Surah An-Nas (Arabic: الناس) is the 114th and last surah of The Qur’an. It is short surah with only six ayat or verses. It is classified as a Meccan surah and the title in English means “mankind”.
We’ve provide different hadiths which mention virtues of reading Surah An Nas. It was the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to read this chapter for the sick or before sleeping.
It is one of the goals of My Islam site to make it easy to read and understand the Qur’an so below each ayah you can find the transliteration and Sahih International translation.
After reading Surah Nas in it’s entirety we have provided various Tafsir works for those looking to gain a deep interpretation of this Surah.
Read Surah Nas With Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful.
Qul aAAoothu bi rabbin naas
1.Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
2. The Sovereign of mankind.
3. The God of mankind,
Min sharril waswaasil khannaas
4. From the evil of the retreating whisperer –
Alladhee yuwaswisu fee suduurin naas
5. Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind –
Minal jinnati wannaas
6. From among the jinn and mankind.”
Hadith on Surah Nas
Narrated ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir Al-Juhani: that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Some Ayat have been revealed to me the likes of which have not been seen: Qul A’udhu Birabbin-Nas until the end of the Surah and Qul A’udhu Birabbil-Falaq until the end of the Surah.” 
Narrated `Aisha: Whenever Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) became sick, he would recite Mu’awwidhat (Surat Al-Falaq and Surat An- Nas) and then blow his breath over his body. When he became seriously ill, I used to recite (these two Suras) and rub his hands over his body hoping for its blessings. 
Narrated `Aisha: During the Prophet’s fatal illness, he used to recite the Mu’auwidhat (Surat An-Nas and Surat Al- Falaq) and then blow his breath over his body. When his illness was aggravated, I used to recite those two Suras and blow my breath over him and make him rub his body with his own hand for its blessings.” (Ma`mar asked Az-Zuhri: How did the Prophet (ﷺ) use to blow? Az-Zuhri said: He used to blow on his hands and then passed them over his face.) 
Narrated `Aisha: Whenever Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went to bed, he used to recite Surat-al-Ikhlas, Surat-al-Falaq and Surat-an- Nas and then blow on his palms and pass them over his face and those parts of his body that his hands could reach. And when he fell ill, he used to order me to do like that for him 
1. Jami At-Tirmidhi Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Vol. 5, Book 42, Hadith 2902
2. Sahih al-Bukhari 5016
3. Sahih al-Bukhari 5735
4. Sahih al-Bukhari 5748
Tafsir of Surah An Nas
Below you expand your knowledge by reading the different tafseer works on Surah Nas. By reading the various interpretations you’ll be able to gain a more comprehensive view of this Surah and it’s importance.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
These are three attributes from the attributes of the Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. They are lordship, sovereignty and divinity. Thus, He is the Lord of everything, the King of everything and the God of everything. All things are created by Him, owned by Him, and subservient to Him. Therefore, He commands whoever is seeking protection to seek refuge with the One Who has these attributes from the evil of the whisperer who withdraws. This (the whisperer) is the devil that is assigned to man. 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 him. The only person who is safe is He Whom Allah protects.
It is confirmed in the Sahih that he (the Prophet ) said,
(There is not a single one of you except that his companion (a devil) has been assigned to him.) They (the Companions) said, “What about you, O Messenger of Allah” He replied,
(Yes. However, Allah has helped me against him and he has accepted Islam. Thus, he only commands me to do good.) It is also confirmed in the Two Sahihs from Anas, who reported the story of Safiyyah when she came to visit the Prophet while he was performing I`tikaf, that he went out with her during the night to walk her back to her house. So, two men from the Ansar met him (on the way). When they saw the Prophet , they began walking swiftly. So, the Messenger of Allah said,
(Slow down! This is Safiyyah bint Huyay!) They said, “Glory be to Allah, O Messenger of Allah!” He said,
(Verily, Shaytan runs in the Son of Adam like the running of the blood. And verily, I feared that he might cast something into your hearts — or he said — evil.) Sa`id bin Jubayr reported that Ibn `Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement,
(The whisperer (Al-Waswas) who withdraws.) “The devil who is squatting (perched) upon the heart of the Son of Adam. So when he becomes absentminded and heedless he whispers. Then, when he remembers Allah he withdraws.” Mujahid and Qatadah also said this.
Al-Mu`tamir bin Sulayman reported that his father said, “It has been mentioned to me that Shaytan is Al-Waswas. He blows into the heart of the Son of Adam when he is sad and when he is happy. But when he (man) remembers Allah, Shaytan withdraws.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;
(The whisperer.) “He is Shaytan. He whispers and then when he is obeyed, he withdraws.” As for Allah’s saying;
(Who whispers in the breasts of An-Nas.) Is this specific for the Children of Adam as is apparent, or is it general, including both mankind and Jinns
There are two views concerning this. This is because they (the Jinns) are also included in the usage of the word An-Nas (the people) in most cases.
Ibn Jarir said, “The phrase Rijalun min Al-Jinn (Men from the Jinns) has been used in reference to them, so it is not strange for the word An-Nas to be applied to them also.” Then Allah says,
(Of Jinn and An-Nas.) Is this explanatory of Allah’s statement,
(Who whispers in the breasts of An-Nas.) Then, Allah explains this by saying,
(Of Jinn and An-Nas.) This is supportive of the second view. It has also been said that Allah’s saying,
(Of Jinn and An-Nas) is an explanation of who is it that whispers into the breasts of mankind from the devils of mankind and Jinns. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
o(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies — Shayatin among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion.) (6:112) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, `O Messenger of Allah! Sometimes I say things to myself that I would rather fall from the sky than say (aloud openly). ‘ The Prophet said,
(Allah is Most Great! Allah is Most Great! All praise is due to Allah Who sent his (Shaytan’s) plot back as only a whisper.)” Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith.
This is the end of the Tafsir. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.
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 distress’. 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 Shaitan. 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] قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ 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 Shaitanic instigations which are restricted to man, and the Jinn are subjoined to him. [Mazhari from Baidawi]
Verses [ 114:2 3] مَلِكِ النَّاسِ إِلَـٰهِ النَّاسِ (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 رَبُّ المال 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 nas (people), the second and the third verses should apparently refer to them with the pronouns by saying, مَلِکِھِم 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] مِن شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ (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 ‘Shaitan’ in the sense that ‘he is an embodiment of whisper’. Whispering of the Shaitan 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 خَنَّاسِ khannas is derived from khanasa which means ‘to sneak, recede or withdraw furtively’. The Shaitan 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 Shaitan returns. Whenever man remembers Allah, he withdraws. This practice continues persistently. The Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) 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 Shaitan. The angel urges him to do good works and the Shaitan induces him to do evil works. When man remembers Allah, the Shaitan withdraws. And when he stops remembering Allah, the Shaitan 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 (رض) ، as quoted by Mazhari].
Verse [ 114:6] مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ (whether from among the Jinn or Mankind.) This is explicative of the expression waswas occurring in verse [ 4], meaning that the devils from amongst mankind and the Jinn whisper into the breasts of mankind. Thus the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) 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 Shaitans 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 ` Izzuddin 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 Shaitan 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 (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) has directed us to seek protection in Allah from the evil of our own self in the following supplication:
اللَّھُمَّ اَعُوذُ بِکَ مِن شَرِّ نَفسِی وَ شَرِّ الشَّیطَانِ وَ شِرکِہٖ
“0 Allah! I seek asylum in You from the evil of myself, from the evil of the Shaitan and from the evil of idolatry.”
The Importance of Seeking Protection against Shaitanic Whisperings
Ibn Kathir states that Allah invokes three of His attributive names in this Surah, rabb [ Lord ], malik [ King ] and ilah [ God ], and instructs man to seek refuge with Him against diabolical whisperings, because a Shaitanic companion is attached to every man, and at every step of the way, the latter’s attempt is to destroy the former in different ways. First of all, he induces him to commit sins, and paves the way for him to willfully violate the Divine laws and injunctions. If he does not succeed in this, he tries to contaminate and destroy his acts of obedience and worship by casting the thoughts of dissimulation, hypocrisy, pride and arrogance. He attempts to create doubts about authentic beliefs and doctrines of Islam in the minds of the learned scholars. The only one who can be saved from the evil of such Shaitanic pranks is the one whom Allah gives His protection.
The Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) is reported to have said: “There is not a single one of you, but his companion [ a devil ] has been assigned to him.” The Companions enquired: ‘Is such a devil companion joined to you also, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied: ‘Yes. However, Allah has helped me against him and he has become submissive to me. As a result, he only commands me to do good.’
It is also confirmed in the two Sahihs from Sayyidna Anas (رض) ، who reported the story of Sayyidah Safiyyah (رض) . Once while the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) was performing I’tikaf in the mosque, one of his wives Sayyidah Safiyyah (رض) paid him a visit. When she decided to leave, he gave her company to the boundaries of the mosque. On the way, two men of the Ansar saw them together, The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) said: “Wait! This is Safiyyah bint Huyayy [ my wife ]!” The two Companions exclaimed: سُبحَانَ اللہ “Pure is Allah, 0 Messenger of Allah, [ how can we have ill thoughts about you?] ” The Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) replied: “Indeed, the devil runs through man’s veins like the blood circulates. I feared that he might whisper evil thoughts in your minds. [ That is why I had to call you and clarify that the lady with me was no other than my own wife.] ”
Just as it is necessary for man to avoid evil deeds, it is essential for Muslims to avoid occasions that may cause others to have ill thoughts about them. Should there arise an occasion which may give rise to such bad thoughts, they should immediately clarify the situation, and put an end to it then and there. In sum: This Tradition indicates that Shaitanic pranks are highly dangerous. It is not easy to avoid them unless we seek refuge with Allah.
There are two types of evil thoughts: [ 1] voluntary; and [ 2] involuntary. Here we are warned against voluntary thoughts that proceed from the will or from one’s own free choice. The involuntary thoughts are thoughts that occur without one’s will or free choice. Such thoughts come to mind involuntarily and pass away. They are not harmful, nor are they sinful as long as they do not act upon them or speak about them.
A subtle difference between the two Surahs of Mu’awwadhatain
In the present Surah, rabb [ Lord ], malik [ King ] and ilah [ God ], three Divine attributes have been invoked, while the evil from which protection is sought is only one, that is, the whispering. Conversely, in the previous Surah, only one attribute of Allah is mentioned, that is, rabb-il-falaq [ Lord of the daybreak ], but the evils from which protection is sought are many which are mentioned in three verses. This goes to show that the mischief of the Shaitan is the worst type of evil. The hardships and calamities that befall man in this world, affect his body and mundane affairs, unlike the Shaitanic pranks which affect man’s mundane affairs as well his affairs of the Hereafter. The Shaitan is always after destroying man’s after-life, and that is the most dangerous situation. If man suffers from physical injury or harm, he can find cure or remedy for it; but because the Shaitan lurks or lies hidden in ambush in every nook and corner of man’s life to assault him unnoticed and pull him downwards, away from the Divine, it is not possible to resist him except with the protection granted by Allah. (Therefore, protection from him is sought by invoking three attributes of Allah.)
Human and Shaitanic Enemies: their differential treatments
One may have some enemies from mankind, and some from Shaitanic origin. The Holy Qur’an has directed us to deal with these two kinds of enemies in different ways.
Ibn Kathir in the preface of his commentary of the Holy Qur’an has cited three verses of the Holy Qur’an pertaining to this subject. All three of them have two parts. In the first part, Allah has instructed man to treat his human enemy with kindness, politeness, patience, mercy and compassion. If he does not desist from his evil ways, then jihad is prescribed in other verses. We need to wage armed struggle against the devilish elements of human society. But the only way to resist the Shaitanic enemy is to seek refuge with Allah. The first verse to this effect is in Surah Al-A` raf [ 7:199]:
خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ
(Take to forbearance, and bid the Fair and ignore the ignorant.)
This pertains to defense against human enemy: In other words we need to grant courteous allowance for his offence, bid him to do good and forego revenge against injustice he might have committed. We must be easy in dealing with him and avoid causing him difficulty. This injunction is defence against human enemy and must be carried out in the first instance. But the next verse [ 7:200] of the same Surah pertains to the Shaitanic enemy as follows:
وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“And if you are stricken with a strike from the Shaitan, seek refuge with Allah. Surely He is All-hearing, All-knowing.”
In other words, if an evil suggestion comes to us from the Shaitanic enemy, then we need to seek refuge in Allah.
The second verse is in Surah Al-Mu’minun [ 23:96-98]:
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ
“Repel evil with that which is best.
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ
And say: ‘0 my Lord, I seek Your refuge from the strokes of the Shaitans, and I seek Your refuge from that they come to me”.
In the first sentence of these verses, the direction is given to repel the evil caused by human beings with good behavior. But, when it comes to repel the evil caused by Shaitan, the direction given is to seek refuge in Allah.
The third verse dealing with the same subject is:[ 41:34]
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
Repel (evi) with what is best, and you will see that the one you had mutual enmity with him will turn as if he were a close friend.” [ 34] ”
This part of the verse directs how to repel the evil caused by human enemy. If we repel evil deed with a better deed, it would be possible for us to win over our human enemies and they would become our most devoted friends. As opposed to a human enemy, the other part of the situation is contained in the next verse [ 36]. It deals with the slinking devil who is invisible, but effective in his attack. The verse reads:
وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“And should a stroke from Shaitan (Shaitan) strikes you, seek refuge with Allah. Surely, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [ 41:36]
The wordings of this verse are more or less the same as they occur in Surah Al-A` raf. In other words, if an evil suggestion comes to us from the Shaitan, we are required to seek refuge in Allah, because that is the only defensive weapon against the invisible slinking, sly and cunning enemy. [ Ibn Kathir ]
In sum, all three sets of verses discussed above enjoin that a human enemy needs to be treated at first kindly, politely, patiently and compassionately, because human nature was in the primordial state created uncorrupted, and as such kindness, politeness, mercy and pardon could subdue him. However, human beings who have lost their primordial state of innocence, and are deeply sunk in the ocean of ignorance, the passions and the vices of the lower self or base self drag man downwards away from Allah. Some have become infidels, unbelievers and tyrants. They have thus become frontal enemies and come out armed with weapons of war to wage a frontal combat against the believers. The Qur’an prescribes in other verses that such human enemies should be repelled by force of arms. Unlike the accursed Shaitan, he is evil in his primal nature, and as such kindness, compassion and pardon does not bring a good effect on him. It is also impossible to have an armed conflict with him. So, the only defence against such an enemy is the celestial weapon of dhikrullah [ Allah’s Remembrance ] and ta’awwudh [ seeking refuge with Allah ], with which the entire Qur’an is replete and the Qur’an appropriately ends with it.
Moreover, while dealing with a human enemy, a believer is never a loser. If he overcomes the enemy and prevails upon him, his victory is obvious. If the enemy overcomes him or even kills him, then too he will attain high rewards, and a high degree of martyrdom in the Hereafter which is far better than any worldly attainments. In other words, if a believer is defeated by a human enemy he has not lost anything nor is he harmed in anyway. But the case of the Shaitanic enemy is totally different. It is sinful to flatter him or please him; and if someone is defeated by him, it is to destroy his entire future in the Hereafter. This is the reason why the best defensive weapon against him is to seek refuge in Allah. This celestial weapon is so powerful and potent that all Shaitanic guile and treacherous cunning or craft are rendered weak and ineffective.
The Guile of Shaitan is Feeble
On account of the reasons given above, it may not be misunderstood that fighting the Shaitan is difficult. To dispel this misunderstanding, Allah has said:
إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا
“…No doubt, the guile of the Shaitan is feeble.” (4:76)
It is further clarified in Surah An-Nahl:
فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ ﴿٩٨﴾ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ ﴿٩٩﴾ إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ ﴿١٠٠﴾
“So, when you recite the Qur’an, seek the protection of Allah against Shaitan, the accursed. He is such that he has no power over those who believe in Allah and place trust in their Lord. His power is only over those who befriend him and those who associate partners with Him. [ 16:98-1001”
Please see Ma’ ariful Qur’an, Vol. 5/pp 412-415 for concise commentary and fuller details of related rulings.
Relationship between the Prologue and the Epilogue of the Qur’ an
Allah prefaced the Qur’an with Surah Al-Fatihah which began with His Personal name. It further described His predominant attributes as being Rabb or Maintainer of the universe; as being the All-Merciful and Very Merciful and the Sole Judge of rights and wrongs. It defined religion as being His worship alone and imploring Him alone for help – all else being powerless in comparison. It further taught man to pray for true guidance so that he is able to find the right path, and be established in it. He is taught to pray to be saved from being among those who are condemned and those who have lost the right path after having received it. These factors serve the purpose of man’s success and prosperity in this world and in the next world that is the Hereafter. However, in the process of achieving this purpose man is obstructed by the accursed Shaitan. He lays various traps inconspicuously utilizing people’s different weak points, their sensual and unhealthy desires which he detects and exploits. The Shaitanic traps or snares need to be shattered or broken to pieces. Seeking refuge in Allah is the only effective protection against these evil powers. That is why the Qur’an most fittingly ends on this.
All Thanks are due to Allah that the tafsir of the noble Qur’an has ended with the grace of Allah, and His kindness and help. Praise be to Allah from the beginning to the end, outwardly and inwardly non-manifestly and manifestly. We would not have found the way, had Allah not guided us. May Allah shower His blessings upon the best of creation, Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) ، His chosen Messenger, the Seal and the leader of the Prophets and Messengers (علیہم السلام) . Upon him and the other Messengers be His blessings and peace, upon his family and his Companions, all of them. 0 ‘Our Lord, accept from us! Indeed, You – and You alone – are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing! This work completed on Saturday morning 21st of Sha` ban 1392 AH. Co-incidentally, this is the day I was born. I completed 77th year of my life and turned 78 years old. I pray to Allah and hope that the last days of my life would be the best part of my life, doing the best deeds; and that the best days of my life would be the day when I meet my Lord with the blessing of His clear Book and His trustworthy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) and that the efforts of this humble servant would be accepted, whose soul was exhausted by ailments, grief, distress and anxieties, and lack of strength; and that He would pardon my errors and shortcomings if the obligations toward His noble Book were not fulfilled; and that the Muslims would benefit by it for aeons of time; and that He makes this work a treasure-trove for the Day when there will be no trading and no friendship, when neither wealth nor family will be of any help. My ability and help to do things come from Him. Pure is Allah; praise be to Him; Pure is Allah, the Great!
The 8th volume of Tafsir of Ma’ ariful Qur’an was revised between 3rd of Ramadan 1392 AH and Friday 10th of Shawwal 1392 AH, taking about forty days. Praise be to Allah!
Alhamdulillah, the revision of the English version is completed on the night of 29 Ramadan 1424 A.H. corresponding to 25 November, 2003. May Allah bless this humble effort with His approval and pleasure, and make it beneficial for the readers. ‘Amin
صَدَقَ اللہ العَظِیم
وَ صَلَّی اللہُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّینَا ، مُحَمَّدِ وَ عَلَیٰ آلِہٖ وَ صَحبِہٖ وَ سَلَّم
Wa sallallahu ` ala nabiyyina Muhammadin wa ` ala ` Alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam.
Alhamdulillahil-ladhi Ibni’matihi tatimmussalihat
The translation of the text of the Holy Qur’an completed on 16 Rabi` ul-Awwal 1424 A.H. corresponding to 19 May 2003 at Karachi on 11:25 forenoon.
Muhammad Taqi Usmani, May Allah forgive him, and accept this humble effort in the service of the Holy Qur’an, His eternal book of guidance. May Allah give us tawfiq to recite it, understand.
The Commentary on
In this surah refuge is sought in the Lord, Sovereign and God of mankind from the insidious whisperer, jinn or human, who prompts evil ideas in people’s minds. The surah presents God’s relevant attributes to keep away this invisible evil which the mind on its own cannot shut out. For the Lord is He who preserves, directs, cherishes and protects mankind; the Sovereign is He who owns, governs and independently runs the world; and God is the One who supersedes all other beings and supervises over all their affairs. The particular mention of mankind here brings man closer to God’s protection and care.
God, in His grace, instructs His Messenger and his community of followers to recognize these of His attributes, and to seek His protection against this sneaking evil which locates itself within their hearts. For they cannot rid themselves of such an evil which surreptitiously and imperceptibly creeps into their hearts, unless they are helped by God, the Lord, the Sovereign. The nature of this evil-importing medium is identified in the text first as ‘the slinking prompter.’ Its function is outlined as to ‘whisper in the hearts of mankind.’ Then its origin is specified as ‘from among jinn and mankind.’
The style adopted here is quite significant because it draws our attention fully to the identity of this sneaking whisperer after describing its nature in order to show the process by which such evil is insinuated. This enables us to be alert and able to confront it. When we are given the full picture we know that this sneaking whisperer operates secretly. We also realize that it can be either jinn or human, for human beings can easily spread their evil stealthily.
We do not know how the jinn perform this whispering, but we certainly find its repercussions in the behaviour of individuals as well as in human life generally. We know for sure that the battle between Adam (man) and Iblis (Satan) is a very old one. War between the two was declared by Satan out of the evil inherent in him, his conceit, envy and resentment of man. He was given God’s permission to carry out this battle for some purpose which only God knows. But, significantly, man has not been left alone, dispossessed of the necessary means of protection. He has been provided with the power of faith, [that is, conscious belief in, and knowledge of, God and His attributes through conviction and sincere devotion]. Meditation and seeking refuge in God are among the most effective weapons. When man neglects these means of security and defence, he indeed has only himself to blame.
Ibn `Abbas quotes the Prophet as saying: “Satan besieges a person’s heart, but he subsides whenever that person conscientiously remembers God. He only insinuates his evil when a person is heedless of Him.”
As for humans, we know a great deal of their curious ways of whispering and prompting. Some types are more devilish than the Devil, such as: 1) a bad companion who injects evil into his comrade’s heart and mind while he is unaware, thinking his friend to be trustworthy; 2) a ruler’s counsellor or advisor who ‘whispers’ all sorts of evil thoughts to him, trying to turn him into a tyrant; 3) an unscrupulous slanderer who fabricates and decorates tales to make them sound factual and convincing; 4) a hustler of immoral business dealings who tries to get through to people by exploiting their sensual, carnal desires. There are scores of other ‘whisperers’ who inconspicuously lay their traps, utilizing different weak points which they deliberately look for. These are more devilish than even the jinn themselves. Faced with evil in this guise, man is incapable of ensuring his own safety. God therefore points out to him the means he can employ in this fierce battle. There is also a very direct significance in describing the ‘prompter’ as ‘slinking’. While this description indicates the secretiveness of the whisperer on the one hand, it is, on the other, an illusion to its intrinsic feebleness whenever it is discovered or resisted. It subsides and meekly withdraws when met in the open; or, as the Messenger said in his accurate illustration: “He (Satan) subsides whenever one conscientiously remembers God, but insinuates his evil whenever one is heedless of Him.” This fortifies any believer’s heart against this timid, subsiding whisperer.
Nevertheless, the battle is everlasting since this ‘prompter’ is always watchful for the right moment, when one neglects remembrance of God, to implant its evils. For a believer to be conscious of God once in a while is not sufficient, as the war continues till the end of time. The Qur’an vividly states this in a scene that is full of life:
When We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam,’ they all prostrated themselves; but not so Iblis [Satan]. He said, Am I to bow down before one whom You have created out of clay?’ [And] he added: ‘Do You see this being whom You have exalted above me? Indeed, if You will give me respite until the Day of Resurrection, I shall bring his descendants, all but a few, under my sway.’ [God] said: “Begone! As for those of them who follow you, hell will be the recompense of you all, a most ample recompense. Entice with your voice such of them as you can. Muster against them all your cavalry and your infantry, and share with them wealth and offspring, and promise them [what you will] — indeed, whatever Satan promises them is nothing but a means of deception. But over My servants you shall have no power. Your Lord is sufficient as a Guardian. (17: 61-65)
This concept of the battle and the source of evil in it, whether provoked by Satan himself or by his human agent, inspires man to feel that he is not helpless in it; since God, his Lord and Sovereign of the universe controls all creations and events. Though He has permitted Satan to attack, He has supreme power over him and He has also provided guidance for mankind. God leaves to Satan only those who neglect Him. By contrast, those who live in consciousness of Him are safe and protected against his intimidation and incitements. Thus, righteousness is supported by the only true power, God’s, whereas evil is backed by a ‘slinking prompter’, a sneaky whisperer, cowardly in the open field, quick to retreat in war, and easily defeated when we seek refuge with God.
This is the most perfect concept of the battle between good and evil. It is a concept which protects human beings against defeat and provides them with strength, confidence and contentment.
Praise be to God at the beginning and at the end. From Him we derive confidence and success. To Him we turn for unfailing support.
Here also, as in Surah Al-Falaq, instead of saying Audhu-billahi (I seek Allah’s refuge), a prayer has been taught to seek Allah’s refuge by reference to His three attributes: First, that He is Rabb-in-naas, i.e. Sustainer, Provider; second, that He is Malik-in-naas, i.e. Master of all mankind; third, that He is Ilah-in-naas, i.e. real Deity of all mankind. Here, one should clearly understand that the word ilah has been used in two meanings in the Quran: first for the thing or person who is practically being worshipped although it or he is not entitled to worship; second, for Him Who is entitled to worship, Who is in fact the Deity whether the people worship Him or not, wherever this word is used for Allah; it has been used in the second meaning. Seeking refuge by means of these three attributes means: I seek refuge with that God, Who being the Sustainer, King and Deity of men, has full power over them, can fully protect them and can really save them from the evil, to save myself and others from which I am seeking His refuge. Not only this; since He alone is Sustainer, King and Deity, therefore, there is no one beside Him with Whom I may seek refuge and he may give real refuge.
The word waswas in waswas-il-khannas means the one who whispers over and over again, and waswasa means to whisper into someone’s heart an evil suggestion over and over again in such a way or ways that the one who is being inspired may not feel that the whisperer is whispering an evil suggestion into his heart. Waswasah by itself suggests repetition just as zalzalah contains the meaning of repetitive movement. Since man is not tempted by just one attempt but effort has to be made over and over again to seduce and tempt him, such an attempt is called waswasah and the tempter waswas. As for the word khannas, it is derived from khunus, which means to hide after appearing and to retreat after coming into view. Since khannas is the intensive form, it would imply the one who behaves thus very frequently. Now, obviously the whisperer has to approach man for whispering again and again, and besides, when he is also described as khannas, the combination of the two words by itself gives the meaning that after whispering once he retreats and then again returns over and over again to repeat the act of whispering. In other words, when once he fails in his attempt to whisper evil, he withdraws, then he again returns to make the second and the third and the next attempt over and over again.
After understanding the meaning of waswas-il-khannas, let us consider what is meant by seeking refuge from its evil. Its one meaning is that the seeker after refuge himself seeks God’s refuge from its evil, i.e. from the evil lest it should whisper some evil suggestion into his own heart. The second meaning is that the caller to Truth seeks God’s refuge from the evil of the one who whispers evil suggestions into the hearts of the people against himself. It is not in his own power to approach all the people in whose hearts evil suggestions are being whispered against himself individually and remove the misunderstandings of every person. It is also not right and proper for him that he should give up his mission of inviting others to Allah and should devote all his time and energy to removing the misunderstanding created by the whisperer and to answering their accusations. It is also below his dignity that he should stoop to the level of his opponents. Therefore, Allah has instructed the caller to truth to seek only His refuge from the evil of the wicked people, and then to attend single-mindedly to his work of invitation and mission. For it is not for him to deal with them but for Allah, who is Sustainer of men, King of men, God of men.
Here, one should also understand that an evil suggestion is the starting point of evil act. When it affects a careless or heedless person, it creates in him a desire for evil. Then, further whisperings change the evil desire into an evil intention and evil purpose. When the evil suggestion grows in intensity, the intention becomes a resolution, which then culminates in the evil act. Therefore, the meaning of seeking God’s refuge from the evil of the whisperer is that Allah should nip the evil in the bud.
If seen from another aspect, the order of the evil of the whisperers seems to be this: first they incite one to open unbelief, polytheism, or rebellion against Allah and His Messenger, and enmity of the righteous (godly) people. If they fail in this and a person does enter Allah’s religion, they misguide him to some innovation. If they fail in this too, they tempt him to sin. If they do not succeed even in this, they inspire the man with the suggestion that there is no haram in indulging in minor sins, so that if he starts committing these freely, he is over burdened with sin. If one escapes from this too, in the last resort they try that one should keep the true religion confined to oneself, and should do nothing to make it prevail, but if a person defeats all these plans, the whole party of the devils from among men and jinn makes a common front against him and incites and stirs up the people and makes them shower him with invective and accusation and slander, and defames him as widely as it can. Then, Satan comes to the believer and excites him to anger, saying: It is cowardly of you to have borne all this insult: arise and clash with your opponents. This is the last and final device with Satan by which he tries to thwart the struggle of the caller to truth and entangle him in difficulties and obstructions. If he succeeds in escaping from this too, Satan becomes powerless before him. About this same thing it has been said in the Quran: If Satan ever excites you to anger, seek refuge with Allah. (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 200; Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, Ayat 36).
Say: Lord, I seek refuge with You from the promptings of satans. (Surah Al-Mominun, Ayat 97).
The fact is that if ever an evil suggestion from Satan so much as touches those who are God-fearing people, they immediately get alerted and clearly see the right course they should adopt. (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 201).
And on this very basis about the people who escape from this last attack of Satan Allah says: None can attain to this rank except those who are men of great good fortune. (Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, Ayat 35).
In this connection, another thing should also be kept in mind, and it is this: Evil suggestion is not whispered into the heart of man only from outside by the satans from among men and jinn, but also by the self of man from within. His own wrong theories misguide his intellect, his own unlawful motives and desires lead his power of discrimination, will and power of judgment astray, and it is not only the satans from outside but within man his satan of the self also beguiles him. This same thing has been expressed in the Quran, thus: And We know the evil suggestions arising from his self. (Surah Qaaf, Ayat 16). On this very basis, the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his well-known Sermon said: We seek Allah’s refuge from the evils of our self.
According to some scholars, these words mean that the whisperer whispers evil into the hearts of two kinds of people: the jinn and the men. If this meaning is admitted, the word naas would apply to both jinn and men. They say that this can be so, for when the word rijal (men) in the Quran has been used for the jinn, as in Surah Al-Jinn, Ayat 6, and when nafar can be used for the group of jinn, as in Surah A1-Ahqaf, Ayat 29, men and jinn both can be included metaphorically in the word naas also. But this view is wrong because the words naas, ins and insan are even lexically contrary in meaning to the word jinn. The actual meaning of jinn is hidden creation and jinn is called jinn because he is hidden from man’s eye. On the contrary, the words naas and ins are spoken for insan (man) only on the basis that he is manifest and visible and perceptible. In Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 29, the word anasa has been used in the meaning of raa, i.e. the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) saw a fire in the direction of Toor. In Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 6, the word anastum has been used in the meaning of ahsastum or raaytum (i.e. if you perceive or see that the orphans have become capable). Therefore, naas cannot apply to jinn lexically, and the correct meaning of the verse is: From the evil of the whisperer who whispers evil into the hearts of men, whether he be from among the jinn or from the men themselves. In other words, whispering of evil is done by devils from among jinn as well as by devils from among men and the prayer in this Surah has been taught to seek refuge from the evil of both. This meaning is supported by the Quran as well as by the Hadith. The Quran says: And so it has always been that We set against every Prophet enemies from among devils of men and devils of jinn, who have been inspiring one another with charming things to delude the minds. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 112).
And in the Hadith, lmam Ahmad, Nasai, and Ibn Hibban have related on the authority of Abu Dharr a tradition, saying: I sat before the Prophet (peace be upon him, who was in the Mosque. He said: Abu Dharr, have you performed the Prayer? I replied in the negative. He said: Arise and perform the Prayer. So, I performed the Prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: O Abu Dharr, seek Allah’s refuge from the devils of men and the devils of jinn. I asked, are there devils among men also? O Messenger of Allah! He replied: Yes.