Coronavirus Pandemic and the Story of Hazrat Yunus A.S.

Coronavirus Pandemic and the Story of Hazrat Yunus A.S. - islamictribune.org

It is end March 2020. Almost 3 months into the new year, the last year of the decade. We all had hopes and dreams as the year started. Unfortunately, a big test has come our way in the form of Covid-19, a new coronavirus, which spreads fast and through human contact. Initially, we were told to wash hands and maintain distance from sick people. WHO declared an emergency but then, it was declared a pandemic keeping in view the transfer rate and number of deaths.

The Effects of Coronavirus

Now a days, there are quarantines and lockdowns being imposed. Some people were already in self isolation following the guidelines issued by health authorities, but the situation isn’t under control and even for developed countries with advanced healthcare system.

There is gloominess in the air. Regardless of where you are right now you must be feeling the worldwide effects of this virus. World economy is in jeopardy. People’s earnings have been compromised. Some are panic buying. Others are looking for essential food and grocery items.

A Test

This pandemic sure is a test from God. Do we help those in need? Are we being kind? Do we protect others by following the guidelines from the knowledgeable? Do we stay arrogant and refuse to recognize the problem?

The Story of Yunus A.S.

As we sit in our homes, unable to go outside, there is a parallel we can draw to our situation from the story of Hazrat Yunus A.S. Hazrat Yunus A.S. Allah ta’ala sent him to people of Naynawa (Nineveh) in Mosul (Iraq). He called them to the right path but they didn’t listen to him. Frustrated by his people, Hazrat Yunus left before Allah commanded him to. He went and boarded a ship as it is described in the Quran.

وَإِنَّ يُونُسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ- إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ- فَسَاهَمَ فَكَانَ مِنْ الْمُدْحَضِينَ- فَالْتَقَمَهُ الْحُوتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ

And indeed, Jonah was among the messengers. [Mention] when he ran away to the laden ship. And he drew lots and was among the losers. Then the fish swallowed him, while he was blameworthy.

Surah Saffat  37:139-142

The ship encountered a storm and, in their bid, to lessen the load, passengers decided to draw a lot as who should be thrown overboard. The lot drew Hazrat Yunus’s name three times. As a result, he was thrown into the see. A fish swallowed him.

In the Darkness and Loneliness

After being swallowed, he was in the darkness in the belly of the fish. In that darkness, he called out to Allah for forgiveness for being hasty with his people. He was saved by Allah as the fish threw him on the shore.

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَى فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ- فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَكَذَلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And [mention] the man of the fish, when he went off in anger and thought that We would not decree [anything] upon him. And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” So, We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus, do We save the believers.

Surah Anbiya 21:87-88

Allah says that if he wouldn’t have asked for forgiveness he would’ve stayed there.

فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنْ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ- لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ- فَنَبَذْنَاهُ بِالْعَرَاء وَهُوَ سَقِيمٌ

And had he not been of those who exalt Allah, He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected. But We threw him onto the open shore while he was ill.

Surah Saffat 37:143-145

Later, when he came back to the people, they repented and believed.

وَأَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَى مِئَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ- فَآمَنُوا فَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَى حِينٍ

And We sent him to [his people of] a hundred thousand or more. and [this time] they believed [in him] and so We allowed them to enjoy their life during the time allotted to them.

Surah Saffat 37:143-145

The Lesson for Us – The Virtue of Doing Istighfar

Right now, we are in our homes, in the belly of the fish. We cannot leave. We are sad and distressed at the situation. What can we do?

The lesson that we learn is to call out to Allah and that too using the same words as Hazrat Yunus.

لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“There is no deity except You (O Allah) ; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”

The Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever offers supplication in the words of the supplication of Yunus, will be answered.”

Jami’ Tirmidhi No. 3505

Even apart from the dua of Hazrat Yunus, there are many benefits to doing istaghfaar and seeking forgiveness from Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”

Abu Dawud

What should we do?

To conclude, there are three points summarized on what steps we should take in this time:

  1. Do istighfar by praying the dua of Hazrat Yunus so Allah may ease our hardship.

لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“There is no deity except You (O Allah) ; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”

  1. Take all the necessary precautions to save ourselves and others.
  2. Look after the needy as they struggle with their finances due to the lack of work.

3 thoughts on “Coronavirus Pandemic and the Story of Hazrat Yunus A.S.

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