Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey ) 17 : 32

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَةً وَسَآءَ سَبِيلًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And do not go near unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The prohibition of killing children is followed by a prohibition against adultery:

“Do not come near adultery. It is indeed an abomination and an evil way.” (Verse 32)

There is a definite link between the killing of children and adultery. We find that the prohibition of adultery here intervenes between the prohibition of killing one’s children and that of killing oneself. This takes into account the link to which we are here referring.

Adultery represents killing in various ways. It is a killing because it wastes life matter as it puts it in the wrong place. It is often followed by a desire to get rid of its natural consequences through abortion or infanticide. If the child is spared and allowed to live, it is abandoned to a life of misery and deprivation, which is a killing in a different form. Moreover, it is a killing of the community because family relations are thus lost, and blood ties are confused. People will have little trust that the children they bring up are their own. Thus community relations become weakened and the spirit of the community more or less dies.

Adultery may also be described as a killing of the community for a different reason. The ease which it provides for the fulfilment of sexual desires makes marriage a redundant institution, and the family an unnecessary responsibility. We must not forget that the family provides the proper home where the young should be reared, and where sound human nature is consolidated. It is the home where sound upbringing can be ensured for boys and girls alike.

Throughout history, every community that allowed immorality to spread saw its own decline brought about. Some people may feel that this is not true, looking at the fact that Europe and the United States continue to enjoy power despite the fact that immorality is widespread there. Yet the results of such loose morality are now apparent in older nations, such as France. As for new nations like the US, it may take some time yet before such effects are visible. The case is like that of a young man who gives rein to his desire. The effects may not manifest themselves when he is young, but as he grows older, his decline is rapid.

The Qur’ān even warns against ‘coming near’ to adultery, in order to give stronger emphasis that it is something to guard against. Since adultery is committed to satisfy a strong desire, steering away from it is safer. When adultery is made easy, resisting it becomes that much harder. Hence Islam takes appropriate preventive measures. It dislikes the mixing of the two sexes where it is unnecessary, forbids that a man stay with a woman in a closed place, and prohibits the indecent appearance of women when they go out or attend social functions. It encourages marriage and recommends fasting for those who cannot marry. It disapproves of all types of barriers that prevent people from getting married such as exorbitant dowries. It makes it clear that no one should ever fear poverty as a result of having children, and encourages its followers to provide help to those who wish to marry in order to preserve their chastity. It also prescribes very severe punishments for the crimes of adultery and false accusations of adultery against others, without providing proper evidence to support the same. Such measures are taken in order to prevent the Muslim community from throwing itself on the slippery road to decline.

 

2. Linguistic Analysis

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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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