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The Patience of Job, the Patience of Jacob, and the Patience of Noah

The Patience of Job, the Patience of Jacob, and the Patience of Noah


Published in May 1, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


Firstly: the patience of Job:

1- The fame and renown of the patience of Job surpassed the patience of other prophets/messengers of the Lord God within the collective memory in many human cultures. We know from the Quran that Job implored His Lord to be cured and his family members returned back to him; they deserted him during his plight, and after he was cured miraculously by the mercy of the Lord God, God restored to him his wife, progeny, and relatives: "And Job, when he cried out to his Lord: "Great harm has afflicted me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful." So We answered him, lifted his suffering, and restored his family to him, and their like with them - a mercy from Us, and a reminder for the worshipers." (21:83-84).  

2- Apart from his many ailments that drove his wife, progeny, and relatives to desert him, Job suffered from the whispers of Satan who urged him to disbelieve in the Lord God; Job sought refuge in His Lord God and He bestowed cure on him. Apparently, Job, during his mental anguish and physical pains, might have sworn to beat his wife many times for deserting him, but God has interfered and told him to beat her one time only using a bundle of dried leaves: "And mention Our servant Job, when he called out to his Lord, "Satan has afflicted me with hardship and pain." "Stamp with your foot - here is cool water to wash with, and to drink." And We restored his family for him, and their like with them; as a mercy from Us, and a lesson for those who possess insight. "Take with your hand a bundle, and strike with it, and do not break your oath." We found him patient. What an excellent servant! He was obedient." (38:41-44).

3- We quote the following from the KJV Old Testament's Book of Job, chapter 2, verses 7, 8, 9, and 10: (So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.).  


Secondly: the patience of Jacob:

1- Joseph told his father, Jacob / Israel, about his dream/vision, and he knew that his son will be a prophet and he feared that the rest of his sons might plot a scheme against Joseph (see 12:4-6).

2- The fears of Jacob were true; his sons schemed against Joseph to get rid of him so that he would vanish out of sight; Jacob was told by the Lord God that they throe Joseph in an empty water-well (see 12:15-17). Jacob was very patient as he lost his son, Joseph, and heard the lies of his sons, and he implored God to grant him patience: "And they brought his shirt, with fake blood on it. He said, "Your souls enticed you to do something. But patience is commendable, and God will help me against what you describe."" (12:18)

3- Years passed until Joseph became the Potiphar of Egypt; when famine struck all areas except Egypt, he saw his brothers coming to buy victuals (or wheat) and Joseph told them to bring their youngest brother. When Joseph retained this youngest brother in his palace within a ploy (by feigning his being accused of stealing), the brothers returned to Jacob to tell him how they lost their youngest brother. Jacob bore patiently with this new shock and he wept again over Joseph, as patience did not prevent deep sorrow, and weeping made Jacob went blind, and his sons rebuked him severely: "He said, "Rather, your souls have contrived something for you. Patience is a virtue. Perhaps God will bring them all back to me. He is the Knowing, the Wise." Then he turned away from them, and said, "O my bitterness for Joseph!" And his eyes turned white from sorrow, and he became depressed. They said, "By God, you will not stop remembering Joseph, until you have ruined your health, or you have passed away."" (12:83-85). As a very patient believer, Jacob told them the following while telling them that they must look for Joseph and the youngest brother: "He said, "I only complain of my grief and sorrow to God, and I know from God what you do not know." "O my sons, go and inquire about Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of God's mercy. None despairs of God's mercy except the disbelieving people."" (12:86-87).

4- The outcome of patience was very good, as Jacob was reunited with all his sons in Egypt, and they lived in prosperity and safety in Egypt and begot the progeny that came to be known as the Israelite tribes.

5- When the Hyksos were defeated and expelled out of Egypt, the regime change brought the Ramses dynasty to power within a centralized military regime; one unnamed Pharaoh (who was Moses' Pharaoh) persecuted the Israelites severely and they were enslaved; they bore patiently with their sons being killed and their daughters enslaved. Later on, God has destroyed Pharaoh and his people and regime; the Israelites inherited Egypt (temporarily before heading to the Promised Land as per God's commands) as a reward for their patience and faith; the firm believers among them (after the death of Moses) were pious leaders/imams who followed the footsteps of their ancestor Jacob/Israel in terms of piety, patience, and faith: "And We made the oppressed people inherit the eastern and western parts of the land, which We had blessed. Thus the fair promise of your Lord to the Israelites was fulfilled, because of their endurance. And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had built, and what they had harvested." (7:137); "And We appointed leaders from among them, guiding by Our command, as long as they persevered within patience and were certain of Our Verses. " (32:24).  

6- This patience of Jacob that lasted for several years is often forgotten because of the patience of Job which is still remembered within the collective memory.


Thirdly: the patience of Noah:

1- Noah was patient during the 950 years of his ministry as a prophet; most of his people were unjust disbelievers who adhered to their polytheism/disbelief: "We sent Noah to his people, and He stayed among them for a thousand years minus fifty years. Then the Deluge swept them; for they were unjust ones." (29:14).

2- Noah was patient for 950 years as he saw that most of his people, one generation after the other, were disbelievers who rejected the monotheistic faith of (There is no God but Allah) and who specialized in misguiding others and in begetting misguided progeny. In his despair, Noah invoked his Lord God to wipe them out of the surface of the earth: "Noah said, "My Lord, do not leave of the unbelievers a single dweller on earth. If You leave them, they will mislead your servants, and will breed only wicked unbelievers." (71:26-27).

3- This was not easy for Noah; yet, we should bear in mind that they slandered, ridiculed, mocked, vilified, reproached, and verbally abused him; they even accused him of being a madman; they caused him harm with their hands and tongues, and he felt helpless and implored His Lord God to grant him help and victory: "Before them the people of Noah disbelieved. They rejected Our servant, and said, "Crazy," and he was rebuked. So he appealed to his Lord, "I am overwhelmed, so help me."" (54:9-10). God has answered the prayers of the patient, pious prophet and the deluge/flood destroyed the unjust disbelievers as a revenge imposed on them by God: "So We opened the floodgates of heaven with water pouring down. And We made the earth burst with springs, and the waters met for a purpose already destined. And We carried him on a craft of planks and nails. Sailing before Our eyes; and [the deluge] was the reward for those who disbelieved." (54:11-14).

4- This patience of Noah that lasted for 950 years is often forgotten because of the patience of Job which is still remembered within the collective memory.


Fourthly: the patience of the Egyptian nation:

1- The Egyptian nation is unparalleled within the domain of living within patience that lasted for centuries; the Egyptians, since millennia, have been passively patient with thousands of rulers/pharaohs and Egyptian and non-Egyptian tyrants – until now. The Egyptian nation has several proverbs (in colloquial Arabic and classical Arabic) that encourage people to adhere to patience as a commendable virtue all the time; these proverbs include the character of Job as an exemplary role-model in bearing patiently with the most despicable and deplorable conditions and the loss of good health and all one's possessions.      

2- The Egyptian nation has woven from the Pharaonic heritage and from the millennia-old suffering the folktale of a fictional character named Job the Egyptian (or Ayoub Al-Masry), which has nothing to do with Job in the Bible and Job in the Quran. Job the Egyptian is a poor husband who suffered many ailments until he became a mere living corpse that breathed and worms ate some of his flesh, but his faithful wife (named in the folktale as Na'asa) bore patiently with the plight of her husband and never succumbed to the temptations of an evil man who endlessly tried to seduce her. Of course, part of this folktale is derived from the Pharaonic myth of the goddess Isis (worshiped in Arabia as Uzza; see 53:19) and her  husband, the god Osiris (worshiped as Osir by some Jews of Arabia; see 9:30). In the Pharaonic mythology, Isis stood against the wiles and schemes of the god Seth who killed his brother, Osiris, and she gathered the dismembered body parts of her husband and revived him and brought him back to live with her magical powers (but Osiris became the god of death and the judge of dead souls in the underworld), and her son, the god Horus (or Hor), fought and killed the evil god Seth to avenge his father.   

3- The late Egyptian writer and researcher, Zachariah Al-Hegawi (1915 - 1975), who is the pioneer of folk literature, revived the character of Job the Egyptian within the Egyptian collective memory, and he authored a radio lyrical dramatic piece titled (Job the Egyptian); Al-Hegawi helped many unknown artists (singers and actors) in rural areas to get famous in Egypt as he brought them to Cairo to work on TV, radio, and theatre shows and he trained them; one of them was the female singer Khadra M. Khedr, who later on became his wife. She was known mostly for her singing the poem of her husband about Job the Egyptian:

The Vicissitudes of Time and many ordeals have assailed Ayoub!

And his wife, his paternal uncle's daughter, was very patient with him!

4- We have recently watched on YouTube a video that caused pains to us; it tells the story of an impecunious Egyptian wife who was very patient within the severe ailment of her husband which has lasted for years until now; she kept saying that she still loves her dear husband very much and that she takes pride in his being the father of her dear children. We tend to think that the Ethiopian dam which is being built on the River Nile will bring bad news for Egypt; the Egyptians might suffer famine and thirst. We pose this question about Job the Egyptian and his legendary patience: when will his passive patience turn into a positive type of patience? God says the following about the traits and descriptions of the pious, truthful ones: "...and patiently persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and in the time of conflict..." (2:177). 

5- We fear that one day, the free people in Egypt might say: "Our Lord! Bring us out of it. If we ever returned, we would truly be unjust ones." (23:107).

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