Prophet Yunus علیہ السلام Part 1

Events of the Prophets

Prophet Yunus عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

Part 1

Mawlana Adnan Ahmed Attari Madani

Prophet Yūnus عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

Mattā was a woman who hailed from the Banī Isrāʾīl. She would serve Prophet Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام before he withdrew to the mountains to worship Allah. During this time, her infant son passed away, and being deeply aggrieved by this, she set out in search of Prophet Ilyās. Searching high and low across the mountains, she eventually came across him one day.

“My son has passed away!”, she exclaimed, “I have no other children. Please pray for Allah to grant my son life again and relieve me of this calamity. I have him wrapped in a cloth and have not buried him yet.”

Prophet Ilyās responded, “I only do that which Allah commands me to do, and I have not received the command to pray for your son.”

Hearing this, she began to cry bitterly as emotion overcame her. Seeing her in this state, Prophet Ilyās asked, “When did your son pass away?” She replied by saying it had been seven days.  

Prophet Ilyās travelled with Mattā for seven days until they reached her home. Fourteen days had now passed since her child’s death. Prophet Ilyās made wudu, offered salah, and turned to Allah with heartfelt supplications. Instantly, the child sat up, full of life. Prophet Ilyās withdrew to the mountains again.[1]

This child, who was granted life through the supplication of Prophet Ilyās was the renowned prophet Yūnus عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام.

A brief biography

Prophet Yūnus عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام is from the offspring of Binyāmīn, who was the son of Prophet Yaqūb.[2]

Two prophets are particularly distinguished for their lineage being traced through their mothers: one is Isā b. Maryam, and the other is Yūnus b. Mattā.[3] According to one opinion, Mattā was his father’s name.[4] He married the daughter of the saint Zakariyyā, who came from the city of Ramlah, and resided there for a period. After the saint passed away, Prophet Yūnus travelled to Jerusalem and busied himself in the worship of Allah.[5]

He would frequently make dhikr of Allah.[6] From all prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام, he offered the greatest number of salah.[7] Prioritising his faith, he emigrated from the Levant (Al-Shām) and settled on the banks of the River Tigris.[8] He was then granted prophethood at forty years of age, and sent to Nineveh in Iraq.[9]

He cautioned the disobedient people about the impending divine punishment, but they ignored his warning. As signs of the punishment began to manifest, they turned to repentance, and by Allah's grace, the punishment was averted. Unaware of their change of heart, Prophet Yūnus assumed they would reject his message instead.  He then came to a riverbank and boarded a ship. When it reached the centre of the river, the ship became stationary and was swallowed by a fish.[10]

Prophet Yūnus remained in the abdomen of the whale for either forty, twenty, seven, or three days, or for part of that day.[11] Whilst there, he heard jinn, water, sand, fish, and other creatures in the river remembering Allah. He exited the belly of the fish on the 10th of Muarram.[12] Allah then caused a white pumpkin plant to sprout for him; this became known as a prophetic miracle of Prophet Yūnus. Following this, Allah conferred upon him messengership (risālah) and sent him to the same nation again, who wholeheartedly then believed in him.[13] Upon his request, a goat, a tree and a piece of the earth all testified that a shepherd met him.

During the Night Journey, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw Prophet Yūnus عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام in a valley, riding a powerful camel, with its rein made of date palm leaves. His himself was wearing a woollen robe and reciting, لَبَّیْک اَللّٰہُمَّ لَبَّیْک.[14] He title became Dhū al-Nūn, as he was swallowed by a fish.[15]

Someone was asked, “Which grave moved from place to place?” They replied, “When Prophet Yūnus was in the fish’s stomach, it was like a moving grave in the river.”[16] It is said ten animals will be granted entry into Paradise, one of them being the fish of Prophet Yūnus.[17]

Let us discuss certain events of his sacred life in detail.


He would offer salah in abundance; offering 300 units of salah prior to food daily, and then eating a small amount. He would also offer 300 units at night and then sleep for a short period.[18]

It is mentioned that he cried profusely until he could see no longer, and he stood (in salah) so much that he developed a curve in his back, and had no energy left for walking.

An ocean of fire

He once submitted to Allah, “By Your Honour and Majesty! If there was an ocean of fire between You and I, I would enter it out of love for You.”[19]

The prophet sent to the people of Nineveh

When corruption and immorality spread amongst the people of Nineveh and their crimes increased, Allah sent Prophet Yūnus to them.[20] After offering salah in the masjid of Jerusalem, an angel approached and said, “Allah has commanded you to go to the people of Nineveh and call them towards Him.”[21]

This community was engaged in idol worship, so he discouraged them from it and cautioned them about Allah's retribution. However, they persisted in their stubbornness and continued their wrongful practices .[22]

To be continued in next month’s edition…

[1] Tafsīr Baghawi, vol. 4, p. 33

[2] Al-Muntaam Fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa al-Umam, vol. 1, p. 395

[3] Shar al-Shifāˈ, vol. 1, p. 298

[4] Al-Muntaam Fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa al-Umam , vol. 1, p. 395

[5] Al-Uns al-Jalīl, vol. 1, p. 265

[6] Zad al-Masīr, vol. 4, p. 60

[7] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 74, p. 281

[8] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 74, p. 281

[9] Al-Muntaam Fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa al-Umam, vol. 1, p. 395

[10] Baghawi, vol. 4, p. 36

[11] Baghawi, vol. 4, p. 37

[12] Fay  al-Qadīr, vol. 5, p. 288

[13] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 74, p. 290

[14] aī Muslim: 420

[15] Al-Nihāyah, vol. 1, p. 92

[16] Al-ali al-Fatāwa, vol. 2, p. 356

[17] Ghamz ʿUyūn, vol. 4, p. 131

[18] Tarīkh Ibn ‘Asākir, vol. 74, p. 281

[19] Iyā al-ʿUlūm, vol. 5, p. 85

[20] Tarīkh Ibn ‘Asākir, vol. 74, p. 281

[21] Tarīkh Ibn ‘Asākir, vol. 74, p. 282

[22] Al-Uns al-Jalil, vol. 1, p. 265




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