قَالَ ٱجۡعَلۡنِی عَلَىٰ خَزَاۤىِٕنِ ٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ إِنِّی حَفِیظٌ عَلِیمࣱ ٥٥
“Yusuf said, “Put me in charge of the store-houses of the land, for I am truly reliable and adept.”” — Quran 12:55
It can be hard to balance worldly success with humility. How do we show that we’re capable at work and ask for a promotion, without bragging about our achievements and becoming arrogant?
Looking to the lives of the prophets, the story of Yusuf (Joseph) in chapter twelve of the Quran provides a perfect role model.
As a prophet from a noble lineage he found himself going through various tribulations and as a young man he was wrongly imprisoned in jail.
He spoke to the other prisoners with respect and dignity, addressing them as: “O my fellow-prisoners! “يَـٰصَـٰحِبَىِ ٱلسِّجْنِ “” — Quran 12:39
He was not haughty, or condescending, he didn’t inflate himself or his noble lineage, he didn’t even draw attention to his wrongful imprisonment. Rather he addressed them as fellow humans and when they came to him with their dreams, he told them that he was skilled in dream interpretation.
Likewise when he was released from prison and had an audience with the king, he informed him of the coming famine, and proposed himself as a reliable vizier to watch over the kingdom’s food stores.
He wasn’t showing off about his skills or lineage, but when relevant he clearly and respectfully put forward his credentials and how he could be of service.
We do good where we can and try to keep our intention pure. We make sure not to be boastful or arrogant and rely only on Allah.
Ultimately our success is always from Allah — and if we look into our past we see it was only Him that gave us the strength to achieve anything. The whole gestalt of our success is greater than anything we could attribute to our own selves.
Success is only from Allah and we owe all our sustenance and wins to Him, even when they come through means and openings in this world.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ يَتَبَوَّأُ مِنْهَا حَيْثُ يَشَآءُ ۚ نُصِيبُ بِرَحْمَتِنَا مَن نَّشَآءُ ۖ وَلَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ ٥٦
وَلَأَجْرُ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ خَيْرٌۭ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَكَانُوا۟ يَتَّقُونَ ٥٧
This is how We established Joseph in the land to settle wherever he pleased. We shower Our mercy on whoever We will, and We never discount the reward of the good-doers.
And the reward of the Hereafter is far better for those who are faithful and are mindful ˹of Allah˺.
— Quran 12:56-57