اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بِجَمِیعِ مَحَامِدِه کُلِّهَا عَلَی جَمِیعِ نِعَمِهِ کُلِّهَا… اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ مالِکِ الْمُلْکِ مُجْرِی الْفُلْکِ مُسَخِّرِ الرِّیاحِ فالِقِ الاْصْباحِ دَیّانِ الدّینِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمینَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی حِلْمِهِ بَعْدَ عِلمِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی عَفْوِهِ بَعْدَ قُدْرَتِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی طُولِ اَناتِهِ فی غَضَبِهِ وَهُوَ قادِرٌ عَلی ما یُریدُ
All praise be to Allah with full gratitude for all His bounties. … All praise be to Allah: the master of the sovereignty, Who allows arks to flow [on seas], Who controls the winds, Who causes the day to break, Who administers the authority, and Who is the Lord of the worlds. All praise be to Allah for His forbearance despite His full knowledge. All praise be to Allah for His amnesty despite His full power. All praise be to Allah for the length of His respite during His wrath, while He is able to do whatever He wills.
و نشهد أن لا اله الا الله وحده لا شریک له، و أَنَّ محمداً عبده و رسوله ارسله بالهدی و دین الحق لیظهره علی الدین کله و لو کره المشرکون
We bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partners. We bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists should be averse.
اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
I enjoin you, servants of Allah and myself, to have fear of God and comply with His commands and forbiddances, and warn you against His retribution.
Jonah’s Fate in the Sea
When Jonah was cast into the sea, profound remorse engulfed him as he grappled with the consequences of his actions, burdened by self-blame. Providentially, according to divine design, Jonah found himself swallowed by a large fish. The Quran narrates:
فَالْتَقَمَهُ الْحُوتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ
Then the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy. (Al-Saffat, 142)
The Bible recounts this story as follows:
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
Jonah’s Supplication inside the Fish
Prophet Jonah, burdened with self-reproach and admonishment, humbly beseeched and sought repentance from God within the depths of the fish’s belly. The Quran briefly recounts Jonah’s supplication in the following manner:
فَنَادَى فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، سُبْحَانَكَ، إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Then he cried out in the darkness, ‘There is no god except You! You are immaculate! I have indeed been among the wrongdoers!’ (Al-Anbiyaʾ, 87)
The Bible provides a more detailed narrative of Jonah’s supplication:
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,[b]
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
Jonah’s Deliverance and the Significance of His Supplication
Following this supplication to God, according to the Bible, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (Jonah 2:10), and according to the Quran, “We answered his prayer and delivered him from the agony; and thus do We deliver the faithful” (al-Anbiyaʾ, 88).
Prophet Jonah’s destiny underscores the importance and value of the supplication and repentance phrases he directed towards God, as emphasized in the Quran, which states:
فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ؛ لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
Had he not been one of those who celebrate Allah’s glory, he would have surely remained in its belly till the day they will be resurrected. (Al-Saffat, 143-144)
Muslim mystics have recognized these phrases as the “Dhikr Yunusiyya” (Jonah’s Supplication), and it is highly recommended to recite these words, especially during the act of prostration:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، سُبْحَانَكَ، إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
There is no god except You! You are immaculate! I have indeed been among the wrongdoers!
According to this verse, just as Prophet Jonah’s supplication resulted in his rescue from the belly of the fish, it signifies that the same supplication holds the power to rescue all believers, as indicated by the concluding words of the verse, “and thus do We deliver the faithful.”
The Feasibility of Human Survival inside the Fish
There are those who have raised doubts about the authenticity of the story of Prophet Jonah, considering it to be more allegorical in nature. Their skepticism stems from the perceived impossibility of such an event and the challenge of corroborating it through scientific means.
This narrative prompts the question of whether it is feasible for a human being to be engulfed by a fish and subsequently survive within it. One may wonder about the specific species of fish capable of swallowing an adult person and whether such a fish exists in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Historical accounts exist that describe incidents resembling the scenario of a person being swallowed by a fish and subsequently emerging unharmed. One notable instance involves the renowned hunter James Bustly, who reportedly encountered such an event in 1881. According to reports, Bustly found himself engulfed by a whale near the Falkland Islands, only to be rescued alive by his companions, who extracted him from the creature’s belly.
- Enormous fish exist in the vast oceans, surpassing the size of a human body multiple times over. These magnificent creatures can be observed in documentaries and marine parks, showcasing their ability to effortlessly consume objects larger than an individual human being.
- The Mediterranean Sea, the setting for the story of Prophet Jonah, is indeed home to colossal fish of considerable proportions. Among them, the largest Mediterranean fish are reputed to reach lengths of up to 10 meters and weigh approximately 7 tons.
- This account finds its mention in both the Quran and the Bible, and from our religious perspective, its authenticity is unquestionable. Even if the events described may appear implausible under normal circumstances, we perceive them as divine interventions and miracles. Throughout the history of prophets, numerous miracles have occurred, including instances such as fire becoming cool for Abraham, Moses’s staff transforming into a serpent, a camel emerging from a mountain for Salih, and notably, the miraculous birth of Jesus from a virgin mother.