Prophet llyaas () was from the family of Prophet Haroon (). Allah sent him to the town of Ba’labak, west of Damascus, to call its people to the way of Allah and to forbid them from worshipping idols. The people of Ba’labak were idol-worshippers. They had forgotten the teachings of their prophets that Allah is One and He has no partner. They made these idols with their own hands out of stones and wood. Their favourite idol was called Ba’I. Even the king of Ba’labak worshipped Ba’I. They held festivals and fairs in its honour. People came from everywhere to celebrate its fake greatness. The town of Ba’labak was named after this idol. There were huge gatherings in different seasons of the year for the worship of Ba’I. Many temples were built for the purpose. They lit fires around the idol and burnt perfumed articles in it. Sometimes human sacrifices were also offered to the idol. The idol of Ba’I was entirely made of gold, sixty feet in height, having four faces. Five hundred servants were employed to look after the idol. llyaas () informed them of the Message of Allah. He told them that Allah is the Only Creator and the Lord of everything. He was a very noble person. The greed of the wealthy people made llyaas () very sad. He pleaded with the wealthy people to obey Allah, but they hardly listened to him. Soon they became upset with Prophet llyaas () and his message. Some evil people decided to kill him. When llyaas () learnt of their evil plot, he became very sad. This group of evil people included the king of Ba’labak and his own wife, llyaas () decided to leave the place. One night, he left the town quietly and took refuge in a cave in a mountain far away from the evil people of Ba’labak. The cave became his new home. He lived there by himself and spent his time praying to Allah. As the time went by, the town of Ba’labak was in the grip of famine. The people of Ba’labak were in panic. They did not know what to do. The famine lasted for a long time. Finally, they set out to find llyaas () to see if he could help them. They looked for him everywhere but they could not find him. However, just when they gave up hope, Allah commanded llyaas () to return to Ba’labak. Ilyaas () told his people, “The famine has come to you as a sign from Allah. It is a warning. You rejected me. You rejected Allah’s Commands. You are a very stubborn people. This drought is a punishment from Allah for not obeying His Commands.” Some of his people said, “O Ilyaas, we understand what you say! We accept Allah as the One and Only Creator. We are grateful to Allah for leading us out of darkness.” Ilyaas () prayed to Allah for rain. Allah responded to his prayer and the rain fell. The fields of Ba’labak became green again. The people of Ba’labak were grateful for the changes in their fortunes. Prophet llyaas’s followers began to increase. He began to gain popularity. But still many of the people of Ba’labak refused to obey him. They rejected him. They were not prepared to listen to him. They once again planned to kill him. Ilyaas () again left the town. He retuned to Ba’labak after the death of the king. He continued to teach the Message of Allah until he passed away. Exercises A. Circle the correct word between brackets. 1 . Prophet llyaas () was from the family of (Haroon, Nuh). 2. People worshipped an idol called (Ba’I, Ba’labak). 3. People of Prophet llyaas () worshipped (idols, Allah). B. Fill in the blanks with suitable words. 1 . Prophet llyaas ( ) lived in the town of in Syria. 2. His people made idols out of and 3. Allah tested the people of llyaas ) with a severe C. Answer these questions. 1 . What was the name of the town of Ba’labak named after? 2. In what different ways did the people of Prophet llyaas () honour Ba’I? 3. What did llyaas () do when he came to know that his people wanted to kill him? 4. What reason did llyaas () give for the famine that had struck his people? The story of Yunus () affirms Allah’s Kindness to His slaves. Allah’s help comes when His slaves are in despair and hardship. Allah is Merciful. He has power over everything! Allah sent Prophet Yunus () to the people of Nineveh, which was situated on the left bank of the River Tigris, opposite the present city of Mosul. One of the mounds in this area is still named after Prophet Yunus (). The people of Nineveh had strayed from the Straight Path of Islam. They worshipped false gods and idols instead of Allah. Prophet Yunus () began to call people to Allah. He asked them to stop worshipping false gods and idols. He told them that Allah is One and the Only Creator and that He alone deserves to be worshipped. But the people of Nineveh ignored and rejected him. Prophet Yunus () continued to preach the Truth to them, but nobody seemed to be listening. He felt that his people were very stubborn. They were blind to the Greatness of Allah. Angrily, he left them warning them that Allah’s punishment would come to them after three days. Knowing that prophets do not lie, the people went out into the desert with their children and cattle. There they humbly asked for Allah’s forgiveness and prayed fervently to Him for mercy. They regretted what they had done to their Prophet (). Allah responded to their call and did not punish them. Yunus () had already left the town. He walked until he arrived at a sea harbour. As he approached the water, he found a ship ready to set sail. He boarded the ship in the sea. Soon a storm hit them. The sea rolled, and the ship was heavy and it almost sank. The people decided to draw lots with everyone’s name. The one whose name was drawn would be thrown into the sea to lighten their loads. The lot fell on Yunus (). So they drew lots again. A second time the lot fell on Yunus (). Then a third time and it fell on him again. So they knew that Allah had intended him in this matter. Yunus () then was thrown into the sea. Allah sent a whale to swallow him. Allah commanded the whale not to eat him and not to bite him. The whale took him to the depths of the sea. Yunus () felt very sorry and prayed to Allah to forgive him. He was in the dark belly of the whale. He called out from the depths of darkness, “There is no god other than You. Glory be to You. I have truly been among the wrongdoers. Allah’s Messenger () says about this supplication, “No Muslim calls upon Allah by these words, about anything, but that Allah will answer his supplication.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhee) Allah showed mercy to Prophet Yunus () and saved him from the trial. He commanded the whale to spit him onto the shore. It was because of Yunus’ praising of Allah and seeking repentance that he was saved from the belly of the whale Otherwise he would have stayed there until the Day of Resurrection. The whale swam to the shore and threw him onto it. Yunus () was exhausted. He was ill. He lay there under the bright glare of the sun. He was feeling very weak. Allah again showed His Mercy to Prophet Yunus (). He commanded a plant of the gourd kind to grow over him abundantly. Its leaves were very soft. It provided much shade, and flies never approached him. He ate of the fruit, whether cooked or not! When Yunus () had fully recovered, he went back to his people and preached to them once again. This time his people believed him and a hundred and twenty thousand or more of them accepted his teachings. There are lessons for the believers in the story of Yunus (). The lesson is that we should never give up our duty to call to the worship of Allah. We should not give up hope or be angry if we do not succeed first; we should continue to do our duty. Success will eventually come. It may be closer to us than we think! Exercises A. Fill in the blanks with suitable words. 1 . The story of Yunus () teaches us that Allah’s help comes when His slaves are in and hardship. 2 . Prophet Yunus () was sent to the people of 3. Prophet Yunus () said his people would be punished after days. 4. Allah commanded a to swallow Yunus (). B. Answer these questions. 1 . What did the people of Nineveh worship? 2. Why was Yunus () thrown over board from the ship? 3. How did Allah care for Yunus () on the shore? 4. What lesson do we learn from the story of Yunus ()? C. Think-up Why do you think the whale did not eat Yunus ()?