THE PROPHET YUNUS (peace be upon him)
The Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) is also addressed by two other surnames "Dhun-Nun" (Lord of the Fish) and "Sahibil-Hot" (Companion of the Fish). The Holy Qur'an says:
"And (mention) Dhun-Nun when he went off in anger and deemed that We had no power over him but he cried out in darkness, saying: There is no god save Thee. Be Thou glorified! Lo! I have been an evil-doer." (11 ·: 87)
"But wait thou for thy Lord's decree and be not like the Sahibil-Hut who cried out in fear." (68 :48)
Yunus (Jonah) was the son of Mitta according to a Tradition quoted in Sahih Bukhari but the Torah states that his father's name was Amittai.
When the prophethood was conferred upon him, he was commanded to go Nineveh for preaching the true faith of God. Nineveh was situated on the right bank of the river Tigris. It was the capital city of Assyria. Its people were arrogant and conceited. They led sinful lives. The Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) tried his best to reform them but they turned a deaf ear to his advice and warnings. Soon he began to feel disgusted. Consequently human frailty overpowered him. He flew into a rage and invoked Allah's wrath on the people of Nineveh. He became impatient and departed without waiting for further command from Allah. He imagined perhaps God had no power over him. The Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) proceeded towards the sea and took a boat. Unfortunately the boat was caught in a storm. The sailors held him responsible for bringing misfortune to the boat. They decided to throw Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) into the water but the passengers did not agree to their decision. Then lots were drawn and the name of Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) came out. The Prophet Yunus was thrown into the sea for the safety of the boat. When Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) fell into the water, a great fish with capacious belly drew him in. He was in extreme distress. He realised that he had to suffer for committing dereliction towards his duty as a prophet. Instead of running away he must have relied upon the power of Allah even in the most discouraged circumstances.
The Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) felt penitence and supplicated to Allah in the humblest tone. His repentance was accepted and he was to be delivered ashore. He was provided with the shelter of a spreading plant. The Holy Qur'an relates this incident in the following Verses:
"And lo! Yunus verily was of those sent ( to warn). When he fled into the ladenship, then drew lots and was of those rejected, the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy, and had he not been one of those who glorify Allah, he would have tarried in its belly till the Day of Resurrection, then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick and We caused a tree of gourd to grow above him, and We sent him to a hundred thousand (folk) or more. And they believed, therefore We gave him comfort for a while." (27: 139-i18)
When Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) regained his health, he was commanded to go back to the same town and fulfil his mission of making the people give up their iniquitous life. Now the people of Nineveh repented and followed their Prophet. God showed mercy and they prospered remarkably. They got a new lease of glorious life. The Holy Qur'an says:
"When they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world and permitted them to enjoy their life for a while." (10:98)
Gradually the people of Nineveh again adopted evil ways of life. They indulged in idol-worship and debauchery. Eventually they were destroyed by the Scythians. The Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) died in Nineveh and was buried there. According to the story of some of the historians his tomb is in the village Halmol about ten miles away from Hebron.