Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Ayyub (as)
The story of Prophet Ayyub (a.s.)
And Ayub, when he cried to his Lord, (saying): Harm has afflicted me, and Thou art the most Merciful of the merciful. Therefore We responded to him and took off what harm he had, and We gave him his family and the like of them with them: a mercy from Us and a reminder to the worshippers.
(Surah Anbiya : Ayat 83-84)
The Family of Ayyub (a.s.)
He was from the progeny of Hazrat Ishaaq bin Ibrahim and his wife was the daughter of Ifraaeem ibne Yusuf bin Yaqoob. Her name is said to be “Rahmah”. There is a specific mention of H. Ayyub (a.s.) in Holy Qur’an as well as other divine books. The conditions and particulars of the life of H. Ayyub (a.s.) has been stated in a disrupted and twisted form in all books except Holy Qur’an due to which his pure character and infallibility is besmirched.
The reputation and fame of H. Ayyub (a.s.)
Allah bestowed (favoured) him with Messengership, unlimited countless wealth and cattles, made him rich by giving him fertile lands, health; children, made him strong and powerful and also made him respectful and famous amongst the people.
He spent the bounties of Allah in His way.
H. Ayyub (a.s.) always thanked Allah for His bounties and distributed His bounties in His way to the slaves of Allah. Orphans, poor and needy, beggars and indigent persons were the beneficiaries of his munificence. He used to spend money on his relatives and friends.
There was always a crowd of needy and orphans on his tablecloth. Surely, the one who has favoured you with the bounties then utilize it in His way and be thankful to Him. It is Allah’s promise that He will increase His bounties on one who acts upon it.
If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.
(Surah Ibrahim : Ayat 8 )
Jealousy of Shaitaan
In the period of H. Ayyub (a.s.) Shaitan’s coming from and going to the sky was not yet banned. He saw that H. Ayyub (a.s.) is thanking Allah for all His bounties due to which his status and position is going on elevating. His status was magnificent amongst the angels. Shaitan could not bear this. He became very jealous because he could not tolerate any one performing good actions to gain proximity towards Allah. So he entraps that person and tries to deviate him and so he decided the same with H. Ayyub (a.s.) . He went in the presence of Allah and said ” O Allah! Ayyub (a.s.) is thanking you only because you have given him too many bounties. If you take away these bounties from him and involve him in hardships and difficulties then he will never be thankful to you. So you make me control all his wealth and riches so that my claim is verified.
Allah is well aware of the secrets of His slave and knows his apparent and concealed very well. Allah allowed Shaitan to control H. Ayyub’s (a.s.) wealth and children so that his thankfulness patience, and steadfastness is proved to others. Shaitan came on earth and sinned and destroyed all the belongings of H. Ayyub (a.s.) and also killed his children.
As soon as H. Ayyub (a.s.) got the information that his wealth is destroyed and his children were killed, he immediately thanked Allah and praised Him. The plot (plan) of Shaitan failed and was degraded due to his jealousy.
The Shaitaan told Allah, now make me conquer Ayub (a.s.)’s cattles, gardens and fields so that his impatience is proved. Allah permitted him to do so. Shaitan destroyed all the cattles, gardens and fields of H. Ayyub (a.s.). But this also did not make him sad, restless disturbed or grieved. With patience and tolerance he performed prostration of thanks giving. Shaitaan was dishonoured and disgraced and his envy increased more.
“Surely the jealous person is dishonoured and disgraced and the feeling of vendetta goes on increasing.”
Illness is a test for the believers
Shaitaan saw that H. Ayyub (a.s.) was not at all affected, but patience, tolerance and thankfulness is increasing, so he told to Allah, “Involve Ayyub (a.s.) in sickness and take away his health. Then he will definitely be unthankful to You.” Ayyub (a.s.) became ill. Some historians have made a great mistake concerning his illness and have said the people felt disgusted to look at the body of Ayyub (a.s.) and were running away from him. Actually this is not correct. It is very clear from the traditions of Aimmah (a.s.) that definitely he was ill but neither the blood or pus was coming out of his body nor it had a bad smell (odour) and also people did not flee from him due to disgust.
(Biharul Anwar V. 12 pg. 348)
When H. Ayyub (a.s.) was undergoing continuous difficulties and hardships, then the people started saying that this is a punishment for his sin and hence they stopped meeting him (Readers should keep in mind that whatever problems and difficulties had overcome H. Ayyub (a.s.) was a test for him and Shaitaan wanted to keep him away from patience and thankfulness). When H. Ayyub (a.s.) saw that people were breaking off all types of relations and connection, he had to leave his city helplessly. His sympathising wife went along with him. She never failed in serving H. Ayyub (a.s.).
When Ayyub (a.s.) saw the people severing all relations with him, he unwillingly migrated from the place, along with his aggrieved wife- Rahmah, who spared no effort to serve him. He lived many years in this condition with utmost forbearance and patience. Never did he complain to Allah, on the contrary he was always thankful. His wife was always by his side in all his sufferings and calamities and was a patient and steadfast companion. On witnessing this, Shaitaan designed a new scheme to trap Ayyub (a.s.). One day he came to the wife of Ayyub (a.s.) in the form of an old man and displayed lot of pity at her condition. He feigned sorrow that she had to bear so many difficulties and then started to whisper, ‘O, what a time it was when bounties were showered upon you. All the wealth and riches are destroyed and you are in the midst of this sea of troubles. Even your husband is sick and old. I feel that these difficulties will continue till you are alive.’ Rahmah became very worried on Shaitan’s instigation.
Shaitaan – the sweet knife
While the sweet whisperings of Shaitaan deceive the men, women fall into his trap even more easily. When Shaitaan realised that Rahmah had been affected by his false display of pity, he immediately gave her a sheep and told her to take it to Ayyub (a.s.) for slaughtering so that he may be cured of his ailment. Shaitaan warned her not to remember Allah while slaughtering the sheep. Rahmah immediately went to Ayyub (a.s.) and said, ‘O Ayyub, till when will Allah keep you in these calamities and afflict you with his punishment. Will Allah never show any mercy upon you? Slaughter this sheep, and do not take Allah’s name while slaughtering it, so that you may be cured.’
When Ayyub (a.s.) heard his wife complaining in such a manner, he immediately understood who was behind this plan. He said, ‘Allah’s enemy has reached you and whispered in your heart and you have fallen prey to his deceptive talks. I feel sorry for you. Who has conferred all these bounties upon us?’ She replied, ‘Allah’. Then Ayyub (a.s.) asked, ‘How many years did you spend in comfort and relief?’ She replied, ’80 years.’ Again Ayyub (a.s.) asked, ‘Since how many years are you in distress and calamity? She replied, ‘7 years.’ Ayyub (a.s.) said ‘In that case you have dealt with injustice. Why did you not wait for such a time till our duration of grief equals our duration of comfort and relief. I swear by Allah that if He cures me, I will flog you 10 times for telling me to slaughter in a name other than Allah’s. Go away from me, eating from you is prohibited for me.’
Allah cures Ayyub (a.s.)
Inspite of keeping away from his wife, Ayyub (a.s.) was always patient and thankful to Allah. He prayed to Him. His dua is noted in Anbiya 83.
Allah accepted his prayers and told him to strike his feet on the ground. A fountain started flowing from below his feet. Ayyub (a.s.) performed ghusl (ceremonial bath) with the water and was cured of his ailment. Allah once again made him wealthy by conferring upon him all the bounties.
Soon his wife reached there to inquire about his health, but she could not find him because all the conditions had changed, since she had left. She began weeping, when suddenly Ayyub (a.s.) appeared before her in the form of a handsome man, wearing a beautiful garment. But Rahmah failed to recognise him. He asked her, ‘What are you doing here?’ She replied, ‘I am searching for my husband whom I had left in this jungle while he was very sick. I have no idea where he is now and what is his condition.’ Ayyub (a.s.) asked, ‘Will you recognise your husband if you see him?’ She said, ‘When he was healthy, he looked very similar to you.’ Ayyub (a.s.) informed her, ‘I am Ayyub. I was patient in my examination by my Lord and I asked Him to cure me, so He cured me.’
Allah ordered Hazrat Ayyub (as) in Quran, Surae Saad: 44
It is narrated that after being cured by Allah, Ayyub (a.s.) made a broom of soft sticks and beat his wife with it gently as he had warned her.
We conclude the interesting incident of Ayyub’s (a.s.) with a tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) who declared, ‘Surely Ayyub (a.s.) was encircled in calamities for 7 years although he had not committed any sin.’ For details regarding this incident readers can refer to the Surae Anbiya and Surae Saad.