Yunus was sent to the residents of the town ‘Ninawa’ (نينوى) near the capital city of Münchell. He calls them to Tauhid and invites them to faith and good deeds. But they showed disobedience to him. If repeatedly rejected by invitation, then by God’s leave, he left the area and left. In the meantime, the prediction of the punishment of the people was already revealed. While leaving the township, he went on to say that three days later, there could be a displeasure. They thought that the Prophet did not lie.
As a result, the people of Yunus were afraid and quickly turned to the unbelief and shirk, and ran away to the jungle with all the old-time-old-worlds of livelihood and livestock. Going there, they separated the children and the cattle and started crying in Allah’s court. They are whole: pray and repent, and seek refuge in Allah for the coming wrath. As a result, Allah accepts their repentance and raises the torment from them. Allah said,
فلولا كانت قرية آمنت فنفعها إيمانها إلا قوم يونس لما آمنوا كشفنا عنهم عذاب الخزي في الحياة الدنيا ومتعناهم إلى حين- (يونس 98) –
‘So why is not a township that they would have believed in the time when they came to benefit when they believed? Except only the people of Jonah. When they believed, we took from them the humiliating chastisement of the life of the world and gave them the opportunity to enjoy the provision till the appointed time (Jonah 10/98). In this verse, Yunus’s people have been praised.
On the other hand, Jonah thought that his people were destroyed by the wrath of Allah. But later when he came to know that the scandal was not sent down, he thought that his people would now consider him a liar and kill him according to tradition as a liar’s punishment. Then he did not return to the township and went out to migrate elsewhere. At this time it was reasonable to wait for the order of Allah. But he did not do that.
Yunus in the fish’s stomach:
وإن يونس لمن المرسلين- إذ أبق إلى الفلك المشحون – فساهم فكان من المدحضين – فالتقمه الحوت وهو مليم- (الصافات 139-142) –
‘And Jonah was one of the messengers’. ‘When he ran away, the ship reached the ship loaded laden’. ‘Then he has failed in the lottery’. ‘Then a fish swallowed him. In this case, he was insulting himself ‘(Sufferers 37 / 139-142).