It was in my high school classes, when I first encountered the story of Nefertiti, the queen who first introduced monotheism to Egypt; or the story of a wealthy Pharaoh and his soldier who drowned in the Red Sea and or about Cleopatra, who came from Macedonia after Alexander the Great had conquered the blessed land of Egypt. It was only  years later, after I began the Islamic research, that I realised that Nefertiti could have been inspired by the story of Prophet Yusuf, who stayed loyal to his religion even in the hardest times. Perhaps the Pharaoh who drowned under the sea, could have been Ramses II while chasing Moses, for fact, is actually resting in Cairo at the National Museum. To add to this Alexander the Great could have been Dhul al Qarayn S.18, a great and powerful leader, who had one of the largest army in history. Those stories narrated in history classes and in religious classes finally unite to bring curiosity in visiting Egypt.

Throughout the monotheist history, pious and saint found wisdom mainly in the soil of the Middle East. As for one Prophet, his enlightenment happened underwater. Historians are unsure which Sea did Prophet Yunus / Jonas had to jump from the boat. The only information we have is that Prophet Yunus was sent to the people of Naynawa (Nineveh) in Mosul (modern-day Northern Iraq), so any sea that flows around Iraq could be the Sea narrated from holy scriptures. What we learn from this story is that a great influence on the Sealife is shown. As a matter of belief, I decided to dive in the Mediterranean and Red Sea to experience the feeling of fear that Prophet Yunus might have had. When Yunus found himself in the belly of the fish, he thought that he had died. With humbleness he repent from his anger “There is no God but You, Glorified be You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers”.  Of course, there is a big gap, from one person who has nearly drown underwater and a diver who has been training for a week. However the experience of the Sea life is incredibly fantastic, it is an otherworld for adventurous, the different color of fishes, the pressure of the water increasing while you go down, the depth of the sea and how dark it could get, the different plants that are living on different shore, and the wreck left abandoned from hundreds of years, the visibility that is decreased and the sound that is multiply, our five different sense just increase or decrease in a particular way. Surely it is a journey that a believer should experience if he wish to be close to Prophet Yunus's story.



Taiba Riaz holds a BA (hons) of Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS University of London. Currently a Master student of Civilisation studies at Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul. Her travels are detailed throughout this website, she provides a depth understanding of the Muslim community. The range of theological perspectives within the Islamic dogma. In addition to the various historical sites that recalls the narration of Prophets and Saints in the Holy Qur'an.


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