Surah An Nas With English Translation
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
- Say thou: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind,
- the King of mankind,
- The God of mankind,
- From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one’s heart after one remembersAllah) ,
- the one who whispers in the hearts of people,
- whether from among the Jinn or Mankind.
Surah An Nas Transliteration
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Qul a’oozu birabbin naas
- Malikin naas
- Ilaahin naas
- Min sharril waswaasil khannaas
- Allazee yuwaswisu fee sudoorin naas
- Minal jinnati wannaas
SUrah An Nas In Arabic
قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ ﴿1﴾
مَلِكِ النَّاسِ ﴿2﴾
إِلَٰهِ النَّاسِ ﴿3﴾
مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ ﴿4﴾
الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ ﴿5﴾
مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ ﴿6﴾
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.
﴿قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ﴾
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 ]
﴿مَلِكِ النَّاسِ إِلَٰهِ النَّاسِ﴾
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.
﴿مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ﴾
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 الله عليه وآله 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 ].
﴿مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ﴾
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 الله عليه وآله 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 الله عليه وآله وسلم) has directed us to seek protection in Allah from the evil of our own self in the following supplication:
اللَهم أعُوذُ بِکَ مِن شَرِّ نَفسِي وَ شَرِّ الشَّيطَانِ وَ شِرکهِ
“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 الله عليه وآله 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 الله عليه وآله 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 الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: “Wait! This is Safiyyah bint Huyayy [ my wife ]!” The two Companions exclaimed:سُبحَانَ الله “Pure is Allah, 0 Messenger of Allah, [ how can we have ill thoughts about you?] ” The Messenger of Allah (صلی الله عليه وآله 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﴾ [الأعراف: 199]
(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 يَنْزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾ [الأعراف: 200]
“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﴾ [المؤمنون: 96]
“Repel evil with that which is best.
﴿وَقُلْ رَبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ (97) وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ﴾ [المؤمنون: 97، 98]
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﴾ [فصلت: 34]
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 يَنْزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾ [الأعراف: 200]
“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﴾ [النساء: 76]
“…No doubt, the guile of the Shaitan is feeble.” (4:76)
It is further clarified in Surah An-Nahl:
﴿فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ (98) إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ (99) إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ (100) ﴾ [النحل: 98 – 100]
“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”
(From Ma’ ariful Qur’an English By Mufti Taqi Usmani)
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.