Prophet Jonah (Yunus) (pbuh) also known as Dhan-Nun. About his people Almighty Allah said: Was there any town community that believed after seeing the punishment, and its Faith at that moment, saved it from the punishment? (the answer is none)–except the people of Jonah; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the present world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while. (Ch 10:98 Quran)
The inhabitants of the town of Nineveh were idolaters who lived a shameless life. Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was sent to teach them the worship of Allah. The people disliked his interference in their way of worship, so they argued. "We and our forefathers have worshipped these gods for many years and no harm has come to us."
Try as he might to convince them of the foolishness of idolatry and of the goodness of Allah's laws, the ignored him. He warned them that if they kept on with their foolishness, Allah's punishment would soon follow. Instead of fearing Allah, they told Jonah that they were not afraid of his threats. "Let it happen," they told him. Jonah was disheartened. "in that case, I will leave you to your misery!" so saying, he left Nineveh, fearing that Allah's anger would soon follow. Remember Dhan Nun (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (the calamities which had befallen him)! (ch 21:87)
Hardly had he left the city when the skies began to change color and looked as if they were on fire. The people were filled with fear by this sight. They recalled the destruction of the people of 'Ad, Thamud and Noah. Was theirs to be a similar fate? Slowly faith penetrated their hearts. They all gathered on the mountain and started to beseech Allah for His mercy and forgiveness. The mountains echoed with their cries. It was a momentous hour, filled with sincere repentance.
Allah removed His wrath and showered His blessings upon them once again. When the threatening storm was lifted, they prayed for the return of Jonah so that he could guide them.
Meanwhile, Jonah had boarded a small ship in the company of other passengers. It sailed all day in calm waters with a good wind blowing at the sails. When night came, the sea suddenly changed. A horrible storm blew as if it were going to split the ship into pieces. The waves looked wild. They rose up as high as mountains then plunged down like valleys, tossing the ship and sweeping over the deck.
Behind the ship, a large whale was splitting the water and opening its mouth. A command had been issued from Almighty Allah to one of the greatest whales of the sea to surface. It obeyed. The whale hurried to the surface of the sea and followed the ship as it had been commanded.