Al-Isra’ (Arabic: الإسراء, al-isrāʼ; meaning: The Night Journey) is the 17th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran, with 111 verses (āyāt). Isra, in verse 1, refers to the "night-journey" of the prophet Muhammad. This sura is part of a series Al-Musabbihat surahs because it begins with the glorification of God.
The Night Journey
|Hizb no.||29 to 30|
|No. of Rukus||12|
|No. of verses||111|
|No. of Sajdahs||1 (verse 109)|
Regarding the timing and contextual background of the believed revelation (asbāb al-nuzūl), it is an earlier "Meccan surah", which means it is believed to have been revealed in Mecca, instead of later in Medina.
- 1 God praised for the night-journey
- 2 The law of Moses a direction to the Israelites
- 3 Noah’s gratitude commended to his posterity
- 4-8 The double sin of Israel and its punishment
- 9-11 The Quran a direction to both the faithful and the unbelievers
- 12 Men inconsiderate in their prayers
- 13 The night and day are signs to men
- 14 Every man’s fate bound about his neck
- 14-15 God will give every man the record of his life at the judgment day
- 16 No nation left without an apostle
- 17-18 The cities destroyed which rejected their apostles
- 19-21 Rewards and punishments of the faithful and unbelieving
- 22 Degrees of honour belong to the life to come
- 23-24 Men should worship only one God
- 24-27 Kindness to be shown to parents, the poor, and the stranger
- 28-29 Extravagance forbidden
- 30-31 Those unable to contribute for the support of the poor may help them by speaking kindly to them
- 32 Stinginess and foolish extravagance forbidden
- 33-35 Infanticide, fornication, and murder forbidden
- 35 The murdered man to be avenged
- 36 The substance of the orphan to be sacredly preserved
- 37-40 Men should lead lives of honesty and humility
- 41 God not to be dishonoured by idol-worship
- 42 Angels not daughters of God
- 43 Various warnings for the Quraish
- 44-45 A plurality of gods would lead to rebellion in heaven
- 46 All things praise God
- 47-49 The Quraish are judicially blinded to the Quran
- 50 Muhammad called a madman
- 51-53 The Quraish reject the doctrine of the resurrection
- 54 The dead when raised will fancy they have been dead but a little while
- 55-56 Idolaters and unbelievers to be mildly treated
- 57 Some prophets peculiarly favoured
- 58-59 The false gods need divine protection
- 60 Every city to be destroyed before the judgment-day
- 61 Muhammad not allowed to work miracles because of the unbelief of former tribes
- 62 The night-journey and the Zakkum tree causes of contention
- 63-64 Iblís disobeys God, and is cursed in consequence
- 65-66 He receives permission to delude men
- 67 He shall have no power over God’s servants
- 68 God protects the merchant while on the sea
- 69 Idolaters forget their idols in times of danger 69 ۞ 71 They are ungrateful
- 72 The special privileges of mankind
- 73-74 In the judgment all shall be fairly judged
- 75-77 Muhammad almost seduced from Islam
- 78-79 The unbelievers almost persuade Muhammad to leave them
- 80-82 Exhortation to prayer
- 83-84 The truth of the Quran to be proclaimed
- 85 Man’s perversity seen both in prosperity and adversity
- 86 The spirit created of God
- 87-89 Revelation (inspiration) a peculiar favour from God to Muhammad
- 90 Men and genii could not produce a book like the Quran
- 91-95 Muhammad excuses his inability to work miracles
- 96-98 Men appointed messengers for men and angels for angels
- 99-100 The dreadful fate of the idolaters at the resurrection
- 101 God is able to raise the dead
- 102 Man covetous even in respect to God’s mercy
- 103-104 The nine signs of Moses fail to convince Pharaoh 105 Pharaoh destroyed
- 106 The children of Israel succeed Pharaoh in his possession of the land of Egypt
- 107 Why the Quran was revealed in stages
- 108 ۩ 109 Some Jews and Christians believe on the Quran
- 110 God and the Merciful the same
- 111 God hath neither son nor partner
1 The transportation of Muhammad to "the farthest Mosque".
This surah takes its name from the first verse which, in Islamic tradition, tells the event of the Isra, the transportation of Muhammad during the night from the Great Mosque of Mecca to what is referred to as "the farthest Mosque". The exact location is not specified in the Quran but this is commonly taken to be the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Some scholars disagree about this (see Isra and Mi'raj). While the city of Jerusalem (or al Quds) is not mentioned by name anywhere in the Qur'an, it is identified in various Hadith. The first verse refers to Mohammed being taken from the 'Sacred Mosque' to the 'Farthest Mosque':
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We (God) did bless,- so that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).
Within Islam, it is generally agreed upon that the 'Farthest Mosque' refers to Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, despite it being built many years after Mohammed's death, and the 'Sacred Mosque' refers to Masjid al-Haram. The surah also refers to the other prophets, for example, Musa (Moses).
This Meccan surah was revealed in the last year before the Hijra. Like all the Meccan surah, it stresses the oneness of Allah, the authority of the prophets. However, the primary theme of the Surah is salah (daily prayers), whose number is said to have been fixed at five during the Miraj which it alludes to. In addition, the Surah forbids adultery, calls for respect for father and mother, and calls for patience and control in the face of the persecutions the Muslim community was facing at the time.
Verse 17:8 refers to hell and states that those who reject the faith will be punished:
It may be that your Lord may (yet) show Mercy unto you; but if ye revert (to your sins), We shall revert (to Our punishments): And we have made Hell a prison for those who reject (all Faith).
However, it also states that Allah is merciful and could forgive.
It also refers to the hereafter and states that there is a punishment for not believing in it (Verse 7:10):
And to those who believe not in the Hereafter, (it announceth) that We have prepared for them a Penalty Grievous (indeed).
13-15 Day of Judgement
Every man's fate We have fastened on his own neck: On the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open. (It will be said to him:) "Read thine (own) record: Sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against thee." Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss: No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning).
26 Verse of Dhul Qurba
The verse relates to the controversies of the land of Fadak in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
۞ Verse 17:70 tells that mankind has been given a position "above many of those whom we created" The usage of the word many in lieu of all here indicates that there are other races superior to human beings. It also may imply the possible existence of alien life, excluding angels and jinns.
71 Day of Judgement
Verse 17:71 contains a reference to Yawm al-Qiyamah, the Day of Judgement:
One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams: those who are given their record in their right hand will read it (with pleasure), and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.
In Kitab al-Kafi, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq was questioned on the interpretation of 17:71 ("On that day, We will call forth every people with their Imam...") to which he responded it is the Imam that is with them and he is the Mahdi, al-Qa'im of the people of that time.
104 Children of Israel
- Wherry, Elwood Morris (1896). A Complete Index to Sale's Text, Preliminary Discourse, and Notes. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Ibn Kathir. Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 15 (Part 15): Al-Israa (or Bani Isra'il) 1 to Al-Kahf 74. p. 10.
al-Masjid al Aqsa means the sacred house which is in Jerusalem
- "Tafsir Ibn Kathir (English): Surah Al Isra". Quran 4 U. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
- Dur al-Manthur Vol. 4, page 177 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
- Quran (puya) on Al-Islam.org
- "Surah Al-Isra - 70-80".
- Gerrans translation
- Al-Kulayni, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ya’qub (2015). Kitab al-Kafi. South Huntington, NY: The Islamic Seminary Inc. ISBN 9780991430864.
- Dakake, Maria Massi (April 2015). 17, The Night Journey, al-Isrāʾ The Study Quran. San Francisco: HarperOne.