English - Ma'ariful Qur'an - Mufti Shafi Usmani RA - Vol - 8
Surah An-Nâs - 114 : Verses 1 - 6
Pages for Current Surah - Verse/s :-
- Verses 1 - 6: Translation and Commentary: -
This Surah is Madani, and it has 6 verses
With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful
Verses 1 - 6
Say, "I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind,  the King of mankind,  the God of mankind,  from the evil of the whisperer who withdraws (when Allah's name is pronounced),  the one who whispers in the hearts of people,  whether from among the Jinn or Mankind. 
This Surah, the second of the Mu'awwadhatain, constitutes an extension of its predecessor and is in a way complementary to it, in that in Surah Al-Falaq the believers were enjoined to seek refuge with Allah against the hardships and privations of life in this world, while in the current Surah protection is sought from the trials and tribulations of the Hereafter. It was explained in Surah Al-Falaq that the word sharr could stand for 'evil' or 'harm' or even 'that which causes harm, anguish or distress1. In the present Surah, we are to seek refuge from the evil that is the cause of all sins, namely, the whisperings and insinuations of Satan. As the anguish and distress of the Hereafter is most severe, the Qur'an appropriately emphasizes at the end to seek Allah's protection against these evil powers.
Verse [114:1] Say, (I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind,) The attributive name of Allah rabb stands for 'one who nurtures', and implies that the Supreme Nurturer takes care of everything under all circumstances. In the present verse, He is referred to as 'the Lord of mankind', while in the previous Surah He was referred to as 'the Lord of the daybreak', because in the foregoing Surah the purpose was to seek protection against the outer bodily hardships and privations of life, and they are not confined to human beings. Animals also suffer bodily hardships and difficulties, unlike the Satanic instigations which are restricted to man, and the Jinn are subjoined to him. [Mazhari from Baidawi]
Verses [114:2 & 3] (the King of mankind, the God of mankind.) The reason for adding these two attributes is that the word rabb, attributed to a particular thing, could refer to someone other than Allah also, as for instance rabb-ud-dar [land-lord] or rabb-ul-mal [owner of wealth]. But not every master or owner is a king. That is why the attributive name malik [King] has been added to indicate that He is not only the 'Lord of mankind' but also the 'King of mankind'. Furthermore, not every king is worthy of worship. Thus the third attributive name ilah [God ] has been added to nas [people]. The Divine wisdom in combining all three Divine attributes is that each attribute motivates protection. Every master has servants and takes care of them. Likewise, every king has subjects and looks after them. That the worshipped God protects His worshipper is even more obvious. Only Allah, and no other being, is characterized by these three attributes simultaneously. Therefore, seeking Allah's protection by invoking these attributes is the greatest protection, and the invocation is readily acceptable.
Since the first sentence contains the word nets (people), the second and the third verses should apparently refer to them with the pronouns by saying, malikihim [their king] rather than repeating the word nas (people). However, this is an occasion of supplication and praise, and as such repetition needs to be employed by deliberate design to add force and clarity to the sublime emotion by creating natural rhyme, rhythm and melodic sequence. Some scholars have explained the repetition of the word 'nas' differently. They say that the word nas occurs five times in this Surah. In its first occurrence, it refers to the children. The word rabb that refers to nurturer-ship of Allah is a hint to this, because children need nurturing the most. Its second occurrence refers to youth, and the hint in the context is the word malik which refers to kingship of Allah. It bears political connotation and is appropriate to the youth. Its third occurrence refers to old age. Old people cut themselves off from the world and look up to Allah alone as the real support of life, and render Him alone true and unconditional obedience and to make Him alone the real object of his love and adoration. The context for this is ilah [God] which points to the Divine worship. Its fourth occurrence refers to the righteous servants of Allah. The contextual hint for this is the word waswasah [evil whisperings] because the devil is the enemy of the righteous servants of Allah. His work is to cast evil prompting into the hearts of such people. Its fifth occurrence refers to mischief-makers because protection is sought from their mischief.
Verse [114:4] (from the evil of the whisperer who withdraws [when Allah's name is pronounced].) After invoking three attributes of Allah, the present verse describes the one from whom protection is sought. He is 'the whisperer who withdraws'. The word waswas is originally an infinitive in the sense of waswasah 'to whisper [that is, to use breath instead of voice, when saying something in barely audible way]'. But here it is used as an hyperbolic expression to refer to 'Satan' in the sense that 'he is an embodiment of whisper'. Whispering of the Satan means that he invites people to his obedience by a superstitious discourse in a way that its subject is cast into man's heart, but no voice is heard. [Qurtubi].
The word khannas is derived from khanasa which means 'to sneak, recede or withdraw furtively'. The Satan is so named because he puts himself in a squatting [perched] position on the heart of man. So, when the latter becomes heedless, the former whispers, but when he remembers Allah, he withdraws furtively. When man becomes unmindful of Allah again, the Satan returns. Whenever man remembers Allah, he withdraws. This practice continues persistently. The Messenger of Allah is reported to have said:
"Allah has built two houses in the heart of man, in one of which an angel resides and in the other the Satan. The angel urges him to do good works and the Satan induces him to do evil works. When man remembers Allah, the Satan withdraws. And when he stops remembering Allah, the Satan perches on the heart of man and pecks with his beak to whisper into it to do evil things." [Transmitted by Abu Ya'la on the authority of Anas , as quoted by Mazhari].
Verse [114:6] (whether from among the Jinn or Mankind.)
This is explicative of the expression waswas occurring in verse ,
meaning that the devils from amongst mankind and the Jinn whisper
into the breasts of mankind. Thus the Messenger of Allah has been
enjoined to constantly seek protection against the mischief of sneaking
devils, whether from amongst the Jinn or from amongst human devils.
A question may arise here. It is obvious that the Satans can cast a voiceless evil prompting furtively into the hearts of people, but how the human devils can cast evil whisperings? They come forward publicly and use their voice, which is not waswasah [whisper]. The answer is that human beings too often cast doubts in the minds of people in an indirect way without uttering them explicitly. Shaikh Tzzuddin Ibn 'Abdus-Salam states, in his monograph 'al-Fawa'id fi Mushkilat-il-Qur'an', that the 'whisperer from mankind' refers to the whispering of one's own nafs (base faculties of the man himself). Just as the Satan casts evil thoughts into man's mind, likewise the base self of man urges him to do evil works. That is why the Messenger of Allah has directed us to seek protection in Allah from the evil of our own self in the following supplication:
"O Allah! I seek asylum in You from the evil of myself, from the evil of the Satan and from the evil of idolatry."
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