Blessings and Trials

And Ayub (AS) when he called upon his Lord, Verily, affliction has touched me and You are the Most Merciful. (Quran 21:83)

Out of all the prophets of Allah mentioned in the Quran, there is only one about whom no mention is made about his call, his dawah (propagation) or his followers: that prophet is Ayub (AS) known in English as Job. This begs the question: if the purpose of the prophets was to propagate Allah’s Message, what is the point of talking about a prophet without mentioning his dawah? The answer is that everything in the Quran is mentioned for a reason; nothing is redundant. Ayub’s (AS) story is mentioned because of his sabr (patience and steadfastness) and the lessons that we can derive from it. And what is the story of Prophet Ayub (AS)?

Allah blessed Ayub (AS) with health, wealth and children, then He decided to test him by taking it all from away him. His children died, his livestock died, his farmland was destroyed and he was afflicted with all sorts of diseases, including one in which insects would eat from lesions on his skin. As the years passed and he remained in this near-vegetative state, his relatives, friends and people eventually ostracised and abandoned him. They stopped visiting him for fear of catching his disease themselves. Even his wife, who would go out and work to earn a living for herself and her husband, was marginalized by the community who feared that what afflicted her and her husband, might also afflict them. Ayub (AS) nevertheless remained patient and thankful.

One day, his wife felt unable to take the strain and she cried out to him, How long is this going to go on for? When is it going to end? Why dont you ask your Lord to relieve our suffering?…Upon hearing this, Ayub (AS) became filled with anger and he asked his wife:

How long did we enjoy Allah’s blessings for before this trial?

70 years, she replied.

And how long have we been tested by Allah like this? Ayub asked her.

Seven years,  she replied (other narrations put the figure at three or eighteen years, but the point is that it was far less than 70 years).

If we enjoyed Allah’s blessing for 70 years and now He has tested us for only seven years, I am ashamed to go to my Lord and complain to Him. As for you, your imaan has suffered so go and repent to Allah, Ayub (AS) told her.

Eventually, as the story goes, Ayub (AS) made his famous supplication (which even then, was polite and indirect) mentioned in the Quran (21:83): Verily, affliction has touched me and You are the Most Merciful. Allah responded to his supplication and returned to him his health, wealth and children (by bringing them back to life) and on top of that, Allah blessed him with even more, due to his patience and gratitude.

No matter how bad your situation is, or how big you problem is, or how terrifying your circumstances are, there will be relief. On the authority of Ibn Umar (RA), the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: every bad situation will not last forever: there will be relief after every difficulty, as Allah said in the Quran (94:5-6). So indeed with hardship there comes ease. Indeed with hardship there comes ease. One hardship cannot overcome two eases. No matter how long the night is, there will always be a dawn at the end of it. And the dawn always appears after the darkest part of the night.

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