The first opinion is the most credible as he was a descendant of Abraham's 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 before him We guided Noah and among his progeny David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good"[Quran 6:83-84 ]
Allah the Almighty praised His worshipper Job in His Glorious Quran:
"Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance to Us" [ Quran 38:44]
Job was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience and steadfastness. This was the cause of his salvage and the secret of Allah's praising him.
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 worshippers 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 favoring 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 withholds 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 disapointment, 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 sympathize with him. In a comforting tone he said to Job:
"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 disapointed 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 Creator"
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 worshipping 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 string 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 asked her.
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 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" [Quran 21:83-84]
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 have Understanding." [Quran 38:41-43]
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 the 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" [Quran 38:44]
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammed SAW 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" (Bukhari)
The Story of Prophet Job
Description: The story of Prophet Job, a patient man totally submitted to God Almighty.
By Aisha Stacey
Information about the various prophets sent by God to humankind can be found throughout the 114 chapters of Quran. The information is presented in a variety of ways. From a few short verses, to the long narrative concerning Prophet Joseph, that takes an entire chapter.
Additionally, almost invariably, the prophets come to their particular people with the same message. To worship God alone, and not associate anything or anyone in worship with Him. The stories of the prophets serve to emphasis this basic doctrine of Islam, that God is One. The focus therefore, is on the message and how it was spread.
The Quran makes it quite clear that children and wealth are an adornment of this life and that we will be tested through our love for them. (Quran 18:46). In the stories of the prophets, we see that God tested various nations through loss of health and through the loss of wealth, even extreme poverty. God declares repentance and patience to be the keys to eternal life therefore accepting trials and even thanking God for them, denotes a high level of faith. Humankind however is in a constant struggle to accept the message of God. Many nations failed.
The story of Prophet Job is different. Through his story, we are able to view humankind’s struggle on a more personal level. God does not tell us about Job’s methods of preaching or how his people reacted to his warnings and admonitions. God does not tell us about the fate of Job’s people. Instead, He tells us about Job’s patience. He (the Almighty) praises Job by saying,
“Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us!” (Quran 38:44)
Christians often refer to the “patience of Job” and interestingly, Muslims refer to Job’s patience and try to emulate him in the face of relentless adversity. In the 10th century C.E. renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir gathered what little information has survived about Job, therefore what follows is Job’s story based on Quran, the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad and Ibn Kathir’s Stories of the Prophets.
Job was a descendant of Noah (Quran 6:84). He loved God, worshipped Him alone, was patient, steadfast and sort forgiveness often. Satan overheard a group of angels discussing that Job was the best man of his generation and Satan’s blackened heart was filled with jealousy and silent rage. His plan was to tempt Job away from goodness and have him fall into disbelief and corruption. Satan attempted to distract Job from his prayers but Job remained steadfast and prayed with commitment and concentration.
This caused Satan’s rage to grow and he complained to God saying that Job was a devoted worshipper only because God had blessed him with wealth and possessions. God allowed Satan and his helpers to destroy Jobs possessions, but Job remained true to his belief and acknowledged that God was able to give or take wealth and possessions as He pleased. Satan became even more frustrated and returned to God saying that Job only hid his disappointment because of his large happy family. Satan and his helpers destroyed Job’s home, the building came crashing down killing all of Job’s children.
Once again, Job turned to God for comfort and accepted this most heavy test without complaint. Satan disguised himself and approached Job in the form of an old man. The old man commiserated with Job and suggested that God was not rewarding Job for his devotion and prayers, but Job replied that God “sometimes gives and sometimes takes” and that he was well pleased with His Creator. Satan’s silent but smouldering anger grew. He returned to God saying that Job was fit and healthy and therefore had hopes of regaining his wealth and having more children. Satan asked permission to destroy Job’s health. God granted Satan’s third request but with the condition, that Satan have no influence on Job’s soul, heart, or intellect.
Satan and his helpers began to take revenge on Job’s body. He was reduced to skin and bone and suffered severe pain. Job was also stricken with a disease that made people turn away from him with revulsion and his friends and relatives began to desert him. Only his wife remained with him. She cared for him and showered him with kindness even though they had become penniless and she had to work as a servant to provide them with a small morsel of food each day.
Throughout his ordeal, Job remained devoted to God. His lips and tongue remained moist with the remembrance of God and he never despaired or complained. He continued to thank God even for this great calamity that had befallen him. Satan was at a loss, he did not know how to entice Job away from his devotion to God so he decided to harass Job’s wife. He came to her in the form of a man and reminded her of the old days and how easy their life had once been. Job’s wife burst into tears and confronted Job saying, “ask your Lord to remove this suffering from us”.
Job was saddened and reminded his wife that God had blessed them with wealth, children and health for 80 years and that this suffering had been upon them for a relatively short period of time. He declared that he was ashamed to call on God to remove the hardship and admonished his wife saying that if he ever regained his health he would beat her with 100 strokes. Job’s loving wife was devastated, she turned away and sort shelter elsewhere. Job felt helpless, he turned to God, not to complain but to beg for mercy.
“Verily! distress has seized me and You are 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.” (Quran 21:83-84)
God restored Job’s health almost immediately. Job’s wife could not bear to be parted from her beloved husband for very long so she returned and was amazed when she saw his recovery. She cried out her thanks to God, and on hearing her words, Job became worried. He had taken an oath to beat his wife but he had no desire to hurt her for he loved her dearly. God wanted to ease the heart of his devoted, patient servant so he advised him to “take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith your wife, and break not your oath”. (Quran 38:44)
From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, we learn that God also restored Job’s wealth. It is said that one day when he was taking a shower (or bath) God showered him with grasshoppers made of gold.[1 Saheeh Al-Bukhari.] God rewarded Job’s patience abundantly. His health was restored, his family was returned to him and multiplied, and he once again became a wealthy man.
God tells us that Job’s story is a reminder for all those who worship God. (Quran 38:84) When one truly worships God with full submission, it is necessary to have patience. It is easy to worship for a few days or even weeks, but we must be consistent. Prayer at night requires patience, fasting requires patience, living with tribulations and trials requires patience. The life of this world is a test and in order to pass, and be rewarded with Paradise, we need to acquire the patience of Job.
Excerpted from The Story of Prophet Job by Aisha Stacey, published on 7 Sep 2009, IslamReligion.com.