Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’ān; Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad (1980)
See introductory note to the preceding surah, with which this one is closely connected.
(1) SAY: “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men,
(2) “the Sovereign of men,
(3) “ the God of men,
(4) “from the evil of the whispering, elusive tempter
(5) “who whispers in the hearts of men 1 –
(6) “from all [temptation to evil by] invisible forces as well as men.’’2
2 The above is perhaps the oldest Qurʾanic mention of the term and concept of al-jinnah (synonymous with al-jinn), which has been tentatively explained in Appendix III. In the above context, the term probably denotes the intangible, mysterious forces of nature to which man’s psyche is exposed, and which sometimes make it difficult for us to discern between right and wrong. However, in the light of this last verse of the last surah of the Qurʾān it is also possible to conclude that the “invisible forces” from which we are told to seek refuge with God are the temptations to evil emanating from the blindness of our own hearts, from our gross appetites, and from the erroneous notions and false values that may have been handed down to us by our predecessors.