Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of that which He created. And from the evil of darkness when it settles, and from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies. (Quran 113)
Sheikh Muhammad Qaasim Nanautavi comments on chapter Al-Falaq saying that it’s like Allah wants us to think of ourselves like the plant that a gardener takes care of.
1- Protect Yourself from All Evil
A gardener is planting a plant in the ground, and it has different problems that it has to protect itself from.
There are animals, like a goat or a lamb, that want to graze on that plant. Now the goat is not the enemy of the farmer; it’s only doing that because that’s in its nature. Allah created it and part of that creation is it’s going to eat a plant.
This is part of the manifestation of: “From the evil of that which He created.”
There are things Allah created and they can cause you damage, not because they’re evil, but because that’s what they do.
So, in the way Allah created things naturally there’s the potential for you receiving harm just in the natural order of things; and so you have to ask Allah for protection from them.
2- From the Evil of Darkness
But that’s not the only kind of protection he seeks. So, he fences the plant around so that the goat doesn’t come by to chew it up.
But the next thing is he has to plant the plant in a good environment with no obstructions. We ask Allah:
And from the evil of darkness when it settles.
This “ghasaq” and “waqab” are the barriers of dark keeping you from what you would otherwise have access to in the light of day. It’s just like that farmer who wants no obstacles in his path; and the obstacle for the human being clearly becomes the dark of the night.
3- From the Evil of the Sorcery
Then, he says the third element is that what if you have too much water or too much sun? You get overwhelmed, and the plant is getting buried under snow or getting flooded with water, being overwhelmed from an outside element.
And from the evil of the blowers in knots.
When sorcery is done on someone, they feel like they’re being suffocated from within; they feel like they are being pressured, there’s this heavy burden inside them.
4- From the Evil of the Envier
Finally, he protects his garden and his plant from an enemy who wants to harm him. It is not just the elements, it’s not just he wants to make sure it gets enough sunlight or whatever, but there’s an actual enemy that wants to make sure his plant is destroyed.
And from the evil of an envier when he envies.
Just like the plant that the gardener wants to protect, Allah wants us to protect ourselves. So, this chapter is about protecting yourself from physical kinds of harm that may afflict you, the next chapter will be about spiritual harms that can afflict you.
Who is on our side? What you have to worry about?
All the darkness on one side and the one who tears through the darkness and brings light to you on the other side, what do you have to worry about? We have to hold on to Quran and seriously believe in it. When it gives us counsel, we have to take it as counsel for us, we can’t just take it as empty. This is supposed to change our attitudes.