Chapter 17: Surah Al-Isra’ (The Journey by Night)
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
1. Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] [Tafsir Qurtubi, Vol. 10, Page 204] Who took His slave (Muhammad ) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad ) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.
2. And We gave Musa (Moses) the Scripture and made it a guidance for the Children of Israel (saying): “Take not other than Me as (your) Wakil (Protector, Lord, or Disposer of your affairs, etc).
3. “O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh (Noah)! Verily, he was a grateful slave.”
4. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant!
5. So, when the promise came for the first of the two, We sent against you slaves of Ours given to terrible warfare. They entered the very innermost parts of your homes. And it was a promise (completely) fulfilled.
6. Then We gave you once again, a return of victory over them. And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in man power.
7. (And We said): “If you do good, you do good for your ownselves, and if you do evil (you do it) against yourselves.” Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands.
8. [And We said in the Taurat (Torah)]: “It may be that your Lord may show mercy unto you, but if you return (to sins), We shall return (to Our Punishment). And We have made Hell a prison for the disbelievers.
9. Verily, this Qur’an guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger, Muhammad , etc.). who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise).
10. And that those who believe not in the Hereafter (i.e. they disbelieve that they will be recompensed for what they did in this world, good or bad, etc.), for them We have prepared a painful torment (Hell).
11. And man invokes (Allah) for evil as he invokes (Allah) for good and man is ever hasty [i.e., if he is angry with somebody, he invokes (saying): “O Allah! Curse him, etc.” and that one should not do, but one should be patient].
12. And We have appointed the night and the day as two Ayat (signs etc.). Then, We have made dark the sign of the night while We have made the sign of day illuminating, that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the number of the years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything (in detail) with full explanation.
13. And We have fastened every man’s deeds to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open.
14. (It will be said to him): “Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day.”
15. Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).
16. And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them [or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.
17. And how many generations have We destroyed after Nuh (Noah)! And Sufficient is your Lord as an All-Knower and All-Beholder of the sins of His slaves.
18. Whoever wishes for the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected, ( far away from Allah’s Mercy).
19. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it (i.e. do righteous deeds of Allah’s Obedience) while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded (by Allah).
20. To each these as well as those We bestow from the Bounties of your Lord. And the Bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden.
21. See how We prefer one above another (in this world) and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference.
22. Set not up with Allah any other ilah (god), (O man)! (This verse is addressed to Prophet Muhammad , but its implication is general to all mankind), or you will sit down reproved, forsaken (in the Hell-fire).
23. And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.
24. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.”
25. Your Lord knows best what is in your inner-selves. If you are righteous, then, verily, He is Ever Most Forgiving to those who turn unto Him again and again in obedience, and in repentance.
26. And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift . [Tafsir. At-Tabari, Vol. 10, Page 158 (Verse 9: 60)].
27. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.
28. And if you (O Muhammad ) turn away from them (kindred, poor, wayfarer, etc. whom We have ordered you to give their rights, but if you have no money at the time they ask you for it) and you are awaiting a mercy from your Lord for which you hope, then, speak unto them a soft kind word (i.e. Allah will give me and I shall give you).
29. And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty.
30. Truly, your Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills). Verily, He is Ever All-Knower, All-Seer of His slaves.
31. And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.
32. And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).
33. And do not kill anyone which Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. And whoever is killed (intentionally with hostility and oppression and not by mistake), We have given his heir the authority [(to demand Qisas, Law of Equality in punishment or to forgive, or to take Diya (blood money)]. But let him not exceed limits in the matter of taking life (i.e he should not kill except the killer only). Verily, he is helped (by the Islamic law).
34. And come not near to the orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength. And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant, will be questioned about.
35. And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. That is good (advantageous) and better in the end.
36. And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.) that of which you have no knowledge (e.g. one’s saying: “I have seen,” while in fact he has not seen, or “I have heard,” while he has not heard). Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah).
37. And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance. Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth, nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.
38. All the bad aspects of these (the above mentioned things) are hateful to your Lord.
39. This is (part) of Al-Hikmah (wisdom, good manners and high character, etc.) which your Lord has inspired to you (O Muhammad ). And set not up with Allah any other ilah (god) lest you should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected, (from Allah’s Mercy).
40. Has then your Lord (O pagans of Makkah) preferred for you sons, and taken for Himself from among the angels daughters. Verily! You utter an awful saying, indeed.
41. And surely, We have explained [Our Promises, Warnings and (set forth many) examples] in this Qur’an that they (the disbelievers) may take heed, but it increases them in naught save aversion.
42. Say (O Muhammad to these polytheists, pagans, etc.): “If there had been other aliha (gods) along with Him as they assert, then they would certainly have sought out a way to the Lord of the Throne (seeking His Pleasures and to be near to Him).
43. Glorified and High be He! From ‘Uluwan Kabira (the great falsehood) that they say! (i.e.forged statements that there are other gods along with Allah, but He is Allah, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable or coequal unto Him).
44. The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.
45. And when you (Muhammad ) recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who believe not in the Hereafter, an invisible veil (or screen their hearts, so they hear or understand it not).
46. And We have put coverings over their hearts lest, they should understand it (the Qur’an), and in their ears deafness. And when you make mention of your Lord Alone [La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) Islamic Monotheism] in the Qur’an, they turn on their backs, fleeing in extreme dislikeness.
47. We know best of what they listen to, when they listen to you. And when they take secret counsel, behold, the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) say: “You follow none but a bewitched man.”
48. See what examples they have put forward for you. So they have gone astray, and never can they find a way.
49. And they say: “When we are bones and fragments (destroyed), should we really be resurrected (to be) a new creation?”
50. Say (O Muhammad ) “Be you stones or iron,”
51. “Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts (thoughts to be resurrected, even then you shall be resurrected)” Then, they will say: “Who shall bring us back (to life)?” Say: “He Who created you first!” Then, they will shake their heads at you and say: “When will that be ?” Say: “Perhaps it is near!”
52. On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer (His Call) with (words of) His Praise and Obedience, and you will think that you have stayed (in this world) but a little while!
53. And say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) that they should (only) say those words that are the best. (Because) Shaitan (Satan) verily, sows disagreements among them. Surely, Shaitan (Satan) is to man a plain enemy.
54. Your Lord knows you best, if He will, He will have mercy on you, or if He will, He will punish you. And We have not sent you (O Muhammad ) as a guardian over them.
55. And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud (David) We gave the Zabur (Psalms).
56. Say (O Muhammad ): “Call unto those besides Him whom you pretend [to be gods like angels, Iesa (Jesus), ‘Uzair (Ezra), etc.]. They have neither the power to remove the adversity from you nor even to shift it from you to another person.”
57. Those whom they call upon [like ‘Iesa (Jesus) – son of Maryam (Mary), ‘Uzair (Ezra), angel, etc.] desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord (Allah), as to which of them should be the nearest and they [‘Iesa (Jesus), ‘Uzair (Ezra), angels, etc.] hope for His Mercy and fear His Torment. Verily, the Torment of your Lord is something to be afraid of!
58. And there is not a town (population) but We shall destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a severe torment. That is written in the Book (of our Decrees)
59. And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat (proofs, evidences, signs) but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong. And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction).
60. And (remember) when We told you: “Verily! Your Lord has encompassed mankind (i.e. they are in His Grip).” And We made not the vision which we showed you (O Muhammad as an actual eye-witness and not as a dream on the night of Al-Isra’) but a trial for mankind, and likewise the accursed tree (Zaqqum, mentioned) in the Qur’an. We warn and make them afraid but it only increases them in naught save great disbelief, oppression and disobedience to Allah.
61. And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate unto Adam.” They prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He said: “Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?”
62. [Iblis (Satan)] said: “See? This one whom You have honoured above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!”
63. (Allah) said: “Go, and whosoever of them follows you, surely! Hell will be the recompense of you (all) an ample recompense.
64. “And Istafziz [literally means: befool them gradually] those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways usury, etc., or by committing illegal sexual intercourse, etc.), and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.
65. “Verily! My slaves (i.e the true believers of Islamic Monotheism), you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.”
66. Your Lord is He Who drives the ship for you through the sea, in order that you may seek of His Bounty. Truly! He is Ever Most Merciful towards you.
67. And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him). And man is ever ungrateful.
68. Do you then feel secure that He will not cause a side of the land to swallow you up, or that He will not send against you a violent sand-storm? Then, you shall find no Wakil (guardian one to guard you from the torment).
69. Or do you feel secure that He will not send you back a second time to sea and send against you a hurricane of wind and drown you because of your disbelief, then you will not find any avenger therein against Us?
70. And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference.
71. (And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam [their Prophets, or their records of good and bad deeds, or their Holy Books like the Qur’an, the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), etc.]. So whosoever is given his record in his right hand, such will read their records, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.
72. And whoever is blind in this world (i.e., does not see Allah’s Signs and believes not in Him), will be blind in the Hereafter, and more astray from the Path.
73. Verily, they were about to tempt you away from that which We have revealed (the Qur’an) unto you (O Muhammad ), to fabricate something other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken you a friend!
74. And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little.
75. In that case, We would have made you taste a double portion (of punishment) in this life and a double portion (of punishment) after death. And then you would have found none to help you against Us.
76. And Verily, they were about to frighten you so much as to drive you out from the land. But in that case they would not have stayed (therein) after you, expcept for a little while.
77. (This was Our) Sunnah (rule or way) with the Messengers We sent before you (O Muhammad ), and you will not find any alteration in Our Sunnah (rule or way, etc.).
78. Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha’ prayers), and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).
79. And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur’an in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad ). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!).
80. And say (O Muhammad ): My Lord! Let my entry (to the city of Al-Madinah) be good, and likewise my exit (from the city of Makkah) be good. And grant me from You an authority to help me (or a firm sign or a proof).
81. And say: “Truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism or this Qur’an or Jihad against polytheists) has come and Batil (falsehood, i.e. Satan or polytheism, etc.) has vanished. Surely! Batil is ever bound to vanish.”
82. And We send down from the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it), and it increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss.
83. And when We bestow Our Grace on man (the disbeliever), he turns away and becomes arrogant, far away from the Right Path. And when evil touches him he is in great despair.
84. Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “Each one does according to Shakilatihi (i.e. his way or his religion or his intentions, etc.), and your Lord knows best of him whose path (religion, etc.) is right.”
85. And they ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: “The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.”
86. And if We willed We could surely take away that which We have revealed to you by inspiration (i.e. this Qur’an). Then you would find no protector for you against Us in that respect.
87. Except as a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! His Grace unto you (O Muhammad ) is ever great.
88. Say: “If the mankind and the jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.”
89. And indeed We have fully explained to mankind, in this Qur’an, every kind of similitude, but most mankind refuse (the truth and accept nothing) but disbelief.
90. And they say: “We shall not believe in you (O Muhammad ), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us;
91. “Or you have a garden of date-palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst abundantly;
92. “Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face;
93. “Or you have a house of adornable materials (like silver and pure gold, etc.), or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read.” Say (O Muhammad ): “Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord (Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger?”
94. And nothing prevented men from believing when the guidance came to them, except that they said: “Has Allah sent a man as (His) Messenger?”
95. Say: “If there were on the earth, angels walking about in peace and security, We should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger.”
96. Say: “Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you. Verily! He is the All-Knower, the All-Seer of His slaves.”
97. And he whom Allah guides, he is led aright; but he whom He sends astray for such you will find no Auliya’ (helpers and protectors, etc.), besides Him, and We shall gather them together on the Day of Resurrection on their faces, blind, dumb and deaf, their abode will be Hell; whenever it abates, We shall increase for them the fierceness of the Fire.
98. That is their recompense, because they denied Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and said: “When we are bones and fragments, shall we really be raised up as a new creation?”
99. See they not that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, is Able to create the like of them. And He has decreed for them an appointed term, whereof there is not doubt. But the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) refuse (the truth the Message of Islamic Monotheism, and accept nothing) but disbelief.
100. Say (to the disbelievers): “If you possessed the treasure of the Mercy of my Lord (wealth, money, provision, etc.), then you would surely hold back (from spending) for fear of (being exhausted), and man is ever miserly!”
101. And indeed We gave to Musa (Moses) nine clear signs. Ask then the Children of Israel, when he came to them, then Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said to him: “O Musa (Moses)! I think you are indeed bewitched.”
102. [Musa (Moses)] said: “Verily, you know that these signs have been sent down by none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth as clear (evidences i.e. proofs of Allah’s Oneness and His Omnipotence, etc.). And I think you are, indeed, O Fir’aun (Pharaoh) doomed to destruction (away from all good)!”
103. So he resolved to turn them out of the land (of Egypt). But We drowned him and all who were with him.
104. And We said to the Children of Israel after him: “Dwell in the land, then, when the final and the last promise comes near [i.e. the Day of Resurrection or the descent of Christ [‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) on the earth]. We shall bring you altogether as mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations).[Tafsir Al-Qurtubi, Vol. 10, Page 338]
105. And with truth We have sent it down (i.e. the Qur’an), and with truth it has descended. And We have sent you (O Muhammad ) as nothing but a bearer of glad tidings (of Paradise, for those who follow your Message of Islamic Monotheism), and a warner (of Hell-fire for those who refuse to follow your Message of Islamic Monotheism).
106. And (it is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages. (in 23 years).
107. Say (O Muhammad to them): “Believe in it (the Qur’an) or do not believe (in it). Verily! Those who were given knowledge before it (the Jews and the Christians like ‘Abdullah bin Salam and Salman Al-Farisi), when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration.”
108. And they say: “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the Promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.”
109. And they fall down on their faces weeping and it adds to their humility.
110. Say (O Muhammad ): “Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Beneficent (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names. And offer your Salat (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between.
111. And say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son (nor an offspring), and Who has no partner in (His) Dominion, nor He is low to have a Wali (helper, protector or supporter). And magnify Him with all the magnificence, [Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Most Great)].”