In the chapter, Al-Falaq (113), the protection of Allah
was sought against all kinds of evils which are caused by others.
But in this chapter the protection of Allah is been sought against
evil suggestions and temptations which crop up in man’s heart and
causes harm to others.
Here protection has been implored from three beings:
- The Lord of men
- The King of men
- The God of men
Rabb or Lord is the Being Who nourishes man by degrees till
he attains perfection. Malik or King is the Being Whose rule
and laws command obedience. Allah or God is the Supreme Being Who
is to be worshipped, loved and be one’s ultimate Objective.
If we ponder over human nature and its behaviour we see that man
is apt to seek protection or help from three beings. Firstly, he
seeks protection of the being who provides him with nourishment
and care. Take the example of a child. Whenever any trouble or harm
is caused to him, he spontaneously goes to his parents for help
and guidance, for they have been showering nourishment and care
over him, and to him they are the best of helpers. Secondly, he
seeks the protection or help of the king or ruler. If there is a
fear of being robbed or there exists the danger of injury from evil
characters, he naturally seeks the help of the police or a government
agency. And thirdly, man seeks help from his God as He is the best
and last resort for him, for when neither his nourisher, nor his
parents, nor any government agency can save him, then the only source
of help is the Being Whom he worships. Man knows well, or at least
realizes, that when all worldly sources fail to provide any help
or protection, it is Allah alone Who can provide help or come to
Thus all three sources from whom he happens to seek protection
or help have been combined in the One Being of Allah. Almighty Allah
is the Being Who is the one source Who can provide help and protection
in the three situations mentioned earlier.
Thus Allah is that Being Who combines in Himself all the perfect
attributes and has the power and authority to provide help and protection
in all sorts of situations including the three referred to in this
Allah is the real Lord and Nourisher. Any person who nourishes
someone and brings him up, in fact demonstrates Allah’s attribute
of Rabubiyyat as it is He Who has instilled love and sympathy
in the hearts of men. Parental love and affection are also manifestations
of Allah’s attribute of Rabb or Nourisher.
Once a woman with her two daughters went to the Holy Prophet (sas)
to get some food, as they were hungry. Hazrat Ayesha, wife of the
Holy Prophet, gave her one date, as at that time she had nothing
else to give. The woman divided the date into two pieces and gave
one piece to each of her two daughters. She herself remained hungry.
Later Hazrat Ayesha disclosed to the Holy Prophet how the mother
had showed love for her daughters. The Holy Prophet (sas)
“I swear by the Being in Whose hands my life lies that
Allah’s love for His creatures is far greater than that which the
mother showed to her daughters.”
The Being Who inculcated love in the heart of a mother must indeed
possess far greater love for His servants. Allah is the real Lord
and Nourisher of men. Similarly, true rulership belongs to Allah.
Allah grants worldly kingdoms and He takes them away when He wills.
In the same way, the only being worthy of being worshipped and adored
is Allah as He is the Being Who creates everything, nourishes and
makes everything perfect. He alone has control and authority over
the huge planets in the universe and even the tiny atoms on this
earth, and so He alone deserves to be worshipped as the Lord and
Nourisher of men.
Thus, Almighty Allah is the Being Who is the Real Nourisher, the
Real King and the Real Being that deserves to be worshipped. And
can there be a better or greater being than Allah from whom help
and protection can be sought? So, in this chapter, protection has
been sought against the slinking devil who makes evil suggestions
and arouses evil inclinations in the hearts of men.
Khannás, or the slinking devil, is the one who makes
evil suggestions and then withdraws. That is why he is described
in the Quran as yuwaswisu fi sudúrin nás (one
who whispers evil suggestions secretly into the hearts of men).
Khannás is of two kinds: minal jinnati wan-nás
(jinn and men).
Jinn is that kind of creature who is hidden from the human
eye. Anything which is hidden is called jinn in Arabic. People
who live in mountains or jungles are also called jinn because
they are generally not seen by people. Similarly, germs of diseases
are also called jinn because they cannot be observed by the
naked eye except with the help of a microscope. In the same way,
the creature which motivates human passions in the hearts of men
is here called jinn, because it is not visible as such.
It may be pointed out that man combines in himself animal and
angelic passions. Animal passions are love, anger, etc. These are
the passions that motivate human actions. On the other hand intelligence,
conscience and high morals create in him the awareness to differentiate
between right and wrong and make him cognizant of accountability
for his actions in this life.
The hidden element that generates human activities in man through
animal passions is called jinn, and the one which
regulates and prevents human activities from exceeding the limits
and deviating from the right path through noble conscience and high
morals is called angel in the terminology of the Quran.
But when a jinn causes human activities to deviate or exceed
the limits, then he becomes a shaitán.
The word shaitán comes from two sources: shayata,
which means to destroy, and shatana, which means to become
distant or remote. When a person exceeds the limits or deviates
from the right path, he takes himself away from the mercy of Allah.
In other words, when the jinn which motivates evil human
activities makes man exceed the limits, he becomes shaitán
but when the same jinn, through noble conscience and high
morals, keeps human activities under control, then he becomes the
one who submits to the commandments of Allah and thus becomes a
Muslim. It is in this sense that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas)
said: “My shaitán has become a Muslim.”
In this chapter it has been explained that people who are called
khannás in the Quran are of two kinds: One kind acts
stealthily like jinns and creates doubts and suspicions in
the hearts of people. In this case, such a jinn is called
khannás or shaitán. The other kind consists
of those people who instigate others to do evil and such people
have also been called khannás or shayátin
in the Quran. The Holy Quran tells us that on the Day of Resurrection
shaitán will try to clear his position before Allah by
saying that it is man who was responsible for his evil deeds and
that he only gave the suggestion. Thus, whether khannás
acts stealthily like a jinn or is from that group of mankind
who creates doubts and suspicions in the hearts of others, it is
the duty of a true Muslim to seek Allah’s help and protection against
the evil prompting of the khannás so that he may be
saved from causing harm to himself or to others. That is why the
Holy Prophet (sas) is reported to have said that a Muslim
is a person from whose tongue and hands others are safe. In other
words, a Muslim should be careful about his responsibilities when
he is acting as someone’s nourisher, ruler and object of love. When
discharging his duties he should not be influenced by the doubts
or evil suggestions of the khannás.
In the explanation of these three attributes of Allah as Rabb
or Nourisher, Malik or King, and Iláh or the
perfect Object of worship and adoration, there is a deeper meaning.
Khannás creates suspicion in three ways. Sometimes
a person regards someone besides Allah as his real nourisher; sometimes
a person accepts the supremacy of, or obeys others to an extent
that he virtually bows to them as he should to Allah; and sometimes
man loves other human beings and himself to such a degree that he
forsakes Allah. In other words, he is so engrossed in the love of
himself, his children, his reputation and his worldly gains that
he forgets Allah. Thus he disregards the rights and obligations
of others and causes harm to them in the scramble to gain something
for himself. But when a person seeks the help and protection of
his Lord, King and God, he in fact saves himself from the evil consequences
of evil suggestions and suspicions of devilish people who dissuade
a person in the three ways mentioned earlier. So man should accept
the Lordship of Allah, follow His commandments and under no circumstances
should he give himself wholly to worldly objectives. Instead Allah
should become the main objective of his love, obedience and adoration.
Human rights, for which man is responsible and regarding which
there is always a danger that he may not discharge them impartially
because of the evil instigation of the devil, can be divided into
- Rights concerning one’s self
- Rights concerning one’s fellow human beings
(These two are called huqúq ul-‘ibád, that
is, rights which are due to human beings.)
- Rights concerning Allah
(These are called huqúq-ul-Allah.)
When a person believes Allah to be his sole Nourisher, he will
not act in such a way that Allah’s nourishment is denied to him
and in this way, he preserves the rights concerning himself. When
man believes Allah to be his real King and obeys all His commandments
concerning his fellow beings, then in this way, he guarantees the
rights of others. And when man believes Allah to be the only Being
worthy of worship, he discharges his duties which he owes to his
Creator. This if a man believes Allah to be his real Nourisher,
his real King and his real Object of Worship, and keeping these
three attributes in mind he seeks his Creator’s help and protection
against the insinuations and evil suggestions of the devil, then
he is sure to guarantee the rights and safety regarding himself
and he is also sure to fulfil the obligations he owes to others
and he will also perform his obligations to Allah. Such a person
can then be called a true Muslim.
Classical commentators of the Holy Quran have mentioned a fine
point with regards to the use of the word an-nás on
five occasions in this chapter. According to them, on each occasion
the word an-nás conveys a different connotation. In
Rabbun-nás, it refers to one’s childhood at which
stage Allah’s blessings and grace concerning one’s nourishment are
very evident. In Malikin-nás, reference has been made
to one’s maturity and youth when it is essential for one to obey
the laws and regulations of the government for one’s progress.
In Iláhin-nás, reference has been made to one’s
old age when generally one realizes that Allah alone is one’s Lord
and Nourisher. In sudúrin-nás, the word an-nás
refers to those righteous persons in whose hearts the devil tries
to create suspicions and doubts and thus tries to make them deviate
from the path of righteousness. And lastly, in minal jinnati
wan-nás, reference has been made to those evil-minded
people who weaken other people’s determination to go along the path
of righteousness by creating suspicion and doubt in their minds.
Now think carefully over this: If an individual seeks the help
and the protection of Allah Who is the Nourisher, the King and the
Lord of the worlds, against the devil, then can such a person do
harm in any way to himself or to his fellow beings, or entertain
any doubt about, or be disobedient in any way to Allah? In fact,
a person who seeks Allah’s blessings and protection through the
prayers mentioned in these two chapters of the Quran (113 and 114),
called muawwazatain, lives and dies in Islam and is
safe from all sorts of troubles and tribulations. He lives a life
that is peaceful for himself and for his fellow human beings. He
is in an abode of peace and is a perfect Muslim in all respects.