challenges they faced and the miracles they witnessed, and the divine assistance that descended upon them from the heavens.
He also tells us stories about the worst of mankind—about their evil traits and evil deeds, the signs they ignored and the believers they harmed, and the punishments that befell them.
In these stories is guidance, inspiration, and comfort, for our prophet Muhammad and for all of us after him. Surat Yusuf was revealed during the most difficult time of our prophet’s life—after years of being under siege and boycotted, after the Year of Sadness, and after the rejection of the people of Ta’if. That story must have brought him so much comfort—the story of a boy treated so harshly by his own brothers, separated from his father for many years, and ultimately reunited with him after becoming the king of Egypt.
We too should take heart in these stories and share them with our children, so they know that the path of truth is filled with challenges but ends with success.
We should also strive to convey the stories—real-life and fictional—of Muslims around the world. So many stories are waiting to be told about faith, sacrifice, and steadfastness in the face of evil.