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Quran Chapter 17 [part 1] - The Night Journey - Journey By Night, God Sees Everything, Commandments

A Meccan sura framed by references to the Children of Israel at the beginning, and to Pharaoh at the end. The bulk of the sura deals with the Quran as guidance and warning, Muhammad, and the nature of prophecy, especially the fact that he is a human being and incapable himself of producing miracles. It also warns of Iblis’s promise to tempt mankind and of the fate of the disbelievers, and it gives a series of commandments (verses 22–39).

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

A Journey By Night

1 Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship [a] to the furthest place of worship, [b] whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All Hearing, the All Seeing. 2 We also gave Moses the Scripture, and made it a guide for the Children of Israel. ‘Entrust yourselves to no one but Me, 3 you descendants of those We carried with Noah: he was truly a thankful servant.’

4 We declared to the Children of Israel in the Scripture, ‘Twice you will spread corruption in the land and become highly arrogant.’ 5 When the first of these warnings was fulfilled, We sent against you servants of Ours with great force, and they ravaged your homes. That warning was fulfilled, 6 but then We allowed you to prevail against your enemy. We increased your wealth and offspring and made you more numerous–– 7 whether you do good or evil it is to your own souls––and when the second warning was fulfilled [We sent them] to shame your faces and enter the place of worship as they did the first time, and utterly destroy whatever fell into their power. 8 Your Lord may yet have mercy on you, but if you do the same again, so shall We: We have made Hell a prison for those who defy [Our warning].

God Sees Everything

9 This Quran does indeed show the straightest way. It gives the faithful who do right the good news that they will have a great reward and 10 warns that We have prepared an agonizing punishment for those who do not believe in the world to come. 11 Yet man prays for harm, just as he prays for good: man is ever hasty. 12 We made the night and the day as two signs, then darkened the night and made the daylight for seeing, for you to seek your Lord’s bounty and to know how to count the years and calculate. We have explained everything in detail. 13 We have bound each human being’s destiny to his neck. On the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out a record for each of them, which they will find spread wide open, 14 ‘Read your record. Today your own soul is enough to calculate your account.’

15 Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good; whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger. 16 When We decide to destroy a town, We command those corrupted by wealth [to reform], but they [persist in their] disobedience; Our sentence is passed, and We destroy them utterly. 17 How many generations We have destroyed since Noah! Your Lord knows and observes the sins of His servants well enough. 18 If anyone desires [only] the fleeting life, We speed up whatever We will in it, for whoever We wish; in the end We have prepared Hell for him in which to burn, disgraced and rejected. 19 But if anyone desires the life to come and strives after it as he should, as a true believer, his striving will be thanked. 20 To both the latter and the former, We give some of your Lord’s bounty. [Prophet], your Lord’s bounty is not restricted– 21 see how We have given some more than others– but the Hereafter holds greater ranks and greater favors.

Some Commandments

22 Set up [c] no other god beside God, or you will end up disgraced and forsaken. 23 Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully 24 and lower your wing in humility towards them in kindness and say, ‘Lord, have mercy on them, just as they cared for me when I was little.’ 25 Your Lord knows best what is in your heart. If you are good, He is most forgiving to those who return to Him. 26 Give relatives their due, and the needy, and travelers– do not squander your wealth wastefully: 27 those who squander are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is most ungrateful to his Lord– 28 but if, while seeking some bounty that you expect from your Lord, you turn them down, then at least speak some word of comfort to them. 29 Do not be tight-fisted, nor so open-handed that you end up blamed and overwhelmed with regret. 30 Your Lord gives abundantly to whoever He will, and sparingly to whoever He will: He knows and observes His servants thoroughly.

31 Do not kill your children for fear of poverty [d] ––We shall provide for them and for you––killing them is a great sin. 32 And do not go anywhere near adultery: it is an outrage, and an evil path. 33 Do not take life, which God has made sacred, except by right: if anyone is killed wrongfully, We have given authority to the defender of his rights, but he should not be excessive in taking life, for he is already aided [by God]. 34 Do not go near the orphan’s property, [e] except with the best [intentions], until he reaches the age of maturity. Honor your pledges: you will be questioned about your pledges. 35 Give full measure when you measure, and weigh with accurate scales: that is better and fairer in the end. 36 Do not follow blindly what you do not know to be true: ears, eyes, and heart, you will be questioned about all these. 37 Do not strut arrogantly about the earth: you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height. 38 The evil of all these actions is hateful to your Lord.

39 [Prophet], this is some of the wisdom your Lord has revealed to you: do not set up another god beside God, or you will be thrown into Hell, blamed and rejected. 40 What? Has your Lord favored you people with sons and taken daughters for Himself from the angels? [f] What a monstrous thing for you to say!


a. In Mecca.

b. In Jerusalem.

c. This verb is addressed to mankind as a whole (Razi).

d. See 81: 8–9.

e. Cf. 4: 2.

f. See also 16: 57–62.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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