Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey ) 17 : 12

وَجَعَلْنَا ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ ءَايَتَيْنِ ۖ فَمَحَوْنَآ ءَايَةَ ٱلَّيْلِ وَجَعَلْنَآ ءَايَةَ ٱلنَّهَارِ مُبْصِرَةً لِّتَبْتَغُوا۟ فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلِتَعْلَمُوا۟ عَدَدَ ٱلسِّنِينَ وَٱلْحِسَابَ ۚ وَكُلَّ شَىْءٍ فَصَّلْنَٰهُ تَفْصِيلًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And We have made the night and day two signs, and We erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day visible that you may seek bounty from your Lord and may know the number of years and the account [of time]. And everything We have set out in detail.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

So far the sūrah has pointed to some of the signs God gave to His messengers, such as the Prophet’s night journey, Noah’s ark, Moses’ book, and, above all, the Qur’ān. Now the sūrah mentions some of God’s universal signs and relates these to people’s actions, efforts and earnings on the one hand and their fruits and reward on the other. We thus see that the laws that govern action and reward are closely linked to the laws governing the whole universe. Both are based on perfect rules that never fail. They are as accurate as the system that ensures that day and night succeed each other. They are operated by the Creator who has made them two of His signs:

We have made the night and the day as two [of Our] signs. Then We have effaced the sign of the night while the sign of the day We have left enlightened, so that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and you may learn to compute the years and be able to reckon. Most clearly have We spelled out everything. (Verse 12)

The universal law that governs the succession of day and night is linked to numerous aspects of human life. It is linked with people’s efforts in earning their living, and their knowledge of time and calculation. It also relates to the good and evil man may earn in life and what reward he may achieve in the end for either his good or bad actions. Indeed the consequences of following guidance or error relate to it, as is the individual nature of responsibility which means that no one will have to answer for anyone else. The same universal law is linked to God’s promise that He will not inflict punishment on anyone until He has sent His messengers. This link further applies to the law which governs the destruction of communities only after the affluent among them have been guilty of immense transgression. The law further relates to the diverse destinies of those who seek the pleasures of this world and those who prefer the good reward of the hereafter, and what God grants to both in this life and in the life to come. All these aspects follow a well set system and certain immutable laws besides. Nothing takes place haphazardly.

“We have made the night and the day as two [of Our] signs. Then We have effaced the sign of the night while the sign of the day We have left enlightened, so that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and you may learn to compute the years and be able to reckon. Most clearly have We spelled out everything.” (Verse 12) The night and the day are two major universal signs which confirm the accuracy of the law governing the universe which operates all the time, suffering neither a failure nor a temporary need for repairs. So what is meant here by ‘effacing the sign of the night’, when we see that this sign remains operative as much as the sign of the day? It seems to me, and God knows best, that the reference here is to the darkness of the night which hides everything and during which movement slows down. The darkness gives the impression that the night is effaced when compared with the day, its light and the bustling activity that takes place under its light. It is as though the day is able to see things by its light and reveals everything for us to behold.

The effacing of the night and the full visibility of the day have a clearly specified purpose: “so that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and you may learn to compute the years and be able to reckon.” This makes things very clear: the night is for rest and recuperation, and the day for work, earning one’s living and activity. The succession of the day and night enables people to compute the years and determine the seasons and set times for different transactions. “Most clearly have We spelled out everything.” There is nothing in the universe that has been left to chance. The accuracy that is manifested in the succession of day and night confirms the elaborate and faultless design of everything God has created.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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The very first verse indicates that this Surah was revealed on the occasion of the ascension (Mi’raj). According to the narrations (hadith) on the life of the Prophet, this event happened one year before migration (Hijrah). Thus this Surah was revealed in the last stage of Prophethood in Makkah.

8. Reasons for Revelation

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The Prophet had been propagating Monotheism (Tawhid) for twelve years now. In spite of all the opposition, Islam had spread to every corner of Arabia and there was hardly a clan which had not been influenced by the invitation. In Makkah itself, the true Believers had formed themselves into a small community.  A large number of the people from the Aws and Khazraj tribes (two influential clans of Madinah) had also now accepted Islam. Thus the time had come for the Muslims to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah, at behest of the Aws and Khazraj to establish an Islamic state.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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