Verse. 6234

١١٤ - ٱلنَّاس

114 - Al-Nas

مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ۝۰ۥۙ الْخَنَّاسِ۝۴۠ۙ
Min sharri alwaswasi alkhannasi


Ahmed Ali

From the evil of him who breathes temptations into the minds of men,



'Abdullāh Ibn 'Abbās / Muḥammad al-Fīrūzabādī

تفسير : (from the evil of the sneaking whisperer) i.e. satan who runs away and hides himself whenever allah is mentioned,

Jalāl al-Dīn al-Maḥallī

تفسير : from the evil of the slinking whisperer, satan — he is referred to by the name of the action [waswasa] on account of his repeated engaging in it — who slinks [away] and recoils from the heart whenever god is mentioned,

Sahl al-Tustari

تفسير : from the evil of the slinking whisperer,sahl was asked, ‘what is ‘a whispering’ (waswasa)? he replied:everything besides god, exalted is he, is a whispering. truly, when the heart of a person is with god, exalted is he, it speaks from god, exalted is he, but if it is with other than him, it speaks from other than him.then he said:whoever desires this world will not be saved from whispering. the position of whispering in relation to the servant is that of the evil-inciting self (nafs ammāra bi’l-sūʾ) when it mentions [a suggestion] to the natural disposition (ṭabʿ). the whispering of the enemy (ʿaduww) within the breasts is as in his words, ‘who whispers in the breasts of people — ! whether they be of jinn or mankind [114:5, 6], meaning within the breasts of jinn and men alike. the whispering of the lower self is within the heart, for god, exalted is he, has said: ‘we know what his soul whispers to him. we are closer to him than his aorta.’ [50:16]knowledge (maʿrifa) of the lower self (nafs) is more elusive [lit. hidden, akhfī] than knowledge of the enemy (ʿaduww), while knowledge of the enemy is more apparent (ajlā) than knowledge of the world. the way to capture the enemy is through knowing him, for when you know him you have captured him, but if you do not know that he is the enemy then he has captured you.the similitude of the servant, the enemy and the world is that of the hunter, the bird and the grain. the hunter is satan (iblīs), the bird is the servant and the grain is this world. there is not a [single] gaze (naẓar) that is not coveted by satan. if you have been fasting [continuously] and wish to stop fasting he will say to you, ‘what will the people say? you, who are known for fasting, have given up fasting.’ if you respond with, ‘what do i care about people?’ he will say to you, ‘you have spoken rightly, so stop fasting for they will put the matter of the cessation of your fast down to good judgement and sincerity.’ likewise, if you are known for seclusion and you leave your seclusion, he will say, ‘what will people say? you have left your seclusion.’ if yourespond by saying, ‘what do i care about people?’ he will say, ‘you have spoken rightly, so give up your seclusion, for they will put the cessation of your seclusion down to good judgement and sincerity.’ in this way in all your affairs he turns you back to people, to the point where it is as if he commands you to humility (tawāḍuʿ) for the sake of attaining fame with people. it was related that there was a man among the devout worshippers (ʿubbād) who never used to get angry, so satan came to him and said, ‘if you get angry and then show patience your reward will be greater.’ the devout worshipper understood him, and asked, ‘how does anger come about?’ he said, ‘i will bring you something and will say to you “whose is this?” to which you should say, “it’s mine.” to which i will say, “no it’s not, it’s mine.”’ so, he brought him something and the devout worshipper said: ‘it’s mine!’ to which satan said: ‘no it’s not, it’s mine!’ but the worshipper said, ‘if it’s yours, then take it away.’ and he did not get angry. thus did satan return disappointed and aggrieved. he wished to engage his heart so he could get what he wanted from him, but he [the worshipper] found him out and warded off his deception.then sahl said:you must have sincerity (ikhlāṣ) to keep you safe from whispering. beware of devising and self-management (tadbīr) for it is a sickness of the lower self. incumbent on you is emulation (iqtidāʾ), for emulation is the basis of [good] works. beware of conceit (ʿujb) for even before accomplishing its most elementary stage, you will have entered hell. incumbent on you are satisfaction (qunūʿ) and contentment (riḍā), for [your] livelihood is in these two. beware not to conspire against others, apart from yourself, for this will cause you to forget yourself. incumbentupon you is silence, for you know the [beneficial] states that are within it. incumbent upon you is the abandonment of lusts, so that you may thereby cut yourself off from the world. incumbent upon you is the night vigil, so that your self dies to the inclination of its natural disposition (maylat al-ṭabʿ), and your heart comes to life.when you perform the prayer, do it as if you were bidding farewell. fear god and he will give you security. aspire towards him and he will give you hope. put your trust in him and he will suffice you. incumbent upon you is seclusion (khalwa), that all flaws (āfāt) may be removed [lit. severed] from you. indeed, ibn ʿabbās said, ‘if it wasn’t for fear of whisperings, i would remove to a country where i have no friends. does anything corrupt man besides man?’then sahl said:the mingling of a friend of god with people is a disgrace (dhull), whereas his solitude (tafarrud)is a source of honour (ʿizz). i have never seen friends of god, exalted is he, who were not solitary beings (munfaridūn).ʿabd allāh b. Ṣāliḥ was a man with a glorious past and a great talent. he used to flee from country to country until he came to mecca where his sojourn was long. so i [sahl] remarked to him, ‘your stay has been long there,’ to which he replied: ‘why shouldn’t i stay here when i have not seen any place in which mercy and grace descends as it does here. the angels unceasinglycircumambulate the house [kaʿba] morning and night in diverse forms. truly, there are many ⸢great⸣ wonders here. if i related all i have seen, the hearts of people who do not believe would be too weak [to accept it].’ i said, ‘i ask you in god’s name to tell me something aboutit.’ he said: ‘there is not a friend of god, exalted is he — [that is], one whose friendship is genuine — who does not attend here on the night before friday. one night i saw a man here called mālik b. al-qāsim al-jabalī and i saw on his hand traces of food (ghamr), so i said, “for sure you must recently have been eating.” he replied, “may god forgive me, i haven’t eaten anything for a week. however, i fed my mother and hastened here to make the dawn prayer in congregation.” between mecca and the place that he came from is a distance of seven hundred parasangs. can you believe this?’ i replied, ‘of course.’ he said: ‘praise be to god who has shown me a [true] believer, a [true] believer!’ ibn sālim said:once i was at sahl’s house. after the ʿaṣr prayer two men came to him and started to converse with him. i said to myself. ‘they have stayed long with him and i do not see them returning anytime soon.’ so, i went home to prepare dinner for them. when i returned to him i did not find anyone with him. i inquired about them [lit. about their state] and he replied, ‘one of them prays the maghrib prayer in the east and the other in the west. they came to me as visitors.’once sahl visited [the house of] a devout man of basra, and saw a nightingale in a cage there. he asked, ‘whose is the nightingale?’ he replied: ‘this boy’s.’ it was one of his sons. he [sahl] took a dinar out of his sleeve and said, ‘my boy, which is dearer to you, the dinar or the nightingale?’he replied, ‘the dinar.’ so he paid him the dinar and set the nightingale free.he [ibn sālim] continued:the nightingale sat on the wall of the house until sahl left and then it flew up and fluttered along above sahl’s head until he entered his house. he had a lotus tree in his house, and so the nightingale took up residence in the lotus tree and remained there until [sahl’s] death. when they lifted up his bier it proceeded to [fly up] and flutter above his bier while the people wept until they brought him to his grave. there it perched nearby until he was buried and the people had departed from his grave. it remained in a state of commotion above his grave until its death, after which it was buried beside him.but god, glorified and exalted is he, knows best.