THIS SURAH, which derives its title from the solitary mention of "the people of Jonah" in verse 98, was almost certainly revealed in its entirety at Mecca, and probably not earlier than in the year preceding the Prophet's exodus to Medina. Some authorities are of the opinion that verses 40 and 94-95 belong to the Medina period, but there is no convincing evidence to this effect. On the other hand, there does not seem to be any doubt that, chronologically, this surah must be placed between surah 17 (Al-Isra') and surah 11 (Hud). The central theme of Yunus is revelation - in particular, the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad, and the impossibility of its having been "composed" by the latter and fraudulently attributed by him to God, as the deniers of the truth assert (verses 15-17, 37-38 and 94). Woven around this theme are references to earlier prophets - all of whom were given the lie by the majority of their people - as well as a many-sided exposition of the fundamental tenets of Islam: the oneness, uniqueness and omnipotence of God, the continuity of His revelation to man, the certainty, of resurrection and of God's final judgment - culminating in the reminder (in verse 108) that "whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good: and whoever chooses to go astray, goes but astray to his own hurt".
Alif Lam Ra.1 THESE ARE MESSAGES of the divine writ, full of wisdom.2