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 9 contains Āyāt / Parts 7
  • Siparah/ Volume 15


أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

Aqimi a(l)ssalata lidulooki a(l)shshamsi ila ghasaqi allayli waqurana alfajri inna qurana alfajri kana mashhooda(n)

Establish you-SW the Salat from the declination of the sun to the darkening of the night and the recitation at the dawn; verily the recitation at the dawn is ever borne witness to.


وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

Wamina allayli fatahajjad bihi nafilatan laka AAasa an yabAAathaka rabbuka maqaman mahmooda(n)

And of the night keep the vigil therein as an act of supererogation for you-SW perchance your-SW Rabb-SWT will raise you-SW up in a station Praised.


وَقُل رَّبِّ أَدْخِلْنِي مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَأَخْرِجْنِي مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَل لِّي مِن لَّدُنكَ سُلْطَانًا نَّصِيرًا

Waqul rabbi adkhilnee mudkhala sidqin waakhrijnee mukhraja sidqin wa(i)jAAal lee min ladunka sultanan naseera(n)

And say you-SW: Rabb-SWT ! Cause me-SW to enter a rightful entrance and cause me-SW to go forth a rightful outgoing, and appoint for me-SW from before You-SWT a helpful authority.


وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

Waqul jaa alhaqqu wazahaqa albatilu inna albatila kana zahooqa(n)

And say you-SW: the truth has come and falsehood is vanished: verily falsehood is ever vanishing.


وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاء وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلاَ يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إَلاَّ خَسَارًا

Wanunazzilu mina alqurani ma huwa shifaon warahmatun lilmumineena walayazeedu a(l)ththalimeena illa khasara(n)

And We-SWT reveal by means of the Quran what is a healing and a Mercy to the believers; and it only increases the ungodly in loss.


وَإِذَآ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الإِنسَانِ أَعْرَضَ وَنَأَى بِجَانِبِهِ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ كَانَ يَؤُوسًا

Waitha anAAamna AAala alinsani aAArada wanaa bijanibihi waitha massahu a(l)shsharru kana yaoosa(n)

And when We-SWT show favour to man, he turns away and withdraws on his side; and when evil touches him, he is ever despairing.


قُلْ كُلٌّ يَعْمَلُ عَلَى شَاكِلَتِهِ فَرَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ هُوَ أَهْدَى سَبِيلاً

Qul kullun yaAAmalu AAala shakilatihi farabbukum aAAlamu biman huwa ahdasabeela(n)

Say you-SW: everyone works after his disposition, and your Rabb-SWT is the Best Knower of him who is best guided on the path.


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

So, O' Prophet-SW! Stand against the oppression of the non believers as well as the conspiracies of the polytheists by establishing Allah-SWT's worship, which leads to His-SWT Nearness and Approbation. And it is this Approbation which redeems from troubles and is the best defence against enemies. And establish Salat from noon to the darkness of night; and recite Quran at dawn in Salat and in worship, as this dawn recital is as if being present before Allaah-SWT . Thus one is blessed with the opportunity to present himself before Him-SWT at dawn after the night's leave, so that he keeps receiving Barakah throughout the day till the next morning.


No Understanding without Hadith

This Ayah carries the Injunction of the daily five times Salat. However, the timings, the method, the number of cycles, Raku and Sujud are all explained by Ahadith and the Sunnah. Without it the method of offering Salat is impossible to learn. It is amazing how the deniers of Hadith understand it.



The Holy Prophet-SW is being advised to practise keeping vigils at night with the Quran, that is, worship and Salat. And this late night Salat or Tahajjud is Nafl for him-SW. Nafl refers to that noble act which is not obligatory, nor is it a sin to miss it. However, it is highly meritorious when performed. According to some scholars, the Tahajjud Salat was obligatory for the Holy Prophet-SW, while most of them hold that before the five times Salat was enjoined, Tahajjud was obligatory for all believers. After that, it no longer remained obligatory. However, for attaining excellence and higher stations in Allah-SWT's Nearness the offering of Tahajjud alongwith the five times daily Salat has been strongly recommended. To the Holy Prophet-SW, its advantages are being recounted with reference to his-SW singular status, and he-SW is being advised to offer it as a Nafl Salat so that he-SW is ultimately blessed with Maqam-e-Mahmud (The Highly Praised Station). In other words, when he-SW is to be blessed with such nearness, his-SW worship must also be more and superior.


The Noble are not Exempted from Worship

It brings out that the noble have to worship Allaah-SWT commensurate to their status, unlike the prevailing misconception that a saintly person is absolved of worship. It is obvious that the saints are never exempted from it.


The Cycles of Tahajjud

According to most of the traditions the Holy Prophet-SW offered eight alongwith three of Vitr, making a total of eleven cycles in the early hours of dawn. Some reports mention thirteen which include two of Sunnah of Salat-al-Fajr. Occasionally, he-SW also offered six or four cycles, which lays down the minimum at four. Besides, he-SW consistently offered Tahajjud save on very rare occasion, when he-SW missed it due to compelling reasons. The author of Tafsir-e-Mazhari asserts that Tahajjud is not Nafl but compulsory Sunnah for the Muslims, while it was Nafl only for the Holy Prophet-SW.


State and Authority

The enforcement of Islam upon the infidels and the polytheists was not possible unless the Holy Prophet-SW had authority and State power. So Allaah-SWT enjoined this prayer. In other words, authority and rule must be sought for the implementation of Islam, and efforts must be undertaken to acquire it. Otherwise, ungodly and wicked Governments can never be expected to implement Islam.


And when the Holy Prophet-SW turns to Allah-SWT's worship and employs temporal means against the non believers backed by prayer, he-SW must declare that truth has came and falsehood vanished. Undoubtedly falsehood was destined to perish. This Ayah was revealed on the eve of Conquest of Makkah. The Holy Prophet-SW, while reciting this Ayah inside the K'abah, smashed the idols with his staff. So it is mandatory to wipe out any remnants of idolatry and ungodly rituals on attaining rule. And Allaah-SWT reveals the Quran as a cure and a Mercy for the believers; and they are cured of their ungodly beliefs and wrongdoings, while the non believers compound their loss and misfortune by refuting it.


Quran is a Physiological Cure Too

Whereas it is obviously a panacea for the Qulub, the scholars have established that the Quran is a cure for physical ailments also. So reciting Ayat from the Quran and blowing on a patient, or writing them down to wear in a necklace are all proven by Hadith. It is human nature that once devoid of faith, one does not even appreciate the Divine Mercy. He instead resorts to conceit and disobedience when blessed and fails to display gratitude. But when faced with hardships he simply becomes disconsolate, as he has no connection with Allaah-SWT that he may hope for redemption. The Holy Prophet-SW must announce that every one is following the path of his own choice and acting accordingly. And it is Allah-SWT Who-SWT knows very well as to who is on the straight path and acting righteously.