Last Updated on 17th March 2023
Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam
Jobas, commonly known and referred to as أيوب [Ayyub] in Islam, was a prophet of Allah. It is mentioned in the Bible that he lived in “the land of Uz.” (Job, 1:1). Regarding Uz, we read that it, “was situated somewhere in the north of Arabia, between Syria and the Gulf of ‘Aqaba. It is said that Jobas lived there before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol.4, p.2108)
Stories by Muslim commentators
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, in his Tafsir-e-Kabir, writes that Prophet Job’sas life was filled with hardships. He added that some Muslim commentators and Western scholars say that Jobas was a descendant of Esau, the elder brother of Israelas, the son of Isaacas. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.5, p. 549 & 551)
Huzoorra said that some historians have said that Jobas was a wealthy man of his time, but despite his riches, he was a pious and noble man. God was pleased with the way Jobas remembered Him. They add that Satan was unable to lead him astray. Satan complained to God about Jobas, alleging that he was insincere in his worship and merely did it to keep his wealth and the riches he was granted. Commentators say all of Job’sas possessions were then taken away; however, Jobas remained faithful and steadfast.
Satan, then, said to God that Jobas still had his health and that to test Job’sas patience, he should be afflicted with a bodily disease.
Hence, Job’sas was afflicted with a disease, but Jobas remained steadfast in his faith and did not lose hope. (See Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.5, p. 552-553 for further details.)
The Promised Messiahas, stressing the importance of giving precedence to God Almighty over everything, states:
“Consider the example of Prophet Jobas – look how patient he was! God Almighty has mentioned in the Holy Quran that he is a patient servant of Mine. His account is mentioned in detail in the previous scriptures. Once Satan said to God Almighty, ‘Why shouldn’t Job be patient, You have given him wealth and riches, slaves and servants, a wife and children, and health?’
“God Almighty said that he could put Jobas to the test. Upon this, first, his sheep and goats died and then the larger animals [that he owned] died too. But still, Jobas remained steadfast. At this, Satan said he still has wealth, slaves and children, why wouldn’t he be steadfast? Thereupon, all his slaves died, but he remained steadfast. This continued so much so that everything perished. Only he and his wife were left. Even then, Satan said that he still had his health. He then came down with leprosy, but he still remained steadfast. In this way, when he proved himself to be steadfast and sincere, God Almighty bestowed upon him even greater wealth, riches, slaves, maids, and children than before and God restored his health as well.
“Thus, when Man shows patience and endurance, he gets to have everything. Whatever a person does, it should be according to the pleasure of God.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, pp. 425-426)
In the Five Volume Commentary, we read:
“The story of Jobas is said to bear a close resemblance to that of Harish Chander, a Hindu saint and a rich man. The language of the Book of Job, which is Hebrew with various Armaisms and with a faint Arabic tinge, is the language that was spoken by the Jews between the 9th and 4th centuries BC, and that is the time (6th century BC) when some Israelite tribes after the Great Dispersion were banished to Afghanistan and Kashmir by Nebuchadnezzar and other Babylonian kings. There they came into contact with the Hindus and studied their history, mythology and folklore. Whether or not the author of the Book of Jobas while writing this book borrowed from Hindu popular literature it is difficult to say. But Muslim commentators of the Quran extensively borrowed from the Book of Job, and drawing upon their own imagination, they added the most fantastic and unbelievable details to Job’sas account in their commentaries and ended by making the whole account a veritable fairy tale.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol.4, p.2109)
What the Holy Quran narrates about Jobas
The first we read about Prophet Jobas in the Holy Quran is in Surah an-Nisa:
“Surely, We have sent revelation to thee, as We sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him; and We sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and [his] children and [to] Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave David a Book.” (Surah al Nisa, Ch.4: V.164)
Having been mentioned by name four times in the Holy Quran in total, Job’sas story is briefly mentioned. The Holy Quran tells us that Prophet Jobas, like all prophets, was a holy man of God. He endured many hardships in his life and became separated from his family and followers. He has been mentioned alongside great prophets such as David and Solomon.
“This shows that like these two great prophets, he [Jobas] was a man of influence and affluence and, like them, he had to pass through trials and tribulations, which he bore with exemplary patience and fortitude.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2109)
Prophet Jobas was tormented by his enemies. The ruler of his time, in the country he resided in, was cruel and tyrannical:
وَاذۡکُرۡ عَبۡدَنَاۤ اَيُّوۡبَ ۘ اِذۡ نَادٰي رَبَّہٗۤ اَنِّيۡ مَسَّنِيَ الشَّيۡطٰنُ بِنُصۡبٍ وَّعَذَابٍ
“And remember Our servant Job, when he cried unto his Lord, [saying,] ‘Satan has afflicted me with toil and torment.’” (Surah Sad, Ch.38: V.42)
The ruler was an idol worshipper and vehemently opposed Jobas. Thus, tormented by his enemies, he migrated and took refuge in another country, separated from his family. Here, in this verse, the word shaitan refers to the cruel leader of that time. (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2727)
Prophet Jobas, leaving his land, made his journey on his riding beast. Here, he was commanded to strike and urge his riding beast with his foot so that he could quickly reach a place of safety. The Quran states:
“[And We said to him,] ‘Strike [and urge thy riding beast] with thy foot.’” (Surah Sad, Ch.38: V.43)
Having travelled and feeling tired, he suffered from thirst. Again, he was comforted to see a sweet fountain going forward. “‘Yonder is cool water to wash with and a drink.’” (Surah Sad, Ch.38: V.43)
With a study of the verse, one can deduce that Jobas had to travel through a hilly area that contained springs and fountains. This description and account provide some insight into the landscape that Jobas had to navigate during his migration and was told “by God to urge on his riding beast as there lay ahead a fountain of cool, sweet water where he could take rest, satisfy his thirst and take a bath.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol.4, p. 2728)
A study of this scene reminds the reader of the migration of the Holy Prophetsa, from Mecca to Medina. Surah Sad was revealed in Mecca. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira states that this was in fact a prophecy, as the Holy Prophetsa was also, soon, to migrate to Medina. (Haqaiq-e-Furqan, Vol.3, p. 491)
In light of Surah Sad, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh writes:
“In this very Surah, Hazrat Jobas has been presented as a great, exemplary, forbearing Prophet.” (www.alhakam.org/introduction-to-chapters-of-the-holy-quran-surah-fatir-ya-sin-al-saffat-sad-al-zumar-al-mumin/)
Further, the Holy Quran states that Jobas, after having migrated and leaving the clutches of his enemies, was once again reunited with his family and people who he had separated from:
وَوَہَبۡنَا لَہٗۤ اَہۡلَہٗ وَمِثۡلَہُمۡ مَّعَہُمۡ رَحۡمَةً مِّنَّا وَذِکۡرٰي لِاُولِي الۡاَلۡبَابِ
“And We bestowed on him, his family and as many more with them, by way of mercy from Us, and as a reminder for men of understanding.” (Surah Sad, Ch.38: V.44)
In another place, the Holy Quran states:
فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَہٗ فَکَشَفۡنَا مَا بِہٖ مِنۡ ضُرٍّ وَّاٰتَيۡنٰہُ اَہۡلَہٗ وَمِثۡلَہُمۡ مَّعَہُمۡ رَحۡمَةً مِّنۡ عِنۡدِنَا وَذِکۡرٰي لِلۡعٰبِدِيۡنَ
“So We heard his prayer and removed the distress from which he suffered, and We gave him his family and the like thereof with them, as a mercy from Us, and as a reminder for the worshippers.” (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.85)
The story of Prophet Jobas mentioned in the Holy Quran, though brief, bears some similarity to that of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. His story references how some prophets, if not all, met with idol-worshipping rulers who drove them out of their homeland. Despite the challenges, Prophet Jobas was once again reunited with his family. The Holy Prophetsa too had to migrate from Mecca to Medina, leaving behind his home.