Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Ayat -e- Karimah is in Surah Ambiyah, Verse 87.
There is no God except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrong doers.
To speak about the Ayat-e-Karimah, we have to tell the story of Prophet Yunus (as). He was also called Dhun-Noon. Why? Because it means the Companion of the Big Fish or of the Whale.
Allah sent the Prophet Yunus (as) (Jonah) to people who lived near Iraq, to tell them about the oneness of Allah, and to warn them about the punishment of the previous people. But his people were not listening to him.
And so his patience with them started running out, and he decided to leave and go somewhere else in the hope that other people may accept his message. But Allah hadn't given him permission to leave.
So, the Prophet Yunus (as) went so far that he reached the coast, and found a goods ship about to depart. He boarded it and it set off.
Whilst they were sailing in the sea, they were met by a large storm and the ship started to sink. The people decided to get rid of their goods to lighten the ship – so they threw everything out, and even then the ship was still sinking!
Then, they started to look at the people on the ship, and they said to be fair, we need to draw lots e.g. names in a hat. Whoever’s name comes out, must be thrown overboard to lighten the ship. The first name that came out was Prophet Yunus (as) but the people refused to throw him overboard because they knew he was a good and blessed man. They tried again, and his name came out again, and then they tried again and his name came again. So they told him that he had to jump out.
As he jumped out, Allah commanded a whale to swallow him. So a whale came and swallowed him whole. He was now unconscious in the belly of the whale. After a while, he gained consciousness.
Allah says in the Quran - Surah Ambiyah, Verse 87:
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."
Prophet Yunus (as) thought that he was going away for the right reason i.e. to call other people to Allah – but remember Allah hadn't told him to leave – he left by himself!
When he awoke, he realised where he was – in the stomach of the whale. He fell prostrate and did sajdah in the belly of the whale, in the darkness of the sea, in the darkness of the night, and he admitted that he was wrong to have left the people.
What dua did he make?
He made such a powerful dua that it is mentioned in the Quran, and we as Muslims are allowed to use this dua because Allah says about the dua “that is how we will save those who believe”.
So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus do We save the believers.
(Surah Ambiya - Verse 88)
Prophet Yunus (as) admitted he was wrong, and he humbled himself in front of Allah. This is a lesson for us today that whenever we commit a sin and we repent to Allah, we need to admit that we are wrong, and that we need Allah. We need to be humble in front of Him and realise that we are the slaves and He is our Master.
And had he not been of those who exalt Allah,
He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.
(Surah As-Saffat - Verses 143 and 144)
This means that before this happened, Prophet Yunus (as) was always remembering and worshipping Allah, and that is why now that he called out to Allah, Allah helped him.
The lesson for us is that if you are close to Allah and remember and worship Him in times of happiness and ease, then He will be there for you in times of difficulty.
This is what happened to Prophet Yunus (as).
But We threw him onto the open shore while he was ill.
(Surah As-Saffat - Verse 145)
He was sick meaning that his skin had been affected by the inside of the whale, and he had no clothes.
And We caused to grow over him a gourd vine.
(Surah As-Saffat - Verse 146)
The plant grew, and so he covered himself with it and was cured through it.
And We sent him to [his people of] a hundred thousand or more.
And they believed, so We gave them enjoyment [of life] for a time.
(Surah As-Saffat - Verses 147 and 148)
Prophet Yunus (as) was then sent back to his people, and he was shocked when he went back. Whilst he had been away the punishment he had promised them started hovering above them as dark clouds, and they realised it was a punishment. So they all believed in Allah and in Prophet Yunus (as) This is one of the only prophets whose entire nation believed. Allah mentions the benefits of them believing – we diverted the punishment and we granted them joy for a little while.
So, the dua of the distressed is always heard and answered. Prophet Yunus (as) didn’t say cure me and get me out of here, he just said the Ayat -e- Karimah verse saying that he was wrong, and so Allah had mercy on him.
The key is to admit your guilt. Allah knows what you want to say even though you can’t get the words out. He understands everything that you want even better than you do.
May Allah give us all the ability to act upon all the lessons that are learnt from the story of Prophet Yunus (as) - Ameen.