Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey ) 17 : 44

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ ٱلسَّبْعُ وَٱلْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَىْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِۦ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allāh] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The sūrah then portrays the whole universe, with all creatures living in it, under God’s Throne. They all turn to God glorifying Him:

“The seven heavens extol His limitless glory, as does the earth, and all who dwell in them. Indeed every single thing extols His glory and praise, but you cannot understand their praises. He is indeed Forbearing, Much Forgiving.” (Verse 44)

Every single particle in this vast universe shares in this glorification. Indeed it comes alive as it praises God and glorifies Him. The scene shows the whole universe full of life and activity, sharing in a single action, addressing God in His exalted nature in a glorification that implies submission to His will and acknowledgement of His authority over everything.

Deaf Ears, Sealed Hearts

It is a powerful and majestic scene in which we see every stone, large and small, every seed and leaf, every flower and fruit, every little shoot and every tree, every insect and reptile, every animal and human being, every creature that walks the earth, swims in the water or floats in the air, in short, all creatures in the whole universe glorifying God and turning to Him in submission. We are filled with awe as we sense that everything that comes within our vision or stays beyond it comes alive. ‘Whenever we stretch our hands out to touch something, and whenever we put our feet to step over something, we feel that it is alive, glorifying God.

“Indeed every single thing extols His glory and praise,” in its own way and language. “But you [human beings] cannot understand their praises.” (Verse 44) Human beings are limited by their own constitution which has a clay origin. This debars them from understanding the praises of other creatures. Had they listened with their hearts, directing them to appreciate the subtle laws that operate in the universe and make everything, large or small, turn to the Creator of all, they would have appreciated something of that praise. When human souls are purified and when they hearken to every animate and inanimate object as it addresses its glorification to God alone, they are better prepared to be in contact with the Supreme Society. They are better able to understand the secrets of the universe than those who limit themselves to the material world.

“He is indeed Forbearing, Much Forgiving.” (Verse 44) These attributes of God are mentioned here because of what seems clear of people’s failing in their duties towards Him. Compared with this great show of submission to God in the whole universe, human beings seem to be in a singular position. Some associate partners with God, while others allege that He has daughters, and still others remain oblivious of their duty to praise and glorify Him. In fact human beings should have been the first among all creatures to acknowledge God, declare their submission to Him and extol His praises. Had it not been for God’s forbearance and forgiveness, He would have hastened their punishment. But He allows them time, reminds and admonishes them because ‘He is indeed Forbearing, Much Forgiving.’

The leaders of the Quraysh, the Prophet’s own tribesmen who rejected his call, tried hard to prevent their hearts and souls from responding positively to the truth of the Qur’ān. As a result, God raised an invisible curtain between them and the Prophet, and placed coverings on their hearts preventing them from understanding it. Their ears were in a state similar to deafness, which meant that they could not understand its message.

 

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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