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"May God forgive us," he said, "if we hold any one but him with whom we found our property, or else we would be unjust."

When they despaired of (persuading) him, they went aside to confer. The oldest of them said: "You know that your father has pledged you in the name of God, and you have been guilty of iniquity in the case of Joseph before. I will not leave this place unless my father permits or God decides for me, for He is the best of all judges.

So, go to your father and tell him: 'O father, your son has committed a theft. We bear witness to only what we know; we could not prevent the unknown.

Enquire from the people of that city, or ask the men of the caravan with whom we have come. We are verily speaking the truth.'"

"No," said (the father). "You have made up the story; but patience is best; God may bring them back to me. He is all-knowing and all-wise."

He turned away from them and cried: "Alas for Joseph!" And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.

"By God," said they, "you will never stop thinking of Joseph till you are consumed or perish."

He replied: "I cry my plaint and grief to God, and know from God what you do not know.