Praise be to Allaah.
Soorat al-Isra’ is called Soorat Bani Israa’eel in two
saheeh mawqoof hadeeths, in which it is the words of the Sahaabah (may
Allah be pleased with them):
The first hadeeth was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas‘ood
(may Allah be pleased with him), who said concerning (the soorahs) Bani
Israa’eel, al-Kahf, Maryam, Ta-Ha and al-Anbiya’: They are among the best
and earliest and they are among the first I received.
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4994
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ‘Itaaq
(translated above as “best”) is the plural of ‘ateeq, which means
ancient, or it may mean everything that reaches the utmost of excellence;
the second meaning was preferred by a number of scholars in this hadeeth.
“and they are among the first I received (tilaadi)”
i.e., among that which I memorized a long time ago. Tilaad means
long-standing possession; it is the opposite of taarif (recent
acquisition). What Ibn Mas‘ood meant was that they were among the first
soorahs he learned of the Qur’aan, and that they possess virtue because of
what they contain of stories of the earlier Prophets and nations.
End quote from Fath al-Baari, 8/388
The second hadeeth was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be
pleased with her) who said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) used not to sleep until he had recited Bani Israa’eel and
al-Zumar. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3402, who said: It is a hasan hadeeth. It
was also classed as hasan by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Nataa’ij al-Afkaar,
3/65; and it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
The scholars said that this soorah was better known by the
name Soorat Bani Isra’eel at the time of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een, because
the first verse of Soorat al-Isra’ speaks of the Isra’ (Night Journey) to
al-Masjid al-Aqsa, then in the second verse it starts to speak of an
important stage in the story of Bani Isra’eel (the Children of Israel) and
their mischief in the land, which is not mentioned in any of the stories of
Bani Isra’eel anywhere else in the Qur’aan. That is in the passage where
Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Glorified (and Exalted) is He (Allâh) [above all that
(evil) they associate with Him]. Who took His slave (Muhammad SAW) for a
journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid-al-Aqsa
(in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We
might show him (Muhammad SAW) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, lessons,
signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer
2. And We gave Mûsa (Moses) the Scripture and made it a
guidance for the Children of Israel (saying): ‘Take not other than Me as
(your) Wakîl (Protector, Lord, or Disposer of your affairs).
3. ‘O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship)
with Nûh (Noah)! Verily, he was a grateful slave.’
4. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the
Scripture, indeed you would do mischief in land twice and you will become
tyrants and extremely arrogant!”
Al-‘Allaamah al-Taahir ibn ‘Ashoor (may Allah have mercy on
In many Mushafs it is called Soorat al-Isra’. Al-Aloosi
stated that it is called by this name, because at the beginning it mentions
the Isra’ (Night Journey) of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) and that is the only place where it is mentioned. But at the time
of the Sahaabah it was called Soorat Bani Israa’eel, the reason for that
being that it mentions things about Bani Isra’eel that are not mentioned in
other soorahs, namely their subjugation by those who were given to terrible
warfare (cf. 17:4) -- the Assyrians; then their subjugation by another
people -- namely the Romans. It is also called Soorat Subhaan, because it
begins with this word.
End quote from al-Tahreer wal-Tanweer, 15/5
See also the answer to question no.
And Allah knows best.