113 - Al-Falaq
The Name of Allah, the
Compassion, the Compassionate
(1) Say: I seek refuge in the Creator of the Split
(2) From the evil effects of the split in the continuous process of creation
(3) And from the darkness that suffocates
(4) And from the obsessive flames that fan human complexes
(5) And from the evil actions of the envious, when dominated by envy.
The word Al-Falaq may have been reduced by many students of the Qur’an to have a singular meaning of “dawn.” But while dawn is indeed a “Falaq”, not every “falaq” is a dawn. Al-falaq is a split. So dawn is a split between day and night. Creation, it must be noted, is an endless process of splitting and re-uniting, just as day follows night and night follows day. And so the Creator is the perpetrator of the split. This is the first part of the Muslim dialectic. The second part is “Tauheed” or unification. And so between the split and the unification lies the whole process of the Muslim dialectic.
Be seeking the help of the Creator of the split and His protection from its evils as in this Surah, one is in fact opting for harmony and unification. For the process of the split is fraught with great dangers as it takes place under the darkness of ignorance and inside people’s souls. Only God-oriented labor of love can help our integration and save us from the evils of the split.
This Surah prompts one to elaborate a little more about the science of Qur’an interpretation. It is always advisable to go back and review what previous scientists had accomplished and how human philosophy evolved. We must keep in mind that the Qur’an is not a book of history or events but rather a reading in the human consciousness. Our perception of consciousness is continuously evolving according to renewed perceptions. This interpretation of the Qur’an attempts to reflect the level of consciousness that we’d arrived at in the Twentieth century. As mentioned, the Qur’an is not history or a description of events. The stories told serve as reminders for the morals extracted. The event could have taken place, or maybe it’s still taking place, or might even be a future prophecy.
The Qur’an explains itself by itself. The meanings contained within one Ayah are representative of the meanings contained within the reading (Qur’an). And the inverse is true, meaning that the meanings contained within the whole Qur’an is represented in the meanings of one Ayah. One has to think about the placement of certain words in Ayahs and how Ayahs are connected together in order to read more meanings in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is tightly framed. Meaning that the reading is indivisible. Understanding one Ayah represents understanding the Qur’an. Thus, each Surah connects with other Surahs and in explaining “Al-Falaq”, we use other Ayahs in the Qur’an.
This Surah, for example, lays down some basic scientific hypothesis for Creation. “Falaq” means split or division. It recognizes the splitting of a whole into parts as part of the undisputed process of natural creation. “Falaq” also means the division of something that was previously Whole. In the arithmetic language, the Whole is the number One. This number can be split into infinite parts. But if we divide the infinite parts into Infinity we come out with One. The science of Calculus was invented by Muslim philosophers and inspired by the meanings read in the Qur’an. It is also hypothesized that all the sciences of Existence are contained within the Qur’an, and it all depends on who is prepared to discover these treasures.
The main theme of this Surah is to seek Allah in reconciling the divisions within our selves. These divisions can take place within the one individual or within a society. We pray to seek Allah to show us the way out of these divisions. Just the fact of genuine recognition of His powers to unite, and thus seeking Him, begins the healing or the self-unification process.
The deterrent to this endless divisionism in the process of creation, is Allah’s unificationism. Undeterred divisionism is anarchism in the human consciousness. The implications of the split can be reflected upon in many aspects of our daily lives. The split of the individual’s opinion is like a split in his heart. He doesn’t know which way to go. The split of a society’s opinion into a ruling party and an opposition leads to discord and indecisiveness. Yet this split is the essence of the creation of new life, and the essence of the success of a society. One can not have White without Black. In fact, Black is defined as Black because of the existence of White. There is no opinion without its opposite opinion. Divisionism does not exist without Unificationism. That’s why one must “(2) Say: I seek refuge in the Creator of the Split”. An idea can not become fruitful unless it marries with its opposite and creates new value for humanity.
“Al-Falaq” establishes the dialectic of existence (Creationism) where for every Thesis there is an Anti-thesis. Inability to unite the Thesis with the Anti-thesis leads to emotional and psychological darkness, represented by irrational behavior. On the other hand unity is represented by a Synthesis of ideas that lead to new life and behavioral changes. Unity is the imprint of oneness upon multiplicity. Is that a cloning concept? Very far from it. It represents the joining of two opposites to create anew, and then splitting again into opposites, and those opposites coming back together to create anew. The process is continuous and never-ending.
This Surah has indeed enormous levels of interpretation in the rational, material, spiritual, psychological, and political worlds. It can be said that each of us exists in more than a single state of reference, or what we call paradigms. Each may have fashioned for herself/himself two basic worlds; one representing one’s own higher order reflecting all perceptions of perfect existence; and another opposing world representing all contradictions of imperfections. These two worlds if allowed to exist independently can lead one to disasters ranging from inconsistency of thought to self-destructive behavior such as hatred or envy. The Rational world exists in the union of these two worlds resulting in coherence and consistency. There are many worlds or frames of reference that people refer to as “reality”. Each reality is relative representing a unique perception of the Absolute. There is no absolute reality in the human consciousness. Absolute Reality exists in a way that we can not describe in human words. That’s why a Muslim repeats Al-Fatiha (The Commencement) 17 times a day, guarding himself from the evils of the multiplicity of reality and praying for a consistent rational reality in the world of Action. “All Gratitude is devoted to Allah, the Lord of all Universe”(Surah 1, Ayah 2). Allah is Lord. Lord of all realities of all beings. He is not the relative and He is not the Absolute, but He encompasses both and more realities than we can ever describe in our limited forms of expression. Allah is Lord of divisionism and unificationism.
This Surah is an individual prayer, closely linked with Surah 114-An-Nas (The People), to seek Allah to intervene in one’s life and to cause extreme divisions to subside. An extreme example of the manifestation of Falaq is represented in schizophrenic behavior. This type of behavior represents the extremity of the division within one’s self and the evil that this disjointment brings.
Moderate divisiveness within one’s self is more prevalent as normal behavior. This manifestation is represented in doubts in feelings, indetermination, low understanding or interest, to act in a direction inconsistent with thought, hypocritical behavior, and general lack of will power. All contradictions within the self create divisions and Falaq in the human will. People who are not honest with themselves exhibit the evils of Falaq. They think that no body knows what looms inside of them. Allah is closer to man than man’s own heart beat. He is present in one’s own fiber of thoughts. He knows (there is awareness) what one hides and what one shows. Accountability takes place against action and thought. They are not separate. Demons are the evil creations of one’s own falaq. Following those demons limits one’s ability to receive Compassion from Allah, and thus the human being creates demigods and idols (obsessions and addictions) to follow, instead of uniting existence and following Allah.
Accountability is normally instantaneous. Divine Accountability and Judgement does not wait till the end of the world, as most reductionists would make to believe. It is instantaneous. Its implications may take time to surface, but emotional suffering does take place when one follows his own demons. Unexplained feelings of guilt will ride a self-possessed will power. It will erode it from within, till it transforms the being into a demon or wastes the will power in dark oblivion. Some theologists and philosophers, such as Saul (or later Saint Paul), have taken advantage of such fact of the human psyche. They had attributed such uneasily explainable guilt to some concocted wild concept of “Original Sin”. The concept had struck a favorable chord with the powerful in their effort to control the masses. The concept of this Sin had become, unfortunately, a founding tenet of Christian thought. Man was created, as in Genesis, with Compassion. Free from induced sin. Fortunately, modern-day Christians are questioning this tenet with vigor. Islam has a compassionate responsibility of liberating Christianity from this abhorrent concept and freeing the Abrahimic faith from the guilt ride.
It is told that Muhammad, Bless his soul, once rhetorically asked one of his companions: “do you know what’s better for you than Prayers, fasting and giving alms? It is the purity of intention and will power, because divided will power is destructive.” The higher struggle of man (Al-Jihad al’akbar) is man with him self, because Allah does not help those who do not help them selves. This is the struggle that one engages in uniting all the worlds around him, and all of his perceptions of the contradictions in these worlds. The Faithful who proclaims that all demigods are dead feeds himself with knowledge on a daily basis, and renews and strengthens his relationship with God through learning the consistent Laws of Existence, Compassion, Purification of the Self, and the giving off the Self. He becomes a compassionate reconciliator between people, a lover of goodness and charity, and a human being sensitive to other people’s emotions. He becomes a representative of real faith, and faith is proud to speak through him.
This is the Jihad that Islam urges. It is the Jihad of the individual against his own divisionism. The Jihad of the collective to seek unificationism. The continuous Jihad in the universe of divisionism, whether in the field of sociology, politics, sciences or any field of human consciousness. Man was created through compassionate division and unification. Every physical cell in his body splits in order to be re-born. Every cell in his body is completely changed every seven years. Change through divisionism and unificationism is constant, as long as time exists.
Man’s Sacred Trust and special mission in existence is to seek the light in divisionism and to create new equations of existence through unificationism. His time on earth serves to overcome divisionism and to unify his spirit through oneness. This struggle for oneness is the vehicle to elevate the spirit beyond the material existence, into the Gardens of Bliss. The Self that becomes secure in its oneness fulfills its sacred trust and rejoins its creator in holistic existence. As for the disturbed, insecure and divided Self, it shall not attain to any elevation beyond material existence.
The Qur’an has clear distinctions between the idea and its manifestation. It explains a concept and then exemplifies its manifestation through the behavior of individuals or societies. In Surah 114- An-Nas (The People), it starts with the manifestation which people;
(2) Say: I seek refuge with the Sustainer of all people
(3) The King of all people
(4) The God of all people
(5) From the evils of the voiceless creator of obsessions
(6) that stirs suspicions and doubts in the hearts of people
(7) whether such a tempter be human or non-human.
And it focuses on people. There is only one Ayah that talks about the concept, Ayah 5. The concept is the evils of the voiceless creator of obsessions. The concept is a thought that permeates man’s willpower till it finally surfaces in tangible action in this material and visible world. Surah 114 focuses on defining entities, such as the entity of God as the Sustainer of all people. As a definable entity to man, God is the supreme provider and not any man, king or ruler. God urges man to seek Him in fighting with the doubts and insecurities that reside within him. This is closely related with the current Surah 113- Al-Falaq (The Split).
Al-Falaq reverses the order of definition. It talks about the concepts and gives only one example of the evils of the split in the last Ayah. Al-Falaq defines concepts in Ayahs 3,4 and 5. Ayah 6 is a manifestation in human behavior, and an important one, of the split. There is an emphasis on the evil actions of the envious as it is no longer an evil force that exists within their psyche. It has graduated from the psyche into the world of actions.
It is narrated that Muhammad, bless his soul, recited these two Surahs along with Surah 112-Al-Ikhlas (The Devotion), every night three times as the last act before going to sleep. These are the only three Surahs in the Qur’an that begin with “Kul” or Say. Al-Falaq (The Split) and An-Nas (The People) are the two “Refuge” Surahs. They are the Surahs that most muslims invoke to ward off evil spirits and dispel feelings of extreme fear and anxiety.
|..||.Ibrahim AbuNab (1931-1991)|