Prophet Yunus (PBUH)
of Yunus's People
(Yunus) also known as Dhan-Nun. About his people Almighty
Allah said: Was there any town (community) that believed
(after seeing the punishment), and its Faith (at that
moment) saved it (from the punishment)? (The answer
is none,) - except the people of Yunus; when they believed,
We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the
life of the (present) world, and permitted them to enjoy
for a while. Surah 10: 98
inhabitants of the town of Nineveh were idolators who
lived a shameless life. Prophet Yunus was sent to teach
them the worship of Allah. The people disliked his interference
in their way of worship, so they argued: "We and our
forefathers have worshipped these gods for many years
and no harm has come to us."
Leaves His People
as he might to convince them of the foolishness of idolatry
and of the goodness of Allah's laws, they ignored him.
He warned them that if they kept on with their foolishness,
Allah's punishment would soon follow. Instead of fearing
Allah, they told Yunus that they were not afraid of
his threats. "Let it happen," they told him. Yunus was
disheartened. "In that case I will leave you to your
misery!" So saying, he left Nineveh, fearing that Allah's
anger would soon follow. And (remember) Dhan-Nun (Yunus),
when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall
not punish him (i.e., the calamities which had befallen
him)! Surah 21:87
People are Forgiven
had he left the city when the skies began to change
color and looked as if they were on fire. The people
were filled with fear by this sight. They recalled the
destruction of the people of 'Ad, Thamud and Noah. Was
theirs to be a similar fate? Slowly faith penetrated
their hearts. They all gathered on the mountain and
started to beseech Allah for His mercy and forgiveness.
The mountains echoed with their cries. It was a momentous
hour, filled with sincere repentance.
removed His wrath and showered His blessings upon them
once again. When the threatening storm was lifted, they
prayed for the return of Yunus so that he could guide
Storm at Sea
Yunus had boarded a small ship in the company of other
passengers. It sailed all day in calm waters with a
good wind blowing at the sails. When night came, the
sea suddenly changed. A horrible storm blew as if it
were going to split the ship into pieces. The waves
looked wild. They rose up as high as mountains then
plunged down like valleys, tossing the ship and sweeping
over the deck.
the ship, a large whale was splitting the water and
opening its mouth. A command had been issued from Almighty
Allah to one of the greatest whales of the sea to surface.
It obeyed. The whale hurried to the surface of the sea
and followed the ship as it had been commanded.
tempest continued and the chief crewman asked the crew
to lighten the ship's heavy load. They threw their baggage
overboard, but this was not enough. Their safety lay
in reducing the weight further, so they decided among
themselves to lighten their load by removing at least
Jumps into the Sea
captain directed: "We will make lots with all the travelers'
names. The one whose name is drawn will be thrown into
the sea." Yunus knew this was one of the seamen's traditions
when facing a tempest. It was a strange polytheistic
tradition, but it was practiced at that time. Yunus's
affliction and crisis began.
was the prophet, subjected to polytheistic rules that
considered the sea and the wind to have gods that riot.
The captain had to please these gods. Yunus reluctantly
participated in the lot, and his name was added to the
other travelers' names. The lot was drawn and "Yunus"
they knew him to be the most honorable among them, they
did not wish to throw him into the angry sea. Therefore,
they decided to draw a second lot. Again Yunus's name
was drawn. They gave him a final chance and drew a third
lot. Unfortunately for Yunus, his name came up again.
realized that Allah's hand was in all this, for he had
abandoned his mission without Allah's consent. The matter
was over, and it was decided that Yunus should throw
himself into the water. Yunus stood at the edge of the
ship, looking at the furious sea. It was night and there
was no moon. The stars were hidden behind a black fog.
But before he could be thrown overboard, Yunus kept
mentioning Allah's name as he jumped into the raging
sea and disappeared beneath the huge waves.
Whale Swallows Yunus
whale found Yunus floating on the waves before it. It
swallowed Yunus into its furious stomach and shut its
ivory teeth on him as if they were white bolts locking
the door of his prison. The whale dived to the bottom
of the sea, the sea that runs in the abyss of darkness.
layers of darkness enveloped him, one above the other:
the darkness of the whale's stomach, the darkness of
the bottom of the sea, the darkness of the night. Yunus
imagined himself to be dead, but his senses became alert
when he found he could move. He knew that he was alive
and imprisoned in the midst of three layers of darkness.
His heart was moved by remembering Allah. His tongue
was released soon after saying: "La ilaha illa Anta
(none has the right to be worshipped but You (0, Allah),
Glorified (and Exalted) be You above all that (evil)
they associate with You. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers."
continued praying to Allah, repeating this invocation.
Fishes, whales, sea-weeds, and all the creatures that
lived in the sea heard the voice of Yunus praying, heard
the celebration of Allah's praises issuing from the
whale's stomach. All these creatures gathered around
the whale and began to celebrate the praises of Allah
in their turn, each in its own way and in its own language.
whale also participated in celebrating the praises of
Allah and understood that it had swallowed a prophet.
Therefore it felt afraid; however, it said to itself:
"Why should I be afraid? Allah commanded me to swallow
Almighty saw the sincere repentance of Yunus and heard
his invocation in the whale's stomach. Allah commanded
the whale to surface and eject Yunus onto an island.
The whale obeyed and swam to the farthest side of the
ocean. Allah commanded it to rise towards the warm,
refreshing sun and the pleasant earth.
whale ejected Yunus onto a remote island. His body was
inflamed because of the acids inside the whale's stomach.
He was ill, and when the sun rose, its rays burned his
inflamed body so that he was on the verge of screaming
for the pain. However, he endured the pain and continued
to repeat his invocation to Allah.
Allah caused a vine to grow to considerable length over
him for protection. Then Allah Exalted caused Yunus
to recover and forgave him. Allah told Yunus that if
it had not been for his praying to Him, he would have
stayed in the whale's stomach till the Day of Judgment.
of Yunus's Story
Allah recounted: And, verily, Yunus was one of the Messengers.
When he ran to the laden ship, he (agreed to) cast lots,
and he was among the losers, - Then a (big) fish swallowed
him and he had done an act worthy of blame. Had he not
been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed
remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of
Resurrection. But We cast him forth on the naked shore
while he was sick, and We caused a plant of gourd to
grow over him. And We sent him to a hundred thousand
(people) or even more. And they believed; so We gave
them enjoyment for a while. Surah 37: 139-148
People - Changed
he regained his strength and found his way to his hometown,
Nineveh. He was pleasantly surprised to notice the change
that had taken place there. The entire population turned
out to welcome him. They informed him that they had
turned to believe in Allah. Together they led a prayer
of thanksgiving to their Merciful Lord.
Muhammad's Saying About Yunus (PBUT) Ibn 'Abbas narrated:
"The prophet Muhammad said: 'One should not say that
I am better than Yunus Ibn Matta."