Points of Contrast Between Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Nas

One of the valuable books of Badr al-Deen ibn Jamaa’ah (d. 733AH) was Kashf al-Ma’aani fee al-Mutashaabih min al-Mathaani, which focused on providing explanations for the slight differences in otherwise similar ayaat. In his discussion of surah al-Nas, ibn Jamaa’ah included the following notes:

مسألة: قوله تعالى: (بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ * مَلِكِ النَّاسِ * إِلَهِ النَّاسِ ) إلى آخر السورة. المستعان به في هذه ثلاث صفات، والمستعاذ منه شر واحد وهو: الوسوسة. وفى سورة الفلق: المستعاذ به بصفة واحدة، والمستعاذ منه أربعة أشياء؟ . ـ

Question: Allah’s statement:

بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ * مَلِكِ النَّاسِ * إِلَـٰهِ النَّاسِ

… in the Lord of mankind * the Master of mankind * the God of mankind [114:1-3]

until the end of the surah.

Here, there are three characteristics through which aid is sought and one evil against which protection is sought, which is the whispering of the shaytaan. But in surah al-Falaq, it is only one characteristic through which protection is sought but four things against which protection is sought. What is the significance of this?

جوابه: أن البناء على المطلوب منه ينبغي أن يكون بقدر المسؤول. والمطلوب في “سورة الناس ” سلامة الدين من الوسوسة ” القادحة فيه. وفى ” سورة الفلق ” تتعلق ” بالنفس والبدن والمال ” وسلامة الدين أعظم وأهم، ومضرته أعظم من مضرة الدنيا. ـ

Response: This is based on the idea that what is being sought ought to correspond with who is being asked. The thing being sought in surah al-Nas is protection and safety of one’s spiritual well-being against the whispers of the shaytaan, while surah al-Falaq is dealing with one’s mental, physical and material well-being. The protection of one’s religion is more significant and important, and if it were to be harmed that would be more harmful than any worldly harms.

[Kashf al-Ma’aani pg. 319]

Ibn al-Qayyim also addressed a contrast between these two surahs by writing:

وهذه السورة مشتملة على الاستعاذة من الشر الذي هو سبب الذنوب والمعاصي كلها. وهو الشر الداخل في الإنسان، الذي هو منشأ العقوبات في الدنيا والآخرة. ـ

Surah al-Nas is comprised of seeking protection against the evil which comes as a result of all of one’s sins and transgressions. This is the evil internal to a person, the thing which brings about punishments in this life and the next.

فسورة الفلق: تضمنت الاستعاذة من الشر الذي هو ظلم الغير له بالسحر والحسد. وهو شر من خارج. وسورة الناس: تضمنت الاستعاذة من الشر الذي هو سبب ظلم العبد نفسه وهو شر من داخل. ـ

So Surah al-Falaq includes seeking protection against another evil, which is the injustice that others due to you by means of magic and envy. This is an evil external to a person.

Meanwhile, surah al-Nas includes seeking protection against the evil which comes as the result of a person’s injustice to himself. This is an evil that is internal.

 فالشر الأول: لا يدخل تحت التكليف، ولا يطلب منه الكف عنه. لأنه ليس من كسبه. والشر الثاني في سورة الناس: يدخل تحت التكليف، ويتعلق به النهي. فهذا شر المعائب. والأول شر المصائب، والشر كله يرجع إلى العيوب والمصائب. ولا ثالث لهما. ـ

So the first evil [mentioned in surah al-Falaq] is something outside of his control, so he is not held responsible for stopping it because it is not his doing. But the second evil mentioned in surah al-Nas is something under his control, and so this type comes with a prohibition.

So the evil in surah al-Nas is the evil of one’s own faults, while the evil in surahal-Falaq is the evil of external calamities. And all evil goes back to one of these two sources; nothing falls outside of these.

فسورة الفلق تتضمن الاستعاذة من شر المصيبات. وسورة الناس تتضمن الاستعاذة من شر العيوب التي أصلها كلها الوسوسة. ـ

So surah al-Falaq includes seeking protection from the the evil of external calamities, while surah al-Nas includes seeking protection from the evil of one’s own shortcomings, and the source of all those shortcomings is the whispering of the shaytan.

[al-Fawa’id pg 783]

See also: A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi

See also: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: There has Certainly Been an Excellent Example for You in Ibrahim

See also: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

9 thoughts on “Points of Contrast Between Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Nas

  1. Pingback: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: There has Certainly Been an Excellent Example for You in Ibrahim | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.