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 6 contains Āyāt / Parts 8
  • Siparah/ Volume 15


وَقُل لِّعِبَادِي يَقُولُواْ الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنزَغُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلإِنْسَانِ عَدُوًّا مُّبِينًا

Waqul liAAibadee yaqooloo allatee hiya ahsanu inna a(l)shshaytana yanzaghu baynahum inna a(l)shshaytana kana lilinsani AAaduwwan mubeena(n)

Tell you My-SWT servants that they should say only what is best. Satan would stir up strife among them; Satan is to man ever an open foe.


رَّبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِن يَشَأْ يَرْحَمْكُمْ أَوْ إِن يَشَأْ يُعَذِّبْكُمْ وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكِيلاً

Rabbukum aAAlamu bikum in yasha yarhamkum aw in yasha yuAAaththibkum wama arsalnaka AAalayhim wakeela(n)

Your Rabb-SWT is the Best Knower of you, He-SWT will have Mercy upon you if He-SWT Wills, or He-SWT will chastise you if He-SWT Wills. And We-SWT have not sent you-SW over them as a trustee.


وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا

Warabbuka aAAlamu biman fee a(l)ssamawati wa(a)lardi walaqad faddalna baAAda a(l)nnabiyyeena AAala baAAdin waatayna dawooda zaboora(n)

And your Rabb-SWT is the Best Knower of those who are in the heavens and the earth. And assuredly We-SWT have preferred some Prophets-AS over some others, and We-SWT gave Daud-AS a Scripture.


قُلِ ادْعُواْ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِهِ فَلاَ يَمْلِكُونَ كَشْفَ الضُّرِّ عَنكُمْ وَلاَ تَحْوِيلاً

Quli odAAu allatheena zaAAamtum min doonihi fala yamlikoona kashfa a(l)ddurri AAankum wala tahweela(n)

Say you-SW  : call upon those whom you fancy beside Him-SWT; they are able neither to remove the distress from you-SW  nor to change it off.


أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَى رَبِّهِمُ الْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُورًا

Olaika allatheena yadAAoona yabtaghoona ila rabbihimu alwaseelata ayyuhum aqrabu wayarjoona rahmatahu wayakhafoona AAathabahu inna AAathaba rabbika kana mahthoora(n)

Those whom they call upon seek access themselves to their Rabb-SWT , striving which of them shall be the nearest; and they hope for His-SWT Mercy and fear His-SWT Chastisement; the Chastisement of your-SW  Rabb-SWT is indeed ever to be guarded against.


وَإِن مَّن قَرْيَةٍ إِلاَّ نَحْنُ مُهْلِكُوهَا قَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُوهَا عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا كَانَ ذَلِك فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا

Wain min qaryatin illa nahnu muhlikooha qabla yawmi alqiyamati aw muAAaththibooha AAathaban shadeedan kana thalika fee alkitabi mastoora(n)

Not a town is there but We-SWT are going to destroy it before the Day of Judgement, or to chastise it with a severe chastising; that is inscribed in the Book.


وَمَا مَنَعَنَا أَن نُّرْسِلَ بِالآيَاتِ إِلاَّ أَن كَذَّبَ بِهَا الأَوَّلُونَ وَآتَيْنَا ثَمُودَ النَّاقَةَ مُبْصِرَةً فَظَلَمُواْ بِهَا وَمَا نُرْسِلُ بِالآيَاتِ إِلاَّ تَخْوِيفًا

Wama manaAAana an nursila bi(a)layati illa an kaththaba biha alawwaloona waatayna thamooda a(l)nnaqata mubsiratan fathalamoo biha wama nursilu bi(a)layati illa takhweefa(n)

And nothing hinders Us-SWT from sending the Signs except that the ancients belied them. And We-SWT gave to Thamud a she-camel as an illumination, but they did her wrong. And We-SWT send not Signs but to warn.


وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لَكَ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ أَحَاطَ بِالنَّاسِ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الرُّؤيَا الَّتِي أَرَيْنَاكَ إِلاَّ فِتْنَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَالشَّجَرَةَ الْمَلْعُونَةَ فِي القُرْآنِ وَنُخَوِّفُهُمْ فَمَا يَزِيدُهُمْ إِلاَّ طُغْيَانًا كَبِيرًا

Waith qulna laka inna rabbaka ahata bi(al)nnasi wama jaAAalna a(l)rruya allatee araynaka illa fitnatan li(l)nnasi wa(al)shshajarata almalAAoonata fee alqurani wanukhawwifuhum fama yazeeduhum illa tughyanan kabeera(n)

Recall when We-SWT said to you-SW: your-SW Rabb-SWT has encompassed mankind. And We-SWT made the vision We-SWT showed you-SW but a temptation for man, and likewise the tree accursed in the Quran. And We-SWT warn them, but it only increases their exorbitance greatly.


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

The Holy Prophet-SW must tell Allah-SWT's servants, the believers, to speak in a pleasant manner, without using any harsh or abusive language, for it gives Satan a chance to make mischief. He initiates mutual strife and is beyond doubt man's blatant enemy.


Speaking Harshly is Improper

It is only appropriate for the Muslims to speak courteously to one another. And if discussion pertains to Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW, all the more care should be exercised to use the right words and tone, even if the addressee is an evildoer or an infidel. Labelling others as infidel or Hell-bound on trifle issues cannot yield a positive outcome, nor can harshness reform a person. So those engaged in the propagation of Islam must be extremely cautious.


Allah-SWT is fully Aware of the situation in which people are and it is not necessary that one should openly expose the disbelief of others. It is upto Him-SWT to forgive, out of His-SWT Mercy. He-SWT may bless an infidel with faith or let a malefactor turn to piety. Or if He-SWT chooses to punish them by withdrawing the capacity to repent, it is a matter purely between Him-SWT and them. Even the Holy Prophet-SW has not been made responsible for who will go to Jannah or end up in Hell and why; so there is no room for anyone else to speak on this. All that is required is to convey Allah-SWT's Message in a pleasant manner.


The Holy Prophet-SW must know that his-SW Rabb-SWT is well Aware of the state of His-SWT creation all the time, be it in the heavens or on the earth. If Allah-SWT exalted him-SW, it is not something new. Prophets-AS were given distinction over one another before as well. Just as he-SW has been blessed with a Book, so was Prophet Daud-AS given Zabur with which they are familiar. So it is nothing unusual that the Holy Prophet-SW has been blessed with a Book that these people deny it. He-SW must tell these non believers and polytheists that they may continue to call out to their deities whom they take as their helpers besides Allaah-SWT . However, they must remember that these deities will not be able to help them. Islam shall spread and they shall be subjugated. If their deities possess any power whatsoever, let them try to block Islam. But neither can they avert a misfortune nor convert it into comfort. Rather the idols of angels, Prophets-AS or saints, carved out by them are totally helpless against Allaah-SWT .


Wasilah (Means of Approach)

The idols of angels, Prophets-AS or saints which they worship are themselves always seeking means of pleasing Allaah-SWT . They worship and obey Allaah-SWT diligently so that their obedience may serve as a Wasilah to obtain His-SWT Pleasure. They remain hopeful of His-SWT Mercy while being fully conscious and apprehensive of Him-SWT . He-SWT is without any want. And certainly His-SWT Punishment is worthy of being feared.


State of Faith

This very state of faith, whereby His-SWT obedience is employed as a Wasilah or means for attaining His-SWT Pleasure, pinning all hopes on His-SWT Clemency, is the ultimate aim. Never should one dare to be obstinate on disobeying Him-SWT , and His-SWT Grip must be feared, He-SWT being independent of all wants. And as for the non believers, not only the natives of Makkah or Arabia, but none of their settlements would be spared from Allah-SWT's Wrath. Whether they are vanquished by the Muslims, or devastated by a Divine Punishment is secondary. They will nevertheless face a tormenting doom on the Day of Judgment. This is because Allaah-SWT has decreed that disbelief invokes His-SWT Punishment and will not be given any concessions.


They ask why the miracle they demand is not being manifested. But their demand is invalid. History bears witness that the preceding non believers also made similar demands. But when they were shown what they were asking for, they still persisted on denial and qualified for collective annihilation. For instance, Thamud had demanded the miracle of the dromedary, and when it was manifested, they hamstrung her and were, as a result, devastated. It is only because of the auspicious raising of the Holy Prophet-SW that collective punishment has been abolished. Now there is no need for the people to demand miracles anymore nor will they be manifested as their aim is to make people realize the Magnificence of Allah-SWT and to fear His-SWT Annoyance. When countless miracles of the Holy Prophet-SW are already available for this purpose, there is no need to bring about what these people demand.


The Event of M'eraj is a Trial

What could have been more miraculous than M'eraj? They could not have even thought of demanding such an incredible thing. But this event proved to be a great trial for them instead, and became very difficult for them to accept it. Even today, people who do not wish to believe in it come up with all sorts of interpretations, such as declaring it to be a spiritual and not a physical journey, etc. The word Rou'ya here means 'witnessing what Allaah-SWT showed the Holy Prophet-SW on M'eraj. Whereas these infidels could not even comprehend a simple fact revealed by him-SW that the cactus tree grows in Hell and will be served to its dwellers. They objected by saying how a tree could exist amidst the blazing fire of Hell. This denial is pushing them further into rebellion and wickedness.