Allah's Mercy: The Story of Prophet Yunus

Dina Essawy

19 Jan 2018

Allah's mercy will always be there to remind you that you are never alone. One of the most iconic stories in the Holy Quran is that of Prophet Yunus. Not only was his story mentioned four times in the holy book, but it has long been used as a method of instruction on the importance of repentance and seeking Allah's mercy in the most dire of circumstances.

Like his predecessors, Yunus was instructed by Allah to teach his people to worship one God, seek forgiveness for their previous sins, and start living a life of piety. Also, like his predecessors, the people refused to listen, causing Prophet Yunus to leave his hometown of which was reported to be named Ninevah.

Soon after, the people of Ninevah began to witness the signs of God’s wrath. The color of the sky suddenly changed, turning red. Fear struck their hearts, especially as they recalled what had befallen the people of 'Ad and Thamud. Only then, did they believe in the words of Prophet Yunus and repented for their misdeeds.

Since their repentance was genuine and heartfelt, by Allah’s mercy, they were forgiven.

Unfortunately, Prophet Yunus had already boarded a ship when a very strong storm struck the ship and the strong waves threatened to blow it into pieces. Allah commanded a large whale to appear on the surface just as the shipmates decided that at least one person has to jump overboard in order to lighten the load. They decided to draw straws to see who among them would be abandoned. Prophet Yunus’ name was drawn thrice. Realizing that it was the will of Allah, he jumped into the turbulent sea while speaking Allah’s name throughout his ordeal.

To further test his will, endurance and faith, Allah commanded the large whale to swallow Prophet Yunus without causing him any harm. However, he believed that he had woken up in his grave due to the endless darkness inside the whale.

Not giving up, he humbly sent his supplications to Allah, "There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers." [Al-Anbya, 87]. He realized that he had been mistaken to leave his people and his hometown without receiving orders from Allah to do so. He had abandoned his message and given up.

Accepting his sincere supplications, Allah commanded the whale to surface and eject Prophet Yunus onto an island. What further demonstrates Allah’s mercy is that He caused a vine to grow next to Yunus to protect him from the scorching sun and provide him with sustenance until he regained his strength. He was then ordered by Allah to return to his people and continue to lead them unto the path of righteousness.

Prophet Yunus is also named in the Holy Quran as Dhun-Nun and Sahibil-Hot (loosely translated as: Companion of the Whale).

What this story teaches us is that it is never too late to repent for your sins through Duaa, and that Allah’s mercy know no bounds.

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