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Al-Isra

Al-Isrāʼ ( The Night Journey ) or Banī Isrāʼīl (, 'The Children of Israel') is the 17th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran, with 111 verses (āyāt). It is about Isra and the Children of Israel. This sura is part of a series Al-Musabbihat surahs because it begins with the glorification of Allah.

Regarding the timing and contextual background of the supposed 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.

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This surah takes its name from the first verse, which 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, although in Islamic tradition 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 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.

Exegesis

Verse 17:8

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).


Verses 17:13 - 17:15

Verses 17:13 to 17:15 tells that fate is in people's hands and tells that what they do will be rewarded or punished for on the 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).


Verse 17:26



The verse relates to the controversies of the land of Fadak in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Verse 17:70

Verse 17:70 tells that mankind has been given a high (not highest) status among many (not all) of the creations of God. This indicates that there may be other races superior to human beings. It also points out the possible existence of alien life, excluding angels and jinns.

Verse 17:71

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.

Verse 17:104

Verse 17:104 tells that the Children of Israel will be gathered together from different nations and will dwell securely in the Promised Land, and this will happen when the promise of the hereafter ( day of resurrection) will be near.