Does the story of Jonah contradict with the scientific data?

Details of the Question
Does the story of Jonah contradict with the scientific data?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There is not any accurate information about how much Prophet Jonah (PBUH) stayed in the stomach of the fish. Thus, the interpreters of the Qur’an presented different information based on weak riwayahs (reports) as follows:

a)         According to Suddi, Kalbi and Muqatil b. Sulayman, 40 days,

b)        According to Dahhak, 20 days,

c)         According to Ata, 7 days,

d)        According to Muqatil b. Hayyan, 3 days, (Tafsir Qurtubi:   15/123)


No matter which one is true, is it possible to live in the stomach of a fish?


First of all, let us note that this is a miraculous event; it cannot be evaluated with the physical and chemical laws. Besides, the author of the Tafsir called «Tafhimul-Qur’an» reported his readers the historical event given below:

About a hundred years ago in England, while a group of whale hunters was struggling with a hundred-ton whale, one of them fell into the sea as a result losing his balance and was swallowed by the whale at once. In the end, they succeeded to kill the whale and pull it onto the vessel. The first thing they did was to cut open its stomach; they were amazed upon seeing that their friend was still alive. In fact, 60 hours, a long time, had passed. However, he did not die.

As seen in this event, it is not impossible for a prophet to live in the stomach of a whale for a long time. Moreover, it is a miracle.(Celal Yıldırım, İlmin Işığında Asrın Kur’an Tefsiri, 10/5131-5132.)

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