Do an article review about Joseph in the article “PROPHECY AND MASCULINITIES The Case of the Qur’anic Joseph.”
Prophecy and Masculinities
“Be a man" is a common expression often used in the development of young boys and
weaklings which is not wrong. Problem arises when such assertions are accompanied by words like
"this is the way Allah wants you to be," as it indicates that the Quran only associates itself with a
particular gender. Many critics and modern thinkers have questioned whether Islam is focused on
This article review is about masculinities studies giving a specific insight into the Quranic's
views and guidelines on sexuality and gender. Almost all religions face a crisis in masculinity; the
Muslim religion, society, and culture have not been spared. Hence, they have also established ways
to deal with the matter. We can understand that there is no form of masculinity associated with a
hegemonic or heterosexual man through masculinities studies. Therefore God reminds Muslims not
to undermine any prophet just because they believe they are not ideal.
The article chosen is prophecy and masculinities in the case of the Qur'anic Joseph, written
by Amanullah De Sondy (2011); the article highlights the Qur'anic guide on gender and sexuality.
The article enlightens us on how the Quran advocates for the inclusion of God as the only
maintaining force and one to reduce the feeling of supremacy to submission between men and
women. Whether created from dust, light, or fire, all God's creation must submit. Through
submitting to one supreme creature, the notion of hegemonic gender power amongst God's creations
is suppressed and going through the Quran, and it is a sin to equate oneself to God (idolatry).
Through the use of Qur'anic passages and other secondary Islamic traditions, the article
explores the life of Prophet Joseph as a case study to help the readers understand in detail what the
Quran guides on matters prophecy and masculinities. Based on a family setting, Joseph was the last
born son of Jacob, also a prophet. Jacob had twelve sons, but he loved Joseph the most. He exalted
him most of the time, being the noblest, perfect and greatest amongst his sons (Amanullah, 531).
They, therefore, had a perfect father-son relationship. On the other hand, the Quran emphasizes
God's Supremacy, reminding human beings that He shares His perfection with no one, be it the
prophets or any other neater family unit. God is the one who chooses the prophets, and their
ultimate duty is to guide humankind towards Him, it is through submitting to Him that they get the
desired perfection from Him, whether man or woman. Unlike from the family set-up story, it is
clear that favorism harbors hate and envy, for example Joseph had a distance relationship with his
siblings because of the close bond he shared with his father.
Through Joseph's life, the article further stresses the understanding of themes of morality
and sexual ethics. From the article, we learn that temptations and lust that rampage between a man
and a woman; women are always blamed. Zulaykha's attraction towards Joseph is not perceived as a
woman's love, but as just another flaw from women nature, for example, looking at Ibn Kathir. He
uses the idea of Joseph resisting Zolayka as a justification for the known prophetic statement that
God always saves men for the fact that they fear Him (Amanullah, 533). Women scholars like
Barbara Freyer Stowasser found the interpretation demeaning, especially to women. According to
her, the statement indicates that men are more privileged and lack the same connection. She further
elaborates that both Joseph and Zolayka appear in the Hadith symbolized in the fitna category that
consists of social chaos, social anarchy, and temptations, indicating that being a woman, one has to
be aggressive sexually, thus, not suitable for social stability.
On the other hand, the Quran accentuates the need to remain focused and submit to God. From the
Islamic traditions, it is clear that God was not projecting the traction felt between Joseph and
Zulaykha but rather explains why the affair couldn't work, as it was going against the Quranic laws.
For example, through their affair, they would hurt other peoples' feelings (Amanullah, 533). Their
relationship indicates that sex, gender, and submitting to God are intricately bound to ethics and
morality. Therefore, Muslims should be cautious, especially when dealing with physical
relationships so that they do not infringe on other people's rights, as this does not suggest
submission to God.
Through reading the article, we realize that there have been many modern debates and critics
that have always questioned why Muhammad was more authoritative and exemplar compared to
other prophets. Simultaneously, the Quran, Islamic thinkers, and religion emphasize that all
prophets are equal. On the same note, one can look at the matter in a different direction. For
example, if the other prophets were less important or their way of the Islamic masculinities ignored,
God would not have bothered revealing the prophets' past stories to Muhammad. He would have
simply ignored, but because the holy Qu'ran advocates for them special too. All prophets are
called upon to submit. Prophetically and traditionally, Muhammad said that he is building using
many different bricks, he further implied that he was but just one of the bricks. Therefore, the brick
metaphor elaborates the masculine examples of the prophets (Amanullah, 533). They all serve a
common purpose, be it him Muhammad or any other of the prophets that came into being.
From the article, we can conclude that all prophets from the Quran are equal, as they all have
the ultimate goal of conveying God's message to humankind. God is the only Supreme Being, and
all creations, whether created from dust, light, or fire, have a duty to submit. By submitting to one
supreme creature, the notion of hegemonic gender power amongst God's creations is suppressed,
and going through the Quran. It is a sin to equate oneself to God (idolatry). Just like any other
prophet, Joseph's story also conveys God's message. His biography also demonstrates God's
presence as it begins and ends with God. Therefore, his story stresses all prophets' equity and that
their sole goal is to emphasize or teach about God's divinity, not about their significance or
superiority over other prophets. God's power is, therefore, monolithic and uniform and acts as a
unifying factor. Those reading the Quran's stories about male prophets thereafter unveiling a
number of “perfect men” hence, pushes them to equate them to God are committing the gravest sin,
as the Quran is against idolatry, even Muhammad who was perceived as the most important and
exemplar of the prophets admitted that, he was just one of the many bricks used in building. Islamic
is therefore not focused on hegemonic masculinity.
De Sondy, Amanullah. "Prophecy and masculinities: the case of the Qur'anic