In this beautiful world around us, Allah has created many things that we like, and many things that we don’t like. There is happiness and there is sorrow. There is success and there is failure. There is health and there is illness. Allah has made all of this a test for us, both the good things of this world and the bad.
This is a story of a great man, a Prophet of Allah, whose life here on the earth had an abundance of joyous things as well as an abundance of painful things. His name was Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam). He is a person whose faith and devotion Allah has Himself praised in the Qur’an.
Allah had blessed Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam) with a lot of gifts: He had good health, pious children, a loving wife, a house to live in, farm land and cattle. He was a grateful worshipper of Allah who used to thank Allah for these blessings. Allah then put Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam) to a test, to see how he would respond. The test was this: Allah made him suffer many losses that involved losing the things that every person holds the most dear.
Prophet Ayyub’s crops got destroyed. His cattle died. All his children were crushed to death. He himself got very sick and was in much pain and distress. Only his wife stayed by his side and continued to give support to him.
After having such a heartbreaking series of disasters, a person with a weaker faith would have started having doubts about the goodness, mercy and justice of Allah. A man of weaker faith would have started complaining to Allah, and would have started having dark thoughts about “bad luck” and “misfortune”. Any person who did not understand the real purpose of this life would have started asking: “Why me? What have I done to deserve this?”— because such a person would not understand that this world is really like an examination hall, a place where the things that happen, good or bad, are a test to see if a person is thankful or not (for good things), and is patient or not (for bad things).
Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam), being a man of tremendous faith and trust in Allah, passed this test with flying colors. Just as he had been grateful to Allah in his happier days, he was now continuously patient at this time of difficulty. He bore all the disasters, including his long illness, with great courage. All these things put together still could not turn him away from Allah or decrease his faith. Instead, he prayed to Allah with sincerity and with trust. He begged his Lord for help, and his Lord responded.
And how magnificently did his Lord respond!
Allah, The Exalted, The Wise, ordered him to strike the ground with his feet. Upon doing so, a spring of water miraculously burst forth from the ground. Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam) drank and bathed with the water of this spring, and it cured him of his illness. Not only that, but Allah also blessed him with more children, twice the number that he had lost. By having patience and turning to Allah for help, Ayyub (alayh as-Salaam) was successful in the test. This is a great lesson and a great example for all of us, showing us the way to live life if hardships or difficulties come our way.