Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
The last three surahs of the Qur’an have a unique relationship among themselves. On many occasions the Prophet ﷺ advised the Companions to recite them together, especially the last two surahs, which were even revealed together. These three are often the first surahs a Muslim child memorizes right after surah Fatihah, but their meaning and importance is seldom explained to the child. Let us have a very brief look at what these surahs are about, in the hope that it will encourage us to study them in depth in sha Allah.
Surat al Ikhlas:
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ o اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ o لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ o وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ o
Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”
Allah is asking the Prophet ﷺto introduce Him to people in this surah by His proper name, and then mention some of His attributes. This description is so powerful that the Prophet said it is equivalent to one-third of the Quran, which means that we need to pay special attention to these adjectives by which Allah describes Himself.
Al Ahad – the Unique, the One and Alone indivisible Lord who has no partners. This is the essence of Tawheed.
As Samad – He is Self-sufficient. He does not need any of His creations, He doesn’t need any of us or our prayers, our fasts and our dhikr. If no one in this world worshipped Him, it wouldn’t take away an iota of His majesty. But on the other hand, we are in extreme dire need of As Samad. Without Him none of His creation can survive. He didn’t just create the world and leave it at that, He is keeping the Universe from falling apart each and every millisecond.
Lam Walid wa lam yulad – He doesn’t have a son, unlike the Christian belief. Since He is as Samad, He doesn’t need a son or a father or any other human quality.
Lam yakun lahu kufwan ahad – There is no one like Him. Anything that we imagine as Him cannot be Him, because He is beyond human imagination.
How can this one short surah is equivalent to one third of the Quran? In order to understand that, we need to learn Arabic. Start with this program offered here at Understand Quran: learn 50% of Quran in just 9 hours!
Surat al Falaq
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.”
This and the next surah have a very interesting story of revelation. A Jew tried to do magic on the Prophet ﷺ. Jibreel alaihi salam then came to the Prophet and revealed the secret, and gave him these two surahs. The Prophet asked Ali radiyallahu anhu to fetch the charmed object which was at the bottom of a well. There were eleven knots in it, and as Ali untied each knot, the Prophet kept reciting one ayah from these two surahs.
The evil things usually get more relaxed and free to operate at night. Robberies and murders and all kinds of crimes take place at night, magicians perform black magic and summon jinns. Prostitution and smuggling get free reign. Dangerous animals come out and hunt at night. So we are praying to the Lord of the daybreak, the only One who can bring light out of darkness, to protect us from all the evil in any of His creation, from the evil beings which operate in the dark, from the magicians who blow knots in performing magic, and the evil of the venomous person full of envy and malice.
Surat an Nas
Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The Sovereign of mankind. The God of mankind, From the evil of the retreating whisperer – Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – From among the jinn and mankind.”
After seeking refuge from Allah from the things which harm us physically and mentally, we are now asking Allah’s protection from those other-worldly menaces, the demons, who come and whisper to us evil (waswasa) and corrupt our souls. This is a more dangerous kind of evil than the ones mentioned in the previous surah, because harm to our souls can make us end up in Hellfire. So We call Allah by three names – Rabb (Lord), Malik (King) and Ilah (Deity)
Protection from Evil
We try so many things, sometimes very idiotic things, in order to get protection from evil. From ancient times, this has been a huge opportunity for cunning people to do business. People will buy all kinds of things to get protection from unseen beings – tawiz, eye-shaped lockets, hanging onions and garlic, even being brushed with a broom. But in reality Allah has given us the best protection just in these above surahs, the prophet himself said that they will be sufficient for us against anything.
Daily protection – The Prophet encouraged us to say these three surahs every morning and evening. He said that these surahs will suffice us against anything. [Nasaii]
Before going to bed – When going to bed at night, the Prophet used to blow on his hands, recite these three surahs and wipe over his body. [Bukhari]