Sayyidina Ayyub, 'alayhis-salam, was a descendant of Sayyinda Ibrahim, 'alayhis-salam. He was the son of Mus ibn Razih ibn Al-'Ays ibn Ishaq ibn Ibrahim. He was a Prophet on whon revelation descended from Allah as is evident from the Qur'an:
"Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]."
The Qur'an tells us about him in the following verses:
"And [mention] Job, when he called to his Lord, 'Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.' So We responded to him and removed what afflicted him of adversity. And We gave him [back] his family and the like thereof with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for the worshippers [of Allah ]."
"And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord, 'Indeed, Satan has touched me with hardship and torment.' [So he was told], 'Strike [the ground] with your foot; this is a [spring for] a cool bath and drink.' And We granted him his family and a like [number] with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for those of understanding. [We said], 'And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath.' Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah ]."
Sayyidina Ayyub was a wealthy man. His wealth comprised many kinds of property like cattle, sheep and a retine of slaves. He also possessed vast pieces of land.
He had many children and a large family. But all of those things were siezed from him and his body was inflicted with different kinds of diseases so that not one of his limbs was sound except for his heart and his tonge by which he used to remember Allah. Yet he saw these hardships with patience and perserverance. He remembered Allah and mentioned Him devotedly at night and during day, in the morning and in the evening.
His illness multiplied and prolonged so long that friends and relatives parted with him. He was exiled from his city into the wilderness outside of it and away from habitation. Only his wife tended to him whilst everyone else kept themselves away. She nursed him and gave him his rights remembering his kindness to her in earlier times. She helped him even when he had to answer nature's call. Soon she had to a earn a living and she worked for it so that she could feed him in his weakness. May Allah be pleased with her and bless her.
She was patient with him over what had happened in their loss of property and children, with what had happened to her in affliction over her husband and the tightening of their financial position, and in her need to work for other people after the easy and comfortable life they had been used to. Surely we belong to Allah and to Him is our return!
It is affirmed in a hadith that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said when asked which people are the most severely tested:
"The Prophets then those nearest to them then those nearest to them. A man is tried according to his religion; if he is firm in his religion, then his trials are more severe, and if he is frail in his religion, then he is tried according to the strength of his religion. The servant shall continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sins."
However, all the trials and hardships that Sayyidina Ayyub went through did not but increase him in patience and gratitude towards Allah. His patience became proverbial and even his affliction was cited as an example.
There are different opinions on how long he suffered but (we know) it lasted untikl he was like a skeleton. His wife once said to him, "O Ayyub! Perhaps you should pray to your Lord to give you relief?" He answered, "I lived happily for seventy years in sound health. Is it now wrong that I show patience for the sake of Allah for another seventy years?" So she contined to work for other people and tend to Ayyub. Howver the people stopped employing her because they feared she might carry on to them some part of the disease of Sayyidina Ayyub. When that happened she sold part of her hair to some ladies and bought some excellent food for her husband. He asked her how she got it and she answered that she had been in the service of some people. The next day she did the same thing and he refused to eat it until she told him how she got it. She uncovered her head and when he saw that it was shaved he turned to Allah and said, "'Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.'"
Ibn Abi Hatim has transmitted a tradition narrated by 'Abdullah ibn Ubayd ibn Umayr:
He said that Ayyub had two brothers. They came to him one day but did not go near to him because of the repulsive smell emanating from him. One them said, "If Allah had known any good in him He would not have afflicted him like that." Ayyub became more angry than he had ever before. He said, "O Allah, if You agree that I have never spent a night satiated if I knew anyone who was hungry then confirm that for me." A voice from the sky confirmed it and they heard it. He then said, "If you know that I never had clothes on me until I clothed those who had none confirm that for me." A voice from the heavens affirmed that and they heard it. He then prostrated saying, "O Allah, with Your honour I will not raise my head until You cure me." Whilst in prostration his affliction was removed.