38 - Saad

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 38.44

Al-Jalalayn

And [We said to him], ‘Take in your hand a bunch of twigs, or some blades of grass, and smite therewith, your wife — for he had sworn to smite her a hundred times on one occasion when she was late in coming to him — and do not break [your] oath’, by not smiting her: so he took a hundred rushes and smote her with them once [and that sufficed to fulfil his oath]. Truly We found him to be steadfast. What an excellent servant!, [was] Job. Indeed he was a penitent [soul], always returning to God, exalted be He.

Ibn Al Kathir

Ayyub

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Ayyub (Job) and how He tested him. These tests afflicted his body, his wealth and his children, until there was no part of his body that was healthy except his heart. Then he had nothing left in this world which he could use to help him deal with his sickness or the predicament he was in, besides his wife, who retained her devotion to him because of her faith in Allah and His Messenger. She used to work for people as a paid servant, and she fed and served him (Ayyub) for nearly eighteen years. Before that, he was very rich and had many children, being well off in worldly terms. All of that had been taken away until he ended up being thrown into the city dump where he stayed all this time, shunned by relatives and strangers alike, with the exception of his wife -- may Allah be pleased with her. She did not leave him, morning and evening, except for when she was serving people, then she would come straight back to him. When this had gone on for a long time, and things had gotten very bad, and the time allotted by divine decree had come to an end, Ayyub prayed to the Lord of the worlds, the God of the Messengers, and said:

أَنِّى مَسَّنِىَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

(Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.) (21:83). And according to this Ayah:

وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَآ أَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ أَنِّى مَسَّنِىَ الشَّيْطَـنُ بِنُصْبٍ وَعَذَابٍ

(And remember Our servant Ayyub, when he invoked his Lord (saying): "Verily, Shaytan has afflicted me with distress and torment!'') It was said that "distress'' referred to bodily afflictions and "torment'' referred to the loss of his wealth and children. Then the Most Merciful of those who show mercy responded to him, telling him to stand up and strike the ground with his foot. He did this, and Allah caused a spring of water to flow. He commanded him to wash in it, and all the pain and affliction in his body disappeared. Then He commanded him to strike the ground in a different place, and Allah caused another spring to flow, and Ayyub was commanded to drink from it. Then all his internal problems disappeared, and he became healthy again, inside and out. Allah says:

ارْكُضْ بِرِجْلِكَ هَـذَا مُغْتَسَلٌ بَارِدٌ وَشَرَابٌ

(Strike the ground with your foot. This is (a spring of) water to wash in, cool and a (refreshing) drink.) Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

«إِنَّ نَبِيَّ اللهِ أَيُّوبَ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ لَبِثَ بِهِ بَلَاؤُهُ ثَمَانِيَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً، فَرَفَضَهُ الْقَرِيبُ وَالْبَعِيدُ، إِلَّا رَجُلَيْنِ كَانَا مِنْ أَخَصِّ إِخْوَانِهِ بِهِ، كَانَا يَغْدُوَانِ إِلَيْهِ وَيَرُوحَانِ، فَقَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا لِصَاحِبِهِ: تَعْلَمُ وَاللهِ لَقَدْ أَذْنَبَ أَيُّوبُ ذَنْبًا مَا أَذْنَبَهُ أَحَدٌ مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ، قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ: وَمَا ذَاكَ؟ قَالَ: مُنْذُ ثَمَانِيَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً لَمْ يَرْحَمْهُ اللهُ فَيَكْشِفَ مَا بِهِ، فَلَمَّا رَاحَا إِلَيْهِ لَمْ يَصْبِرِ الرَّجُلُ حَتْى ذَكَرَ ذَلِكَ لَهُ، فَقَالَ أَيُّوبُ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ: لَا أَدْرِي مَا تَقُولُ، غَيْرَ أَنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَعْلَمُ أَنِّي كُنْتُ أَمُرُّ عَلَى الرَّجُلَيْنِ يَتَنَازَعَانِ فَيَذْكُرَانِ اللهَ تَعَالَى، فَأَرْجِعُ إِلَى بَيْتِي فَأُكَفِّرُ عَنْهُمَا كَرَاهِيَةَ أَنْ يُذْكَرَ اللهُ تَعَالَى إِلَّا فِي حَقَ، قَالَ: وَكَانَ يَخْرُجُ إِلَى حَاجَتِهِ،فَإِذَا قَضَاهَا أَمْسَكَتِ امْرَأَتُهُ بِيَدِهِ حَتْى يَبْلُغَ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ أَبْطَأَ عَلَيْهَا، فَأَوْحَى اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى إِلَى أَيُّوبَ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ أَن

ارْكُضْ بِرِجْلِكَ هَـذَا مُغْتَسَلٌ بَارِدٌ وَشَرَابٌ

فَاسْتَبْطَأَتْهُ (فَتَلَقَّتْهُ) تَنْظُرُ، فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهَا وَقَدْ أَذْهَبَ اللهُ مَا بِهِ مِنَ الْبَلَاءِ وَهُوَ عَلَى أَحْسَنِ مَا كَانَ، فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ قَالَتْ: أَيْ بَارَكَ اللهُ فِيكَ، هَلْ رَأَيْتَ نَبِيَّ اللهِ هَذَا الْمُبْتَلَى، فَوَاللهِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ مَا رَأَيْتُ رَجُلًا أَشْبَهَ بِهِ مِنْكَ إِذْ كَانَ صَحِيحًا. قَالَ: فَإِنِّي أَنَا هُوَ، قَالَ: وَكَانَ لَهُ أَنْدَرَانِ: أَنْدَرٌ لِلْقَمْحِ وَأَنْدَرٌ لِلشَّعِيرِ، فَبَعَثَ اللهُ تَعَالَى سَحَابَتَيْنِ فَلَمَّا كَانَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى أَنْدَرِ الْقَمْحِ، أَفْرَغَتْ فِيهِ الذَّهَبَ حَتْى فَاضَ، وَأَفْرَغَتِ الْأُخْرَى فِي أَنْدَرِ الشَّعِيرِ حَتْى فَاض»

(Allah's Prophet Ayyub, peace be upon him, suffered for eighteen years from his affliction and was shunned by relatives and strangers alike, besides two men who were the closest of his brothers to him. They used to visit him every morning and every evening. One of them said to his companion, "You know, by Allah, that Ayyub committed a great sin which nobody in the world ever committed.'' His companion said, "Why are you saying that'' He said, "For eighteen years he has been suffering and Allah has not had mercy on him and relieve his suffering.'' When he went to him the next morning, the (second) man could not wait to tell this to Ayyub. Ayyub, peace be upon him, said, "I do not know what you are talking about, but Allah knows if I passed by two men who were arguing and they mentioned the Name of Allah, I would go back home and offer expiation lest they had mentioned the Name of Allah in an improper manner. '' Whenever he went out to answer the call of nature, when he finished, his wife would take his hand until he came back home. One day he took a long time, and Allah had revealed to Ayyub, (Strike the ground with your foot. This is (a spring of) water to wash in, cool and a (refreshing) drink.) She thought that he had taken too long, so she turned to look at him, and saw that Allah had taken away the afflictions he had been suffering, and he looked better than he had ever looked. When she saw him, she said, "May Allah bless you! Have you seen Allah's Prophet, the one who is sorely tested By Allah, I have never seen a man who looks more like him than you, if he were healthy.'' He said, "I am he.'' He had two threshing floors, one for wheat and one for barley. Allah sent two clouds, and when one of them reached the threshing floor of the wheat, it rained gold until it was full. The other rained gold on the threshing floor of the barley until it was full.) This is the wording of Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy on him. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

«بَيْنَمَا أَيُّوبُ يَغْتَسِلُ عُرْيَانًا خَرَّ عَلَيْهِ جَرَادٌ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ فَجَعَلَ أَيُّوبُ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ يَحْثُو فِي ثَوْبِهِ، فَنَادَاهُ رَبُّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَا أَيُّوبُ، أَلَمْ أَكُنْ أَغْنَيْتُكَ عَمَّا تَرَى قَالَ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ: بَلَى يَا رَبِّ، وَلَكِنْ لَا غِنى بِي عَنْ بَرَكَتِك»

(While Ayyub was bathing naked, locusts of gold fell upon him. Ayyub, peace be upon him, began gathering them in his garment. Then his Lord called to him, "O Ayyub, have I not made you so rich that you have no need of what you see'' He, peace be upon him, said, "Yes, O Lord! But I cannot do without Your blessing!'') This was only recorded by Al-Bukhari.

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُمْ مَّعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا وَذِكْرَى لاٌّوْلِى الاٌّلْبَـبِ

(And We gave him (back) his family, and along with them the like thereof, as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand.) Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, "Allah brought his family themselves back to life, and added others like them.''

رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا

(as a mercy from Us,) means, in return for his patience, steadfastness, repentance, humility and constant turning to Allah.

وَذِكْرَى لاٌّوْلِى الاٌّلْبَـبِ

(and a reminder for those who understand.) means, for those who understand that the consequence of patience is a solution and a way out.

وَخُذْ بِيَدِكَ ضِغْثاً فَاضْرِب بِّهِ وَلاَ تَحْنَثْ

(And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath.) Ayyub, peace be upon him, got angry with his wife and was upset about something she had done, so he swore an oath that if Allah healed him, he would strike her with one hundred blows. When Allah healed him, how could her service, mercy, compassion and kindness be repaid with a beating So Allah showed him a way out, which was to take a bundle of thin grass, with one hundred stems, and hit her with it once. Thus he fulfilled his oath and avoided breaking his vow. This was the solution and way out for one who had Taqwa of Allah and turned to Him in repentance. Allah says:

إِنَّا وَجَدْنَـهُ صَابِراً نِّعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ

(Truly, We found him patient. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!) Allah praised and commanded him, saying,

نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ

(How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!) Allah says:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُواْ ذَوَى عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُواْ الشَّهَـدَةَ لِلَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَن كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاً - وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَـلِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدْراً

(And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.) (65:2-3)

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This is the fourth place in the Qur'an where the Prophet Job has been mentioned. Before this he has been mentioned in An-Nisa. 163, Al-An'am: 84 and AI-Anbiya': 83-84 above. For the details about him, please see E.N.'s 76 to 79 of Surah Al-Anbiya'

This does not mean that Satan has afflicted me with illness and brought distress upon me, but it means: "The affliction of the severities of illness, the loss of property and wealth, and the desertion of the near and dear ones, is not so great a torment and trouble for me as the temptation of Satan, who is exploiting my condition to despair me of my Lord and wants that I should turn ungrateful to Him and become desperate and impatient." This meaning of the lamentation of the Prophet Job is preferable for two reasons: (1) According to the Qur'an, Allah has granted Satan only the power of temptation: He has not given him the power to afflict with illness the worshipers of Allah and compel them to deviate from the way of service and obedience by causing them physical ailments. (2) In Surah Al Anbiya' when the Prophet Job puts before Allah his complaint about illness and disease, he does not mention Satan at all, but says only: "I have been afflicted with the disease and You are most Merciful."

That is, "As soon as he stamped his foot on the ground, a spring gushed forth by Allah's Command, drinking from which and washing with which was the remedy of the Prophet Job's disease." Most probably he was suffering from some skin disease. According to the Bible also: "Satan smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. " (Job, 2: 7).

Traditions show that during this illness everyone except his wife had deserted the Prophet Job; even his children had turned away. To this Allah has alluded, saying: "When We granted him health, the whole family returned to him, and then We granted him even more children."

That is, in it there is a lesson for an intelligent man: "Neither should man forget God and become arrogant in good times nor despair of Him in bad times: Good fortune and misfortune are entirely in the Power of Allah, the One. If He wills He can change the best times of man into the worst times and the worst into the best. Therefore, a wise person should trust in Him alone in all sorts of circumstances and should pin all his hopes on Him."

A careful study of these words shows that the Prophet Job during illness had been annoyed with somebody (according to traditions, his wife) and sworn to beat him or her by giving so many stripes. When Allah restored him to health and the anger of the illness was gone, he became worried as how to fulfill the oath. For if he carried out the oath, he would be inflicting pain on an innocent person, and if he did not, he would be committing the sin of breaking the oath. Allah took him out of the difficult situation by the Command: "Take a broom containing as many sticks of straw as the number of the stripes you had sworn to give;then strike the person just once with the broom so as both to fulfill your oath and to avoid giving undue trouble to the person concerned."

Some jurists hold the view that this concession was specially meant for the Prophet Job, and some others think that other people also can take advantage of it. The first view has been cited by Ibn 'Asakir from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas and by Abu Bakr al-Jassas from Mujahid, and Imam Malik also held the same view. The second view has been adopted by Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam Shafe' i. They say that if a person, for instance, has sworn to give his servant ten stripes, and afterwards combines ten whips and strikes him only once in a way that some part of each whip strikes him, his oath will be fulfilled.

Several Ahadith show that the Holy Prophet, in order to inflict the prescribed punishment on a fornicator who was too ill or too weak to receive a hundred stripes, also adopted the method taught in this verse. 'Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas has related a tradition on the authority of Hadrat Said bin Sa'd bin 'Ubadah to the effect that a person from the tribe of Bani Sa`idah happened to commit fornication, and he was a sick man and a mere skeleton. Thereupon the Holy Prophet commanded: "Take a branch of the palm tree with a hundred twigs on it and strike him therewith once and for all. " (Ahkam al Qur 'an). In Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Tabarani, 'Abdur Razzaq and other collections of Hadith also there are several Ahadith supporting it, which conclusively proves that the Holy Prophet had devised this very method for inflicting the prescribed punishment on a sick or weak person. However, the jurists lay the condition that some part of every twig or piece of straw must strike the culprit, and even if only one stroke, it must also hurt the culprit; that is, it is not enough just to touch him but he must be struck with it.

Here the question also arises that if a person has sworn to do something and afterwards he comes to know that it is improper, then what should he do? Then is a tradition from the Holy Prophet to the effect that in such a case one should do only that which is better, and the same is the atonement for the oath. Another tradition from him says that one should do something good instead of the improper thing and should atone for his oath. This verse supports this second tradition, for if keeping oneself from an improper thing had been the atonement for the oath, Allah would not have told the Prophet Job to strike the broom once and fulfill his oath, but would have said: "Do not do this improper thing, and your restraint itself is the atonement for your oath."

This verse also shows that it is not necessary to carry out immediately what one has sworn to do. The Prophet Job had sworn an oath in the state of illness, and fulfilled it after complete recovery, and not immediately even after the recovery.

Some people have regarded this verse as an argument for practicing pretense under the Shari'ah. No doubt it was a pretense which the Prophet Job had been taught but it had been taught not for evading anything obligatory but for avoiding an evil. Therefore, in the Shari 'ah those pretenses only are lawful, which are adopted to remove injustice and. sin and evil from one's own self or from another person, otherwise practice of pretense is highly sinful if it is employed for the purpose of making the unlawful lawful, or evading the obligatory duties and righteous acts. For a person who practices pretense for such impious objects, in fact, tries to deceive God. For example, a person who transfers his wealth to another before the completion of a year on it, only for the purpose of evading payment of the Zakat on it, not only evades an obligatory duty, but also thinks that Allah will get deceived by this trickery and will consider him as relieved of his duty. The jurists who have mentioned such pretenses in their books, do not mean that one should practice them in order to evade the Shari ah obligations, but they mean to point out that a judge or ruler cannot take to task a person who escapes the consequences of a sin under a legal cover for his affair is with Allah.

The Prophet Job has been mentioned in this context to impress the reader that when the righteous servants of Allah are afflicted with hardships and calamities, they do not complain of their distress to Allah but endure the tests and trials set by Him patiently and invoke only Him for help. They do not despair of God and do not turn to others for help if their distress is not removed after making invocations to God for some time, but they believe that whatever they will get, they will get only from Allah. Therefore, they remain hopeful of His mercy, no matter how long they might have to suffer the distress. That is why they arc honored and blessed with the favors and bounties with which the Prophet Job was honored and blessed in his life. So much so that if they get involved in a moral dilemma due to a state of agitation, Allah shows them a way out of it- in order to save them from evil, as He showed a way to the Prophet Job.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(And (it was said unto him): Take in thine hand) O Job (a branch) of 100 spikes of grain (and smite therewith) and smite with it your wife, Rahmah the daughter of the Prophet Joseph, (and break not thine oath) this is because he vowed before that if Allah were to cure him, he would flog his wife 100 lashes because she said something which did not please Allah. (Lo! We found him steadfast) in trial, (how excellent a slave! Lo! he was ever turning in repentance (to his Lord)) he is ever obedient to Allah and betaking himself to Allah's obedience.