17 Lessons for a Noble Character from Al-Isra


In the seventeenth chapter of the Quran, Al-Isra, or Bani Israel, the discussion begins about the night journey of the Prophet Muhammads from Makkah to Jerusalem and onward to heavens.

The scholars of Islam differ about its physical or spiritual nature. But, they all agree that it was a monumental event in the history of humanity. The Prophet experienced a new world that is yet to come. He visited the new world at the invitation of the Creator, an honor no human being had ever achieved.

The sura asserts the oneness of humanity and unity of divine message. It enlists 17 essential principles for elevated living. These are the commandments for people to achieve perfection in their characters. These rules are in verses 22 to 37.

  1. Obedience of the divine law is necessary to remain focused on one's purpose of living
  2. Children must honor their parents
  3. Children must be kind and respectful to their parents at any age
  4. Children must protect their parents in a responsible manner
  5. Help the needy within your kins, the helpless, the refugees, and the resourceless
  6. Do not squander your wealth. It is an act of defying God
  7. If you are not in a position to help the needy with resources at least offer them a word of sympathy
  8. Don't be extravagant or thrifty. Maintain a balance in using your resources
  9. You earn the fruit of your labor. The more you would exert the more you would earn
  10. Do not kill (neglect) your children out of fear of poverty
  11. Illicit intimate relations destroy the fabric of human society
  12. Life is sacred. Do not take yours or anyone else's life. Let authorities deal with murders. They should follow the rule of law and judge fairly
  13. Do not devour the property of the orphan under your guardianship unless it is to his benefit
  14. Always fulfill your commitments
  15. In transactions of trade, etc., measure in full; hold the scale evenly when you weigh to maintain economic balance in human society. Do not exploit the weakness of others
  16. Base your opinions on sound knowledge and not your whims. Use the faculties of rationality, observation, and listening to determine fact
  17. Don't be arrogant and act pretentious manner.


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