Explain the meaning of Surah Al-Nass.
Surah Al-Falaq (113) and Surah Al-Nas (114) form a pair, which complement the subject matter of each other. From the perspective of the last group of Surahs of the Qur’an (i.e. from Al-Mulk to Al-Naas) the two Surahs direct the Prophet (pbuh) to continually ask for God’s protection from all kinds of evil forces – especially those, which might originate from the Quraish, the Jews, and all other followers of Iblis – that the Prophet (pbuh) and His message is likely to face in the days following the migration. While from the perspective of the whole Qur’an, the two Surahs are a prayer and supplication for the protection of the guidance that we have received in the shape of the Qur’an. A summary of the central idea of the two Surahs is as follows:
The Prophet (pbuh) is directed to continually seek only God’s protection for himself and his message and mission from all kinds of evil forces. For it is only the Almighty that can truly and completely protect us from all evil.
With this clarification in perspective, let us now take a look at a simple translation of Surah Al-Naas. The Qur’an says:
Pray [O Prophet, that] I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind from the evil of the prompter, who prompts and then hides away, who whispers in the hearts of mankind, whether from amongst jinn or men.
This Surah teaches the Prophet to seek refuge in God from those who instigate evil ideas in our minds. The words: “Al-Waswaas al-Khannaas” (“the prompter, who prompts and then hides away” or “the slinking prompter”) refers to the psyche of those who instigate and incite men to do evil deeds. These words refer to the fact that such prompters only instigate evil ideas and deeds, but hide away when the time comes to face the consequences of these evil deeds.
4th July 1999