Hz. Ayyub (Job) promised to flog his wife one hundred times after he got well due to a mistake she made. How can this be explained?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The reason for the vow of Hz. Ayyub to beat his wife is not mentioned in the verse.   
The verses related to the issue are as follows:

"Commemorate Our Servant Job. Behold he cried to his Lord: ‘The Evil One has afflicted me with distress and suffering!’ (The command was given:) ‘Strike with thy foot: here is (water) wherein to wash, cool and refreshing, and (water) to drink.’ And We gave him (back) his people, and doubled their number,- as a Grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration, for all who have Understanding. ‘And take in thy hand a little grass, and strike therewith: and break not (thy oath).’ Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us).” (Sad, 38/41-44)

The most widespread possibility put forward regarding the issue is that Hz. Ayyub (Job) vowed to flog his wife one hundred times. If this view is true, Hz. Ayyub is shown a way of fulfilling his vow in a way that will not injure his wife, who took care of him during his illness and showed great patience. Thus, a lesson of loyalty, fidelity, compassion and elegance is given. 

The reason is explained differently in the Islamic resources. It is possible to summarize an acceptable reason among them as follows:

His wife had left home to do something but did not return on time and was quite late. An anger caused by the lack of service expected by a seriously ill person caused Hz. Ayyub to make such a vow. However, Hz. Ayyub regretted and felt disturbed due to such a vow he made as a result of a sudden resentment; thus, his Merciful Lord showed him a way out and his wife a favor by saying,

“And take in thy hand a little grass, and strike therewith: and break not (thy oath).”

He ordered Hz. Ayyub to make a bunch from one hundred ears of grain or from one hundred leaves of date palm. Allah told him to do so due to His mercy toward him and due to the nice service of his wife to him when he was seriously ill.

Ibn Kathir states the following regarding the issue: "This was a way out and a solution for those who fear Allah and obey Him. This solution was found especially for his patient, long-suffering, loyal, honest and kindhearted wife. Allah explains the reason for this permission and solution as follows: "Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)." Allah indicates in this verse that an attitude originating from a moment of anger and the consequent regret is far from harming his patience, which is his real characteristic."

Some fiqh scholars state that such a method is peculiar to Hz. Ayyub only while other scholars say that others can benefit from this opportunity. Ibn Asakir reports the first view from Ibn Abbas and al-Jassas from Mujahid. Ibn Malik also holds the same view.

The other opinion was put forward by Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam Shafii. According to them, for example, when someone vows to flog his servant ten times, if he puts ten sticks together and hits him once, he is regarded to have fulfilled his vow. It is also understood from this verse that a person who makes a vow does not have to fulfill his vow immediately. For, the Prophet Ayyub made a vow when he was sick and did not fulfill his vow immediately when he got well.    

The loyal wife of Hz. Ayyub probably felt proud because of the special application Allah offered her, let alone being hurt. The explanation of such an event in the Quran is also a favor for her. Allah made it clear that she was innocent and sinless and showed a way out to Hz. Ayyub, who was a symbol of patience.

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