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A Prophet from Mosul

The turning point in that conversation was when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him) related to the name of Nineveh, which is a village in the area known today as MOSUL. It was a discussion starter that brought up memories and images in both `Addas’ minds and of course in Prophet Muhammad’s.

He took shelter in that beautiful garden, trying to escape the persecution of the Thaqif tribe. He was hoping that they accept the message of God, after their rival tribe – Quraish – insisted on their disbelief.

Not only they rejected him, but the chieftains of Thaqif ordered their slaves and riffraff to stone him and expel him out of their city in the most humiliating way. It was the most difficult day in the life of Prophet Muhammad, but even in the darkest moments of the night, there was an always small glimpse of hope and light.

The only believer in the City

A young slave with the name of `Addas came to him with grapes. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Bismillah and started eating.

`Addas was mesmerized by the word, as he’s not used to hear the pagans of Arabia mention the name of God alone. Then the beautiful conversation started:

– Where are you from, `Addas? And what is your religion?

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– From the village of Nineveh, and I believe in Christianity.

– You must be from the city of the righteous man, Yunus the son of Matta (peace and blessings be upon him).

– How do you know about Yunus (Jonah), the son of Matta?

– He is my brother, He is a Prophet, and I am also a Prophet

`Addas was filled with emotions! He started kissing the feet of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon Him), the same feet that are still bleeding due to the stoning and torture from the tribe of Thaqif.

This was the only reported incident of someone kissing the blessed feet of the most blessed of men, as though Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala wanted to send a gentle reminder that He did not leave His beloved Prophet alone, but a price has to be paid for this message to be spread!

The scene concluded with `Addas believing in Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon Him), as the final Messenger of God, and being the only one who embraced Islam on that day.

 Different Images in our Minds 

The turning point in that conversation was when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him) related to the name of Nineveh, which is a village in the area known today as MOSUL. It was a discussion starter that brought up memories and images in both `Addas’ minds and of course in Prophet Muhammad’s.

Nowadays when we hear the name “Mosul” or search for it on google, tons of bloody images of the unfortunate civil war in Iraq come up: the lives that are lost; the different sectarian groups fighting there; the refugees fleeing for their lives; the international players feeding the fire for their own interests.

Lessons from the story of Prophet Yunus

My purpose in this article is to draw some attention – when hearing about Mosul – to its bright history and significance in the Islamic literature. This is not escapism from our present, but rather an attempt to get some positive vibes in a sea of negativity. Believers are not supposed to drug themselves with history and sleep on it, but rather get the energy and the guidance to change their present. The story of Prophet Yunus carries the following positive messages:

1. Patience and Perseverance

Work hard, plan harder, and have a laser focus on your mission and your goals. Never stop what you’re doing for lack of visible results! Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala commanded his prophet to be Patient and not give up the message as prophet Yunus did:

{[Prophet,] Wait patiently for your Lord’s judgment: do not be like the man in the whale who called out in distress.

If his Lord’s grace had not reached him, he would have been left, abandoned and blameworthy, on the barren shore; but his Lord chose him and made him one of the Righteous.} (Al-Qalam: 68:48-50)

2. The inevitable victory

Don’t lose hope in Allah. Trust Him and rest assure that He can / will change the situation to the better; Yunus was the only Prophet who left his community before being commanded to do so.

On the other hand, Nineveh was the only nation mentioned in the Qur’an that did not receive punishment from God due to their disbelief, because they ended up believing in Allah before it was too late.  Allah says:

{If only a single town had believed and benefited from its belief! Only Jonah’s people did so, and when they believed, We relieved them of the punishment of disgrace in the life of this world, and let them enjoy life for a time} (Yunus 10:98)

3. A desperate call

In times of difficulty, connect yourself to Allah SWT and express your humility and your need to His divine support.

{And remember the man with the whale, when he went off angrily, thinking We would not restrict him, but then he cried out in the deep darkness, ‘There is no God but You, glory be to You, I was wrong.’

We answered him and saved him from distress: this is how We save the faithful.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:87-88)

Yunus made his supplication in three layers of darkness: in the stomach of the whale, in the deep level of the sea, in the dark night.

Allah Almighty heard his supplication and responded to him. How can we have doubt that Allah hears our du`aa’ and answers our prayers?

4. Consistency in your Worship

Muslims are expected to worship Allah on a full-time basis; Don’t be one of those who only remember to pray before exams, when applying for a job, or when they fall sick. As narrated by tirmidhi:

“Recognize and acknowledge Allah at times of ease, He will remember you at times of difficulty.”

Allah told us that the key to Prophet Yunus’ saving was his consistency in worship:

{If he had not been one of those who glorified God, he would have stayed in its belly until the Day when all are raised up} (As-Safat 37:143-144)

It is narrated that when the angels heard the supplication of Yunus, they started saying: “this is a familiar voice that we can recognize, coming from a very unfamiliar location”. We need to keep our voices known to the angels and our supplications knocking the doors of the heavens.

Merging the Two Scenes

The story of Prophet Yunus – in addition to the destitute situation in many other Muslim countries –invites us to increase our worship, our hope, and our supplication to God. It encourages us to stay focused in our lives while increasing our involvement, activism, and donation for the needy and the oppressed.

Please take a moment after reading this article to share the story of Mosul, reflect on its history, pray for its people, and plan your next community service event for any cause that you believe is worthy of your attention.

About Dr. Mohannad Hakeem
Mohannad Hakeem, Ph.D. Research Engineer - Engine Controls Research and Innovation Center Ford Motor Company