The Story of Prophet Job (Ayoub)
From: The Stories of the Prophets
By: Al Imam Ibn Kathir
[(701 - 774 AH) or (1301 - 1372 AD)]
Razeh Ibn Esau Ibn Isaac Ibn Abraham. Someone else said he was Job Ibn Mose,
Ibn Rimil Ibn Esau Ibn Isaac Ibn Jacob. There have also been other
statements in his lineage. Ibn Asaker narrated that his mother was a
daughter of Prophet Lot.It was said, also, that his father was one who
believed in Abraham when he was cast into the fire.
The first opinion is the most plausible as he was a descendant of Abrahams
offspring as Allah Almighty declared:
"That was the reasoning about Us which We gave to Abraham (to use) against
his people: We raise whom We will degree after degree: for thy Lord is full
of wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided:
and before him We guided Noah and among his progeny David Solomon Job Joseph Moses and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good"
Allah the Almighty praised His worshiper Job in His Glorious Quran:
"Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever
oft-returning in repentance to Us"
Job was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience and
steadfastness. This was the cause of his rescue and the secret of Allah's
A group of angels were discussing Allah's other human creatures, how those
who were humble earned Allah's displease, while those who were arrogant
incurred His displeasure. One of the angels remarked:
"The best creature on earth today is Job, a man of noble character who
displays excellent patience and always remembers his Generous Lord. He is an
excellent model for the worshipers of Allah. In return, his Lord has
blessed him with a long life and plenty of riches, yet he is never haughty
or selfish. His family, his servants, as well as the needy and the poor
share in his good fortune; he feeds and clothes the poor and buys slaves to
set them free. He makes those who receive his charity feel as if they are
favouring him, so kind and gentle is he."
Iblis, overhearing all this, became annoyed. He planned to tempt Job to
corruption and disbelief, so he hastened to him. He tried to distract Job
from his prayers by whispering to him about the good things in life, but Job
was a true believer and would not let evil thoughts tempt him. This
disturbed Iblis more; thus he began to hate Job even more.
Iblis complained to Allah about Job. He said that although he was
continuously glorifying Allah, he was not doing so out of his sincerity but
to satisfy Allah so that his wealth should not be taken away. It was all a
show, all out of greed. "If You remove his wealth then You will find that
his tongue will no longer mention Your name and his praying will stop."
Allah told Iblis that Job was one of His most sincere devotees. He did not
worship Him because of the favors; his worship stemmed from his heart and
had nothing to do with material things. But to prove Iblis the depth of Job'
s sincerity and patience, Allah allowed him to do whatever he and his
helpers wished with Job's wealth.
Iblis was very happy. He gathered his helpers and set about destroying Job's
cattle, servants, and farms until he was left with no possessions. Rubbing
his hands in glee, Iblis appeared before Job in the guise of a wise old man
and said to him:
"All your wealth is lost. Some people say that it is because you gave too
much charity and that you are wasting your time with your continuous prayers
to Allah. Others say that Allah has bought this upon you in order to please
your enemies. If Allah had the capacity to prevent harm, then He would have
protected your wealth"
True to his belief, Job replied:
"What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee
for a while. He gives to whom He wills and withhold from whom He wills"
With these words, Job again prostrated to his Lord.
When Iblis saw this, he felt frustrated, so he again addressed Allah:
"I have stripped Job of all his possessions, but he still remains grateful to
You. However, he is only hiding his disappointment, for he places great
store by his many children. The real test of a parent is through him
children. You will then see how Job will reject You"
Allah granted Iblis authority, but warned him that it would not reduce Job's
faith in his Lord nor his patience.
Iblis again gathered his helpers and set about his evil deeds. He shook the
foundation of the house in which Job's children were living and sent the
building crashing, killing all of them. Then he went to Job disguised as a
man who had come to sympathise with him. In a comforting tone he said to
"The circumstances under which your children died were sad. Surely, your
Lord is not rewarding you properly for all your prayers?"
Having said this Iblis waited anxiously, hoping Job was now ready to reject
Allah. But again Job disappointed him by replying:
"Allah sometimes gives and sometimes takes. He is sometimes pleased and
sometimes displeased with our deeds. Whether a thing is beneficial or
harmful to me, I will remain firm in my belief and remain thankful to my
Then Job prostrated to his Lord. At this Iblis was extremely vexed. Iblis
again called on Allah:
"O my Lord, Job's wealth is gone, his children are dead, but he is still
healthy in body, and as long as he enjoys good health he will continue to
worship You in the hope of regaining his wealth and producing more children.
Grant me authority over his body so that I may weaken it. He will surely
neglect worshiping You and with thus becomes disobedient"
Allah wanted to teach Iblis a lesson that Job was a devoted servant of his
Lord, so He granted Iblis his third request but placed a condition:
"I give you authority over his body but not over his soul, intellect, or
heart, for in these places reside the knowledge of Me and My religion"
Armed with this new authority, Iblis began to take revenge on Job's body
and filled it with disease until it was reduced to mere skin and bone and he
suffered severe pain. But through all the suffering Job remained strong in
his faith, patiently bearing all the hardships without complaining. Allah's
righteous servant did not despair or turn to others for help but remained
hopeful of Allah's Mercy. Even close relatives and friends deserted him.
Only his kind loving wife stayed with him. In his hour of need, she showered
her kindness on him and cared for him. She remained his sole companion and
comforter through many years of his suffering.
Ibn Asaker narrated:
"Job was a man having much wealth of all kinds: beasts, slaves, sheep, vast
lands of Haran and many children. All those favors were taken from him and
he was physically afflicted as well. Never a single organ was sound except
his heart and tongue, with both of which he glorified Allah, the Almighty
all the time day and night. His disease lasted for a long time until his
visitors felt disgusted with him. His friend kept away from him, and people
abstained from visiting him. No one felt sympathy for him except his wife.
She took good care of him, knowing his former charity and pity for her"
Therefore, Iblis became desperate. He consulted his helpers but they could
not advise him. They asked:
"How is it that your cleverness cannot work against Job, yet you succeeded
in misleading Adam, the father of man, out of paradise?"
Iblis went to Job's wife in the form of a man. "Where is your husband?" he
She pointed to an almost lifeless form crumpled on the bed and said: "There
he is, suspended between life and death."
Iblis reminded her of the days when Job had good health, wealth and
children. Suddenly, the painful memory of yeas of hardship overcame her, and
she burst into tears. She said to Job:
"How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to
remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don't you call upon
Allah to remove this suffering?"
Job sighed, and in a soft voice replied:
"Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me, how
long did I enjoy good health and riches?"
She replied, "For eighty years"
Then Job asked, "How long am I suffering like this?"
She said, "for seven years"
Then Job told her:
"In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I
have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems
your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I
ever regain my health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes! From
this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything from your hand.
Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases."
Crying bitterly and with a heavy heart, she had no choice but to leave him
and seek shelter elsewhere. In his helpless state, Job turned to Allah,
not to complain but to seek His mercy:
"Verily, distress has seized me, and You and 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"
Almighty Allah also instructed:
"Commemorate Our servant Job behold he cried to his Lord: "The Evil One has
afflicted me with distress and suffering"! (The command was given:) "Strike
with thy foot: here is (water) wherein to wash cool and refreshing and
(water) to drink." And We gave him (back) his people and doubled their
number as a Grace from Ourselves and a thing for commemoration for all who
Job obeyed, and almost immediately his good health was restored. Meanwhile,
his faithful wife could no longer bear to be parted from her husband and
returned to beg his forgiveness, desiring to serve him. On entering he
house, she was amazed at the sudden change: Job was again healthy! She
embraced him and thanked Allah for His mercy.
Job was now worried, for he had taken an oath to punish her with a hundred
strokes if he regained health, but he had no desire to hurt her. He knew if
he did not fulfill the oath, he would be guilty of breaking a promise to
Allah. Therefore, in His wisdom and mercy, Allah came to the assistance of
His faithful servant, and advised him:
"And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your
wife), and break not your oath. Truly we found him patient. How excellent a
slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance to Us"
Abu Huraira (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said:
"While Job was naked, taking a bath, a swarm of locusts fell on him, and he
started collecting them in his garment. His Lord called him: 'O Job! Have I
not made you too rich to need what you see?' He said: 'Yes, O Lord! But I
cannot shun Your Blessings"