The experience of Prophet Yunus `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may Allah send his peace and blessings upon him) is so crucial to internalize. When he was trapped in the belly of the whale, he had only one way out: turning completely to Allah, realizing Allah’s oneness and his own human frailty. His du`a’ encapsulates this truth in such a profound way: “There is no God but You, glory be to You, I was wrong.” (Qur’an, 21:87)

Many of us are also trapped inside the belly of the whale of our own desires and objects of worship. It is our own selves which we become enslaved to. And that imprisonment is the result of putting anything where only God should be in our hearts. In so doing we create the worst and most painful of prisons; because while a worldly prison can only take away what is temporary and inherently imperfect, this spiritual prison takes away what is ultimate, unending and perfect: Allah and our relationship to Him.