Ayyoob (as) was a Nabi from the same family as Ibraaheem (as). His full name was Ayyoob ibnu Mawsa ibnu Raasik. He was from the children of Is-haaq, the son of Ibraaheem. His mother was the daughter of Loot (as), and his wife was the daughter of Yoosuf (as). He was known as a very devoted worshiper who was grateful to Allaah (swt).
The life of Ayyoob (as) is an excellent example and teaches us how we should be patient and firm when Allaah (swt) tests us with sickness, poverty and suffering.
In summary, he was a man who Allaah (swt) blessed with wealth, health and children. Ayyoob (as) had 14 sons and 4 daughters. He owned two huge pieces of land that produced the best crops in the whole region. He was a very healthy man who people used to be very jealous of. At the age of 70 he could walk like a young man and it was narrated that he could run faster than his own children. Allaah blessed him with health, wealth, a good wife and beautiful children. Because Ayyoob (as) was a Nabi, the Shaytaan could not effect him with his waswasah (whispering) and misguidance (as he was infallible like all other Prophets).
Shaytaan was very jealous of Ayyoob (as) and wanted to mislead him. He said to Allaah (swt): ‘Oh Allaah! Your servant Ayyoob worships you and elevates you but only for one purpose, and that is for his own interest. You give him so much crops, land, children, wealth and health. He is only obedient to you because of what you give him and nobody can reach him.’
Allaah said to Iblees: ‘Indeed Ayyoob is a very good worshipper and he worships me regardless of the wealth I give him. I will permit you to be in charge of his wealth. Do what ever you wish with it and test him.’ Allaah (swt) gave Iblees the permit of being in charge of Ayyoob’s (as) wealth to show Iblees that His Prophet was indeed a true and devoted worshiper.
The Shayaateen went to the town of
The Eemaan (belief in Allaah accompanied with actions) and Tawakkul (reliance on Allaah) of Ayyoob (as) was indeed incredible. If a person was to lose only his job he would complain to Allaah (swt) and say: ‘why me Oh Allaah?’ Yet if we look at the life of Ayyoob (as), he was not just a man who had a business or a £60,000 per annum job, rather he was a millionaire! For a person to be reduced from the status of a multi-millionaire to a poor man is not an easy test at all.
Ayyoob (as) never viewed the wealth that Allaah had given him to be his. He saw himself as a trustee for wealth of Allaah (swt).
Shaytaan expected him to stop everything. He wanted him to give up da’wah (inviting people to Tawheed), commanding good and forbidding evil, relying on Allaah, trusting Allaah and worshipping Allaah exclusively. This plot of Shaytaan usually works on those who have very weak Eemaan. When Allaah tests them with a shortage of wealth they completely give up hope in Allaah and leave all their duties and responsibilities.
But Ayyoob (as) was Muwahhid. Rather than giving up ‘Ibaadah (worship), his love for Allaah and da’wah; he started to pray even more! He became more active in da’wah, ritual acts and supplications. It was narrated that Ayyoob (as) lost between 3-4 thousand acres of land! He never once doubted Allaah nor did he give up hope and neither did he curse Allaah (swt) for taking his wealth away.
‘Allaah is the one who lent all this land to me and we enjoyed all this wealth for decades. All thanks are for Allaah for what he gave me and for what he took from me. Thanks to him whether he is angry with me or happy with me…he controls all and gives to whomever he wishes and elevates whoever he wishes…’ He then made sujood (prostration) to Allaah.
‘All praise is for Allaah who took every ounce of wealth I had.’ Shaytaan thought that if he took all of his wealth he would become corrupted and no longer obedient to Allaah. Iblees appealed to Allaah (swt) and said: ‘If Ayyoob still is patient to what has happened to him, it is not because he is sincere, it is because he had many children (he wanted control over children).’ Allaah (swt) then responded to Iblees and gave him authority over his children.
His children faced many calamities and were killed in an earthquake and died in front of his eyes. But still, rather than to wail and complain to Allaah (swt) he made sujood of shukr (prostration) to Allaah (swt).
Ayyoob (as) had lost acres of land and all his children were killed but he was still patient and said publicly: ‘Thanks to you oh Allaah! You gave us everything... and I am grateful to you in ease and hardship.’ He made sujood to thank Allaah.
Iblees felt humiliated in front of all the other Shayaateen. Shaytaan wanted to completely separate him from his family so he killed the family of his wife, his sister in-laws and his brother in-law.
Iblees then said to Allaah: ‘Oh Allaah, he is still grateful to you because you gave him such good health. Allow me to make him completely ill and see if he is still grateful to you.’ Allaah then said to Iblees: ‘I give you permission to take his body and do whatever you like with it except to kill him.’
Iblees hit Ayyoob with all the sicknesses and diseases on the earth. He developed skin diseases where his skin has hanging off and flesh was coming out. He had maggots coming out of him and pus all over his body. He became extremely smelly, lost the senses in his limbs and became disabled to a level where he could only move his head.
Even his neighbours moved away from him but despite all of this Ayyoob replied: ‘All praise is to Allaah that I can move my head.’ He made sujood and said: ‘All thanks are to Allaah when I used to have health and thanks to him when I have sickness.’
Iblees then consulted all the other Shayaateen in regards to what they should do next. They said: ‘We don’t know what to do now, this is so difficult. How we mislead Adam? By whispering to his wife!’ The Shayaateen thought to themselves that they could break Ayyoob (as) through his wife as they did to Aadam (as). They then started working on his wife and whispered to her until she said: ‘Oh Ayyoob you are a Prophet! How long are you going to be patient in Allaah? We lost everything we had…yet you still do not ask Allaah for help when you know Allaah will not hesitate to give it to you.’ Ayyoob said: ‘Shaytaan is whispering to you. Are you crying because you miss all our wealth and children we once had?’ He then asked his wife: ‘How long have we been living in ease and living with the blessings of Allaah?’ She replied: ‘about 70 years.’ Ayyoob (as) then asked: ‘and how long have we been living like this (in hardship)? She replied: ‘about 7 years.’ He then replied and said: ‘Unless we have been tested for 70 years, I feel shy to ask help from Allaah. You have become weak my wife…’
After that incident with her husband, she never complained again. She lost her job as her employer sacked her because she was the wife of Ayyoob (as) and her employer feared that his disease was contagious. With no money and no job, she was desperately looking for a way to earn an income.
She started to keep distance from her husband to a level where she didn’t even go near him and would start wearing the hijaab in front of him. Ayyoob (as) said to his wife: ‘Tell me something. Do you feel that disgusted with me that I cannot even see my wife properly? Where did you get this food from?’ She removed her hijaab and revealed that she had completely shaved off her hair and sold it for money. This hurt him badly as he never expected her to go that far. He then said to her: ‘By Allaah! If Allaah gives me health I will lash you 100 times!’ When she went out on that day she was physically attacked and verbally abused: ‘You carry the disease of your husband!’
She went back home to her husband and said: ‘Oh Ayyoob! Please ask Allaah not for you, but at least for me.’ For the first time, he raised his hands up and supplicated to Allaah: ‘Oh Allaah I have been harmed, and you are the most merciful.’ His supplication was indeed incredible. After all the hardship, poverty, loss of health and family, he never once asked Allaah for help even though he has the right to do so. When he did eventually supplicate, he never complained to Allaah and said: ‘look at what you have done to me!’ or ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ He said: ‘I have been harmed, and you are the most merciful.’ He never even pleaded or asked for help as most people would have done.
Allaah (swt) briefly describes the hardship and struggle of Ayyoob (as) in Soorah Saad, 38 in verses 41 to 44.
Ayyoob (as) asked Allaah to punish Shaytaan for what he did to him. Allaah responded to his supplication and showed him the path to recovery. He purified him and restored all his possessions and family…
"Strike the ground with your foot: This is a spring of water to wash in, cool and (refreshing) drink.
And We gave him (back) his family, and along with them the like thereof, as a Mercy from Us, and a Reminder for those who understand.”
Allaah told him he will find two fountains by his feet and that if he drank from them, it would restore his health and wealth. When he drank from the water his health and wealth was restored and he became young and fit (in his 20s) again. His wife eventually returned home and saw this young man (Ayyoob) and asked him if he knows where an old, sick man was. Ayyoob said to his wife: ‘Oh my wife! I am Ayyoob!’ He gave her the water that Allaah had given him and her health, young age and hair came back to her. All his wealth, health and family had been restored after such hardship, trials and tests from Allaah (swt). He eventually fulfilled his promise to his wife to lash her if Allaah was to give him back his health by putting 100 strands together to lash her once.
Lessons to be learnt
The life of Ayyoob (as) is an excellent example of us all and showed us how we should be firm and patient in times of hardship and difficulties.
None of us face the trials and hardship Allaah had tested Ayyoob (as) with, yet we are so ungrateful to him. We have not lost what Ayyoob (as) once lost, and neither do we suffer from what he had suffered. We have families, children, tranquillity, security, health and much wealth, yet we are so unappreciative of his blessings.