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In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 113

In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 113
Syed Qutb
 Surah # 113
                                The Day Break
                                   al Falaq

             In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!

              Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the Day break,
                   from the evil of what He has created;
                 from the evil of darkness when it gathers;
                  from the evil of the conjuring witches;
                from the evil of the envier when he envies.

                          In the Shade of the Quran

  This surah, along with the following one, "Men" contains a directive from
  Allah primarily to His Prophet and secondly to the believers at large, to
  take refuge in Him and seek His protection in the face of any source of
  fear, hidden or visible, known or unknown. It is as if Allah, the Exalted,
  is unfolding His world of care, and embracing the believers in His guard,
  and is kindly and affectionately calling on them to resort to His care
  where in they will feel safe and peaceful:

    I know that you are helpless and surrounded by foes and fears ... Come
    on here for safety, contentment and peace ...
  Thus the two surahs start off with,
    Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the Daybreak, and, Say: I seek refuge
    in the Lord of men.

  Several accounts have been handed down concerning the revelation and
  popularity of this surah and they all fit in neatly with the above
  interpretation, that is, of Merciful Allah unfolding His care and offering
  shelter to His faithful servants. The Messenger of Allah himself loved this
  surah deeply, as is clearly apparent in his traditions.

  According to Uqba ibn 'Amir, the Prophet's companion, the Messenger of
  Allah once said
    Have you not heard the unique verses that were revealed last night,
    'Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the Daybreak' and 'Say: I seek
    refuge in the Lord of men.'(Transmitted on the authority of Malik,
    Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood and An-Nissai).

  Jabir, the Prophet's companion, said
    The Messenger of Allah said to me once, 'Jabir recite!' and I asked,
    'What shall I recite?' He replied, 'Recite "Say: I seek refuge in the
    Lord of the Daybreak,' and "Say: I seek refuge in Lord of men." So
    I recited them and he commented, 'Recite them (as often as you can)
    for you shall never recite anything equivalent to them.' (Transmitted
    by An-Nissai)

  Tharr ibn Hubaish said that he had inquired from Ubay ibn Ka'ab, the
  Prophet's companion, about Al-Mu'awwathatain (as the two surahs are
  called) saying, "Abu Al-Munthir,' your brother, Ibn Masoud says so and
  so. (For some time Ibn Masoud was under the false impression that these
  two surahs were not part of the Qur'an, but he later admitted his
  mistake). What do you think of that?" He replied,
    I asked Allah's Messenger about this and he told me that he had been
    instructed to say the context of the surahs and he had carried out the
    instruction. We surely say the same as Allah's Messenger has said.
    (Transmitted by Al-Bukhari).
  All these reports throw powerful light on that underlying factor of Allah's
  kindness and love to which the two surahs draw attention. Allah, the
  Exalted, refers to Himself in this surah by His attribute,
                         The Lord of the Day break.
  The Arabic term "falaq" simply means "daybreak" and yet it could be taken
  to mean "the whole phenomenon of creation" with reference to everything
  breaking out into life. This interpretation is supported by Allah's saying
  in Surah 6. "The Cattle":
    Allah it is who splits (faliq) the seed and the fruit-stone (for
    sprouting). He brings forth the living from the dead ... He is the
    cleaver (faliq) of the daybreak, and He has ordained the night for
    rest, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. (6:96-97)
  If the meaning "daybreak" is adopted, refuge is being sought from the
  unseen and the mysterious with the Lord of the daybreak, Who bestows
  safety as He kindles the light of day. If, however, "faliq" is taken to
  mean "creation", then refuge from the evil of some creature is being
  sought with the Lord of all creation. In both cases, harmony with the
  theme of the surah is maintained.
                   From the evil of what He has created.

  The phrase contains no exceptions or specifications. Mutual contact between
  various creatures, though no doubt advantageous, brings about some evil.
  Refuge from it is sought with Allah by the believer in order to encourage
  the goodness such a contact produces. For He who created those creatures
  is surely able to provide the right circumstances that lead them on a
  course where only the bright side of their contacts prevails.
        From the evil of darkness (ghasiq) when it gathers (waqab).
  From the linguistic point of view, "ghasiq'' means "substantially pouring
  out" and "waqb" is the name given to a little hole in a mountain through
  which water issues forth, "waqab" is the verb denoting such an action.
  What is probably meant here is the night, with all that accompanies it
  when it rapidly engulfs the world. That is horrifying in itself; in
  addition it fills hearts-with the possibility of an unknown, unexpected
  discomfort caused by a savage beast, an unscrupulous villain, a striking
  enemy or a hissing poisonous creature, as well as anxieties and worries
  (which entail depression and uneasiness) and evil thoughts and passions
  that are liable to revive in the dark during one's state of solitude at
  night. This is the evil against which the believer needs the protection
  of Allah.

                    From the evil of conjuring witches
  refers to the various types of magic, whether by deceiving physical human
  senses or by influencing people's will power and projecting ideas onto
  their emotions and minds. (The verse specially refers to a form of witch
  craft carried out by women in Arabia at the time who tied knots in cords
  and blew upon them with an imprecation.)
  Magic is the production of illusions, subject to a magician's designs, and
  it does not offer any kind of new facts or alter the nature of things. This
  is how the Qur'an describes magic when relating the story of Moses in surah
  20, "Ta Ha":
    They (the magicians of Pharaoh) said, 'Moses, Will you throw down
    your gear first or shall we be the first to throw?' He said: 'Throw
    down yours. ' And by the power of their magic, their cords and staffs
    appeared to him as though they were running. Moses conceived a secret
    fear within him. But We said: "Fear not! You shall have the upper
    hand. Throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up
    that which they have made. That which they have made is but the
    deceitful show of witchcraft. Come where he may a magician shall
    never be successful. (20:65-9).
  Thus, their cords and staffs did not actually turn into snakes but it
  seemed so to the on lookers Moses included, to the point where he felt
  uneasy inside. He was restrained by the transformation of his stick into
  a real snake, by Allah's own doing, to destroy the phoney ones.
  This is the nature of magic as we ought to conceive it, that through it
  one is capable of influencing other people's minds, causing them to think
  and act according to one's suggestions. We refrain from going any further
  with this. It is indeed an evil from which Allah's protection needs to be

  A few unsupported narratives, some of which have been quoted by authentic
  sources, allege that Labid ibn 'Assam, a Jew, hypnotized the Prophet for
  several days or months in Medina so that, as some relate he felt he was
  having a marital relationship with his wives when he was not; or, according
  to others, thought of having done something when he did not do so. This
  surah and the next one "Men", according to these narration's, were revealed
  to release him from that state by reciting them.
  But surely these stories contradict the idea of the infallibility of the
  Prophet in word and deed and do not agree with the belief that all his
  actions are exponent of the Islamic way of life for all Muslims. Above
  all, they conflict with the Qur'anic emphatic denial of his being
  influenced by any kind of magic whatsoever, as claimed by some opponents
  of Islam. Hence, we dismiss such stories, on the grounds that the Qur'an
  is the ultimate arbiter, and that singularly narrated traditions are left
  out in matters concerning the faith. These stories have not had proper
  backing and such backing is an essential qualification for a tradition to
  be rated as authentic. What weakens the stories most, however, is that the
  two surahs were revealed in Makka while these stories relate the incident
  as having taken place in Medina!

                And from the evil of the envier when he envies.
  Envy is the evil, be grudging reaction one feels towards another who has
  received some favours from Allah. It is also accompanied by a very strong
  desire for the annihilation of such favours. Some harm to the envied may
  result from such a baseless grudge. Now, this may either be the outcome of
  some direct physical action of the envier or may result from the suppressed
  feelings alone.
  We should try not to feel uneasy on learning that there is a countless
  number of inexplicable mysteries in life. There are several phenomena for
  which no account has been offered up till now. Telepathy and hypnosis are
  examples of such phenomena.

  Very little is known about the mysteries of envy and the little that is
  known has often been uncovered by chance and coincidence. In any case,
  there is in envy an evil from which the refuge and protection of Allah
  must be sought. For He, the Most Generous, Most Merciful and the One who
  knows all has directed His Messenger and his followers to seek His refuge
  from this evil. It is unanimously agreed by the Islamic schools of thought
  that Allah will always protect His servants from such evils, should they
  seek His protection as He has directed them to do.

  Al-Bukhari related that Aisha said that the Prophet would blow into both
  hands when getting into bed to sleep, and recite:
    Say: He is Allah, the One ..." and, "Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of
    the Day break ..." and, "Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of men", and
    starting with his head, face and front part of his body, he would then
    run his palms all over the rest of his body. He did that three times.
    (Also transmitted by the other major traditionists).





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