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 8 (Verses 17:71–17:77): Opposition to the Prophet


یَوۡمَ نَدۡعُوۡا کُلَّ اُنَاسٍۭ بِاِمَامِہِمۡ ۚ فَمَنۡ اُوۡتِیَ کِتٰبَہٗ بِیَمِیۡنِہٖ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ یَقۡرَءُوۡنَ کِتٰبَہُمۡ وَ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ فَتِیۡلًا ﴿۷۱﴾

17:71 On the day when We shall call every people with their leader:1 then whoever is given his book in his right hand, these will read their book; and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.2

وَ مَنۡ کَانَ فِیۡ ہٰذِہٖۤ اَعۡمٰی فَہُوَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ اَعۡمٰی وَ اَضَلُّ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۷۲﴾

17:72 And whoever is blind in this (world) he will be blind in the Hereafter, and further away from the path.3

وَ اِنۡ کَادُوۡا لَیَفۡتِنُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الَّذِیۡۤ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ لِتَفۡتَرِیَ عَلَیۡنَا غَیۡرَہٗ ٭ۖ وَ اِذًا لَّاتَّخَذُوۡکَ خَلِیۡلًا ﴿۷۳﴾

17:73 And surely they had purposed to turn you away from what We have revealed to you,4 that you should forge against Us (some revelation) other than that, and then they would have taken you for a friend.

وَ لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ ثَبَّتۡنٰکَ لَقَدۡ کِدۡتَّ تَرۡکَنُ اِلَیۡہِمۡ شَیۡئًا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿٭ۙ۷۴﴾

17:74 And if We had not made you firm, you might have indeed inclined to them a little;

اِذًا لَّاَذَقۡنٰکَ ضِعۡفَ الۡحَیٰوۃِ وَ ضِعۡفَ الۡمَمَاتِ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَکَ عَلَیۡنَا نَصِیۡرًا ﴿۷۵﴾

17:75 then We would have made you taste a double (punishment) in life and a double (punishment) after death, and then you would not have found any helper against Us.

وَ اِنۡ کَادُوۡا لَیَسۡتَفِزُّوۡنَکَ مِنَ الۡاَرۡضِ لِیُخۡرِجُوۡکَ مِنۡہَا وَ اِذًا لَّا یَلۡبَثُوۡنَ خِلٰفَکَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۷۶﴾

17:76 And surely they purposed to unsettle you from the land that they might expel you from it, and then they will not remain after you but a little while.5

سُنَّۃَ مَنۡ قَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا قَبۡلَکَ مِنۡ رُّسُلِنَا وَ لَا تَجِدُ لِسُنَّتِنَا تَحۡوِیۡلًا ﴿٪۷۷﴾

17:77 (This is Our) way with Our messengers whom We sent before you, and you will not find a change in Our course.6


  1. The meaning is that the righteous will follow the righteous leaders and the wicked will follow their wicked leaders. The word imām, or leader, here is interpreted in several other ways, meaning scripture, prophet, law, book of deeds. The last of these significances also suits the context, as the books of deeds are spo­ken of in the words that follow.
  2. This book is the one mentioned in v. 14, i.e., the effect of one’s deeds, which will be brought before everyone in a palpable form on the day of Resurrection. The book of deeds is given in the right hand to those who hold the Book of God in their right hands here, i.e., act upon it. As against them are those spoken of in the next verse; they remain blind to the Book of God, so they will be blind in the Hereafter.
  3. Those who remain blind to truth in this life remain blind in the life after death, which shows that it is here that a hellish life begins with spiritual blind­­­ness, and that the hell of the next life is also a blindness. This is corroborated by what is said in 57:12, that the faithful will have a light on that day.
  4. This refers to an incident at Makkah when the chief men of the Quraish offered to give the Prophet wealth or to make him their king, if he gave up speaking against their idols and their evil ways. The Prophet’s reply was that he wanted neither of these things, but that it was for their welfare that he asked them to give up evil ways.
  5. When the opponents failed to make the Prophet swerve from the path of Truth, they planned to expel him from the land, though they were told before­hand that in that case they themselves would not retain power but for a short time. It was only eight years after the Hijrah that the Prophet entered Makkah as a conqueror.
  6. This law is also stated in 14:13–14.