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In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 114

In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 114
Syed Qutb
Surah # 114
                                   an  Nas

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

                    Say: O seek refuge in the Lord of men,
                               the King of men,
                               the God of men,
                  from the mischief of the slinking prompter,
                      who whispers in the hearts of men,
                          from among jinn and men.
                         In the Shade of the Qur'an

  In this surah, as can be seen, refuge is sought in the Lord, Sovereign and
  God of mankind from the insidious whisperer, jinn or human who prompts evil
  ideas into people's minds. The surah presents the relevant attributes of
  Allah 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 the Deity is He who supercedes all other beings and absolutely
  supervises over all their affairs. The particular mention of mankind here
  brings man closer to Allah's protection and care.

  Allah, the Merciful, instructs His Messenger and his nation or followers to
  recognize the attributes of His and seek His protection against this
  sneaking evil which locates itself within their hearts. For they cannot rid
  themselves of such an evil which creeps into their hearts surreptitiously
  and imperceptibly without the aid of Allah, the Lord, the Sovereign, the
  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 men ". Then its origin is specified as "from among jinn and

  The style adopted here is quite significant because it draws one's
  attention fully to the identity of this sneaking whisperer after describing
  its nature in order to show the process by which that evil is insinuated,
  so that one is alerted to watch and confront it. For when one is given the
  full picture one knows that this sneaking whisperer operates secretly. One
  also realizes that it is jinn as well as human, for human beings are not
  exceptions in spreading evil while unseen.
  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 and his envy and resentment of
  man. He was given Divine permission to carry out this battle for some
  purpose which Allah alone comprehends. But, significantly, man has not
  been left alone, dispossessed of the necessary means of protection. He
  has been provided with power of faith or "Iman", (that is, conscious
  belief in and knowledge of Allah and His attributes through conviction and
  sincere devotion).
  Meditation and seeking refuge in Allah are among the most effective
  weapons. When man neglects these means of security and defence, he indeed
  has only himself to blame.
  Ibn Abbas related that the Messenger of Allah had said,
    Satan besieges the individual's heart, he subsides whenever one
    conscientiously remembers Allah, but insinuates his evil whenever
    one is un-thoughtful of Him.

  As for humans we know a great deal of their curious ways of whispering and
  prompting and some types like the following are more devilish than the
    a bad companion who injects evil into his comrade's heart and mind
    while he is unaware, as he is thought to be trustworthy,
    a ruler's counselor or advisor who "whispers" to him and turns
    him into a destructive tyrant,

    an unscrupulous slanderer who fabricates and decorates tales and
    makes them sound factual and convincing,
    a hustler of immoral business and dealings who tries to get through
    to people by exploiting their sensual, unhealthy desires,
    a hundred other "whisperers" who lay various traps inconspicuously
    utilizing people's different weak points which they detect
    and look for.

  They are more devilish than even the jinn themselves. Faced with evil in
  this guise, man is not capable of ensuring his own safety. Allah therefore
  points out to him in this surah the means he can employ in this fierce
  And there is a very direct significance in identifying the "prompter" as
  "slinking". For while this description indicates the secretiveness of this
  whisperer on the one hand, it is, on the other hand, 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 illustrations,
    He (Satan) subsides whenever one conscientiously remembers Allah, but
    insinuates his evil whenever one is un-thoughtful of Him!
  This presentation fortifies the believer's heart in face of this timid,
  subsiding whisperer.
  Nevertheless, the battle is everlasting since this "prompter" is always
  watchful for the right moment (when one neglects the remembrance of Allah)
  to implant its evils. For the believer to be conscious of Allah once in a
  while is not sufficient, as the war is continuous till the end of time;
  this the Qur'an vividly states in a lucid picture:
    And when We (Allah)said to the angels, 'Fall down prostrate before
    Adam ', they fell prostrate except Iblis (Satan) who said, 'Shall I
    bow down before him whom You have created of clay? Do you see this
    creature whom You have honoured above me? If You give me grace until
    the Day of Resurrection, I will certainly destroy his offspring, save
    but a few'. 'Be gone!' said He. 'But you and whoever of them follows
    you will have Hell for reward. An ample reward it shall be. Rouse with
    your voice whomever you are able. Muster against them your horse men
    and your fool men. Be their partner in their wealth and in their off
    spring. Make them promises. Whatever Satan promises them is only for
    deceit. But over My true servants you shall have no power.' Your Lord
    is their all Sufficient Guardian. (17:61-5)

  This concept of the battle and the source of evil in it, whether provoked
  by Satan himself or by his human agent, fully inspires man to feel that he
  is not helpless in it; since his Lord, Sovereign and Deity 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 man. Allah
  leaves to Satan only those who neglect Him their Lord, Sovereign and Deity,
  but those who live in consciousness of Him are safe and protected against
  his intimidation's and incitements. Thus, righteousness is supported by the
  only true power of the Lord, Sovereign and Deity, whereas evil is backed
  by a slinking prompter, a sneaky whisperer, cowardly in the open field,
  quick to retreat in war, and easily defeated by one's seeking refuge with
  This is the most perfect conception of the battle between good and evil.
  It is a conception which protects the being against defeat and provides
  him with strength confidence and contentment.

  Praise be to Allah at the beginning and at the end. From Him we derive
  confidence and success. To Him we turn for unfailing support.





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