The story of Prophet Job is different. Through his story, we are able to view
humankind’s struggle on a more personal level.
God does not tell us about Job’s methods of preaching or how his people
reacted to his warnings and admonitions.
God does not tell us about the fate of Job’s people. Instead, He tells us about Job’s
patience. He (the Almighty) praises Job
“Truly! We found him
patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in
repentance to Us!” (Quran 38:44)
Christians often refer to the “patience of Job” and
interestingly, Muslims refer to Job’s patience and try to emulate him in the
face of relentless adversity. In the
10th century C.E. renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir gathered what little
information has survived about Job, therefore what follows is Job’s story based
on Quran, the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and
blessings of God be upon him, and Ibn Kathir’s Stories of the Prophets.
Job was a descendant of Noah (Quran 6:84). He loved God, worshipped Him alone, was
patient, steadfast and sort forgiveness often.
Satan overheard a group of angels discussing that Job was the best man
of his generation and Satan’s dark heart was filled with jealousy and silent
rage. His plan was to tempt Job away
from goodness and have him fall into disbelief and corruption. Satan attempted to distract Job from his
prayers but Job remained steadfast and prayed with commitment and
This caused Satan’s rage to grow and he complained to God
saying that Job was a devoted worshipper only because God had blessed him with
wealth and possessions. God allowed
Satan and his helpers to destroy Jobs possessions, but Job remained true to his
belief and acknowledged that God was able to give or take wealth and
possessions as He pleased. Satan became
even more frustrated and returned to God saying that Job only hid his
disappointment because of his large happy family. Satan and his helpers destroyed Job’s home,
the building came crashing down killing all of Job’s children.
Once again, Job turned to God for comfort and accepted this
most heavy test without complaint. Satan
disguised himself and approached Job in the form of an old man. The old man commiserated with Job and
suggested that God was not rewarding Job for his devotion and prayers, but Job
replied that God “sometimes gives and sometimes takes” and that he was well
pleased with His Creator. Satan’s silent
but smouldering anger grew. He returned
to God saying that Job was fit and healthy and therefore had hopes of regaining
his wealth and having more children.
Satan asked permission to destroy Job’s health. God granted Satan’s third request excluding
his ability to harm Job’s soul, heart, or intellect.
Satan and his helpers began to harm Job’s body, by the will
of Allah. He was reduced to skin and
bone and suffered severe pain. Job was
also stricken with a disease that made people turn away from him with revulsion
and his friends and relatives began to desert him. Only his wife remained with him. She cared for him and showered him with
kindness even though they had become penniless and she had to work as a servant
to provide them with a small morsel of food each day.
Throughout his ordeal, Job remained devoted to God. His lips and tongue remained moist with the
remembrance of God and he never despaired or complained. He continued to thank God even for this great
calamity that had befallen him. Satan
was at a loss, he did not know how to entice Job away from his devotion to God
so he decided to harass Job’s wife. He
came to her in the form of a man and reminded her of the old days and how easy
their life had once been. Job’s wife
burst into tears and confronted Job saying, “ask your Lord to remove this
suffering from us”.
Job was saddened and reminded his wife that God had blessed them
with wealth, children and health for 80
years and that this suffering had been upon them for a relatively short period
of time. He declared that he was ashamed
to call on God to remove the hardship and admonished his wife saying that if he
ever regained his health he would beat her with 100 strokes. Job’s loving wife was devastated, she turned
away and sought shelter elsewhere. Job
felt helpless, he turned to God, not to complain but to beg for mercy.
“Verily! distress has
seized me and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” So We answered his call, and we removed the
distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost),
and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder
for all who worship Us.” (Quran
God restored Job’s health almost immediately. Job’s wife could not bear to be parted from
her beloved husband for very long so she returned and was amazed when she saw
his recovery. She cried out her thanks
to God, and on hearing her words, Job became worried. He had taken an oath to beat his wife but he
had no desire to hurt her for he loved her dearly. God wanted to ease the heart of his devoted,
patient servant so he advised him to “take in your hand a bundle of thin grass
and strike therewith your wife, and break not your oath”. (Quran 38:44)
From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad we learn that God
also restored Job’s wealth. It is said
that one day when he was taking a shower (or bath) God showered him with grasshoppers
made of gold. God rewarded Job’s
patience abundantly. His health was
restored, his family was returned to him and multiplied, and he once again
became a wealthy man.
God tells us that Job’s story is a reminder for all those
who worship God. (Quran 21:84) When one truly worships God with full
submission, it is necessary to have patience.
It is easy to worship for a few days or even weeks, but we must be
consistent. Prayer at night requires
patience, fasting requires patience, living with tribulations and trials
requires patience. The life of this
world is a test and in order to pass, and be rewarded with Paradise, we need to
acquire the patience of Job.
Thanks to By Aisha Stacey (© 2009 IslamReligion.com)
Foot steps of Prophet Job