Have you ever heard of a prophet called Żu-nnoon (the man of the fish)? A whole chapter of the Quran was named after him due to the loveliness of his story.
The Prophet, also known as Saahibul-Huut (companion of the fish) once disobeyed Allah and went off in anger after an incident which was not disclosed by Allah in the Qur’an as that would be of no benefit to us. Where then is the interesting part of the story?
When Saahibul-Huut disobeyed Allah, he ran and went away to a ship which already had many occupants¹ and boarded the ship, only for the ship to start sinking after the trip had begun. The occupants decided to draw a lot, and that whoever was among the losers would be thrown off into the sea to lighten the weight on the boat. This Prophet drew the lot and was among the losers² so he was thrown into the sea, where he was later swallowed by a whale.³
And then the interesting part! Saahibul-Huut, who had boarded the ship to escape Allah’s wrath realised after he was swallowed by the whale, that it was impossible to escape from Allah; Consider how far Saahibul-Huut must have ran before getting a boat, and consider how easy it was for Allah to catch, punish, and cause him to be swallowed by the whale. Now what would you have done in such situation? Lose hope?
That’s never an option for a Muslim.
Saahibul Huut did one of the most amazing things in that situation, and he got an even more amazing reply. What he did? He called upon this same lord he had disobeyed and tried running away from, using some peculiar words “Laa-ilaaha-illaa-anta Subhaanaka innii kuntu mina Zzaalimiin”
(There is no deity except you, exalted are you, verily, I have been of the wrongdoers).⁴ Our prophet Muhammad had this to say about the du’aa used by Saahibul-Huut: “Verily, a Muslim will never supplicate to Allah for anything, using the prayer, except that Allah will answer him”⁵
Yuunus called upon Allah, despite having disobeyed him beforehand because he knew Allah to be oft-firgiving. Allah has said “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it”⁶
Having known this, he called upon Allah (and would most likely have given the two necessary pillars of repentance namely: regretting your action, making your mind up not to return to the sin) and then… Allah gave a reply even more amazing than Saahibul-Huut’s unwavering hope by saying: “So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And exactly this way, do we save the believers.”⁷ Despite the disobedience, Allah did not hesitate to save him the moment he dropped the sin and turned back towards Allah. And what’s more? Allah assured us that the bonus was not only on offer for Saahubul-Huut, but for all believers.
Allah added a little clause in another verse saying “Had it not been that he (Saahibul-Huut) was of those who used to exalt Allah. He would have remained inside its (the whale’s) belly until the day they are resurrected.” Quran 143-144
In this is a practical of what our Prophet Muhammad advised Ibn ‘Abbaas that he should “acknowledge/ turn towards Allah in times of ease, and Allah will remeber you in times of hardship”.⁸ Accoriding to that verse, had Saahibul Huut been like us, who get overridden by joy and tend to misuse Allah’s blessings and forget him in times of ease, then he would never have had his prayers answered at that moment; so remember each time a particular blessing is bestowed upon you, to only use it for what would please Allah, so when times of hardship come, you would be of those Allah would remember as “those who turn towards him in times of ease”
1 Quran 37:142
2. Quran 37:143
3. Tafseer Sa’dii (37:142)
4. Quran 21:87
5. Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3505
6 Hadith 40 Nawawi
7. -Sura Al-Anbiya’, Ayah 88
LanRey Hassan. (Knowislam.com.ng)