Surah An Nas 114

1. In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

2. I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,

3. The King of mankind,

4. The Illah of mankind,

5. From the evil whisperings of the sneaking whisperer

6. Who whispers into the hearts of men,

7. From among jinn and men.

This is a protection sura that I love very much. I use this sura to ask God to help me avoid codependence and help me avoid putting human beings on a pedestal. It teaches me reliance on God by trusting my own intuitions as coming from God. I also use it for protection from self-doubt, self-criticism and self-sabotage because these are the “evil whisperings” that lead to paralysis and to waste one’s potential, faculties and talents. It is also a protection from inferior ideas that come into the heart through the external influences of the society at large.

1. In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

God is the ultimate Compassion, the ultimate Mercy. God is truly what we seek when we look for compassion, mercy and love from others. We experience a glimpse, a reflection of God’s attributes when we have these feelings in our hearts and when others show us mercy and compassion.

2. I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind
I ask God for help because only by His will are my spiritual development and growth possible. Only with His help can I be protected from ‘evil whisperings’ and accomplish higher objectives. I acknowledge I am not sovereign and through will alone I cannot do much. I ask God, who is Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, to guide me and protect me from internal and external “evil” (which comes in many forms, such as shirk, self-doubt, self-criticism, self-sabotage, laziness, distraction, what we traditionally view as sin, etc).

3. The King of mankind
Only before God shall I bow. Only to God I shall submit. Only God I shall obey. There are no human kings. All of us are only humans, equal under God’s eyes (except for knowledge and piety). I shall not take a human being as my king, nor seek to please people at the expense of my truth. Remaining quiet about what I think is true for fear of people’s disapproval or anger is a form of shirk.

4. The Illah of mankind
I should only adore and worship God, never another human being. The results of making another human being one’s higher power are disastrous and produce inner hell.

This is a remembrance of the shahada we take as Muslims: There is no God but God. Many evils come from looking to another person as one’s Lord, King, or God: when we make a person the main reason or main support of our lives, or slavishly surrender to his false authority or make a person the object of our love and adoration, we lose ourselves.

This happens today in many forms: in romantic relationships, in idolizing and adoring teachers, scholars, sheikhs, or writers, or maybe for some people, in worshipping celebrities. It is a terrible sin that takes us away from ourselves, confuses us, and makes us dependent on that person for things that no human can ever give us. It makes us lazy and unable to think and reflect for ourselves.

It makes us false, causing us to follow and imitate ideas and behaviors that may be right for that person, but wrong for us. It prevents us from following the Quran’s instructions to think, to read, to reflect, to decide for ourselves, after reflecting, what is right and what is wrong.

It is lack of faith to do this because we are effectively saying we don’t believe God can satisfy our needs and instead look to this person we worship to do so.

Making another person one’s “God” is a seductive idea and a huge sin. It is easy and lazy to imagine this person knows it all and is perfect in all ways; that this person will satisfy our hearts and our longing; that in this person we can rest assured, and that this person is better than us or somehow, worthy of our praise or adoration. At least for me, it is an attractive idea and a dangerous one that I always need to ask God for help in avoiding by praying that He increases my faith and protects me from these ideas and feelings. (Worshipping another human serves as an escape and avoidance of self-responsibility for our lives. Coming to know our own soul is likely the most difficult task in life and so, we often avoid it.)

5. From the evil whisperings of the sneaking whisperer;
If we are unconscious, if we are heedless, if we do not mindfully and purposely direct our thoughts by praying for God’s help, and engaging in spiritual development, the ‘sneaking’ whisperer takes over, and feeds us all kinds of negative thoughts, and self-destructive ideas, making us feel inferior, unworthy, incapable. We need God’s protection to avoid this. We need to remember God and who God is to us: God is most Merciful; God is always with us and guides us; we are highly valuable in God’s eyes; God wants us to succeed; through prayer we communicate with him and he gives us what we ask for.

God gave us talents and we are responsible for using them for the highest good. We are responsible not to waste them. And the evil whisperings of self-doubt and sabotage lead us to waste our talents and faculties.

6. Who whispers into the hearts of men

7. From among jinn and men
The evil whisperings can come from within ourselves, in the form of self-sabotaging, negative, self-defeating thoughts that later become crystallized as beliefs, and also from without, that is, from other people, from our external world.

The ‘jinn’ represent our spiritual challenges, our own self-destructive beliefs and doubts, our lack of faith.

“Men”: The society at large. The evil whisperings (lowly, pessimistic, evil ideas) can enter our hearts through the company we keep, the media, books, and music we consume. If these have inferior motivations and lower energy, they will influence us, will whisper negativity into our hearts, and with the passage of time our lives will reflect this. We will find ourselves in a low station in life because of this. If we do not engage in spiritual growth, the external ‘evil’ influences will overpower us. We will come to believe these ideas and act accordingly.

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