Overview - Surah 10: Yunus (Jonah)

Surah Introduction

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The main subject of this Surah is faith in Allah and belief in the Hereafter. Those who have true faith, they worship Allah and recognize Him as their Lord and Master and live their lives in accordance to His command. Allah sent His Messengers to remind people and to warn them. The stories of Prophets Noah and Prophet Moses with Pharaoh are told to remind people about the consequences of unfaithfulness and arrogance.


  1. The Qur'an is the Book of wisdom, it contains signs from the All Wise.
  2. Man's ingratitude to Allah and His revelation.
  3. Allah's mercy to His creation.  Allah invites to the abode of peace.
  4. Allah's gifts. The Qur'an is from Allah. Bring a Surah like the Qur'an if you can.
  5. Those who disbelieve in the Qur'an shall be the losers. Every people were sent a Messenger.
  6. The Qur'an is a mercy, blessing and a cure for the problems of humankind.
  7. Whatever you do Allah is a Witness. The mistakes of the Mushrikin.
  8. The story of Prophet Noah and his people.  Prophet Moses and Aaron -peace be upon them all.
  9. Allah delivered the Children of Israel from the bondage of the Pharaoh.
  10. Allah's mercy for the Children of Israel. Prophet Yunus and his people.
  11. If Allah afflicts you with any loss or wants to bestow any profit on you, none can avert it.  You must always follow Allah's guidance.

The surah is named after the Prophet Yunus [Jonah] and this is the only surah of the Qur’an to mention the ‘people of Yunus’ – “Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment for a time” (10:98)

There are 109 Ayat in this Surah.


Total Ayat109
Total Words *1833
Root Words *301
Unique Root Words *0
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 51st (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 12th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
2nd Pledge of Aqabah, 1st Pledge of Aqabah, Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, 2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Nuh, Musa, Harun, Yunus
Surah Index
Aaron, Adversity (patience during) , God (remembering him standing--- sitting--- lying down) , Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (moon), Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (solar and lunar orbits), Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (sun), Behaviour (each group given a law and way of life) , Behaviour (each group given a law and way of life) (and a prophet), Calendar (lunar) , Children (of Israel) , Commandments (general religious) , Death (those communities who have no revelation will not be destroyed) , Disbelievers, Disbelievers (ask Muhammad to invoke God’s wrath upon them as proof) , Disbelievers (God’s promise to) , Earth (creation of) (in six days), Earth (rotation of) , Hell, Humankind (creation of) , Jesus, Jonah, Judgement (Day) , Judgement (Day) (are disbelievers really ready for), Knowledge (obligation upon man to obtain and impart) , Knowledge (study nature to acquire) , Moses, Moses (duel by sorcery with Pharaoh’s magicians) , Muhammad (dares not alter the Qur'an nor act contrarily) , Noah, Noah (ark) , Noah (flood) , Nuclear physics (things smaller than an atom (originally meant as ant?)) , Pharaoh, Prophet (people who are false prophets are wicked) , Qur'an, Qur’an (conveyed clearly) , Qur’an (divine nature of) , Record of personal deeds, Religion, Resurrection (Day) , Resurrection (of soul) , Revelation, Sea, Ships, Weather (rain)

Central Theme

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Theme 1: Belief in the Qadha [decisions] and Qadr [pre-destination] of Allah, the most Wise.

Theme 2: Invitation to the Message using admonition and warning. In the very introductory verses the invitation has been extended like this: “The people consider it a strange thing that this Message is being conveyed by a human being and charge him with sorcery whereas there is nothing strange in it nor has it any connection with sorcery or sooth saying. It simply informs you of two realities. First God Who has created the universe and manages it is in fact your Master and Lord and He alone is entitled to your worship. The second reality is that after the life in this world there will be another life in the Next World where you shall have to render full account of the life of this world and be rewarded or punished according to whether you adopted the righteous attitude as required by Him after acknowledging Him as your Masters or acted against His will. Both of these realities which the Messenger is presenting before you are “realities” in themselves whether you acknowledge them as such or not. He is inviting you to accept these and regulate your lives in accordance with them; if you accept them, you will have a very blessed end; otherwise you shall be met with evil consequences.”

Interesting Note

Towards the end Surah Yunus, Allah says, "Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment for a time."  (10:98). Just like the people of Jonah believed in the end, ultimately the people of Makkah also ended up believing.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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The Surah begins with the mention about the H-K-M [wise/judge/judgement] revelation:

  • الر ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ "Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the wise Book." (10:1) 
  • وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَاصْبِرْ حَتَّىٰ يَحْكُمَ اللَّـهُ ۚ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْحَاكِمِينَ   "And follow what is revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and be patient until Allah will judge. And He is the best of judges. " (10:109)

The Surah ends with the instruction to follow the revelation and true wisdom is in the following of the revelation of the words of Allah.

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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  • يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ  قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّـهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ "O mankind, there has to come to you admonition from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. Say, "In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy - in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate." (10:58)
  • لِّلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَىٰ وَزِيَادَةٌ ۖ وَلَا يَرْهَقُ وُجُوهَهُمْ قَتَرٌ وَلَا ذِلَّةٌ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ "For them who have done good is the best [reward] and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally " (10:26)

    وَزِيَادَةٌ (extra) - The Messenger of Allah [saw] said, " الْحُسْنَىٰ (best [reward]) is Jannah and وَزِيَادَةٌ (extra) is seeing the Face of Allah, the most Noble" (Saheeh Muslim)
  • Key words: Rayb (doubt),  Ajb (strange, amazed), Ghafiloon (heedless), Dhan (thought), Khadhaba (lie)  Shak (doubt), Iftara (lie), Haq (truth), Sidq (true), Iman (faith), Mobin (clear), Bayanat (manifest), Sultan (power/authority), Wahy (revelation), Huda (guidance) and Ilm (knowledge)
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) = 0*

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
أ ل ه 63 2851
ك و ن 50 1390
ق و ل 50 1722
ٱلَّذِى 36 1464
أ م ن 30 879
ر ب ب 24 980
ق و م 24 660
إِلَىٰ 23 742
ح ق ق 23 287
إِلَّا 21 663

Period of Revelation

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We learn from hadith the Surah was revealed in Makkah. But there are some people who are of the opinion that some of its verses were revealed at Madinah. This is however a superficial view. The continuity of the theme clearly shows that this does not comprise isolated verses or discourses that were revealed at different times and on different occasions. On the contrary it is from the beginning to the end a closely connected discourse which must have been revealed at one sitting. Besides this the nature of its theme is itself a clear proof that the Surah belongs to the Makkan period. [Ref: Mawdudi]

Some consider it to have been revealed after Surah al-Isra [17] and before Hud [11] – which would place it around year 11 of Prophethood.[Ref: Ibn Ashoor, Tahrir wa Tanwir]

Background Reasons for Revelation

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We have no hadith in regard to the time of its revelation but its subject matter gives clear indication that it must have been revealed during the last stage of the Prophet’s residence at Makkah. For the mode of the discourse suggests that at the time of its revelation the antagonism of the opponents of the Message had become so intense that they could not tolerate even the presence of the Prophet and his followers among themselves and that things had come to such a pass as to leave no hope that they would ever understand and accept the Message of the Prophet. This indicates that the last stage of the Prophet’s life among the people had come and the final warning like the one in this Surah had to be given. These characteristics of the discourse are clear proof that it was revealed during the last stage of the Movement at Makkah. Another thing that determines more specifically the order of the Surahs of the last stage at Makkah is the mention (or absence) of some open or covert hint about emigration (Hijrah) from Makkah. As this Surah does not contain any hint whatsoever about this it is a proof that it preceded those Surahs which contain it. Now that we have specified the time of its revelation there is no need of repeating its historical background because that has already been stated in Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock) and  Surah 7: al-A’raf (The Elevations).

Relevant Hadith

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  • One of the key phrases of this surah is, ‘….those who do not expect the meeting with Us….’ [10:7]
  • After the Law [Shariah] has been laid out and explained in the previous Surahs, we begin stories of Prophets.
  • Allah is the only Creator of this universe.
  • Deities whom the mushrikin worship other than Allah, have no power to either benefit or harm anyone.
  • Deities other than Allah are not even aware that they are being worshiped.
  • To every nation Allah sent a Rasool for guidance.
  • Al-Qur'an provides a cure for all the problems of mankind.
  • Mushrikin follow nothing but conjectures & The story of the Prophet Nuh and his people.
  • The story of the Prophet Musa, Pharaoh and his chiefs.
  • Belief after seeing the scourge did not benefit any nation except the nation of the Prophet Yunus.
  • Prohibition against forcing anyone to convert to Islam.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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