Sunday 17 April 2022

A powerful prophetic supplication attributed to Prophet Yunus (Jonah, sws)

To err is human, you mean that it is natural for human beings to make mistakes, but to forgive is divine. This expression is always made when one makes a mistakes and errs, yet merely accepting a mistake is not enough for its occurrence may have hurt someone or even many and may have ruined their lives even. So when one errs, he must not only ask for forgiveness from those who may have been hurt and then also repent one's action and ask forgiveness from God, for hurting someone is least like by Allah.

But when it comes to prophets, the chosen few by none other than Allah, making mistakes or not implementing Allah's directive can have serious ramification. However, prophets are made to realize their mistakes much too early and they immediately return to Allah in repentance and asking for forgiveness. And sometimes saying less is good enough for Allah understands and forgives.

We today share the 87th verse of Surah 21 Al Anbiya in which Prophet Yunus or Zun-nun. "the man of the Fish or the Whale", as mentioned in the Qur'an (Jonah, may peace be upon him) is quoted to have just prayed to Allah when in distress and accepted his mistake. And that was enough for him to be forgiven by Allah.

Here is the background of mentioning of supplication Propeht Yunus (Jonah):
Zun-nun. "the man of the Fish or the Whale", is the title of Jonah (Yunus), because he was swallowed by a large Fish or Whale. He was the prophet raised to warn the Assyrian capital Nineveh. For Nineveh see n. 1478 to x. 98. His story is told in xxxvii. 139-149. When his first warning was unheeded by the people, he denounced Allah's wrath on them. But they repented and Allah forgave them for the time being. Jonah, meanwhile, departed in wrath, discouraged at the apparent failure of his mission. He should have remained in the most discouraging circumstances, and relied on the power of Allah; for Allah had power both over Nineveh and over the Messenger He had sent to Nineveh. He went away to the sea and took a ship, but apparently the sailors threw him out as a man of bad omen in a storm. He was swallowed by a big Fish (or Whale), but in the depth of the darkness, he cried to Allah and confessed his weakness. The "darkness" may be interpreted both physically and spiritually; physically, as the darkness of the night and the storm and the Fish's body; spiritually as the darkness in his soul, his extreme distress in the situation which he had brought on himself. Allah Most Gracious forgave him. He was cast out ashore; he was given the shelter of a plant in his state of mental and physical lassitude. He was refreshed and strengthened, and the work of his mission prospered. Thus he overcame all his disappointment by repentance and Faith, and Allah accepted him.

Now let us share the complete verse with emphasis on the supplication Propeht Yunus (Jonah)made: 

وَ ذَا النُّوۡنِ اِذْ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ اَنۡ لَّنۡ نَّـقۡدِرَ عَلَيۡهِ فَنَادٰى فِى الظُّلُمٰتِ اَنۡ لَّاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡتَ سُبۡحٰنَكَ ​ۖ  اِنِّىۡ كُنۡتُ مِنَ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ​ ۖ ​ۚ‏

(21:87) And We bestowed Our favour upon Dhu al-Nun. Recall, when he went forth enraged, thinking We have no power to take him to task. Eventually he cried out in the darkness:" There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers."

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers)'' `Awf Al-A`rabi said: "When Yunus found himself in the belly of the fish, he thought that he had died. Then he moved his legs. When he moved his legs, he prostrated where he was, then he called out: `O Lord, I have taken a place of worship to You in a place which no other person has reached.'''

فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهٗۙ وَنَجَّيۡنٰهُ مِنَ الۡـغَمِّ​ؕ وَكَذٰلِكَ نُـنْجِى الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏  
(21:88) Thereupon We accepted his prayer, and rescued him from grief. Thus do We rescue the believers.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: This supplication is also mentioned in the Book of Jonah and a detailed supplication of similar contents is cited in it. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
... In this supplication, Jonah (sws) has not expressed any desire or demand; he only expressed and confessed his mistake. After this, he left the matter to his Lord accepting that His verdict would be the best and have wisdom and mercy in it because God is absolved of all defects. First of all, he expressed that only God is worthy of worship and obedience and all matters turn to Him. After that, he regarded God to be above and beyond all faults. Then he confessed his mistake that whatever has happened is the consequence of his blemish; he was unjust to his soul and God was never unjust to him. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 5, 183)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki: There are in Jonah’s story some significant points we need to reflect upon. First, Jonah did not initially show enough patience and willingness to endure the difficulties of delivering God’s message. He quickly became fed up, abandoned his people and moved on, angry and frustrated. He felt his situation to be very tight. But God exposed him to a much tighter and harder distress as compared with the opposition of unbelievers. Had Jonah not turned to his Lord in repentance and admitted that he had wronged himself by leaving his position of duty, he would not have been relieved of his distress. It was God’s care that saved him.

The advocates of a message must be ready to bear the burden involved in such advocacy, remain patient in the face of rejection and vicious opposition. When a person is certain of the truth of the message he advocates, he finds the opposition of people who accuse him of false inventions and deliberate lying difficult to handle. Yet to remain patient in the face of such adversity is only part of the duties of such advocacy. Those who are entrusted with delivering a message and advocate the truth must remain patient, face the difficulties and persevere with their advocacy. They must continue to present their message to people and call on them to believe in it, time after time.

Such advocates cannot give in to despair. They cannot give up on people, believing that they will never respond to the truth, no matter how much opposition they face, and how often they are rejected and accused of falsehood. If their hundred attempts to touch people’s hearts meet with failure, their next attempt may have a positive result. Indeed, such a result may come only after one thousand and one attempts. Hence, if they have already tried a thousand times and failed, they should try once more in the hope that, with God’s grace, their next attempt will be more successful.

The way a message must follow in order to touch people’s hearts is neither easy nor comfortable. Positive responses may not be forthcoming. A great heap of false beliefs, erring practices, customs, traditions and situations weigh heavily on people’s hearts and minds. This heap must be removed, and hearts must be revived in every possible way. A touch on every sensitive receptor must be made to try to find the effective nerve. With determination and diligence the right touch will inevitably be made, and a complete transformation of the addressee is achieved. We are often surprised that a thousand attempts may be made with one particular person, but without success. Then a casual gesture, coming at the right time, touches the right cord, and the person concerned goes through a complete transformation without any difficulty. 

You may like to listen to Tafseer of verses 87-88 Surah Al-Anbiya by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us not to err, and if we do, then bestow upon us the sagacity to immediately repent and ask for forgiveness. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Invocations / Dua " دُعا " from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  

In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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