Prophet Yunus or Jonah (AS) was a Messenger of Allah sent to he northern Iraqi city of Nineveh. Prophet Yunus was a seemingly ordinary man, as he was born and raised among the people of the Nineveh.
The city of Nineveh had long forgotten the message of Allah, as the city became filled with idol worshipping and sin. Allah sent Prophet Yunus (AS), a man born amongst them, as a Messenger to guide them.
Prophet Yunus (AS) immediately set out to fulfill Allahs command and invited the people of Nineveh to turn to Allah and leave idol worship. Though, like many of the prophet before him, Yunus (AS) was rejected. Nevertheless, Yunus (AS) continued to call them to worship Allah, reminding them of the wrath that Ad, Thamud and the people of Nuh faced from Allah.
But they stubbornly rejected once again and said, “We and our forefathers have worshipping these gods for many years and no harm has come to us.”
Prophet Yunus (AS) stayed persistent, as he wanted to help and not give up on his people. So despite their ignorance and harsh words, he continued to warn them of Allah’s punishment.
The men began to laugh, “Let it happen”, as they told Yunus (AS) they did not feel any fear from his “empty threats”. Disheartened, Prophet Yunus (AS) gave up, and without the permission of Allah, he decided the leave the city of Nineveh in hopes of finding a far away community that would accept him and turn to Allah.
The calm skies above the city of Nineveh soon turned red with anger, as it prepared to spit out the wrath of Allah. Men, women and children gathered at the mountain tops in fear, as they watched the combat of the skies above them.
They remembered the warnings of Prophet Yunus (AS) and feared receiving a similar punishment as those before them. They fell on their knees and stretched their arms out towards the red skies begging the Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. With his infinite mercy, Allah lifted his punishment from the people and forgave them and showered them with blessings.
As the skies cleared, the people prayed for the safe return of Prophet Yunus (AS), so he could guide them through the path of Allah.
Meanwhile, Prophet Yunus (AS), who has left Nineveh and was unaware of the people turning to Allah, had boarded a small passenger ship with the intention of traveling as far away from his people as possible. The ship travelled through the calm waters during the day, but as the night closed in, a storm raged on, rocking the ship wildly. The crew and passengers began to fear for their lives as the sea water gradually began to flood the deck, causing the ship to slowly sink.
As the raging waters continued, the Captain of the ship ordered his men to throw out the legates and all other excess load overboard to lighten the ship. Despite the crew doing so, the ship continued to sink. So with no other choice the captain had to sacrifice the life of on man if he wished to save the lives of his crew and passengers. The men drew lots to choose the passenger to be sacrificed.
The lots were cast and the Prophet Yunus’ (AS) name was selected. The men knew Yunus (AS) was a righteous, young, honest and blessed man, so they refused to show him overboard and agreed to draw the lots again. Upon casting the lots again, the Prophet Yunus’ (AS) was selected again. They once again refused saying, “ We are not going to get rid of Yunus. He is our blessing on the boat. He is the best man we have on the boat; we are not going to get rid of him.”. They agreed to draw again and upon casting the lots again, the Prophet Yunus’ (AS) was selected again.
The men were baffled, but Prophet Yunus (AS) knew it was a verdict of Allah for he had left the people without his Lord’s consent. So Yunus (AS) jumped overboard into the dark, rain waved in the middle of the ocean.
Allah commanded, the largest whale in the ocean to swallow Yunus (AS) just as he hit the water. Yunus (AS), was knocked unconscious and awoke to find himself enfolded in sheer darkness. He initially though he was in his grave, but as his senses awakened, he realized he was actually in the bellow of a large fish.
Deep in the stomach on the whale, Prophet Yunus (AS) prostrated before Allah and said, “ O Allah, I am prostrating to you in a place where no one has prostrated to you before, in the stomach of a fish.”. He then repeatedly called out saying, “ None has the right to be worshipped but You. Glorified be You. Truly, I have been among the wrongdoers.”. The created on the ocean heard the invocations of Yunus (AS) and gathered around the whale to join along in the praises of Allah.
With the infinity mercy of Allah, Allah commanded the whale to spit out Prophet Yunus (AS) at the nearby shore. Yunus’ body was inflamed as result of the stomach acid of the whale. As Prophet Yunus (AS) has no protection from neither the sun nor the wind, Allah commanded a tree to grow over Yunus (AS) to provide shade and food to him. Allah forgave Yunus (AS) and informed him that if it was not for his sincere invocations, he would have kept him int eh stomach of the Sahel until the Day of Resurrection.
After Yunus (AS) completely recovered, he travelled back to Nineveh to complete his mission. Upon his arrival he was surprised to discover that everyone had accepted Islam and were awaiting his arrival. Together with his people, Yunus (AS) prostrated to his Lard and thanked him for all of his blessings.
Yunus was the only Prophet, whose entire community accepted Islam and was forgiven wile their punishment was happening. Allah said in the Quran regarding the people of Yunus:
"If only there had been a society which believed ˹before seeing the torment˺ and, therefore, benefited from its belief, like the people of Jonah. When they believed, We lifted from them the torment of disgrace in this world and allowed them enjoyment for a while."