And Allah (swt) says in al Qur'an:
will show them Our signs in all the regions of the earth and
in their own souls,
until they clearly see that this is the
(Surat Fusilat 41: 53)
Iraq is a topical
subject of which we are all too familiar, with our Holy sites trampled by uninvited
disbelievers. Kufa in
Southern Iraq to any
Shi'a, is equally as well known and talked about, especially
every year over the Ashura commemorations in the blessed month
the Prophets are buried in Wadi as Salam (the Valley
of Peace) near the shrine of Imam 'Ali ('a) in Najaf, a
neighbouring city to Kufa and the
history of other Prophets resides in Iraq as well as in other
Arabian lands. The Prophets link those who have "gone
astray" with us as it says in al-Fatihah as it was
handed down to the Holy Prophet of Islam:
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
2. (all) praise is (only) God's, the Lord of the Worlds,
3. The Beneficent, the Merciful,
4. Master of the Day of Judgement
5. Thee (alone) worship we and of Thee (only) we seek help
6. Guide us (O' Lord) on the Right path,
7. The Path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy
bounties, not (the path) of those inflicted with Thy wrath,
nor (of those) gone astray.
of us know that the revelations were given to Prophets' Musa
(Moses), 'Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad, peace and blessings of God
be upon them all. So what is different for us as Muslims to
learn about the Prophets' whom we all revere and the last
revelation, which is the Qur'an and the topic of fish.
is a story found in Shamsi's (1994) "The Prophets of
Islam: Biographical Sketches according to al Qur'an" about
one of those revered Prophets whose name was Prophet Yunus
(Jonah). Prophet Yunus ('a) lived in Northern Iraq in a time
after Prophet al-Yasa ('a) and before Prophet Uzair ('a). For
those who are less familiar, the larger picture is after
Prophet Ayub ('a) (Job) to the Christians and before Zakariya
('a) and Yahya ('a) or John the Baptist to the Christians.
the aforementioned book, it says:
son of Amittai in the clan of Judah was appointed prophet by
Allah towards the people of Ninewah (North Western Iraq). The people
were very head strong and obstinate. They refused to listen to
his teachings. He got disgusted and disappointed with the lack
of progress with the people. He prayed to Allah to punish the
people for defying him, and decided to take the river ferry to
go to another territory.
crossing the river, great swells engulfed the ferry. When it
appeared that the boat would sink with the next swell, the
captain of the boat addressed the passengers and said that
there must be someone amongst them who had run away from his
master. He should give himself up and come forward so that he
may be tossed overboard to save the rest. No one moved for a
while. When the next swell struck the boat and it was evident
that the end was near they decided to toss a coin and it fell
for Yunus so he was thrown in the river. The storm subsided
immediately and all on board the ferry were saved.
for Yunus a large fish swallowed him and carried him to the
banks of the river where he was ejected onto dry land. His
skin was eroded from the digestive juices of the fish. He
suffered great pain and disappointment because of the flies
and the sun. He sought forgiveness from Allah from having
abandoned his mission. Allah made a plant come up by his side
and he convalesced under its shadow by the river bank, and
reflected over the extra ordinary experience.
the meantime his people had realised their error. They
repented for their sin and ventured out in search of Yunus.
They found him and rejoiced seeing him alive. They took him
back and promised to live by his teachings. He lived among his
people to a long and ripe age. When he died he was buried near
the same place where the great fish had ejected him. Many
devout followers started to build their homes in this location
and it soon developed into a bustling city. The city of Kufa
is located at the same historic site and the grave of Yunus is
located on the bank of the river.
is also known as Zunnun since he had emerged from the stomach
of the fish (Shamsi, 1994, p61,62).
text "Qisaasul Anbiyaa" discuses the story of
Prophet Yunus slightly differently and mentions the below
And (remember) Jonah (Zunnun) ie - (Yunus) when went he in
anger, and imagined he that never would We straighten him then
he cried out from the darkness: 'There is no God but Thou (O'
my Lord)!, Glory be to Thee, verily I was of the unjust ones!'
88. Then responded We unto him and delivered him from the
grief, thus do we deliver the believers."
(Surat al-Anbiya: 87-88)
we have established that the city of Kufa, known well to Shi'a
historians, was founded around the event of the fish and the 'companion
of the fish'.
And verily Jonah was (one) of the Apostles.
140. When he fled unto a ship fully laden,
141. And they drew lots and he was of those who was cast off.
142. And the fish swallowed him while he was blamed.
143. So if it were not that he was of those who glorify Us,
144. He would certainly have been detained in its belly to the
Day (of Resurrection) when they shall be raised;
145. And We cast him forth on the naked shore and he was sick.
146. And caused We to grow (to give shade) over him a plant of
147. And we sent him unto a hundred thousand (people) or
(even) more were they.
148. And believed they so we gave them provision till a
(Surat al Saffat: 139-148)
take this one step further and ask what else do the Shi'a
historians tell us about Kufa apart from what is relevant for Ashurra.
is a quote in another text called "Kitab al Irshad:
The Book of Guidance" by Shaikh al Mufid, where they
report (the Scholars- ahlal-atar) that:
waters of the Euphrates overflowed and grew so big that the
people of Kufa became anxious about drowning. They resorted to
the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him). He rode out
on the mule of the Apostle of God (may God bless him and his
family), and the people went with him until he reached the
banks of the Euphrates. He, peace be upon him, dismounted and
performed the ritual ablution and prayed alone, by himself
while the people watched him. Then he called on God with
prayers which most of them heard. He went toward the
Euphrates, leaning on a stick which was in his hand. He struck
the surface of the water with it and said: "Abate,
with God's permission and His will".
waters sank so that the fish at the bottom (of the flood)
appeared. Many of them greeted him with the title of the
Commander of the Faithful. However, some kinds of fish did not
speak. They were eels, a scaleless fish (marmaliq) and
mudfish (zumar). The people were amazed at that and
they asked for the reason that the ones that spoke spoke and
the ones who were silent were silent. He said: "God
made those fish which were ritually pure speak to me and he
kept those silent towards me which were forbidden, impure and
for those people nowadays standing on the banks of the great
Furat as did Imam 'Ali ('a) and Imam al Hussayn ('a) and al
Abbas ('a) who was martyred there, as Prophet Yunus was delivered
there by the great Fish, they would have to ask if they have
the right to stand on such pure soil that not only unites a
true Christian with a true Muslim but a true Jew with a true Christian
and a true Muslim.
'Ali (a) held office as the Caliph in the Holy city of
Kufa until his demise during Ramadhan in the year 40 A.H. and
his remains are somewhere known only to his sons ('a).
1: Abbad b. Ya'qub al-Rawajini related: Hayyan b. 'Ali al-Anazi
told us: A retainer of 'Ali b. Abi Talib told me:
death was close to the Commander of the Faithful he said to
al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them:
"When I die, you two put me on my bier. Then take me out
and carry (me) in the back of the bier. You two will protect
the front of it. Then bring me to al-Ghariyyayn. You will see
a white rock shining with light. Dig there and you will find a
shield and bury me at it."
he died we took him out and began to carry him on the back of
the bier while we guarded the front of it. We began to hear a
rustling and whistling of the wind until we came to al-Ghariyyayn.
Behold! There was a white rock whose light was shining. We dug
there and behold, there was a shield on which was
"This is one of the things which Noah has stored for
'Ali b. Abi Talib."
buried him there and then went away. We were happy at God's
mark of honour to the Commander of the Faithful. A group of
the Shi'a followed us but they had not witnessed the prayer
performed for him. We told them about what had happened and
about God's mark of honour to the Commander of the Faithful.
they said: "We would like to see what you have seen of
"Traces of the place have been removed according to
his bequest," we told them.
They kept coming back and forth to us and they told us that
they had dug but could not find anything (Shaykh al-Mufid,
2: Mohammad b. Zakariyya reported: Abd Allah b. Mohammad
told us on the authority of Ibn A'isha, who said: Abd Allah b.
Hazim told me:
went out from Kufa one day with (Harun) al-Rashid to hunt. We
came to the region of al-Ghariyyayn and al-Thawiyya. Then we
saw some gazelle. We sent the falcons and dogs after them.
They raced after them for an hour but then the gazelle took
refuge in a hill. They stopped chasing them; the falcons flew
down to the ground and the dogs came back. Al-Rashid was
amazed at that. Then the gazelles came down from the hill, and
the falcons and the dogs descended towards them. The gazelle
returned to the hill, and the falcons and the dogs came away
from them. That happened three times.
Harun al-Rashid said: "Hurry and bring me whomever you
We brought him an old man (Shaykh) of the Banu Asad.
Harun asked him: "Tell me what this hill
"I will tell you, if you grant me a pledge of
security," he replied.
"You may have the compact of God and His guarantee
that I will not be roused against you and harm you,"
"My father reported to me from his father," said
the old man, "that they used to say that in this hill
was the grave of 'Ali b. Abi Talib, and that God has made it a
sanctuary (haram) so that whatever seeks refuge there will be
Harun got down and called for water. Then he made ritual
ablutions and performed the prayer at the hill. He rolled in
the ground there and began to weep. Then we left.
mind could not accept that. Some days later I made the pilgrimage
to Mecca. I saw there Yasir, one of al-Rashid's men. He used
to sit with us. When we had made the tawaf (circumambulation
of the Ka'ba), the conversation went on until he said:
Al-Rashid said to me one night when we had come from Mecca and
stopped at Kufa: "Tell 'Isa b. J'afar to come riding
rode with them until we came to al-Ghariyyayn. 'Isa threw
himself down and slept but al-Rashid went to the hill and
prayed there. Whenever he performed the two rak'as, he called
out, wept and rolled in the ground of the hill. Then he
"O cousin, I know your outstanding merit (fadl), and
your precedence (in Islam). By God, you have sat in my majlis
(council) while I was there and you were what you were: but
your descendents are harming me and revolting against
this he stood and prayed two ra'kas, then he began
speaking again calling out and weeping until it was daybreak.
Then he said: "Yasir, wake 'Isa." I woke him
and he said to him: "'Isa, wake up and pray at the
grave of your cousin."
"What cousin of mine is this?" asked 'Isa.
"This is the grave of 'Ali b. Abi Talib," he
'Isa made his ritual ablutions and stood up to pray. He did
not stop doing that until the dawn arose. Then I said:
Commander of the Faithful morning has come."
we rode off and returned to Kufa (Shaykh al-Mufid, 1981,
upon this, we are all aware that despite the destruction of
holy Shrines at Jannatul Baqi where Lady Fatimah ('a) was
buried, that no-one but her husband, Imam 'Ali ('a), and her
sons ('a) actually knew exactly where she ('a) was really
simple facts help the hearts of the Shi'as in this era from
excessive grief over the destruction of the holy shrines, as
the Holy Ones ('a) would have already known what was going to
happen in the future to those shrines. The holy ground in
Iraq, where Imam 'Ali ('a) is actually buried, is not known to
anyone in this day and age, alhamdulillah. So despite having
unwelcomed occupiers in Iraq, it can do our religion
Imam 'Ali ('a) ensured that the great Islam was spread
throughout the world as he was commanded to do by the Prophet
(peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny) and it is
not surprising that in this age, we still find the secrets
that were taught by the Holy Infallibles ('a) in the most
unlikely places and far away from Iraq. Places where the fish
and the wise men can still communicate. In fact the war in
Iraq, with the media coverage, has begun to help tie in lost
fragments, confused traditions, that are all making their way
back to their origins. The religion of mankind has a revival
of a very real nature for those who care to notice.
Allah (swt) says in al Qur'an:
So, wait thou patiently for the judgement of thy Lord! Be not
thou like unto the companion of the fish!
When cried he when
he was confined.
49. Had not a bounty from his Lord reached him he certainly
would have been cast off on the naked shore while in disgrace.
50. Then chose him his Lord and made him of the righteous
(Surat al Qalam:48-50)
may Allah (swt) rain down His blessings upon Mohammad and the
family of Mohammad.
Shaykh (1981) Kitab al Irshad: The Book of Guidance,
Balagha & Muhammadi Trust, London, England.
Kathir, Imam Abi al-Fidaa Isma'il (1999) Qissasul Anbiyaa:
Stories of the Prophets, Adam Publishers and Distributors,
Delhi, India, p187 citing al Qur'an Surahs al-Anbiyaa, al-Saffat
Ahmed Ali English translation of al Qur'an
Syed Muhammad Hussain (1994) The Prophets of Islam:
Biographical Sketches according to al Qur'an, AlHuda
Foundation, Englewood, NJ, p.61,62 citing al Quran Surahs
Nisaa', An'am, Yunus, Anmbiya, Sa'ffat, Qalam.
1 - Fish caught in Dakar, Senegal.
Authors: Hj Nurzaynab El-Fatah and Hj S. Abidin
Illustration: IFSA Yahoo Group
Chief Editor: Hj
Production: Hj S. Abidin
1st Rajab, 1424.
Modification Date: 25th
January,2009/ 28th Muharram, 1430
Publication ID: 04fishMiracles. Of
Fish, Prophets and Miracles
Copyright: © Victory
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