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The Qurʾan What is This? A current English-language version of the Qur'an, published in 2004
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

17. The Night Journey (1 – 21)

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 Qurʾan 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). The Night Journey, which gives the sura its title, is mentioned in verse 1 and again in verse 60. Towards the end of the Meccan period, God caused Muhammad, in the space of a single night, to journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and from there to heaven and back again.

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

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

4We declared to the Children of Israel in the Scripture, ‘Twice you will spread corruption in the land and become highly arrogant.’ 5When 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, 6but then We allowed you to prevail against your enemy. We increased your wealth and offspring and made you more numerous—7whether 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. 8Your 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].

9This Qurʾan does indeed show the straightest way. It gives the faithful who do right the good news that they will have a great reward and 10warns that We have prepared an agonizing punishment for those who do not believe in the world to come. 11Yet man prays for harm, just as he prays for good: man is ever hasty. 12We 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. 13We 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.’

15Whoever 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. 16When 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. 17How many generations We have destroyed since Noah! Your Lord knows and observes the sins of His servants well enough. 18If 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. 19But if anyone desires the life to come and strives after it as he should, as a true believer, his striving will be thanked. 20To both the latter and the former, We give some of your Lord's bounty. [Prophet], your Lord's bounty is not restricted—21see how We have given some more than others—but the Hereafter holds greater ranks and greater favours.

Notes:

a In Mecca.

b In Jerusalem.

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