The Afflictions of Prophet Job

Job (أَيّْوْب‎, Ayyūb) is considered a Nabi (Prophet) in Islam and is mentioned in the Qur’an. Job’s story in Islam is parallel to the Hebrew Bible‘s story, although the main emphasis is on Job remaining steadfast to God; there is no mention of Job’s discussions with friends in the Qur’anic text, but later Muslim literature states that Job had brothers, who argued with the man about the cause of his affliction. Some Muslim commentators also spoke of Job as being the ancestor of the Romans. Islamic literature also comments on Job’s time and place of prophetic ministry, saying that he came after Joseph in the prophetic series and that he preached to his own people rather than being sent to a specified community. Tradition further recounts that Job will be the leader in Heaven of the group of “those who patiently endured”.

Despite this phenomenon being common to all the Prophets, some false stories about Job and Moses, either borrowed from Israelite sources or misunderstandings of some Holy Book’s verses, have found their way into some commentaries on the Holy Book. See Job in Islam

God’s Messenger says:

‘The Prophets undergo the most severe of trials; the greatest of misfortunes strike them. Then come other believers; the firmer one is in belief, the bigger his misfortune is.’

Job and His Friends by Ilya Repin (1869)

Job and His Friends by Ilya Repin (1869)

The Prophet Job is praised in the Holy Book as a steadfast, excellent servant of God, one ever-turning to his Lord (38:44). As can be deduced from the Holy Book’s verses, and mentioned in the Bible, he was afflicted with a kind of skin disease, with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head (2:7). Influenced by Israelite stories, some commentators of the Holy Book have, unfortunately, made additions that worms were produced on his sores or abscesses and, because of the bad smell emitting from those abscesses, people left him.

These additions are completely groundless. If people left the Prophet Job, this might have been due to his later poverty. For he was, in the beginning, a rich, thankful servant of God, but later lost all his wealth and children. As a Prophet, he can neither have had a repelling or disgusting appearance, with, at least, his face exempt from sores, nor have emitted bad smell. Contrary to what is written in the Bible that he cursed the day of his birth (Job, 3:1), and God openly (Job, 7:20,21), and justified himself rather than God (Job, 32:2), Job bore his afflictions for years without any objection to God. He prayed: Affliction has visited me, and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful (21:83). God answered his prayer and removed the affliction that was upon him, and He gave him his household (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them (21:84).

By M. Fethullah Gulen

See also