Surah Isra Ayat 23

Surah Isra Ayat 23, Quran Surat 17 Ayat 32

Surah Isra Ayat 23  In Arabic

 وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا ﴿23﴾

Surah Isra Ayat 23 Transliteration

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Wa qadaa Rabbuka allaa ta’budooo illaaa iyyaahu wa bilwaalidaini ihsaanaa; immaa yablughanna ‘indakal kibara ahaduhumaaa aw kilaahumaa falaa taqul lahumaaa uffinw wa laa tanharhumaa wa qullahumaa qawlan kareemaa

Surah Isra Ayat 23 Translation

Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.

Surah Isra Ayat 23 Explanation

It is very important to respect and obey parents

Imam al-Qurtubi says that, in this verse (23), Allah Ta` ala has made it necessary (wajib) to respect and treat parents well by combining it with the command to worship Him. This is similar to what has been said in Surah Luqman where the inevitable need to thank Him has been combined with the need to thank one’s parents: أَنِ اشْكُرْ‌ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ (Be grateful to Me, and to your parents – 31:14). This proves that, after the obligation of worshipping the most exalted Allah, obeying parents is most impor¬tant and being grateful to parents like being grateful to Allah Ta’ ala is wajib (necessary). This has its confirmation in the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari where a person reportedly asked the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) “Which is the most favoured deed in the sight of Allah?” He said, “Salah at its (mustahabb: preferred) time.” The person asked again, “Which is the most favoured deed after that?” To that he said, “Treating parents well.” (Qurtubi)

The merits of obeying and serving parents in Ilad! th narratives

  1. In the Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Mustadrak Hakim, it has been reported on sound authority from Sayyidna Abu ` d-Darda’ that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “A father is the main gate of Jannah. Now it is up to you to preserve or waste it.” (Mazhari)
  2. According to a report from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) ap¬pearing in Jmi’ al-Tirmidhi and al-Mustadrak of al-Hakim (which Hakim rates as Sahih), the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of a father and the displeasure of Allah in the displeas¬ure of a father.”
  3. Ibn Majah reports on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Umamah that a person asked the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) : “What rights do parents have on their children?” He said, “They both are your Paradise, or Hell.” It means that obeying and serving parents take one to Jannah and their disobedience and displeasure, to Jahannam.
  4. Al-Baihaqi (in Shu’ab al-‘Iman) and Ibn ` Asakir have reported on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “For one who remained obedient to his parents for the sake of Allah two gates of Paradise shall remain open. And for one who disobeyed them two gates of Hell shall remain open, and if he had just one of the two, ei¬ther father or mother, then, one gate (of Paradise or Hell shall remain open).” Thereupon, someone asked, “Does it (the warning of Hell) hold good even when the parents have been unjust to this person?” Then he said thrice: وَ اِن ظَلَمَا وَ اِن ظَلَمَا وَ اِن ظَلَمَا which means, ‘yes, there is that warning of Hell against disobeying and hurting parents even if they were unjust to the son.’ (The outcome is that children have no right to settle scores with parents. If they have been unjust, it does not follow that they too back out from obeying and serving them).
  5. Al-Baihaqi has reported on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “An obedient son who looks at his parents with mercy and affection receives the reward of one ac¬cepted Hajj against every such look cast.” People around said, “What if he were to look at them like that a hundred times during the day?” He said, “Yes, a hundred times too (he will keep receiving that reward). Allah is great (His treasures never run short).”


The punishment for depriving parents of their rights comes – much before Akhirah – right here in this world too

  1. In Shu’ab al-‘Iman, al-Baihaqi has reported on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Bakrah (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “As for all those other sins, Allah Ta` ala defers whichever He wills up to the Last Day of Qiyamah – except the sin of depriving parents of their rights and disobeying them. The punishment for that is given, much before comes the Hereafter, right here in this world as well. (All Hadith reports given here have been taken from Tafsir Mazhari)

Obedience to parents: When necessary and when there is room for opposition

Muslim scholars and jurists unanimously hold that the obedience to parents is wajib (necessary) only in what is permissible – and definitely not in what is impermissible or sinful. Says the Hadith:

لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق

There is no obedience to the created in the disobedience of the Creator.

To deserve service and good treatment it is not necessary that the parents be Muslims

To support this ruling, Imam al-Qurtubi has quoted an event related with Sayyidah Asma’ (رض) from the Sahih of al-Bukhari. According to this report, Sayyidah Asma’ asked the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ، “My mother, a Mushrik, comes to see me. Is it permissible for me to entertain her?” He said,” صِلَی اُمَّکِ ” (sili ummaki: that is, respect the bond of relationship with your mother and entertain her). And as for disbelieving parents, there is that statement of the Qur’an itself (Luqman, 31:15): صَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُ‌وفًا (that is, if the parents of a person are kafirs and order him too to be-come like them, then, it is not permissible to obey them in this matter. But, while living in this world, they should be treated in the recognized manner). It is obvious that ‘recognized manner’ means that they should be treated with courtesy.


  1. As long as Jihad does not become an absolute individual obligation (Fard al-` Ain), rather remains within the degree of a collective obligation (Fard al-Kifayah), until then, it is not permissible for any son to partici¬pate in Jihad without the consent of parents. It has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) that a person presented himself before the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in order to have his permission to participate in Jihad. He asked him, “Are your par¬ents alive?” He submitted, “Yes, they are.” He said, ” فَفِیھِمَا فَجَاھد ” (fafihima fajahid: Then you carry out Jihad in [ the service of ] them both). The sense is that ‘by serving them alone you will get the reward of being in Jihad.’ Another report also adds that the person said, “I have come here leaving my parents crying behind.” Thereupon, he said, “Go. Make them laugh as you made them cry.” In other words, he was to go back home and tell his parents that he would not be going for Jihad without their consent. (Qurtubi)
  2. From the event reported above, we learn the ruling that anything that rates as a collective obligation – and is not an individual obligation, or necessity – then, sons and daughters cannot do that without the permission of parents. Also included here is the injunction to acquire the most perfect knowledge of religion (the ‘ilm of din) at the highest level, and to travel to communicate and promote it (the tabligh of din). It means that anyone who has the knowledge of religion to the measure one is obligated with individually cannot travel in order to become an ` alim of din (scholar of religion), or travel for the da’wah and tabligh of din, for it is not permissible without the permission of parents.
  3. Also included under the injunction of treating parents well appear¬ing in the Qur’an, and Hadith is good treatment with relatives and friends close to parents, specially when they are dead. In the Sahih of al-Bukhari, it has been reported from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, The noblest regard one can show to a father after his death is to treat his friends well.” And Sayyidna Abu Usayd al-Badri رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ reports that he was sitting with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) when an Ansari came and asked, “Ya Rasulallah, is it that some right of my parents remains due against me even after they have died?” He said, “Yes. Praying and seeking forgiveness for them, fulfilling the promises they had made to someone, being kind and respectful to their friends and showing mercy and generosity to such relatives who are linked in kinship only through them (Silatu ‘r-rahim). These are the rights of your parents still due against you, even after them.”

It was the blessed habit of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he used to send gifts to lady friends of Ummal-Mu’minin Sayyidah Khadijah (رض) after her demise which was a way of fulfilling the right of Sayyidah Kha¬dijah (رض) on him.

Treating parents well: Special consideration in their old age

As for serving and obeying parents, as parents, it is not restricted to any given time or age. In fact, it is necessary (wajib) to treat parents well, under all conditions, and in every age. But, there are circumstances that usually impede the fulfillment of what is necessary and obligatory. Under these circumstances, the typical response pattern of the Holy Qur’an comes into action to suggest ways and means through which act¬ing according to given injunctions becomes easy. With this objective in sight, it grooms and trains minds through different angles and, at the same time, it continues to emphasize that compliance of these injunc¬tions is imperative despite such circumstances.

The old age of parents, when they become helpless, depend on chil¬dren for everything they need and their life is at the mercy of children, is a terrible condition to be in. The slightest indifference shown by children at such a time breaks their heart. Then, there are those physical infir¬mities and diseases associated with old age which make one naturally ir¬ritation-prone. Furthermore, during the period of extreme old age, when usual reason and comprehension do not seem to be working, some of their wishes and demands assume the kind of proportions which chil¬dren find difficult to take care of.

The Holy Qur’an takes cognizance of these circumstances, but, while giving children the instruction to comfort them, it reminds them of their own childhood. It tells them that there was a time when they too were far more helpless, far too depending on their parents than their parents were on them at that point of time. Then, was it not that their parents sacrificed their desires and comforts for them and went on bearing by the unreasonable child talk with love and affection. Now when they have become so helpless, reason and nobil¬ity demanded that the past favour done by them should be paid back. When it was said: كَمَا رَ‌بَّيَانِي صَغِيرً‌ا (as they have brought me up in my child-hood) in the verse, this is what has been alluded to. Some other impor¬tant instructions relating to the old age of parents have also been given in the verses under study. They are as follows:

  1. Do not say even ‘uff to them. Briefly explained parenthetically in the accompanying translation as ‘a word of anger or contempt,’ ‘uff cov¬ers every word or expression that shows one’s displeasure. The limit is that breathing a long breath after having heard what they said and thereby betraying displeasure against them is also included under this very word ‘uff.’ In a Hadith narrated by Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) ، it has been reported that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Had there been some other de-gree of hurting lesser than the saying of ‘uff,’ that too would have cer¬tainly been mentioned.” (The sense is that even the thing that hurts parents in the lowest of the low degree is forbidden).
  2. Do not scold them: وَلَا تَنْهَرْ‌هُمَا . This is the second instruction. The word: نھر (nahr) in the text: means ‘scold’ or ‘reproach.’ That it causes pain in already obvious.
  3. Address them with respectable words – (وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِ‌يمًا). This is the third instruction. The first two instructions related to the negative as¬pects where bringing the least emotional pressure on parents has been prohibited. Given in this third instruction is a lesson in the art of conver¬sation with parents – talk to them softly with love, grace and concern for them. Says the revered Tabi` i, Said ibn Mussaiyyab, ‘ like a slave talk¬ing to his strict master!’

[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]

Surah Isra Ayat 32  In Arabic

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنٰٓى اِنَّهٗ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً  ۭ وَسَاۗءَ سَبِيْلًا  ﴿32﴾

Surah Isra Ayat 32 Transliteration

Wa laa taqrabuz zinaaa innahoo kaana faahishatanw wa saaa’a sabeelaa

Surah Isra Ayat 32 Translation

And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.

Surah Isra Ayat 32 Explanation

The seventh injunction given here relates to the forbiddance of zina (fornication, adultery). Given here are two reasons as to why it has been forbidden: (1) This is a shame, gross and immodest. Whoever is denuded of modesty is denuded of human nobility itself and is rendered incapable of distinguishing the good from the bad. This is more succinctly said in a Hadith:

.اِذَا فَاتَک الحیاء فافعل ماشٔت

When goes your sense of shame (that could become a barrier against evil), so then, you will do what you will.

Therefore, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)  has declared sense of shame (haya’ ) as a division of faith (‘Iman): وَالحیاء شعبۃ من الایمان (al-Bukhari) (2) It gener¬ates limitless social disorder the consequences of which sometimes de¬stroy whole groups of people. In our day all sorts of crimes have in-creased. If investigated, the reason behind a lot of them would turn out to be some man or woman who did it. Though, this crime is not directly related to the rights of the servants of Allah but it may have been men¬tioned here as part of other rights taken up at this place for the reason that this crime is contagious. It brings other crimes along which disturb the rights of the servants of Allah through loss of lives and properties. Therefore, Islam has declared this crime to be more serious than any other crime. Then, it has also fixed its punishment as the harshest of all crimes because this one is a carrier of hundreds of these.

It appears in Hadith that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The heavens and the earth, the seven of them each, curse the married person who commits adultery. And the strong stench which spreads out from the pri¬vate parts of such people will embarrass even the people condemned to Hell and thus there in Hell they will be suffering from the punishment of fire and disgrace both.” (Reported by al-Bazzar on the authority of Sayyidna Bu¬raidah – Mazhari) In another Hadith from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) it has been reported that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “A fornicator when fornicating is not a believer. A thief when stealing is not a believer. And a drunkard while drinking is not a believer.” This Hadith is there in al-Bukhari and Muslim. Its explanation, as it appears in the report of Abu Dawud, says: At the time those committing such crimes are practi¬cally involved in it, ‘Iman (faith) leaves their heart and comes out, and when they turn away from it, ‘Iman returns back in. (Mazhari)

[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]

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