Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Yunus (as)
‘And Yunus was most surely of the apostles. When he ran away to a ship completely laden, so he shared (with them), but was of those who are cast off. So the fish swallowed him while he did that for which he blamed himself. But had it not been that he was of those who glorify (Us), he would certainly have tarried in its belly to the day when they are raised.
(Saaffaat : 139-144)
Situation at the time of appointment
When Allah, the Almighty, appointed Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) as a prophet, the people of his nation were worshipping idols. Since idol worship was deep-rooted in their hearts and minds, they rejected the invitation of Hazrat Yunus (a.s.). They said – ‘O Yunus! What kind of talk is this? You want us to leave idol-worship, but our forefathers were always worshipping it. We will never leave it.’
Shaitaan has always played an important role in fuelling false and misguided beliefs among the people. Even in the stories of the past prophets (a.s.), we have seen how Shaitaan made the misguided beliefs of the people seem attractive to them. So much so the people chose to die with their beliefs but were not willing to change them.
If we reflect even a little we shall realise that Shaitaan makes the exhortations and counsel of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Imams (a.s.) seem insignificant and makes his own whisperings very attractive.
To protect ourselves from the whisperings and misguidance of Shaitaan, we must always seek protection from Allah and cultivate our beliefs in the light of the Quran and traditions only. We must always recite this supplication (Duae Ghareeq)
O Allah, O Most Benevolent, O Most Merciful! O Turner of hearts, keep steadfast my heart upon Your religion.’
Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) kept exhorting his people towards Allah’s obedience and prohibited them from worshipping idols. But the nation did not heed his invitation.
Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) in the belly of the fish
After much admonishment, Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) finally decided to leave his nation. After leaving his tribe Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) negotiated the path of wilderness and reached the bank of the river. He saw some people in a boat ready to leave. He requested them to let Him accompany them. They accepted his request since he displayed greatness, grandeur and majesty.
When the boat reached in the middle of the river, a storm began brewing. The waves began crashing into the boat causing it to sink. The passengers decided that one of them would have to be thrown in the water to stabilise the boat. So they threw lots and the lots fell on Hazrat Yunus (a.s.). However, considering the greatness and majesty of Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) the passengers threw the lots once again. But thrice in succession the lots fell on Hazrat Yunus (a.s.), so in the end they were compelled to throw Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) into the water.
Ignoring the preferable deed (Tark-e-Aula)
Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) welcomed the decision without protest and jumped into the river. It then passed his mind that he may have committed Tarke-Aula, by leaving his nation and withdrawing from them without waiting for Allah’s permission, while He was chosen to be their guide. So God had involved him in this difficulty. A huge fish was ordered to swallow Hazrat Yunus (a.s.). The fish swallowed him in accordance with the divine order. Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) passed the days and nights in the belly of the fish. The difficulties of this peculiar prison was distressing for Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) and he started praying to God in his grief and agony.
‘There is no God but you, you are pure (from any defect) surely I am from the oppressors.’
God Almighty heard his prayers, mention of which we find in Quran.
‘Then we accepted his prayers and gave him freedom from difficulty and this is the manner in whose we free the believers.’
Allah, Glorified be He, ordered the fish to spit out Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) at the shore. The fish left him at the bank of the river. Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) was unable to bear the heat of the sun after such a prolonged period in the stomach of the fish. So Allah, the High, grew a pumpkin tree around the riverbank, so that he could rest beneath its shade and eat from its fruit.
Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) regained his health within a few days. Allah revealed unto him that he should return to his nation since they had accepted His divinity after Yunus’ (a.s.) departure. Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) returned to his tribe and was surprised to find that his nation had abandoned idol worship altogether and had professed in Allah’s Unity (Tauheed). His nation welcomed him and he (a.s.) resumed his leadership (guidance) over the people.
The Prayer (Namaz) of Ghofaila
Respected readers! Many lessons can be learned from the narration of Hazrat Yunus (a.s.). The most important ones are:
- When man commits a mistake due to ignorance, he should acknowledge it as soon as he realises his mistake. He should not be stubborn in the acceptance of his errors.
- Sins are forgiven due to repentance and punishment averted. This is just what the learned scholar informed the nation of Hazrat Yunus (a.s.).
- Do not despair from Allah even in the most difficult of circumstances and ask only Him for deliverance.
- Allah has power over everything. He keeps whomsoever he wishes in whatever condition He pleases and gives death when ever he chooses.
Tradition states: If a person desires something and he recites Namaze Ghofaila and asks Allah for it, Allah will fulfill his desire, inshallah.
Namaze Ghofaila is of 2 rakats – it is recited after Namaze Maghrib (and before Namaze Esha). It can be recited as recommended prayers (nafelah) for Namaze Maghrib. If a person recites 2 rakat Namaze Ghofaila and another 2 rakats of recommended prayers, it is as if he has performed 4 recommended prayers (nafelah) of Namaze Maghrib.
The incident of Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) has been mentioned in detail in Surae Yunus (a.s.) and Surae Ambiya.