Surah An-Nas Tafsir

A little background

The human beings are always exposed to devilish temptations of Shaitan trying to penetrate into our heart. This Surah commands our Prophet (pbuh), as a leader and as an example, to seek refuge in Allah from these evil temptations.

The content of this Surah corresponds with the previous one, Surah Falaq.

Imam Malik recorded from `A’ishah (ra) that, whenever the Messenger of Allah was suffering from an ailment(illness), he would recite the Mu`awwidhatayn(Nas+Falaq) over himself and blow (over himself). Then, if his pain became severe, `A’ishah (ra) said that she would recite the Mu`awwidhatayn over him and take his hand and wipe it over himself seeking the blessing of those Surahs. Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah all recorded this Hadith.

It was also narrated by ‘Aishah (ra) {in  Sunan Ibn Majah 3875} that: whenever the Prophet(pbuh) went to bed, he would blow into his hands, recite Al-Mu’awwidhatain, then wipe his hands over his body.

Bewitchment of our Prophet

In Sahih al-Bukhari » Book of Medicine » Hadith 79: A’ishah(ra) said: The Messenger of Allah was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done (it was a kind of illusion). Sufyan said, “This is the worst form of magic when it reaches this stage.”

So the Prophet (pbuh) said:-

O `A’ISHAH! DO YOU KNOW THAT ALLAH HAS ANSWERED ME CONCERNING THAT WHICH I ASKED HIM TWO MEN (ANGELS) CAME TO ME AND ONE OF THEM SAT BY MY HEAD WHILE THE OTHER SAT BY MY FEET. THE ONE WHO WAS SITTING BY MY HEAD SAID TO THE OTHER ONE, `WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN’ THE OTHER REPLIED, `HE IS BEWITCHED.’ THE FIRST ONE SAID, `WHO BEWITCHED HIM’ THE OTHER REPLIED LABID BIN AL-A’SAM, A MAN FROM BANI ZURAIQ WHO WAS AN ALLY OF THE JEWS AND WAS A HYPOCRITE.’ THE FIRST ONE ASKED, `WITH WHAT (DID HE BEWITCH HIM)’ THE OTHER REPLIED, `WITH A COMB AND HAIR FROM THE COMB.’ THE FIRST ONE ASKED, `WHERE (IS THE COMB)’ THE OTHER ANSWERED, `IN THE DRIED BARK OF A MALE DATE PALM UNDER A ROCK IN A WELL CALLED DHARWAN.’

Mother A’ishah (ra) said:-

SO HE WENT TO THE WELL TO REMOVE IT (THE COMB WITH THE HAIR).

Then he said:-

THIS IS THE WELL THAT I SAW (IN MY DREAM). THE WATER OF THAT WELL WAS (RED) LIKE THE INFUSION OF HENNA LEAVES AND ITS DATE-PALMS WERE LIKE THE HEADS OF DEVILS”

So he removed it (of the well).

Then `A’ishah (ra) said:

WILL YOU TAKE THE MATERIAL OUT OF IT?

He replied:

ALLAH HAS CURED ME AND I HATE TO SPREAD (THE NEWS OF) WICKEDNESS TO ANY OF THE PEOPLE.)’.

Here is a lesson for us, we should prevent spreading news of any kind of evil.

Short Meaning of An-Nas

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

  1. Say: “I seek refuge with the Lord of Mankind,”
  2. “The King of Mankind,”
  3. “The God of Mankind,”
  4. “From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”
  5. “Who whispers in the breasts of Mankind.”
  6. “Of Jinn and Mankind.”

Short Meaning of Al-Falaq

  1. Say: “I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak,”
  2. “From the evil of what He has created,”
  3. “And from the evil of the darkness when it settles,”
  4. “And from the evil of the blowers in knots,”
  5. “And from the evil of the envier when he envies.”

3 Magnificent Attributes of Allah(swt) are mentioned

“Say: I take refuge with the Lord of Mankind,”

“The King of Mankind,”

“The God of Mankind,”

By the term, “Say”(Qul): Allah wants the human to announce their weakness with their own tongue.

Three attributes of the magnificent attributes of Allah; Lordship, Ownership, and Divinity, are emphasized in the beginning of the Surah. He is the Lord of everything, the King of everything and the God of everything. All things including us are created, owned, and subservient to Him.

By saying:

‘the Lord of Mankind‘: we confess His Lordship and place ourselves under His guidance.

‘the King of Mankind‘, we consider ourselves as His property, and His obedient slave.

‘the God of Mankind‘, we go on the path of worshipping Him alone, and avoid seeking help from anyone except Him.

Undoubtedly, the person who actually eternalize these three attributes and truly believes in them, and then seek help, will be saved from the mischief of the tempters (Inshallah).

Why seeking refuge from Allah(swt)

At first, we must accept our humility towards our Lord/King/God that we need the help from Allah{swt} in a continuous basis. We can’t get rid of the evil by our own.

Ask yourself, can we get rid of evil within us by ourselves, without any form of aid or guidance. Just look around and consider the people around you as example. I am 100% convinced that you will answer it negative if you think honestly (we can’t help ourselves).

We can’t consider us to have the ability to protect ourselves. Because Allah says:

NO! SURELY THE HUMAN REBELS, HE SEES HIMSELF AS SELF SUFFICIENT

{Surah Alaq Ayat 6-7}.

We must not merely recite this with our tongue, it should be accomplished with our thoughts, faith, and actions. We should avoid devilish thoughts, activities, companions, programs, communications etc and then seek for Allah’s(swt) help. Otherwise, we may easily fall into the hands of those temptations and can’t be saved only by reciting this.

Meaning of Naas

Naas has several meanings; and one of its root words is Nasiyya to be forgetful.

People already forgot the covenant they have made with Allah, so we are called as Naas:

When our soul was first created, we testified that Allah is our Lord.

ALLAH(SWT) ASKED US, “AM I NOT YOUR LORD?” WE SAID, “YES, WE HAVE TESTIFIED.” ALLAH(SWT) SAID, HOPE YOU SHOULD SAY THIS ON THE DAY OF RESURRECTION,” INDEED, WE FORGOT IT.

{Surah A’raf Ayat 172}

A power that Allah has given to shaytan is, to make people forget. The biggest thing that people always forget is that Allah is continuously watching them and keeping records of their activities.

Seeking Refuge from

“From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”

“Who whispers evil into the breast of Mankind,”

“From among Jinn and Mankind.”

Whispering of Evil Temptation.

“From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”

Evil(sharr) – Means an evil which can cause you harm.

“From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”

Satan and their evil whisper(waswas) are hidden. We sometime believe that these murmured temptations are actually the ideas of our own thought. This very kind of thinking causes us to go astray. We should not to expect to see Satans in their real form, or observe their crooked activities. They are ‘slinking whisperers’ and their job is to plot, lie, be mischievous, be hypocritical, commit fraud and deceit, simulating truth, and hiding the right of people etc.

As Hazrat Ali (as) said: “The fact is, had falsehood been allowed to appear separately from truth, seekers of truth would have easily discerned it and would have kept away from falsehood.

“From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”

The tempter (Shaitan) withdraws (khannaas), it means runs away with the remembrance of Allah(swt). It means Shaitan, leaves / retreats back / steps back when we remember Allah(swt). Shaitan plants himself right above the heart of the human being, so when we becomes forgetful, absent-minded, heedless and careless – Shaitan gets the advantage of whispering to our heart.

A devil is appointed for every one of us:

A devil is assigned to every human being. For verily, there is not any of the Children of Adam except that he has a companion that beautifies wicked deeds for him. This devil will go to any lengths to confuse and confound us. The only person who are safe are whom Allah protects.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

THERE IS NONE AMONGST YOU WITH WHOM IS NOT AN ATTACHE FROM AMONGST THE JINN (DEVIL). THEY (THE COMPANIONS) SAID: ALLAH’S MESSENGER, WITH YOU TOO? THEREUPON HE SAID: YES, BUT ALLAH HELPS ME AGAINST HIM AND SO I AM SAFE FROM HIS HAND AND HE DOES NOT COMMAND ME BUT FOR GOOD.

{Sahih Muslim, Book 52, Hadith 62}.

Another Hadith confirming the fact where Safiya bint Huyay narrated:

ONCE SHE(SAFIYA) AND PROPHET (ﷺ) WERE PASSING BY TWO ANSARI MEN IN THE NIGHT. WHEN THEY SAW THE PROPHET (ﷺ) THEY HASTENED AWAY. THE PROPHET SAID (TO THEM). “DON’T HURRY! IT IS SAFIYA, (I.E. MY WIFE).” THEY SAID, “GLORIFIED BE ALLAH! O ALLAH’S MESSENGER (ﷺ)! (HOW DARE WE SUSPECT YOU?)” HE SAID, “SATAN CIRCULATES IN THE HUMAN MIND AS BLOOD CIRCULATES IN IT, AND I WAS AFRAID THAT SATAN MIGHT THROW AN EVIL THOUGHT (OR SOMETHING) INTO YOUR HEARTS.”

{Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 90}

So, we should realize that, Shaitan can run inside us like the blood in our veins, and with perfect opportunity can implement evil thoughts in our hearts.

Whispering in the chest of  Mankind:

The word ‘yuwaswisu’ (continuosly whispers) is repeated again by Allah(swt) implies that the whispering is being done again and again and again. Shaitan is brilliant at performing this job, obsessed with it and never stop repeating.

Chest(sodoor) is mentioned, not hearts. Abdur Rahman al Kilanee in his Tafseer – Mutaraaddif al Qur’an says, whispering in the chests and whispering in the hearts are different.

Imagine this, in order to understand what this means-

The heart is like a castle, and around the castle (heart) is a field (chest).

Shaytan have access to this field – surrounding the castle – continuously trying to find a way inside. But the heart/castle is locked. So Shaitan can reach our chest but has no access to our hearts.

The only one who has the key and can grant such access is you. If you humbly ask Allah’s(swt) refuge (a’oodhu billah) – he will step back away from the castle, waiting again for another opportunity.

But if you let him in – he will cause you to get distant from Allah(swt) and make the evil deeds and thoughts to start looking beautiful, tempting and irresistible to you.

Whispering from Jinn and  Mankind:

The evil whispering can be made from both Jinn and Mankind

There are two views concerning this:

  • The whisperer may be an invisible Jinn or a Jinn – appearing as human.
    • As Ibn Jarir said, The phrase “Rijalun min Al-Jinn”(Men from the Jinns), which means the Jinns that are appearing like human.
  • The whisperer may be a Jinn or a real Human being who might be the tempter by their actions or incitement. Sometimes we start thinking of evil by watching at or hearing of some evil deed of other human beings.
    • This is similar to Allah’s saying, “We have appointed for every Prophet enemies — Shayatin among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion.” {Surah Al-An’am Ayat 112}

Against the evil of these whisperers, there are heavenly angels, for the believing servants of Allah and seekers of Truth, to come to help them; as  says:

“IN THE CASE OF THOSE WHO SAY: ‘OUR LORD IS ALLAH’, AND FURTHER, STAND STRAIGHT AND STEADFAST, THE ANGELS DESCEND ON THEM (FROM TIME TO TIME)…

{Surah Fussilat, Ayat 30}

But, in any case, we should never be proud and feel that we are not in need of the Divine lessons, admonishments and assistance. We should always seek refuge with Him and be aware and prepared.

Similarities of An-Naas and Al-Fatiha:

  1. The 3 attributes of Allah are repeated in both surahs (Lord, King and Godship)
  2. In term of Guidance-
    1. Al-Fatiha – We are asking Allah to help us in guidance to the straight path
    2. An-Nas – We are asking Allah to protect us from the one who is trying to prevent us from Allah’s guidance.
  3. Level of Protection-
    1. Al-Fatiha – Collective level of protection (the terms “we/us” are used)
    2. An-Nas – Individual level of protection (the term “I” is used)
  4. Protection from two Negative Influences-
    1. An-Nas – evil whispers from Jinn and Mankind.
    2. Al-Fatiha: misleading by the misguided people
      1. Misguided by will (e.g Jews), knowing of the truth and;
      2. Misguided out of ignorance (e.g Christians), who are not aware.
  5. Both Surahs are split into Two Halves-
    1. An-Nas-
      1. 1st part – Whom we seek protection [in Allah]
      2. 2nd part – Protection from What [whisperings of shaytan]
    2. Al-Fatiha-
      1. 1st part – Why should we worship Allah(swt)
      2. 2nd part – How should we Worship (through Guidance)
  6. All about the Straight Path-
    1. Al-Fatiha requests Guidance to the Straight Path
    2. An-Nas requests seeking protection from Shaitan who is constantly struggling to get us out of the straight path.
  7. Finally, by these Surahs, placed in the beginning and end of the Qur’an: these are Du’as for mankind

Similarities of An-Naas and Al-Falaq:

  1. In term of Jealousy-
    1. Al-Falaq ends dealing with the jealous
    2. An-Nas is dedicated to seek refuge from jealous Shaitan
  2. Outside and Inside
    1. Al-Falaq evil outside of ourselves –  these evil  is beyond our control
    2. An-Nas evil inside us – we can control it with the remembrance of Allah. Note that, Iblees (on the  day of resurrection) will just make us responsible for our sins (by the temptations) as he just invited us for these and we ourselves get involved in it.
  3. Calling out Allah(swt) for protection-
    1. Al-Falaq deals with the protection in world – so Allah(swt) is called once
    2. An-Nas deals with the protection of our deen/iman – so Allah is called thrice.

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