Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey ) 17 : 22
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
In the preceding passage, which comprises the first 21 verses of the sūrah, the rules of action and reward, guidance and error, earnings and reckoning are linked to the great universal law that governs the succession of night and day. In the current passage, the rules for behaviour, manners, individual and social duties are linked to belief in God’s oneness. Indeed this belief provides the essential tie to which all other ties are linked, within the family, community and humanity as a whole.
In the previous passage we learnt that the Qur’ān “shows the way to that which is most upright.” We have also been told that God has most clearly ‘spelled out everything.’ In this new passage, the sūrah gives us an outline of the commandments and prohibitions which demarcate the way to the most upright standards. They spell out in detail some rules of behaviour, telling us of permissible or prohibited practices.
This new passage begins with a commandment that prohibits the association of partners with God. It declares God’s clear order that worship must be addressed to Him alone. This is followed by an outline of duties and obligations, such as maintaining kindness to one’s parents, being generous without extravagance to relatives, the needy and travellers in need. It also prohibits killing one’s offspring, adultery and murder under any circumstances. Further commandments make it clear that believers must take good care of orphans, ensuring that whatever property they have is well looked after, and that they must fulfil their pledges and promises. They should also conduct their transactions in fairness, giving due weight and measure, and they must endeavour to establish and maintain the truth. They are commanded not to behave arrogantly in any situation. The passage concludes with a warning against associating partners with God. Thus all the commandments and prohibitions are given between the opening and ending of the passage, clearly attached to the basic belief in God’s oneness which provides the firm foundation of human life as indeed all life.
“Do not set up any deity side by side with God, lest you find yourself disgraced, forsaken.” (Verse 22)
This is a commandment forbidding the association of partners with God and a warning against the results it brings about. Although it is a general order, it is nonetheless addressed to each individual so that everyone feels it is personally issued to them. Believing is a personal matter for which every individual is responsible for themselves. The outcome that awaits anyone who deviates from the path of believing in God’s oneness is such that they find themselves ‘disgraced’ by the foul deed, ‘forsaken’, without support. Whoever is deprived of God’s support is forsaken, no matter how numerous his supporters are. The Arabic description, fataq`uda madhmūman makhdhūlā, is especially graphic: in place of lest you find yourself, read, ‘lest you sit’. This aptly describes the person who finds such disgrace too shameful that it weighs heavily on him and he sits down forsaken, weak, unable to stand and powerless. The description also suggests that this state is permanent because ‘sitting down in disgrace’ suggests there is no action to change the situation.
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
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[ edit ]
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.