Pronoun 'they' in verse 37:144 refers to 'people'
Fatwa No: 353614

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. What does verse 37:144 mean by 'they are raised'? Does it mean Jonah and the humans, or Jonah and the whale? Do you think that it means the whale?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allah says (what means): {He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.} [Quran 37:144]

Many interpreters of the Quran mentioned that the meaning of the verse is: “The belly of the whale will be his grave until the Day of Resurrection.

They attributed this interpretation to Qataadah.

It appears that what is meant by {the Day they are resurrected} is the day when the creation will be resurrected; as Allah says about the supplication of Iblees (Satan): {He said: My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.} [Quran 38:79]

Tafseer At-Tabari reads (12/332), “Abu Ja‘far said, ‘The interpretation is that Iblees said to his Lord, 'Give me a delay and postponement, and extend my life-span and do not make me die ... until the day the creation will be resurrected.'’

We have not come across any scholar who said that the meaning is the resurrection of Yoonus (Jonah) and the whale in particular.

Allah knows best.

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