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In the Islamic religion, Allah (SWT) is the Arabic and Islamic name for God, and Muslims ...
In the Islamic religion, Allah (SWT) is the Arabic and Islamic name for God, and Muslims believe that Allah (SWT) does exist. He sees and hears all that we do. Yunus's (AS) story is an excellent example. In Islam, all Allah's (SWT) creations: plants, animals, trees, etc. pray to Allah (SWT) in their own way and bow to Him in prayer. On the Day of Judgment, all His creation will be witnesses regarding what we have done in this life and how we did it. Muslims believe that actions in this life determine if we will be accepted into paradise. Our tongues are going to tell Allah (SWT) how and what we spoke of in this life - was it done truthfully, respectfully, and kindly? Or did we use our voices to lie, hurt, gossip, and complain? Our eyes will reflect everything they witnessed, good or bad. Our hands will be a testament as to what they have touched or how we used them, good or evil. The ground will witness on our behalf, every area where we pray whether it is the corner of a room or out in some meadow - will be a witness to the bowing down to Him in praise. And on the last day, the earth will report all that happened, and then everyone will be shown their Book of Deeds.
Every creation submits to Allah (SWT) and even though we might not see them praying, that is considered the unseen and we must believe in the unseen. We can't see the air, but we know that it is there because we breathe it. We don't need to see an artist next to his painting to know he painted it. It is the same with Allah (SWT). You see His sky, stars, vast landscapes, bodies of water, insects, and animals. We can't physically see Allah (SWT), but we see Him through His creation - and we believe this is proof of His existence. To become familiar with the Arabic terminology and acronyms used throughout this book, please refer to the glossary at the end of the story. And lastly, thank you to my editor, W.E. Kinne and to my designer, Lamya El-Shacke; without you, this book would not be possible.
The story begins in Nineveh (now known as Mosul, Iraq), the capitol of the Assyrian Empire, sometime around 800 B.C. With approximately 120,000 citizens, Nineveh was a beautiful land that flourished in trade, productivity, and wealth.
Despite the town's many blessings, these citizens displayed extreme immoral behavior – they lied, stole, and mistreated one another. Most importantly, they were worshiping idols instead of worshiping Allah (SWT) The One True God. Displeased with their behavior, Allah (SWT) decided to choose a very righteous citizen of Nineveh to speak to the people about their wrong doings – and He chose Yunus (AS).
Why was Yunus (AS) chosen? From birth, Allah (SWT) protected Yunus (AS) from participating in immoral and sinful behavior. Allah (SWT) protected all His Prophets in this manner. Allah (SWT) did this so when the time would come for these individuals to become prophets, they would be righteous and pure of heart, and able to teach and inspire others. However, until Allah (SWT) would actually speak to them through the Angel Jibreel (AS), these chosen few would not know the identity of their god.
Muslims believe that all human beings are born with a natural instinct to worship one god. However, as these children grow older, their parents teach them to follow their ways and beliefs, like worshiping many gods. Eventually, everyone in Nineveh learned to worship idols and multiple gods. Yunus (AS) was the one exception. But he did not judge his people; he continued believing in one god and living each day as lawfully and respectfully as possible.
Little did he know that someday, Allah (SWT) would choose him to become a Prophet and deliver a message to his fellow citizens. Imagine his surprise when he received the Call from Allah (SWT)!
One day, Allah (SWT) sent the Angel Jibreel (AS) to appear before Yunus (AS). Jibreel (AS) told Yunus (AS) he must speak to the people of Nineveh at once, and get them to stop praying to their idols and false gods. The Angel said Nineveh would be destroyed and the people would suffer if they did not agree to stop their corrupt and immoral ways. Jibreel (AS) instructed Yunus (AS) to teach the people how to worship The One True God and guide them as they begin living more righteous lives.
Wanting to please Allah (SWT), Yunus (AS) began his challenging task. For several days, he closely observed the actions of his people. What he witnessed was horrible – people worshiping idols, stealing and cheating one another, and more. As he watched them, everything became clear to Yunus (AS), and he now understood why Allah (SWT) wanted him to speak to the people. Strong and disciplined, Yunus (AS) chose to live a righteous life and not give in to temptation. But the people of Nineveh appeared to be easily tempted by sin, and he knew they needed his help and guidance.
So the next morning, Yunus (AS) stood on top of a tree stump so everyone could see and hear him, and head dressed the people: "Men, women and children of Nineveh, I am a Prophet of The One True God (Allah (SWT)). I am here at Allah's (SWT) command, to tell you to stop your sinful and impure ways and teach you how to worship Him, instead of your idols. There is One True God Allah (SWT), and you must learn to worship only Him. Heed my warning: If you do not put an end to the worshiping of other gods, you will experience the powerful wrath of Allah (SWT) – and it will be a sight unimaginable."
Day after day, Yunus (AS) stood on top of the tree stump and spoke to the people, trying to get them to listen and start changing their ways. He continued to warn them about the wrath of Allah (SWT). But the people ignored him and went about their business.
Then one day while Yunus (AS) was delivering his message, a man stepped onto the tree stump and stood next to Yunus (AS). The man began shouting at Yunus (AS). "I really do not care who you are mister, or what your purpose might be! I suggest you leave and find some other people to preach to! We are not interested in what you have to say!"
Several people started to approach the tree stump, and Yunus (AS) could tell by their expressions they were angry and annoyed. One man threatened, "Yunus (AS)! We have heard enough of your ridiculous preaching and warnings! Leave Nineveh peacefully or we will force you out!" A crowd quickly gathered around Yunus (AS). These people agreed with the others that Yunus (AS) should leave. However, instead of leaving, Yunus (AS) jumped off the tree stump, planted his feet firmly on the ground, stood up straight, and held his head up. He knew his words would be met with opposition, but he was prepared to carry out Allah's (SWT) command.
Yunus (AS) took a deep breath and boldly spoke to the crowd for the last time, "Citizens of Nineveh, Allah (SWT) has instructed me to warn you of your immoral behavior. The love and devotion to your false gods must stop or all of Nineveh will be destroyed! Allah (SWT) will show no mercy."
The people called him a liar and mocked him. "Let it happen," they told Yunus (AS). Then several people started pushing him. Some even picked up rocks and sticks to beat him. Yunus (AS) shouted, "Stop! If this is how you want to live your lives, then so be it. I will leave you to your misery." Feeling furious and discouraged, Yunus (AS) turned and walked away.
As soon as Yunus (AS) began to leave, the people of Nineveh cheered triumphantly. Almost immediately – the sky became dark, obscured by thick, enraged-looking clouds. Lightning bolts lit up the sky and began striking everything in their path, and the ground was trembling violently! Balls of fire began falling from the sky creating large craters as they hit the ground!
The people were terrified. As they stood there, clinging to one another and watching in horror, they remembered the people of 'Ad, Thamud and Nuh (Noah) (AS). They recalled how Allah (SWT) destroyed them in a blink of an eye. They definitely did not want the same fate. So all the men, women, and children bowed down in shame calling out to Allah (SWT), The One True God, and asked for His Forgiveness and Mercy.
As faith started to penetrate the hearts of the people, the dark clouds began to disappear, the earth stopped trembling, and the sky became clear again. Hearing their prayers for forgiveness and mercy, Allah (SWT) ended His Wrath and forgave the people, blessing them once again. After thanking Allah (SWT) for His Mercy, the people prayed for Yunus (AS) to return and guide them in their daily lives.
Meanwhile, Yunus (AS) boarded a ship in hopes of finding his way and place in the world. He felt frustrated and angry because the people of Nineveh chose not to accept his message from Allah (SWT), nor did they want to start believing in The One True God. Instead, they ridiculed him; and having had enough of their anger and ignorance, he allowed the people to force him out of Nineveh. Trying to put that experience out of his mind, Yunus (AS) looked out at the water and was pleased at how calm and peaceful the sea looked. The sunlight sparkled on the gentle waves. It was a beautiful sight.
Shortly after sundown, the ship's passengers began to feel anxious due to an eerie stillness in the air. Black clouds began covering the sky, and suddenly the air became cold and the wind picked up violently, lightning filled the sky and thunderous roars could be heard, putting a chill in the hearts of the ship's passengers. No longer calm and peaceful, the sea became violent as large waves appeared and began crashing against the ship, tossing it about like a small toy.
The crew and passengers aboard the ship feared for their safety and immediately began praying
Excerpted from SWALLOWED ALIVE by Cyd Eisner. Copyright © 2013 by Cyd Eisner. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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