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Commentary on Surat Al-Falaq

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Chapter 113: Surat Al-Falaq
The Daybreak

By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

In the name of Allah,
the Beneficent, the Merciful

The arrangement of the chapters in the Qur`an is a perfect one determined by the Perfect Man, the Prophet Muhammad. The very fact that he arranged them provides the proof of the Qur`an's unity and completion. The revelation brought to humankind different aspects of the Book of reality, on different days, in different months, and under different conditions. These diverse aspects, however, all reflected the one-and-only Light, and only the Prophet knew how they were to be arranged. Thus the last two steps of the revelation from Allah urge man to seek refuge in Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of all His Creation.

  1. Say: I take refuge in the Lord of the day break,

Falaqa means 'to split, tear asunder, dispel the shadows of the night'. A'ūdhu means 'I take refuge'. We take refuge from our ignorance, from the darkness of our nafs, and from our doubts. We take refuge from our uncertainties and insecurities in the Lord, the Sustainer, Who continues to sustain knowledge, certainty, light, and illumination. We seek refuge in the One Who brings forth the dawn after the darkness of night.

  1. From the evil of what He has created,

Here we are appealing to Allah, ar-Ram (the Most Merciful), because we must make a subjective judgment. We accept that in this realm of duality there are aspects which please and comfort us, and other aspects which displease us and bring about suffering. There are aspects which we consider conducive to our well-being and aspects which we consider detrimental to us, and thus we take refuge in the Lord of all creation from that part of His creation which we consider to be harmful.

  1. And from the evil of intense darkness when it comes,

We take refuge from the night, from gloom and darkness, from that which we do not know. We also take refuge from self doubt. The reference here is to what is both familiar and unknown, to that with which we have a connection and with which we do not.

  1. And from the evil of those who blow on knots,

We take refuge from powers whose functioning we do not comprehend. We take refuge from magicians, from the women who blow on knots, traditionally a form of witchcraft, and who who call upon forces in this existence which we do not fully comprehend and which are invisible to us, such as the jinn.

We take refuge in Allah, the One Who opens to us the dawn of relief and knowledge, from these entities that can afflict us in this life. We know that invisible forces do exist and that black magic and other forms of magic are practiced in many places. There are many forces that can be called upon and brought into play, but those of us who want to go to the Source of all powers, take refuge in the Lord of the dawn.

The two chapters, Ikhlās and Falaq remind us to strive for an inner state of īmān, to walk straight ahead toward our objective, to the hid al-ahad (the Single and Unique One), to sing nothing but the song of the One.

If we do this, we will have no interest in dabbling in these other phenomena, because gross phenomena will not be viewed by us as having any intrinsic reality. It must be remembered that, however powerful a magician may be, there will always be another magician who can overcome him. In the case of Moses (Musa), it is well known that he, as a man of unity, overcame all the Pharaoh's magicians by another power which had nothing to do with the play of magic.

  1. And from the evil of the envier when he envies.

Hasad means 'envy', which is considered to be one of the worst afflictions of the nafs and one of the worst self-inflicted troubles for man, because it can grow rampant. The fire of envy will fuel itself constantly and can never be put out, because there will always be someone else who will have something that we cannot have.

'Alī ibn Abī Tālib was asked about Hasūd, a man whose envy was causing havoc. 'What can we do with him?' they asked. 'He should be punished.' 'Ali answered, Mā fīhī yakfīhī (what is in him is enough (of a punishment) for him).

The sid (envier) will never win nor will he ever profit. Keep us safe, O Lord, from the evil of this attitude which has its seed in every heart! If it were not in our hearts right now, we would be unable to understand it. We all have felt a spark of it in our lives, but if we are fortunate, it remains a spark that can be smothered and covered over with generosity and other positive attributes. If we do not fight against envy at all times, it will constantly be inflamed and take us over completely.

End of the Surah

Back Up Next

The Opening - A Commentary on Chapter 1: Surat Al-Fatiha ] The Cow - A Commentary on Chapter 2: Surat Al-Baqarah ] The Family of 'Imrān - A Commentary on Chapter 3: Surat Al-'Imrān ] The Spider - A Commentary on Chapter 29: Surat Al-'Ankabt ] The Heart of the Qur`an - A Commentary on Chapter 36: Surat Ya Sin ] The Beneficent - A Commentary on Chapter 55: Surat Al-Rahmn ] The Event - A Commentary on Chapter 56: Surat Al-Wqi'ah ] The Kingdom - A Commentary on Chapter 67: Surat Al-Mulk ] The Jinn - A Commentary on Chapter 72: Surat Al-Jinn ] The Unwrapped - A Commentary on Chapter 73: Surat Al-Muzzammil ] A Commentary on the Last Section of the Qur`an ]