The Holy Qur'an

Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr – The Grand Exegesis – Part 2

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In the previous edition, we presented the excellences of Sūrah al-Falaq found in the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). In this edition the lexical analysis of two verses of Sūrah al-Falaq is discussed.

Translated by Murtaza Ahmad, edited by The Review of Religions Translation Team.

ο بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

By invoking the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful, I begin this Chapter.

ο قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ اَلْفَلَقِ 

ο مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ  

We enjoin Muslims of all times that you continuously proclaim to others: I seek refuge with the Lord of Creation from every apparent and hidden evil of that He has created. (1)

(1) Lexical Analysis


ُأًعُوذ is the first person present-tense of  عاذَ [1]

The meaning of the expression عَاذَ بِهِ مِنْ كَذَا is that of ِلَجَأَ إِلَيْه وَاعْتَصَمَ – taking refuge with somebody and seeking their protection. Therefore, when we recite ِأَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَيْطَانِ الرَجِيْم it means ِأَلْتَجِئُ إلَى اللهِ وَأَعْتَصِمُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَان.That is, ‘I seek refuge with Allah against the onslaughts of Satan.’ When one says ِعَاذَ بِالشَّيْء it signifies ُلَزِمَه i.e. ‘it stuck to him.’ Moreover, when the expression عَاذَتْ بِوَلَدِهَا is used, it denotes the meaning ُقَامَتْ مَعَه, or that a woman stood by her child.[2]

Thus, ُأَعُوذ implies: (1) I seek refuge with Allah Almighty,

     (2) I wish to remain bonded to Allah Almighty.


The word ُالْفَلَق (Al-Falaq) expresses the following meanings:

a) الْصُّبْحُ  – morning

b) ُالْخَلْقُ كُلُّه – all of creation

c)  جَهَنَّمُ – hell

d) ِالْمُطْمَئِنُّ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ بَيْنَ رَبْوَتَيْن – the open plains and valleys between two hills or peaks

e) ِمَقْطَرَةُ السَّجّان  – a piece of wood that has holes wide enough to fit a man’s calf, which is used to confine criminals in rows and the holes are tightened in such a way that one is unable to take their feet out.

f) Al-Falaq also conveys the meaning ْمَا يَبْقَى مِنَ الَّلبَنِ فِي أَسْفَلِ الْقَدَحِ؛ i.e. the remnants of milk left over at the bottom of a cup or vessel.  Moreover, al-Falaq also refers to milk that has become sour and then curdled.

(g) ِوَالشَّقُّ فِيْ الْجَبَل i.e. the crevice of a mountain is also called al-Falaq.[3]

According to Al-Mufradāt, al-Falaq means:

 that is, the cleaving asunder of something and separating the parts from one another.

 Imām Rāghib writes further:

That is to say, the term al-Falaq, as it appears in the divine command قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ, denotes ُالْصَّبْح [morning]. (In actuality ُالْصَّبْح [morning] is also known as al-Falaq because as dawn breaks, the morning light becomes visible and divides the horizon in two.)

Furthermore, al-Falaq has also been interpreted as rivers by virtue of the fact that the water of the river cuts through the land.[4]

Therefore, قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ has the following meanings:

1. I seek refuge with the God Who brings light after darkness.

2. I seek refuge with the God Who is the Creator of all things. Or I seek refuge with the God Who created hell. Or I seek refuge with He Who created an excellent and levelled plain between two ravines/gorges. (This implies Islam which positions itself between the two chasms of extremities)

3. Or I take refuge with the God Who has authority over all prisons.

4. Or I seek refuge with the God Who is the Lord of the rivers.

5. I seek refuge with the God Whose authority extends over even the remnants left in a cup of milk.

Serialisation of Sūrah al-Falaq will continue of the in the next edition.


[1] This is derived from the Arabic root: ع و ذ‎  [Publishers]

[2] Aqrab al-Mawārid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Al-Mufradāt fī Gharīb al-Qur’ān.