By OYEWUNMI KAFAYAT OLASEYI
laaa ilaaha illaaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minaz zaalimeen ( لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبْحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ) Whenever this dua, it reminds the stories of prophet Yunus (AS) and “Nun” the big fish mostly refers to whale fish We do not know which species of fish it is exactly, we just know that it is a type of big fish called Nun.
Prophet Yunus (AS), who was briefly swallow up by the Nun, is known by this nickname. It seems like they were keeping each other company at this time. Prophet Yunus (AS)’s name was never stated in these scriptures; instead, the nickname “Zhun-nun” was adopted.
Prophet Yunus (AS) and the Nun story starts with him preaching to his people. His people chose to continue in their denial, just like many of Allah’s Prophets, and steadfastly rejected his message. At one point in time, Prophet Yunus (AS) went to his people and warned them that if they didn’t change their ways, Allah (SWT) would undoubtedly punish them.
His people disregarded his warning and carried on in their own erroneous ways. Prophet Yunus (AS) eventually became discouraged, disillusioned, and irate with his followers. He therefore decided to leave his hometown before Allah (SWT)’s wrath fell on his people. The phrase ” he went off in anger”” in this verse refers to this.
Prophet Yunus (AS) believed that Allah (SWT) would not hold his decision to abandon his people against him. After all, other prophets had carried out a similar action. Prior to the annihilation of his unbelieving people, Prophet Lut (AS) had abandoned them. Before the deluge began, The Prophet Nuh AS had climbed aboard the ark. Prophet Yunus (AS) came to the conclusion that he would not be held accountable for abandoning his people.
However, as compared to the prophets who came before him, Prophet Yunus (AS) did things differently. The previous prophets didn’t abandon their people until Allah (SWT) gave them the order to do so. They didn’t leave on their own initiative or volition. Before Allah (SWT) gave the order, Prophet Yunus (AS) had gone in a rage. He was misguided in believing he was innocent. Allah (SWT) demonstrated that He disagreed with Prophet Yunus (AS) deeds.
Allah (SWT) tells us that Prophet Yunus (AS) walked away from his people in an anger, believing that it was the correct thing to do and that he wouldn’t be punished. Prophet Yunus (AS) was in complete darkness when we next became aware of his whereabouts. This passage makes no mention in suratul Ambiya but the continuation was seen in Surah As-Saffat, there is a bit more detail added to this story in this surah
Prophet Yunus (AS) reportedly boarded a ship before arriving at the port. The captain and crew thought the ship could be too heavy when a terrible storm struck them in the middle of the sea. To lessen the load, they began throwing persons and objects into the water. Prophet Yunus (AS) name was picked three times, one after another, as the lots were pulled to determine who would be sent overboard. Prophet Yunus (AS) decided to abandon the ship by jumping off it.
He finally understood that Allah (SWT) did not approve of his actions when he abandoned his people. Prophet Yunus (AS) was devoured whole and alive by a large fish that Allah (SWT) sent when he was in the sea. In the fish’s stomach, Prophet Yunus (AS) discovered himself in total darkness, far under the surface of the ocean and without any light source. Prophet Yunus (AS) then said the following du’a.
( لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبْحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ)
laaa ilaaha illaaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minaz zaalimeen
“There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except You. Glory be to You! I have certainly done wrong.”
(QU’RAN 21 Vs 87)
This du’a is very significant. Even though the words are short and straightforward, they have a profound emotional influence on anybody who chooses to put them into practice.
The significance of this du’a should be emphasized, even The Prophet (“ﷺ”) is reported to have said the following in a hadith that has been narrated several times:
“The supplication of Jonah when he called upon Allah inside the belly of the whale was this, ‘There is no God but you, glory be to you, for I have been among the wrongdoers,’ (21:87). Verily, a Muslim never supplicates for anything with it but that Allah will answer him.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3505
When they learned this, some of the companions questioned The Prophet (“ﷺ”), “O Rasulullah, does the acceptance of this du’a just apply to Prophet Yunus (AS)? Or does it apply to us all? This du’a is particular to Prophet Yunus (AS) and is acceptable for everybody who does it, in response to The Prophet (“ﷺ”) SAW.
My beloved brothers and sisters, whatever the difficulties you are going through will be lifted when you recite this du’a. Whatever limitations there may be that still pose a threat to you, growth will take their place. Allah will rid you of whatever evil that has been done to you and has caused you a great deal of sorrow and suffering. When Allah (SWT) hears your prayers and grants your requests, ALLAH (SWT) will undoubtedly accept anything good you seek in your heart.