The Story of Yunus (as)
By, Sohail Temoor
Disaster Can Always Be Avoided
Prophets are sent with different duties and unique challenges, of which the underlying mission is to establish the oneness of God. However, each Prophet has their own share of miracles that we can learn valuable lessons from. One such prophet is Hazrat Yunus(as), whose miraculous story astonishes readers to this day and teaches us valuable lessons such as patience, perseverance, and the power of prayers.
Prophet Yunus bin Matta (peace be upon him) – also referred to as Jonah, was sent by Allāh to the people of Nineveh, a town in the area of Mawsil in northern Iraq. He preached the oneness of God, but the people of Nineveh chose to disbelieve in what he said and chose to live their old idolatrous ways. Disappointed in the people’s inability to absorb the true message, Prophet Yunus(as) left them in anger, prophesying Divine punishment after three days.
Prophet Yunus, after leaving his people, went on to board a ship which was caught up in a storm and its people worried, and
thought they would drown. In such a desperate situation when the ship was being pounded by waves on all sides, and they were at the risk of drowning, they drew lots to decide to throw someone out the ship in an effort to lighten the load. The Prophet of Allāh, Yunus (peace be upon him), lost the draw three times. He ended up having to throw himself off the ship and into a strongly waving ocean. After he threw himself into the sea, Allāh sent from the Green Sea a large whale which swam through the ocean until it came and swallowed Hazrat Yunus. When in the belly of the fish, Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) called out to Allāh: “… he cried through the depths of darkness (saying): “There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
“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).
This clearly shows that when we are in a difficult or distressful situation and turn to Allāh and call upon Him with sincere repentance, especially with these words, Allāh responds to our call. Prophet Muhammad(sa) also encouraged us to call upon Allāh with these words. Allāh accepted the supplication of Prophet Yunus(as), and cast him on the shore where He protected him. Allāh the Exalted forgave him for leaving his people without waiting for Allāh’s instruction. He specifically prayed that, “There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
Allāh also made it known that had it not been for the sincere repentance of Hazrat Yunus(as), he would have stayed in the whale’s stomach till the Day of Judgment! The Qur’ān says:“Had he not been of them who glorify Allāh, He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.” (Surah As-Saffaat, 143-144) .
We learn from this story that not only should we be patient in all matters of our life, but we should repent to Allāh often and constantly remember Him and say His praises as that can help save us from the tough situations in life. And we should never underestimate the value of prayers. The Khalifa of our time, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aa) has stated time and time again that prayers are our best weapon to achieve our goals, and we must perform them continuously to be successful in life!