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 4 (Verses 17:31–17:40): Moral Precepts


وَ لَا تَقۡتُلُوۡۤا اَوۡلَادَکُمۡ خَشۡیَۃَ اِمۡلَاقٍ ؕ نَحۡنُ نَرۡزُقُہُمۡ وَ اِیَّاکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ قَتۡلَہُمۡ کَانَ خِطۡاً کَبِیۡرًا ﴿۳۱﴾

17:31 And do not kill your children for fear of poverty — We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong.1

وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوا الزِّنٰۤی اِنَّہٗ کَانَ فَاحِشَۃً ؕ وَ سَآءَ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۳۲﴾

17:32 And do not go near to fornication: surely it is an obscenity. And evil is the way.2

وَ لَا تَقۡتُلُوا النَّفۡسَ الَّتِیۡ حَرَّمَ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ وَ مَنۡ قُتِلَ مَظۡلُوۡمًا فَقَدۡ جَعَلۡنَا لِوَلِیِّہٖ سُلۡطٰنًا فَلَا یُسۡرِفۡ فِّی الۡقَتۡلِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ مَنۡصُوۡرًا ﴿۳۳﴾

17:33 And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause. And whoever is killed unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority — but let him not exceed the limit in killing. Surely he will be helped.3

وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا مَالَ الۡیَتِیۡمِ اِلَّا بِالَّتِیۡ ہِیَ اَحۡسَنُ حَتّٰی یَبۡلُغَ اَشُدَّہٗ ۪ وَ اَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعَہۡدِ ۚ اِنَّ الۡعَہۡدَ کَانَ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا ﴿۳۴﴾

17:34 And do not draw near to the orphan’s property, except in the best way, till he attains his maturity. And fulfil the promise; surely the promise will be enquired into.

وَ اَوۡفُوا الۡکَیۡلَ اِذَا کِلۡتُمۡ وَ زِنُوۡا بِالۡقِسۡطَاسِ الۡمُسۡتَقِیۡمِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ خَیۡرٌ وَّ اَحۡسَنُ تَاۡوِیۡلًا ﴿۳۵﴾

17:35 And give full measure when you measure out, and weigh with a true balance. This is fair and better in the end.

وَ لَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَیۡسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ؕ اِنَّ السَّمۡعَ وَ الۡبَصَرَ وَ الۡفُؤَادَ کُلُّ اُولٰٓئِکَ کَانَ عَنۡہُ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا ﴿۳۶﴾

17:36 And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge.4 Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these will be asked about it.

وَ لَا تَمۡشِ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مَرَحًا ۚ اِنَّکَ لَنۡ تَخۡرِقَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ لَنۡ تَبۡلُغَ الۡجِبَالَ طُوۡلًا ﴿۳۷﴾

17:37 And do not go about in the land exultingly, for you cannot split the earth, nor reach the mountains in height.

کُلُّ ذٰلِکَ کَانَ سَیِّئُہٗ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکَ مَکۡرُوۡہًا ﴿۳۸﴾

17:38 All this, the evil of it, is hateful in the sight of your Lord.

ذٰلِکَ مِمَّاۤ اَوۡحٰۤی اِلَیۡکَ رَبُّکَ مِنَ الۡحِکۡمَۃِ ؕ وَ لَا تَجۡعَلۡ مَعَ اللّٰہِ اِلٰـہًا اٰخَرَ فَتُلۡقٰی فِیۡ جَہَنَّمَ مَلُوۡمًا مَّدۡحُوۡرًا ﴿۳۹﴾

17:39 This is from the wisdom which your Lord has revealed to you. And do not set up with Allah any other god, or you would be thrown into hell, blamed, cast away.

اَفَاَصۡفٰىکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ بِالۡبَنِیۡنَ وَ اتَّخَذَ مِنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اِنَاثًا ؕ اِنَّکُمۡ لَتَقُوۡلُوۡنَ قَوۡلًا عَظِیۡمًا ﴿٪۴۰﴾

17:40 Has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Surely you utter a terrible saying.


  1. Infanticide, in the case of daughters, was met with among the Arabs, but this was not for fear of poverty. Since the word children (aulād) includes both males and females, the killing of children here may mean not giving them proper education; ignorance, or intellectual death, being treated as death. (Editor’s Note: Abortion without a medical reason may also be included here.)
  2. The Quran not only forbids all out-of-wedlock sex, but enjoins people not to go near it, thus avoiding all those opportunities which are likely to tempt one to fall into the evil. Hence it is that Islam dis­courages the too free inter­ming­ling of the sexes.
  3. The words he will be helped indicate that as the state is bound to help him by bringing the murderer within reach of the law, the heir should not take the law into his own hands. This is called exceeding the limits.
  4. If this injunction were followed, all society gossip would immediately cease, relieving many innocent people of the heart-burning which they suffer on account of evil and unfounded reports. The verse also forbids entering into dis­cussions without accurate knowledge, or putting forward uncertain opinion.