“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers” (Quran 21:87)
لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Prophet Jonah (Yunus in Arabic), peace be upon him, was a Prophet of God, who was sent to call out to his people to worship the One and Only God and call them to obey God’s commandments. But his people were stubborn and rejected his Message. After many attempts to convince his people to follow God’s Commandments, Prophet Jonah became frustrated and angry at his people for not believing in his Message and left his people without the instructions or permission from God.
Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, boarded a ship, unaware that his people finally believed in his Message after he left. The ship then got caught up in a storm that shook the ship. The people in the ship realized that they would drown if they did not empty the ship and lighten the load, so they threw out their belongings into the ocean. But that was not enough, the ship kept shaking. They realized they needed someone in the ship to jump out so that the rest of the people would survive and not drown.
So, the people in the ship decided to draw lots, and whoever’s name is drawn would have to jump off the ship to make the ship lighter. Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, was drawn three times. Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, understood that this was from God, the Almighty. So, he jumped off the ship.
After Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, threw himself into the sea, God caused a big fish to swallow him without tearing his flesh or breaking his bones. Prophet Jonah realized his mistake of abandoning his people without the permission of God. In three layers of darkness — the depth of the night, the darkness of the bottom ocean, the darkness of the whale’s belly, Prophet Jonah — filled with total despair, turned to Allah, prostrated to Him, and cried out to Him reciting this dua. Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, acknowledged that Allah is the only deity worthy of worship, then he declared the Greatness of Allah, and then admitted his sin — taking responsibility for his actions. Then, Allah, the Glorious released him by having the whale spit him out on the shore.
Prophet Jonah was feeling sick, and his skin was peeling off from all the acid from being in the whale’s belly. He was spit in a land without any trees. God caused a plant to grow and cover Prophet Jonah with its shade to protect him from the wind and to heal him. Then Jonah’s health recovered.
Whenever you feel that you are in a tough situation that you want to get out of, you should recite this dua, and Allah, the Glorious will find a way out for you just like he did for Prophet Jonah, who was in the darkest place one can get into. He was in the darkness of the night, in the bottom of the ocean, in the belly of a fish, and God was still able to get him out of the situation he was in. You need to realize that God is the One in control of all things and can get you out of any situation. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, stated that whoever recites this dua is guaranteed a response from Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Powerful.