English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 17: Bani Israil — The Israelites (Revealed at Makkah: 12 sections, 111 verses)

Section 3 (Verses 17:23–17:30): Moral Precepts

Translation:

وَ قَضٰی رَبُّکَ اَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِیَّاہُ وَ بِالۡوَالِدَیۡنِ اِحۡسَانًا ؕ اِمَّا یَبۡلُغَنَّ عِنۡدَکَ الۡکِبَرَ اَحَدُہُمَاۤ اَوۡ کِلٰہُمَا فَلَا تَقُلۡ لَّہُمَاۤ اُفٍّ وَّ لَا تَنۡہَرۡہُمَا وَ قُلۡ لَّہُمَا قَوۡلًا کَرِیۡمًا ﴿۲۳﴾

17:23 And your Lord has decreed that you serve none but Him, and do good to parents.1 If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word to them showing annoyance, nor rebuke them, and speak to them a generous word.

وَ اخۡفِضۡ لَہُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحۡمَۃِ وَ قُلۡ رَّبِّ ارۡحَمۡہُمَا کَمَا رَبَّیٰنِیۡ صَغِیۡرًا ﴿ؕ۲۴﴾

17:24 And make yourself gentle to them with humility out of mercy, and say: My Lord, have mercy on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.

رَبُّکُمۡ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا فِیۡ نُفُوۡسِکُمۡ ؕ اِنۡ تَکُوۡنُوۡا صٰلِحِیۡنَ فَاِنَّہٗ کَانَ لِلۡاَوَّابِیۡنَ غَفُوۡرًا ﴿۲۵﴾

17:25 Your Lord knows best what is in your minds. If you are righteous, He is surely Forgiving to those who turn (to Him).

وَ اٰتِ ذَاالۡقُرۡبٰی حَقَّہٗ وَ الۡمِسۡکِیۡنَ وَ ابۡنَ السَّبِیۡلِ وَ لَا تُبَذِّرۡ تَبۡذِیۡرًا ﴿۲۶﴾

17:26 And give to the near of kin his due and (to) the needy and the traveller, and do not squander wastefully.

اِنَّ الۡمُبَذِّرِیۡنَ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَانَ الشَّیٰطِیۡنِ ؕ وَ کَانَ الشَّیۡطٰنُ لِرَبِّہٖ کَفُوۡرًا ﴿۲۷﴾

17:27 Surely the squanderers are the devil’s brethren. And the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.2

وَ اِمَّا تُعۡرِضَنَّ عَنۡہُمُ ابۡتِغَآءَ رَحۡمَۃٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکَ تَرۡجُوۡہَا فَقُلۡ لَّہُمۡ قَوۡلًا مَّیۡسُوۡرًا ﴿۲۸﴾

17:28 And if you (have to) turn away from them (in order) to seek mercy from your Lord that you hope for, then speak to them a gentle word.3

وَ لَا تَجۡعَلۡ یَدَکَ مَغۡلُوۡلَۃً اِلٰی عُنُقِکَ وَ لَا تَبۡسُطۡہَا کُلَّ الۡبَسۡطِ فَتَقۡعُدَ مَلُوۡمًا مَّحۡسُوۡرًا ﴿۲۹﴾

17:29 And do not make your hand to be chained to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its fullest extension, so that you sit down blamed, stripped off.4

اِنَّ رَبَّکَ یَبۡسُطُ الرِّزۡقَ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یَقۡدِرُ ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ بِعِبَادِہٖ خَبِیۡرًۢا بَصِیۡرًا ﴿٪۳۰﴾

17:30 Surely your Lord amplifies provision for whom He pleases, and restricts (it also). Surely He is ever Aware, Seer, of His servants.

Commentary:

  1. Doing good to parents is placed next to submission to Allah, for among fellow-beings none has a greater claim upon a person than his parents.
  2. While enjoining charity, the Quran also draws attention to economy, thus indicating the golden mean. Those who waste wealth are called the devil’s brethren, because they are ungrateful to God for wasting away what He has given them out of His grace.
  3. Hoping for mercy from the Lord means standing in need of the bounty of the Lord, i.e., not having anything to give to the needy. In that case one should still speak to the needy gently. A saying of the Holy Prophet declares a gentle word spoken to someone to be a deed of charity (Bukhari, 56:72).
  4. By the hand being tied to the neck is meant being miserly, and by stretching it forth to its fullest extension is meant being wasteful. The verse teaches that the middle path should be adopted in one’s ordinary expenses.

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