Quran Notes Surah An Nas
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.
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.