The story of Prophet Yunus (Jonah) is one of the most iconic stories in the Quran. Its importance is reflected by the fact that Allah (SWT) mentions it in Surah as Saaffaat, Surah al Anbiya, and Surah Yunus. What lessons are we meant to draw from the tale of Prophet Yunus?
- Anger is Punishable!
In this story, Yunus (Jonah) was living in Ninevah, in Northern Iraq, and had been ordered by Allah (SWT) to teach the people to worship one God and repent for their previous sins. However the people refused to acknowledge Prophet Yunus’ message, and continued in their evil ways.
After experiencing immense frustration and hurt, Yunus left Ninevah in anger.
However, after he left, the people recognised their mistake, repented and Allah (SWT) forgave them.
Was there any town that believed (after seeing the punishment), and its faith saved it Except the people of Yunus; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while. (Surah Yunus, 10:98).
The people of Ninevah even went out into the desert searching for Prophet Yunus (AS), to tell him the good news, but they were too late; he was already aboard a ship, out on the ocean.
Allah tells us, about the anger of Prophet Yunus in the Quran:
“and (he) imagined that We shall not punish him!”
Indeed Allah (SWT) did punish Prophet Yunus (AS), by sending a storm like no other!
- Trust in the decree of Allah
The men on the ship, terrified of being over-turned by the waves, began throwing everything overboard, however it was not enough. They decided amongst themselves that one of the men would be thrown over. They drew lots three times, and each time Prophet Yunus was chosen to be thrown into the sea. The crew did not want to throw him in, but Prophet Yunus, recognizing that this was the decree of Allah (SWT), jumped overboard. He put his trust in Allah (SWT).
At that moment, Allah (SWT) sent a great fish to Yunus (AS), and ordered the fish to swallow him whole, without harming him.
Inside the belly of the fish, Prophet Yunus sat in darkness, reflecting. Realizing the mistake he had made, he called out to Allah:
“… he cried through the depths of darkness (saying): “There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”(Surah Al Anbiya, 21:87)
Jonah continued to repent for three days inside the fish, trusting in the Will of Allah. He did not panic and lament his misfortune. Instead he put his trust in the Divine and spent his time in dhikr and seeking forgiveness, until Allah ordered the fish to release him.
“So `We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. (This means that `We brought him forth from the belly of the fish and from that darkness.’)”
“And thus We do deliver (save) the believers.” (Al Anbiya 21:87)
Allah tells us in the Quran that if Prophet Yunus had not repented, he would have remained in the belly of the fish until the day of Resurrection!
- The Power of Du’a
The du’a, said by Prophet Yunus,inside the fish, is one of the most well-known du’as in the Quran:
“There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
The Prophet is reported to have said about this du’a:
“No Muslim ever prays to his Lord with these words for anything, but He will answer his prayer.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Subhanullah! Learn this du’a and teach it to your children!
What lessons have you learnt from the story of Prophet Yunus (AS)?
Have you taught your children this story?
Do you have a personal story, about the power of duaa that you can share with us?