Tonight we read the story of Yunus (a) in My Little Lore of Light by Hajjah Amina Adil.
My son wanted to know if it was real or a or a dream that Yunus (a) was swallowed by a whale. I said that according to the story it was not a dream and that it really occurred. My son wanted to know if you can die if you are swallowed by a whale and I said yes you can and probably will but that Yunus (a) was protected by Allah (s).
In the story we learned that Yunus (a) became a prophet when he returned to Nineveh on the order of Allah (s) to guide the people there. My son wanted to know why he wasn’t a prophet before that time and I said that Allah (s) chooses the time. My son wanted to know where Nineveh is and I told him it is in Iraq and that I would show him a map in the morning.
My son wanted to know why the fish did not chew up Yunus (a). I told him that Allah (s) protected Yunus (a) like when Allah (s) protected Ibrahim (a) from the fire.
My son wanted to know why the seclusion of Yunus (a) in the whale was 40 days and not 1,000 days. I told him that 40 is a special number. The flood lasted 40 days before Prophet Nuh (a) found land again.
My son wanted to know if Yunus (a) was really naked when the whale spit him out and I told him that yes the story said he was.
My son wanted to know if the time that Yunus (a) was in the whale was like a time out or calm down corner. I said that yes this was a similar idea because Allah (s) was not happy with Yunus (a) for leaving Nineveh and wanted him the ask forgiveness and think about his choice. My son wanted to know why he got in big trouble for leaving Nineveh. I explained that it is a very heavy responsibility to be a prophet and guide people. They cannot abandon their responsibility to guide us even if we are not listening.
Please share your ideas for teaching children about the lives of the prophets.