Prophet Ayyub AS
Muslims expect life to be filled with difficulties. We see these as test from God, which come in many guises. They can be physical or emotional, spiritual or social. It is through these tests that we grow as human beings and come to realise our personal strengths.
We believe that people have different capacities to cope with tests and that the stronger amongst us have greater tests to endure. The best of people were the prophets and their tests were extraordinary. Indeed all prophets had to face rejection and ridicule from their people.
In addition their own faith is tested to an extreme level, but through it they became closer to God. One notable example of this is also found in the Old Testament, it is that of Prophet Ayyub* known as Job.
The Prophet Ayyub* was showered with blessings. He was very wealthy, with lots of land and livestock, many children, and honour and grace in his community. But no matter how much he had and whatever status he enjoyed, Ayyub* always remembered that everything he had was a gift from God, and was always grateful to his Lord. He was generous, helping orphans and the poor, and feeding any who came to his home, and treated his relations and neighbours kindly.
But the time came when Ayyub* lost everything. Thieves raided his house and killed his animals and servants, and stole his wealth. Soon after, his house collapsed, crushing and killing his children. First his animals died and his crops withered. Then he lost his wealth and his children. Yet he remained patient and continued to worship God. Finally, even his health failed him. Ayyub* was afflicted with such disease that even his friends and family left him, all except his wife, forcing him to leave the town and move away deep into the countryside. Even still, Ayyub* went on praising and thanking God, saying “I have lived, healthy, for seventy years, so I will bear this patiently for another seventy.”
After several years, even Ayyub*’s wife was finding it difficult to cope as his sole carer: people refused to employ her for fear she might pass on his illness and she was struggling to provide for herself and her husband. Left alone, Ayyub* appealed to God, but not asking him to alleviate his suffering, but simply saying “Oh my Lord! I am surrounded by my trouble and I have endured them all, give me more strength to bear them, to let me put up further with my agonies.”
Pleased with Ayyub*’s patience and the strength of his faith, God healed him, and restored all that he had lost and rewarded him with even more. Ayyub*’s perseverance and endurance are held up in the Quran and by the Prophet Muhammad* as an example to everyone.
‘And remember Ayyub, when he called to his Lord, saying: “Harm has afflicted me, and You are the Most Merciful.” Then We heard his prayer and removed his adversity, and We gave him his family …, a mercy from Us, and a reminder to worshippers [lest those who are beset by trials think that We do not care for them; so that they may take him as an example of patience in accepting the decrees of Allah and bearing the trials with which He tests His servants as He wills.] [21:83-84]
*peace be upon him
Written by Hana Khan; never delivered