سورة الإسراء   

Surah Name: Al-Isra Meaning: The Night Journey

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • This Sūrah is also known as Bani Isra'il, meaning the Children of Isra'il.

    After explaining the importance of inviting mankind to Allah-SWT , it begins with a mention of the greatness and the high status of the inviter, that is, the Holy Prophet-SW. It then discusses the different eras of Bani Israil, they being the most appropriate nation to be cited as an example from recent past. It dilates on the outcome of their attitudes, when they accepted the invitation to Allah-SWT , and when they turned away from it.

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 12
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 111
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 17
  • Rukū / Section 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 9
  • Siparah/ Volume 15


وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن الْعِلْمِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

Wayasaloonaka AAani a(l)rroohi quli a(l)rroohu min amri rabbee wama ooteetum mina alAAilmi illa qaleela(n)

And they ask you-SW regarding the Ruh. Say you-SW: it is only the Command of my-SW Rabb-SWT , and of knowledge you have been given only a little.


وَلَئِن شِئْنَا لَنَذْهَبَنَّ بِالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ لاَ تَجِدُ لَكَ بِهِ عَلَيْنَا وَكِيلاً

Walain shina lanathhabanna bi(a)llathee awhayna ilayka thumma la tajidu laka bihi AAalayna wakeela(n)

And if We-SWT willed, We-SWT could surely take away what We-SWT have revealed to you-SW, then you-SW will not find against Us-SWT any protector.


إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ إِنَّ فَضْلَهُ كَانَ عَلَيْكَ كَبِيرًا

Illa rahmatan min rabbika inna fadlahu kana AAalayka kabeera(n)

Except as a Mercy from Rabb-SWT , verily His-SWT Grace unto you-SW is ever great.


قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى أَن يَأْتُواْ بِمِثْلِ هَـذَا الْقُرْآنِ لاَ يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا

Qul laini ijtamaAAati alinsu wa(a)ljinnu AAala an yatoo bimithli hatha alqurani layatoona bimithlihi walaw kana baAAduhum libaAAdin thaheera(n)

Say you-SW  -: if the mankind and the Jinn leagued together that they might produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce its like, though one to the other were a backer.


وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَـذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَى أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلاَّ كُفُورًا

Walaqad sarrafna li(l)nnasi fee hatha alqurani min kulli mathalin faaba aktharu a(l)nnasi illa kufoora(n)

And assuredly We-SWT have variously propounded all manner of similitudes in this Quran for the mankind, yet most men have refused everything except disbelief.


وَقَالُواْ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الأَرْضِ يَنبُوعًا

Waqaloo lan numina laka hatta tafjura lana mina alardi yanbooAAa(n)

And they say: we will by no means believe in you-SW until you-SW cause a fountain to gush forth for us from the earth.


أَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الأَنْهَارَ خِلالَهَا تَفْجِيرًا

Aw takoona laka jannatun min nakheelin waAAinabin fatufajjira alanhara khilalahatafjeera(n)

Or there be for you-SW a garden of palms and vines and you-SW cause rivers to gush forth in their midst.


أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَاء كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا أَوْ تَأْتِيَ بِاللّهِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةِ قَبِيلاً

Aw tusqita a(l)ssamaa kama zaAAamta AAalayna kisafan aw tatiya bi(A)llahi wa(a)lmalaikati qabeela(n)

Or you-SW cause the sky to fall upon us, as you-SW assert, in pieces, or you-SW bring Allaah-SWT and the angels face to face with us.


أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِّن زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَى فِي السَّمَاء وَلَن نُّؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّى تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَّقْرَؤُهُ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي هَلْ كُنتُ إَلاَّ بَشَرًا رَّسُولاً

Aw yakoona laka baytun min zukhrufin aw tarqa fee a(l)ssamai walan numina liruqiyyika hatta tunazzila AAalayna kitaban naqraohu qul subhana rabbee hal kuntu illa basharan rasoola(n)

Or there be for you-SW a house of gold, or you-SW mount to the sky, and we will by no means believe even in your-SW mounting until you-SW cause a book to be sent down to us which we may read. Say you-SW: hallowed be my-SW Rabb-SWT ! I-SW am nothing but a human being sent as a Messenger-SW.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The infidel ask the Holy Prophet-SW what is Ruh, as the Akhirah, the Resurrection and the Accountability are based on the precept that Ruh is the basis of life, death and requickening. To the non believers, death means passing into extinction. So what indeed is this Ruh; where does it come from, where does it go to and how does it cause life and death? According to Commentators the chieftains of Makkah had sent a delegation to the Jewish scholars at Madinah with the message that Muhammad-SW had announced his-SW Prophethood, and they wanted to verify it. Those scholars gave them three questions to ask the Holy Prophet-SW:

(1)        Who were the People of the Cave? Their story was only known to the Jewish scholars.

(2)        The account of the person who traversed the East and the West, named Zul-Qarnain.

(3)        What is Ruh?

They also said that if he-SW was truly Allah-SWT's Prophet-SW, he-SW would answer only two of these questions; otherwise he-SW would answer all three or none. The Holy Prophet-SW was apprised through Revelation. The answers to two of their questions are given in detail in the Quran, while the third concerning the Ruh was not answered in detail. Thus the Holy Prophet-SW was vindicated.


What is Ruh?

The Holy Prophet-SW was told to inform them that Ruh is by the Amr (Command) of his-SW Rabb-SWT . Man is not blessed with the knowledge to perceive the matters pertaining to 'Alam-e-Amr. This topic has been discussed with reference to 29th Ayah of Surah Al Hijr. Here it is only hinted that Ruh is by Allah-SWT's Command. It is not something material, nor is it governed by the usual rules of procreation. Therefore, one cannot discern its reality through known means. Therefore, even if one's knowledge encompasses the entire universe, it is inadequate to comprehend the nature of Ruh, because the inherent intellect and understanding endowed to human beings only caters for this material world. And the Ruh belongs to 'Alam-e-Amr which is situated at great heights, far beyond the Realm of Creation.


Is Knowledge about Ruh Impossible to Attain?

It is not impossible. The above discussion pertains to natural and acquired human knowledge. But the knowledge revealed to the Prophets-AS is not so limited, nor is it impossible to gain access to these realities through it Similarly, the Aulia' who attain Allah-SWT's Nearness through the Prophets-AS may know these realities through Kashf or other Divine sources. Moreover it is not that a research about the Ruh should not be undertaken. Rather the scholars have, through times, spoken on this topic and compiled various deductions. Next, attention is drawn to the fact that only His-SWT obedience is the source of all learning. He-SWT is Omnipotent and can, if it is abused, withdraw the knowledge and guidance revealed through the Prophet-AS. And certainly there is no one who can dare to restore it. Even Prophet-AS, who is a highly placed personality and a fountainhead of knowledge and Barakah, can do nothing if Allaah-SWT decides to take away the knowledge of Prophethood. It is, however, a separate issue that Allah-SWT, by His-SWT Mercy, never withdraws Prophethood once conferred. So O' Prophet-SW! You-SW have been blessed with exceptional Grace. Whereas conferment of Prophethood was by itself a great favour, by assuring its permanence Allaah-SWT has taken His-SWT Favours to their extreme.


Except the Prophet-AS, Everyone is Vulnerable

However, it is clear that besides a Prophet-AS, everyone else is vulnerable to a loss of cognitive knowledge or the stations of His-SWT Nearness. There is only one option to avert this doom; to stay within the limits of the Holy Prophet-SW's obedience, as there is no Divine Protection outside these perimeters. And it is no less a favour unto people that He-SWT has sent treasure of knowledge in the form of Quran and His-SWT Prophet-SW is ever ready to convey and explain each and every word of it.


Claim of Quran's Authenticity not Repudiated todate, nor will it Ever be

If these people deny the greatness of this Book, or take it as an ordinary book, they must call upon the entire mankind and the community of Jinn to league together and compile one like it, which expounds every facet of life with such finality that can never be challenged. It is a Book which encompasses the temporal as well as the eternal needs of the entire mankind. Each and every word of it exudes Divine Refulgence onto the human Qalb. So let it be known that the entire creation joined together can never come up with anything similar to the Quran. Therefore, putting aside such a treasure of knowledge, which dilates on every need of life with similitudes, and asking silly questions to create confusion does not suit mankind. But the real misfortune is that they are not blessed with faith in this Divine Blessing, and remain stranded in disbelief and denial.


They came up with strange questions which are nothing but absurd objections. But Allaah-SWT does not permit the Holy Prophet-SW to be annoyed or be sarcastic to them, rather provides him-SW with a beautifully succinct and realistic answer.


They insist that they would accept Islam only if the Holy Prophet-SW makes a spring gush forth from earth for them, or if not for them, creates an exquisite orchard for his-SW ownself; or he-SW should slam down the heaven upon them once and for all, or bring about the Day when he-SW claims that the angels will descend down and Allah-SWT's Court will be held; or he-SW should make for himself-SW a palace studded with jewels and gems as the tall claim of Prophethood does not match with his-SW clay house. Or he-SW should not even live on earth as he-SW is Allah-SWT's Prophet-SW and should ascend into the heavens to reside with Him-SWT . They say that even if he-SW does rise to the heavens, they would still not believe in him-SW unless he-SW brings a letter from Allaah-SWT in their name which they can read for themselves. That may then initiate some negotiation. All these demands indicate that they had assumed the Holy Prophet-SW to be a partner with Allah-SWT, or that he-SW enjoys similar powers as Him=-SWT . So he-SW answers them in a beautiful manner; saying that he-SW has never claimed to be Almighty himself-SW. He-SW is only a man with human imperfections. They are themselves well aware of human strengths and weaknesses. And he-SW is not only a human but also Allah-SWT's Prophet-SW. If they want, they are welcome to evaluate his-SW human character and see if it supports his-SW claim of Prophethood. They must try and point out any mismatch between his-SW character and his-SW claim that they find.


As for the Divine Attributes, He-SWT Himself-SWT is the Owner. He-SWT can gush forth springs from land, or create orchards or inflict calamities, or establish the Day of Judgement; all this is within His-SWT Domain.


Prophets-AS have Exemplary Character -Mirza Qadyanis' Claim is False

The Holy Prophet-SW's succinct answer also establishes the fact that even as a human being, a Prophet-AS's character is exemplary. Our accomplished Shaikh Allah Yar Khan-RUA used to say that on going through the biography of Mirza Qadyani one feels aggrieved that if he had to make such an exalted claim he should at least have kept his character in view. He did not even consider the fact that such an ignoble character as his did not support his claim in any way.