113. Al-Falaq (The Daybreak)
Revealed in Madīnah, and consisting of five verses, this sūrah gets its name from the word al-falaq (the daybreak) in the first verse. It teaches us how to seek refuge in God from every evil to which we may be exposed.
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
1. Say: “I seek refuge in the Lord of the daybreak
2. “From the evil of what He has created;
3. “And from the evil of the darkness (of night) when it overspreads;1
4. “And from the evil of the witches who blow on knots (to cast a spell);2
5. “And from the evil of the envious one when he envies.”
1. As darkness figuratively implies evil, a person can be a target of evil in the darkness more easily than during the daytime. Also, evil beings, like disbelieving jinn, usually come out when darkness overspreads and becomes intense. So the verses warn us against the evil that may be done to us secretly and to which we may be exposed in darkness, and which may be done by invisible beings. The contrast in these verses is very beautiful in how they order us to seek refuge in God as the Lord of the daybreak from the evil of darkness. Daybreak means light, and the light reveals secret schemes; Islam is God’s light which removes the veils of darkness from everything.
2. Particularly since ancient times, it has generally been women who were occupied with casting spells or sorcery; that is why this verse focuses on such women. Just as God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, declared that the evil eye is an undeniable fact, so, too, is sorcery an undeniable reality. Those who deny that there are such things as spells and sorcery do so either because they do not believe in anything metaphysical or what they suppose to be connected with religion, or because they are unaware of any realities beyond the physical realm. The Qur’ān speaks about (and severely condemns) the sorcery that is practiced to cause a rift between spouses (2: 102). According to Islam, sorcery and casting spells are as sinful as unbelief. And while breaking a spell is a good, meritorious deed, it must not be adopted or practiced as a profession. Although our Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, met with the jinn, preached Islam to them, and took their allegiance, he never explained how they were to be contacted or how to cast or break a spell. However, he taught us about how the jinn approach us and seek to control us; how to protect ourselves against their evil; and how to protect ourselves against the evil eye.
The safest way to protect ourselves against evil spirits or things like sorcery is to sustain a strong loyalty to God and His Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. This requires following the principles of Islam strictly. In addition, we should never give up praying, for prayer serves as a weapon against hostility, protects us from harm, and helps us to attain our goals. The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, advises us to recite this and the following sūrah in order to be protected against such evils and to be saved from them. (For a detailed explanation for the matter, see The Essentials of the Islamic Faith, 69–87)
This verse also implies seeking refuge with God from the evils planned and practiced secretly and by secret enemies, such as foreign agents or intelligence services.