Yunus (surah)

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Sura 10 of the Quran
PositionJuzʼ 11
Hizb no.21 to 22
No. of Rukus11
No. of verses109
No. of Sajdahsnone

Yūnus (Arabic: يونس‎, "Jonah") is the 10th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran with 109 verses (āyāt). Yūnus is named after the prophet Jonah. Accordinmg to traditional islamic chronology (asbāb al-nuzūl), it is believed to have been formulated or "revealed" before the migration of the Islamic prophet Muhammed and his followers from Mecca to Medina (Hegira), as such, it is known as a Meccan surah.


According to the Islamic tradition, the chapter is predominantly revealed during the Meccan phase (610–622) of Muhammad's prophethood (before his move to Medina), therefore, a Meccan sura.[1] Based on its context, some verses appeared to date to when Muhammad just started his call to Islam.[1] According to the fifteenth century commentary Tafsir al-Jalalayn, some said that the sura was revealed sometime after Muhammad's Night Journey (c. 621).[1] Verses 40 and 94–96 appeared to be an exception and were revealed in Medina.[1]

The sura contains 109 verses (ayah) and is the first of six surahs which open with the tri-letters alif, lam and ra'.[1]


The initial verses of the chapter (1–70) presents an argumentative dialogue between Islam and its unbelievers. The rest contains the stories of Noah, Moses and Jonah, all considered prophets in Islam.[2][3]

The chapter presents the Meccan pagans' objections against the Quran, and responds to them.[1][4] The pagans said that Muhammad was a "manifest sorcerer" and that he fabricated the Quran.[1] They also challenged Muhammad to immediately bring the punishment of God, if his claim was true.[1] They also demanded that Muhammad change the Quran to no longer condemn their practice of idolatry and using intercessors when worshipping God.[1][5]

The chapter's response to these objection is a mix of "argument, threat, promise and reproach".[4] It defends the Quran's divine origin, not a fabrication of Muhammad's, and says that Muhammad could not change it even if he wanted to.[6][1][4] As for the challenge to bring God's punishment, the chapter says that God may defer punishment in this world if he wants to.[4] It also tells of the punishment against unbelievers in the past, such as the people of Noah and Moses.[5] It says that if the pagans waited for the punishment before believing, it would be too late, as was the case with the Pharaoh of Moses.[7] According to the Quran, the Pharaoh only believed in God just before drowning, and that belief was too late and did not benefit him.[7]

Jonah (top-right) in a 16th-century Ottoman Turkish illustration.[8] The surah is named after Jonah (Yunus) and contains the story of his people.

The chapter also mentions the People of Jonah, who at first rejected Jonah's message, but then repented and believed.[3] Therefore, unlike the people of Noah and Moses, they were averted from God's punishment.[3] The mention of Jonah in verse 98 gives the chapter its name.[2] The chapter then instructs Muhammad if he had any doubt about the truth of what was revealed to him, he could ask other People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who would be able to confirm the Quran's account of these people of the past.[9][3]


The chapter is named after Jonah who was known as Yunus in the Islamic tradition, who is mentioned in the verse 98. Despite the chapter being named after him, this verse is the only one (out of 109) where the chapter mentions him.[10] This is not unusual in the Quran, a chapter's name is usually taken from a prominent or unusual word in it, which might or might not relate to its subject matter.[10]


It is narrated that when Ja'far al-Sadiq was asked about verse [10:101]: ...the signs and warnings are of no avail to the disbelieving people, he replied the signs are the Imams and the warnings are the Prophets.[11].



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Study Quran, p. 543.
  2. ^ a b The Study Quran, p. 544.
  3. ^ a b c d Johns 2003, p. 62.
  4. ^ a b c d Johns 2003, p. 63.
  5. ^ a b Johns 2003, p. 64.
  6. ^ The Study Quran, p. 548, v. 15 commentary.
  7. ^ a b Johns 2003, pp. 64–65.
  8. ^ G’nsel Renda (1978). "The Miniatures of the Zubdat Al- Tawarikh". Turkish Treasures Culture /Art / Tourism Magazine.
  9. ^ The Study Quran, p. 544, vv. 94–95 commentary.
  10. ^ a b Johns 2003, p. 66.
  11. ^ Al-Kulayni, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub (2015). Kitab al-Kafi. South Huntington, NY: The Islamic Seminary Inc. ISBN 9780991430864.


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