Surah Al-Isra >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Isra Ayat 16 (17:16)

Surah Al-Isra Ayat 16 in Arabic Text

وَإِذَآ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُوا۟ فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا ٱلْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَـٰهَا تَدْمِيرًۭا
Wa izaaa aradnaaa an nuhlika qaryatan amarnaa mutrafeehaa fafasaqoo feehaa fahaqqa ‘alaihal qawlu fadammarnaahaa tadmeeraa

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 16

Sahih International
And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its affluent but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with [complete] destruction.

Yusuf Ali
When We decide to destroy a population, We (first) send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then (it is) We destroy them utterly.

Abul Ala Maududi
When We decide to destroy a town We command the affluent among them, whereupon they commit sins in it, then the decree (of chastisement) becomes due against them and thereafter We destroy that town utterly.

Muhsin Khan
And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them [or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.

Pickthall
And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation.

Dr. Ghali
And when We will to cause a town to perish, We command its (people) luxurious (life), then they committed immorality therein; so the Word came true against it, (and) then We destroyed it an utter destruction.

Abdel Haleem
When We decide to destroy a town, We command those corrupted by wealth [to reform], but they [persist in their] disobedience; Our sentence is passed, and We destroy them utterly.

Quran 17 Verse 16 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Isra ayat 16, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(17:16) When We decide to destroy a town We command the affluent among them, whereupon they commit sins in it, then the decree (of chastisement) becomes due against them and thereafter We destroy that town utterly.[18]


18. Here a definite form of divine procedure for the destruction of a people has been stated. When the affluent people of a habitation become disobedient, it is a portent that it is doomed to destruction. After their persistent and continuous transgression, the affluent people become so obdurate in their disobedience that they begin to discard the instinctive dictates of their conscience. The same thing has been stated in this Ayat: And when We intend to destroy a town, We give commands to its affluent people and they show disobedience. This is because Allah has created conscience for the guidance of man. Therefore, the dictates of conscience are really the commands of Allah. Thus it has become quite obvious that by “And when We intend to destroy a town” is not meant that Allah intends to destroy it without any reason. It is destroyed because after their disobedience that habitation incurs Our just wrath and We totally exterminate it. The habitation deserves such a punishment because its common people follow the affluent people who are the factual leaders of a community and are mainly responsible for the corruption of the community. At first the affluent people commit acts of disobedience, wickedness, mischief, cruelty and tyranny and then the common people follow them and incur the torment of Allah. Incidentally, this is a warning for every community that it should be very discreet and prudent in choosing and electing its leaders and rulers, for if the latter are mean and wicked, they will inevitably lead the community to destruction. 1

Ibn-Kathir

16. And when We decide to destroy a town (population), Amarna those who live luxuriously. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.


Meanings of Amarna

The commentators differed over the meaning of this word. It was said that the phrase translated here as “Amarna those who live luxuriously. Then, they transgress therein” means, “We send Our decree upon them” as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿أَتَاهَآ أَمْرُنَا لَيْلاً أَوْ نَهَارًا﴾

(Our decree reaches it by night or by day) For ﴿Amarna cannot mean “Our command”﴾ because Allah does not command or enjoin immorality. Or, they said it means that Allah subjugated them to commit immoral deeds, so they deserved the punishment. Or it was said that it means: “We commanded them to obey Us, but they committed immoral sins, so they deserved punishment.” This was reported from Ibn Jurayj from Ibn `Abbas, and it is also the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr.

﴿أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا﴾

(Amarna those who live luxuriously. Then, they transgress therein,) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said: ﴿this means﴾ “We gave power to the evil people, so they committed sin therein (in the town), and because they did that, Allah destroyed them with the punishment.” This is similar to the Ayah:

﴿وَكَذلِكَ جَعَلْنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرْيَةٍ أَكَـبِرَ مُجْرِمِيهَا﴾

(And thus We have set up in every town great ones of its wicked people) ﴿6:133﴾ This was also the view of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas.

﴿وَإِذَآ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا﴾

(And when We decide to distroy a town (populaton), Amarna those who live luxuriously. Then, they transgress therein,) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, (it means) “We increase their numbers. This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah, and it was reported from Malik and Az-Zuhri.

﴿وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مِن بَعْدِ نُوحٍ وَكَفَى بِرَبِّكَ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرَا بَصِيرًا ﴾

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