وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا

wa qad khaaba man dasaaha

And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].

khaaba – running after something and you didn’t get it. Dissapointment, failure.

The one who throws his Nafs into the dust – completely disregards it – is setting himself up for major disappoinment, loss and regret.

dassaa ha (daal, seen, seen) – one who completely disregarded their nafs/consciense. They didn’t care about what their nafs/conscience said to them.

أَيَحْسَبُ أَن لَّمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌDoes he Think no-one sees him?[Balad 90:7]

They have no balance in their Nafs (of spirituality and halal/permitted worldly matters – Either they’ve delved into too much haraam [forbidden] material poleasures, or they’ve made certain things haram [forbidden] for themselves – which were really permitted by Allah. Both of these are extremes.).

Whereas the Sun and Moon, Day and night have a balance. So this person is going against the balanced nature which Allah had made for him and all His creation.


Ayah 9:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا

He has succeeded who purifies it,

qadaflaha man zakaha

QadAlready happened. Absolute certainty.

aflaha he succeeded.

Similar word is najaha.

aflaha iflaah – farmer who is about to reap harvest.

falaah – aflaha – attain success after long duration of labour/work.

So efforts have to be made. What efforts?

The one who has (sincerely) engaged in cleansing ones self has already attained success.

zakaha tazkiyyah (taf’eel) – verb seems to be affecting oneself (intransitive), affecting others (transitive) – he purified it (the nafs) – almost as though the Nafs is outside of you.

When it comes to the corruption of the Nafs – you have to try to clean it and rectify it. As though you have to clean it as your job.

This purification consists of different things; preventing yourself from sins, shameless acts etc.

We need to try to purify ourselves – then Allah will purify us of our sins. This is important because we try our best to avoid sin, then we hope Allah will forgive us.

الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰThose who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.

[an-Najm 53:32]

A Du’a [prayer/invocation] which Allah’s Messenger would pray;

وعن زيد بن أرقم رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول‏:‏ ‏“‏اللهم إني أعوذ بك من العجز والكسل، والبخل والهرم، وعذاب القبر، اللهم آت نفسي تقواها، وزكها أنت خير من زكاها، أنت وليها ومولاها، اللهم إني أعوذ بك من علم لا ينفع ومن قلب لا يخشع، ومن نفس لا تشبع، ومن دعوة لا يستجاب لها‏”‏‏.‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم1479 ‏)‏‏)

Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would supplicate:Allahumma inni a`udhu bika minal-`ajzi wal-kasali, wal-bukhli wal-harami, wa `adhabil-qabri. Allahumma ati nafsi taqwaha, wa zakkiha Anta khairu man zakkaha, Anta waliyyuha wa maulaha. Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min `ilmin la yanfau`, wa min qalbin la yakhsha`u, wa min nafsin la tashba`u, wa min da`watin la yustajabu laha`

[O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the inability (to do good), indolence, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude and torment of the grave. O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied, and from prayer which is not answered].”

[Sahih Muslim and Riyad us-Saaliheen – Chapter on Prayers/Invocations].

Conclusion of the Similarities of the Sun and the Nafs

Allah in the earlier parts of the Surah described the Sun, and how its brightness and glory is covered by the night.

The Sun benefits the people through its light which provides guidance for mankind. The Nafs when it is purified benefits mankind through its good,however – in moments of conflict and weakness – it can be covered up in the darkness of sin and misguidance temporarily. However, Allah can allow the brightness of the sun to return again and overcome that darkness.

al-Bicaa’i; During the dark times of fitnah/trials and tribulations, the glow of purity can still be shone through the moonproviding guidance to others in the darkest of times.

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا

wa nafsin wa Maa sawaha

And [by] the Nafs/Conscience and He who proportioned it

Everything Allah took an oath by before had an Al الْ (alif,lam) [i.e. Alal Qamar, al Nahar, al Layl, al Sama’, al Ard) before it, but now there is no Al before Nafs.

A lack of Al (nakirah) tankeer li takhfeem (ta’dheem) – thislack of Al is a climax/peak, the great matter which needed to be discussed.

Some aayaat are like seeds, and you see their fruits through other aayaat/verses.

The beginning aayaat are making us reflect on the universe, and the fruits of reflecting on them will make us understand ourselves.

Nafs – Conscience. (Nafs al-lawaama – reproaching soulالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ [mentioned in Surah Qiyamah 75:2], Nafs al mutma’inah – soul at ease/tranquility النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ [mentioned in Surah Fajr 89:27])

Sawaataswiyah – take things that are uneven, balance them in a way so they are balanced and organised. I.e. To balance a waying scale.

How amazingly the Nafs is balanced, how remarkable is the One who balanced it.

Our conscience/nafs is what makes us directly remember Allah. The One who gave us this conscience is watching us also.

Your body requires a Balance: This is why there are so much terms used by people throughout history for it; Left and right, yin/yang, the animal side/spiritual human side, good/bad energy etc.

Modern psychology is based on this Personality definition too. One of the biggest debates in modern psychology is; What is the definition of Personality? Allah is telling us in this surah, as we will elaborate below inshaa’ Allah.

The Nafs = not physically touchable. The body however is physical.

al Bicaa’i comments: Allah compares the nafs with the body the same way He compares the sun with its glow.

There is inclination of good and bad inside us.

Al Aloosi; When Allah created us, He created the clay and blew into it the Rooh (soul). Whatever we want in this Earth is created from this Earth; food, drink, other peoples companionship etc. – all these come from the Earth. But there is something within us which is not from this Earth, it is from the command of Allah – that is our our Rooh (soul).

When we feel hungry in our stomach – we want Earthly food.

When we are hungry spiritually – we need food from out of this Earth, we need it directly from Allah – Wahy [revelation].

These two things (Nafs and Rooh) are always in Conflict – just like the Sun and Moon.

So when there is extremes in any of these, there is harm for the human. There should be a balance of spirituality for Allah’s sake, and also channeling our body’s desires in a permissible way.

This is why Allah orders us to keep our spiritual duties, aswell as our worldly duties fulfilled.

وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.”
[al Qasas 28:77]

The Qalb (heart) contains many concepts; love, hope, fear, anger, jealousy, joy… All emotions. Even your belief is in your heart.

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ۚ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ
And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah . If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided.[al Hujurat 49:7]

The heart is a territory which both the worldly desires and spirituality are trying to win over. A constant struggle for the human Nafs. You need to strive for the balance.

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.[al Israa’ 17:36]

When we hear and see the truth, we either accept it or reject it. We will accept the truth if our Fitrah (natural disposition) is intact, the more intact it is – the more likely we will accept the message of truth.

The Wahy (revelation) which Allah sends to humans as a guidance is a light. I.e. Allah says about guidance that He sent;

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ

Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light.

[al Ma’idah 5:44]

Our human Fitrah placed within us is also a light from Allah [since it is from outside this world]. Eman is also called light. So when Eman enters the heart, Light/Noor is added to the heart, along with Noor [Light] from the Wahy [Revelation] = Light upon Light.

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.

[al Noor 24:35]

So you can imagine the light of guidance being added to a heart on the Fitrah, and in effect – an increase in the guidance.

When the Nafs sins:

An-Nafs al Ammaarah bis-soo [the commanding soul – to be evil] – when the body is being bombarded with Dunya (this world) and is being influenced by Shaytaan [satan]. This is the worst type of Nafs.

When the Nafs goes into either extreme i.e. Of either distancing from Allah, or distancing from his duties in this world – the Nafs starts to feel bad and guilty [known as Nafs al Lawaamah – blaming (itself) nafs].

Then it does tawba/repentance, mends its ways and gains tranquility – becoming the Nafs al Mutma’inah(tranquil Nafs). The conscience at ease.

Ayah 8:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

And inspired it [with discernment/understanding of] its wickednessand its righteousness,

fa alhama ha fujooraha wa taqwaha

Ilham is a form of inspiration which is placed in the heart – which is more firmer than fact. (i.e. People call it a gutfeeling).

Wahy can be used more generally for humans, animals (i.e. The bee etc [Surah Nahl 16:68]). Whereas Ilham is more specific for creatures with an Intellect – so they are firm about something. And Allah is telling us that He placed Ilham inside the humans Nafs.

Fujoora ha: – Fajr – to tear through a sanctity or authority.

Faajir = someone who is extremely rebellious and tears through the sanctity. (I.e. A war occurred during the youth of Allah’s Messenger in the Masjid al Haram in Makkah, and it was called the battle of the Fujaar because the people who started it did not care about the sanctity of the place where they were fighting and spilling the peoples blood. They TORE through the sanctity of Makkah.)

So the Fujoor in this ayah is referring to Allah inspiring the Nafs to be aware of the evil potential it has for itself (fujoora HA). It has been programmed to know that it can do this, but if it does it – the Nafs knows that this is wrong (Guilty conscience).

عـن النبي صلى الله عـليه وسلم قـال : ( الـبـر حـسـن الـخلق والإثـم ما حـاك في نـفـسـك وكـرهـت أن يـطـلع عــلـيـه الـنـاس ). رواه مسلم [ رقم : 2553 ].

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about. [Sahih Muslim]

Taqwa ha: taqwa is the act of guarding yourself.

The nafs has been programmed to know that it should guard itself. From evil acts – since they are harmful for it, but also to guard itself from sins – since they bring about Allah’s punishment.

That guilty conscience is what prevents you from doing evil.

The blaming nafs (al-lawaama) is protecting itself from;

1 – Becoming bad.2 – Allah’s punishment.

The self is greedy, it has the urge to protect itself from any harm coming to it.

Ash-Shawkani: He made the human thoroughly aware of the 2 states; Making the human realise the beauty of taqwa and the ugliness of sins.

Mujahid; He made him realise the path of evil. So if someone does an evil, they will realise that it leads to another evil. I.e. You do a sin, then you need to cover it up by lying, which leads to more lying and sinning etc. etc.

This is why Allah says;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌO you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. [al Baqarah 2:208]

He said this because this brings about the most safety for the Nafs, from the harm of this life, and the punishment of the next.

al Farraa’: He made the Nafs know its worst evil (Fujoor), and its best protection (taqwa). So its not just about good [khayr] and evil [sharr], its about the Nafs wanting to benefit itself.

إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا“If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves.”

[al Israa’ 17:7]

In the previous Surah Balad, Allah gives a long description of blessings He has given us.

أَلَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ عَيْنَيْنِ وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ Have We not made for him two eyes? And a tongue and two lips? [Balad 90:9-10]

If your eyes, lips are used for the right purpose – they will benefit you. If they are not, they will harm you.

وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ

And have shown him the two ways? [Balad 90:10]

We understand from the above Aayaat that Najadayn [the two paths] are the Nafs‘s = fujooraha [its evil] wa taqwaha [its protection].

Ayah 6;

وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا

wal ardi wa maa tahaha

and I swear by the earth and Maa spread it.

maa al mawsoolah – and what kind of power it must be that layed out this earth and spread it.
maa al masdariyyah – (and i swear by the earth) and its remarkable vastness.

Taha – when the arab would go to a huge castle or building which is so huge – that you can’t see how far it actually is. The arabs would call this type of house Mut-hiyyawell spread out. Thats the same root word Allah uses to describe the vastness of the Earth.

Everything in the Skies in Conflict, for Our Benefit.

First in the surah – Allah centred the theme of the Sun, the Day, the Moon, the Night.

Allah makes us reflect on these creations by doing an Oath by them, and we even get to see through Allah’s description of them – how these creations are in conflict. Sun in conflict with the moon, the day in conflict with the night. The people who live in nature have totally different experiences each time all these different conflicts of the universe occur, since these people are directly affected by them.

These opposites of nature seem conflicting, but they are there to cause harmony for us – the human race.

Imagine this harmony disappeared and the routine of the Sun, Moon, Day and Night rebelled [Tughyan.] Who would suffer the most? The humans on earth.

Despite the greatness of the Sun, the Moon, the Day and the Night – who gave these great beings such great harmony so these percieved conflicts benefit us in our day to day lives.

So the point of reflection which has been put forward to us is how this harmony has been spread out around the Earth – so us living beings are able to survive and be sustained on this planet for thousands of years, even through all these percieved conflicting stages above us in the skies – yet they are a means of benefit for us. I.e. The sun provides energy for food and warmth, and then it is covered for us to rest etc.

We will see how the conflict in the skies is a parallel and similarity to the human Nafs in the aayaat to come.


Dream Student Notes – Nouman Ali Khan


Ayah 5:

وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا

(I swear) by the skies, and what (Maa) made it.

You would expect the word Man (who) would be used, for who made the skies. But What (Maa) is used.

Why Maa?

It can be used as a Maa al mawsoolah – a question of what that thing is. – What is that?

It could also be used as a Maa masdariyyah which is a sign of astonishment at the miraculousness of something.[The word maausually always implies a negation, i.e. What? i don’t.. etc.]

Ayah 4: I swear by the skies and Maa made it.

1- Maa al mawsoolah. Maa = what being made these skies? What kind of power must He be?
2 – Maa masdariyyah. Maa = how remarkable its construction (Astonishment. infinitive form of statment).

I swear by the sky, and how remarkable its construction is. I swear by the sky, and what [Power could] make it?

Banaa ha – the sky wasnt already there, it was constructed.

So in ayah 4, Allah is swearing by the Skies.

Wa maa banaha – and by what made it – So He is swearing by Himself too.

Banaa – comes from binaa – to fuse things together so they become inseparatable. This shows the amazingness of the sky that it covers and surrounds the Earth globe for our protection.

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?[al Mulk 67:3]

Do you see any cracks or flaws? Do you see any patchwork?

Even the most advanced designs of todays buildings and architecture require patching up. Yet they are no gaps in the sky so that we can see some parts of space through some gaps. Rather, it is all covered up fully for our safety and protection, and has remained that way for thousands/millions of years..

Ayah 4:

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا


and I swear by the night as it covers it [the light of the sun] up.

All these Oaths are Surrounded around the Sun:

With the sun which gives its light so that we appreciate the Day [Ayah 1], and the light of the sun which reflects on the moon to help us through the night [Ayah 2]. With the light of the sun with its beauty and glory [Ayah 3]. And the night which covers the sun’s brightness. [Ayah 4].

In this surah, Allah will make a parallel between the Sun and the Nafs (roughly translated as Conscience).

How the sun has different things that happen to it through conflict, and how the nafs has different things happen to it through conflict.

Ayah 3:

وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا

And [by] the day when it displays it(the sun).

wan-nahaari idha jal-laaha.

jal-laaha – to give something thats already bright an exposure.

tajliyya – giving i.e. A lamp which is covered – giving it exposure so that its full brightness can be shown.

tajal-la – this was used in the classical Arabic, pre-Islamic era for a wife when she beautifies herself for her husband. Her full beauty is exposed.

And the Day when it – the day – gives her (the sun) the ability to show her full glory.

When we know that really – the sun is what causes the Day. Allah is illustrating that the sun is a beautiful creation which should be appreciated.