The story of the Prophet Ayyub in the Qur’an shows another aspect of the blessing of Allah to His believing slaves who remain patient and thankful, and to His beloved Prophets.
Ayyub had many animals, flocks and fields, and fine sons, with all of whom he was pleased. He was put to the test regarding all these things and lost them all. Then he was put to the test regarding his own body until none of it was left healthy and sound, except for his heart and his tongue with which he remembered Allah. He was alone in a far-away corner of the land. No-one felt any pity for him except his wife who looked after him. They were in such need that she had to work as a servant.
In spite of all this, Ayyub remained steadfast in his patience. He was constantly remembering and thanking Allah. He did not complain nor apportion blame nor grumble nor get angry. He remained in this state for several years. ■
When the affliction Allah had willed for Ayyub’s soul was over he was allowed to be at peace. Allah inspired him with a supplication that was answered. That prayer revealed and expressed his powerlessness and misery. It revealed that there is indeed no refuge from Allah except in Him, and that He has the power to do anything. Allah healed Ayyub’s body and restored his family and property to him, and blessed him. Allah says:
When Ayyub called unto his Lord: ‘Affliction has visited me and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful’ We answered him and removed the affliction that was on him, and We gave him family and the like of them with them as a mercy from Us and a reminder to the slaves.’ (21: 83)
The story of Yunus is linked to the story of Ayyub. Once again it affirms Allah’s power, His kindness to His slaves and His help for them when they are in despair. When hope has gone and death approaches to crush the delicate stem of life, the Hand of Divine Power is found to be strong, and merciful.
Allah sent Yunus to the people of the village of Nineveh. He called them to Allah but they rejected him and were stubborn in their unbelief. Angrily, he left them, promising them that they would be punished after three
days. Knowing that Prophets do not lie, the people of Nineveh took heed and went out into the desert with their children, cattle and flocks. There they humbly entreated Allah and prayed fervently to Him. The camels and their young grumbled; the cows and calves lowed; the sheep and lambs bleated. So Allah removed the punishment from them.
Why was there never a city that believedand its belief profited it? Except for the people of Yunus. When they believedWe removed the punishment of disgrace from them in the life of this world and We gave them enjoyment for a time. (10: 98)
As for Yunus, he had embarked on a ship with some other people. It ran aground and, as they were afraid of drowning, they drew lots to decide which of the men they should throw overboard to lighten the ship. The lot fell on Yunus, but they refused to throw him overboard. They did it again and the lot again fell on him, but they still refused to do it. Then they did it a third time and again the lot fell on Yunus. Allah said: ‘He cast lots and was one of the refuted’ (37: 41)
Yunus then got up and threw himself into the sea. Allah, glory be to Him!, sent a fish to him. When he jumped into the water the fish swallowed him. Allah revealed to the fish not to eat the flesh nor break the bones of Yunus.
Yunus was in darkness in the belly of the fish in the darkness of the sea in the darkness of the night. Many darknesses, one within the other! What intense darkness! How far away safety was! He remained there for as long as Allah willed. Then Allah inspired him to disperse the darkness, remove his distress and to call down mercy from above the seven heavens. The Qur’an recounts this unique and strange story which contains solace for all who are in misery and despair. They can see that there is no shelter from Allah except in Allah:
When Dhu’n-Nun left in anger and thought that We would have no power over him. Then he called out in the darknesses: ‘There is no god but You! Clory be to You! I am one of the wrong-doers.’ We answered him and We rescued him from grief. That is how We rescue the believers. (21: 87)