Can you give some information about the clock miracle of the Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) and its importance?

The Details of the Question

Can you give some information about the clock miracle of the Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) and its importance?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Prophets are spiritual leaders and they are also leaders of the first materialistic inventions. Allah bestowed some civilization wonders upon human beings via the hands of prophets. So, ironsmiths accept Prophet Davud (David), seafarers accept Prophet Nuh (Noah),  tailors accept Prophet Idris(Enoch), clockmakers accept Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) as their masters.

In islamic resources, it is stated that the person who invented the clock was Yusuf (a.s.). While he was staying in prison, he invented the clock so that he could pray on time. It was his miracle.

Without any doubt, humankind has benefitted from the sun to measure time ever since they started to live on the earth. From the most primitive ones to the most developed one, sundials were used. However, until that time, a device which could show the time without using the sun had not been invented. From the time of the first human Adam (a.s.), worshipping like salah (prayer ) and fasting  rendered obligatory by the sharia  (Islamic law ), were performed at certain times. These times were determined by the movement of the sun .

Yusuf (a.s.) invented a device that had not been used until that time when he was in a sunless prison. That was a water clock (according to some narrations, it was a sand glass)

As a matter of fact, archaeologists found a water clock that remained from the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep- III in an Amon temple in Egypt. That Pharaoh lived between the years of 1408-1372 BC. In addition, this Pharaoh was the father of Amenhotep-IV (Akhenaton) who brought the religion of Aten to Eygpt. This era was after the time of Hyksos.

The first types of these water clocks existed in Egypt. They had a hole at the bottom. It was filled and emptied from that hole. The time was determined according to the water level.

The invention of the clock changed the perspectives of people. While sundials showed a certain time, water clocks showed how much time passed .The invention of the water clock can be considered as the real beginning of the measurement of time.

The reason why Yusuf’s invention of clock is considered as a miracle is that he desperately needed to know the time because he was ordered to perform certain worshipping. So, in order to satisfy that need and give this as a gift to the future generations, Allah granted him the clock. Being given this idea in an unexpected way, being instructed how the clock would work and being gifted a present that would satisfy the need of humans for centuries are the evidences of a miracle. When these kinds of things were presented by saints (walis), they were called  wonders. When they were presented by prophets, they were called miracles.

Thus, Noah’s Ark was built at an unexpected time and is mentioned as a miracle in the Quran. It was registered  by historians and its benefits were understood after the flood happened. That is why, those two inventions are considered as miracles. (see Sözler, Yirmi İkinci Söz, p. 254).

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