Although these two Surahs of the Qur'an are separate entities and arewritten in the Mushaf also under separate names, yet they are sodeeply related mutually and their contents so closely resemble eachother's that they have been designated by a common name Mu'awwidhatayn(the two Surahs in which refuge with Allah has been sought). ImamBaihaqi in Dala'il an-Nubuwwat has written that these Surahs wererevealed together, that is why the combined name of both isMu'awwidhatayn. We are writing the same one Introduction to both, forthey discuss and deal with just the same matters and topics. However,they will be explained and commented on separately below.
Period of Revelation
Hadrat Hasan Basri, 'Ikrimah, 'Ata' and Jabir bin Zaid say that theseSurahs are Makki. A tradition from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas alsosupports the same view. However, according to another tradition fromhim, it is Madani and the same view is held also by Hadrat 'Abdullahbin Zubair and Qatadah. One of the traditions which strengthens thissecond view is the Hadith which Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and ImamAhmad bin Hanbal have related on the authority of Hadrat 'Uqbah bin'Amir. He says that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peach) one daysaid to him: "Do you know what kind of verses have been revealed tome tonight? - these matchless verses are A'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq andA'udhu bi-Rabbin-nas. This Hadith is used as an argument for theseSurahs to be Madani because Hadrat 'Uqbah bin 'Amir had become a Muslimin Madinah after the hijrah, as related by Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i on thebasis of his own statement. Other traditions which have lent strengthto this view are those related by Ibn Sa'd, Muhiyy-us-Sunnah Baghawi,Imam Nasafi, Imam Baihaqi, Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Hafiz Badr-uddin 'Ayni,'Abd bin Humaid and others to the effect that these Surahs wererevealed when the Jews had worked magic on the Holy Prophet (upon whombe peace) in Madinah and he had fallen ill under its effect. Ibn Sa'dhas related on the authority of Waqidi that this happened in A.H. 7.On this very basis Sufyan bin Uyainah also has described these Surah asMadani.
But as we have explained in the Introduction to Surah Al-Ikhlas,when it is said about a certain Surah or verse that it was revealed onthis or that particular occasion, it does not necessarily mean that itwas revealed for the first time on that very occasion. Rather itsometimes so happened that a Surah or a verse had previously beenrevealed, then on the occurrence or appearance of a particularincident or situation, the Holy Prophet's attention was drawn to it byAllah for the second time, or even again and again. In our opinionthe same also was the case with the Mu'awwidhatayn. The subjectmatter of these Surahs is explicit that these were sent down at Makkahin the first instance when opposition to the Holy Prophet there hadgrown very intense. Later, when at Madinah storms of opposition wereraised by the hypocrites, Jews and polytheists, the Holy Prophet wasinstructed to recite these very Surahs, as has been mentioned in theabove cited tradition from Hadrat Uqbah bin Amir. After this, whenmagic was worked on him, and his illness grew intense, Gabriel cameand instructed him by Allah's command to recite these very Surahs. Therefore, in our opinion, the view held by the commentators whodescribe both these Surahs as Makki is more reliable. Regarding themas connected exclusively with the incident of magic is difficult, forto this incident related only one verse (v.4), the remaining verses ofSurah al Falaq and the whole of Surah An-Nas have nothing to do with itdirectly.
Theme and Subject-Matter
The conditions under which these two Surahs were sent down in Makkahwere as follows. As soon as the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace)began to preach the message of Islam, it seemed as though he hadprovoked all classes of the people around him. As his message spreadthe opposition of the disbelieving Quraish also became more and moreintense. As long as they had any hope that they would be able toprevent him from preaching his message by throwing some temptation inhis way, or striking some bargain with him, their hostility did notbecome very active. But when the Holy Prophet disappointed themcompletely that he would not effect any kind of compromise with themin the matter of faith, and in Surah Al-Kafirun they were plainly told:"I do not worship those who you worship nor are you worshipers of HimWhom I worship. For you is your religion and for me is mine", thehostility touched its extreme limits. More particularly, the familieswhose members (men or women, boys or girls) had accepted Islam, wereburning with rage from within against the Holy Prophet. They werecursing him, holding secret consultations to kill him quietly in thedark of the night so that the Bani Hashim could not discover themurderer and take revenge; magic and charms were being worked on himso as to cause his death, or make him fall ill, or become mad; satansfrom among the men and the jinn spread on every side so as to whisperone or another evil into the hearts of the people against him and theQur'an brought by him so that they became suspicious of him and fledhim. There were many people who were burning with jealousy againsthim, for they could not tolerate that a man from another family orclan than their own should flourish and become prominent. Forinstance, the reason why Abu Jahl was crossing every limit in hishostility to him has been explained by himself: "We and the Bani AbdiManaf (to which the Holy Prophet belonged) were rivals of each other:they fed others, we too fed others; they provided conveyances to thepeople, we too did the same; they gave donations, we too gavedonations, so much so that when they and we have become equal inhonor and nobility, they now proclaim that they have a Prophet who isinspired from the heaven; how can we compete with them in this field? By God, we will never acknowledge him, nor affirm faith in him". (IbnHisham, vol. I, pp. 337-338).
Such were the conditions when the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) was commanded to tell the people: "I seekrefuge with the Lord of the dawn, from the evil of everything that Hehas created, and from the evil of the darkness of night and from theevil of magicians, men and women, and from the evil of the envious",and to tell them: "I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind, the King ofmankind, and the Deity of mankind, from the evil of the whisperer, whoreturns over and over again, who whispers (evil) into the hearts ofmen, whether he be from among the jinn or men." This is similar towhat the Prophet Moses had been told to say when Pharaoh had expressedhis design before his full court to kill him: "I have taken refugewith my Lord and your Lord against every arrogant person who does notbelieve in the Day of Reckoning." (Al-Mu'min: 27). And: "I have takenrefuge with my Lord and your Lord lest you should assail me." (Ad-Dukhan;20).
On both occasions these illustrious Prophets of Allah wereconfronted with well-equipped, resourceful and powerful enemies. Onboth occasions they stood firm on their message of Truth against theirstrong opponents, whereas they had no material power on the strengthof which they could fight them, and on both occasions they utterlydisregarded the threats and dangerous plans and hostile devices of theenemy, saying: "We have taken refuge with the Lord of the universeagainst you." Obviously, such firmness and steadfastness can be shownonly by the person who has the conviction that the power of His Lordis the supreme power, that all powers of the world are insignificantagainst Him, and that no one can harm the one who has taken His refuge. Only such a one can say: "I will not give up preaching the Word ofTruth. I care the least for what you may say or do, for I have takenrefuge with my Lord and your Lord and Lord of all universe."
Question whether Mu'awwidhatayn are, or are not, Quranic
The above discussion is enough to help one understand fully the themeand content of the two Surahs, but since three points in the books ofHadith and commentary concerning these Surahs have been discussed,which are likely to create doubts in the minds, it is necessary toclear them also here.
First, whether it is absolutely established thatthese two Surahs are the Qur'anic Surahs, or whether there is some doubtin this regard. This question arose because in the traditions relatedfrom an illustrious Companion like Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas'ud, it hasbeen said that he did not regard these two Surahs as the Surahs of theQur'an and had eliminated these from his copy of the Mushaf. ImamAhmad, Bazzar, Tabarani, Ibn Marduyah, Abu Ya'la, Abdullah bin Ahmadbin Hanbal, Humaydi, Abu Nu'aim, Ibn Hibban and other traditionistshave related this from Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas'ud with differentchains of transmitters and mostly on sound authority. According tothese traditions, he not only eliminated these Surahs from the Mushafbut it has also been reported that he used to say: "Do not mix up withthe Qur'an that which is not of the Qur'an. These two Surahs are notincluded in the Quran. This was only a command enjoined on the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) for seeking God's refuge." In sometraditions there is also the addition that he did not recite theseSurahs in the Prayer.
On the basis of these traditions the opponents ofIslam had an opportunity to raise doubts about the Qur'an, saying thatthis Book, God forbid, is not free from corruption. For when,according to a Companion of the rank of Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas'ud,these two Surahs are an annexation to the Qur'an, many other additionsand subtractions also might have been made in it. To rid the Qur'anof this blame Qadi Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani, Qadi Iyad and others tookthe stand that Ibn Mas'ud was not in fact a denier of theMu'awwidhatayn being Qur'anic but only refused to write them in theMushaf. For, according to him, only that which the Holy Prophet (uponwhom be peace) had allowed, should be written in the Mushaf, and IbnMas'ud did not receive the information that the Holy Prophet hadallowed this. But this stand is not correct, for according to soundevidence, it is confirmed that Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased withhim) had denied that these were Surahs of the Qur'an. Some otherscholars, for instance, Imam Nawawi, Imam Ibn Hazm and Imam Fakhr-ud-din Razi, regard this as a pure lie and falsehood that Ibn Mas'udhad asserted any such thing. But to reject genuine historical factswithout sound evidence is unscientific.
Now, the question is: How canthe blame that attaches to the Qur'an because of these traditions ofIbn Mas'ud correctly refuted? This question has several answers whichwe shall give below in sequence:
- Hafiz Bazzar after relating thesetraditions of Ibn Mas'ud in his Musnad, has written that he issolitary and isolated in his this opinion; no one from among theCompanions has supported this view.
- The copies of the Qur'an whichthe third Caliph, Hadrat Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him), hadgot compiled by the consensus of the Companions and which he had sentfrom the Islamic Caliphate officially to the centers of the world ofIslam contained both these Surahs.
- The Mushaf which, since thesacred time of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) till today, hasthe seal of consensus of the entire world of Islam, contains boththese Surahs. The solitary opinion of only Abdullah bin Mas'ud, inspite of his high rank, has no weight against this great consensus.
- It is confirmed by sound and reliable ahadith from the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) that he not only recited these Surahs inthe Prayer himself but instructed others also to recite them, andtaught them to the people as the Surahs of the Qur'an. Consider, forinstance, the following ahadith:
We have cited on the authority ofMuslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Nasai the tradition of Hadrat Uqbah binAmir that the Holy Prophet told him about Surah Al-Falaq and Surah An-Nas, saying that those verses had been revealed to him that night. Atradition in Nasai from Uqbah bin Amir is to the effect that the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) recited both these Surahs in the MorningPrayer. Imam Ahmad on sound authority has related in his Musnad thetradition from a Companion that the Holy Prophet said to him, "Whenyou perform the Prayer, recite both these Surahs in it." In MusnadAhmad, Abu Daud and Nasai this tradition of Uqbah bin Amir has beenrelated: "The Holy Prophet said to him: Should I not teach you twosuch Surahs as are among the best Surahs that the people recite? Hesaid: Do teach me, O Messenger of Allah. Thereupon the Holy Prophettaught him the Mu'awwidhatayn. Then the Prayer began and the HolyProphet recited the same two Surahs in it also, and when after thePrayer the Holy Prophet passed by him, he said to him, 'O Uqbah, howdid you like it?' Then he instructed him to the effect: When you goto bed, and when you get up from bed, recite these Surahs." In MusnadAhmad, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Nasa'i there is a tradition from Uqbahbin Amir, saying that the Holy Prophet exhorted him to recite theMu'awwidhat (i.e. Qul Huwa Allahu ahad and the Mu'awwidhatayn) afterevery Prayer. Nasai, Ibn Marduyah and Hakim have related thistradition also from Uqbah bin Amir: "Once the Holy Prophet was ridingon a conveyance and I was walking along with him with my hand placedon his sacred foot. I said: Kindly teach me Surah Hud or Surah Yusuf. He replied: In the sight of Allah there is nothing more beneficial forthe servant than Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq." A tradition fromAbdullah bin Abid al-Juhani has been related by Nasai, Baihaqi and IbnSad, saying that the Holy Prophet said to him: "Ibn Abid, should I nottell you what are the best things out of the means by which theseekers of refuge have sought refuge with Allah? I submitted: Doteach me, O Messenger of Allah. He replied: Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq and Qul a-udhu bi Rabbin-nas - both these Surahs." Ibn Marduyahhad related from Hadrat Umm Salamah: "The Surahs best liked by Allahare: Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq and Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbin-nas."
Here,the question arises: what caused Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas'ud themisunderstanding that these two are not Surahs of the Qur'an? We getthe answer to it when we combine two traditions: first, that HadratAbdullah bin Mas'ud asserted that this was only a command which theHoly Prophet (upon whom be peace) was given to teach him the method ofseeking refuge with Allah; second, the tradition which Imam Bukharihas related in his Sahih, Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Humaidi in his Musnad, Abu Nu'aim in his Al-Mustakhraj and Nasai inhis Sunan, with different chains of transmitters, on the authority ofZirr bin Hubaish, with a slight variation in wording from Hadrat Ubayybin Kab, who held a distinguished place among the Companions on thebasis of his knowledge of the Qur'an. Zirr bin Hubaish states: "Isaid to Hadrat Ubayy: Your brother, Abdullah bin Mas'ud, says thesethings. What do you say about this view? He replied: I hadquestioned the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) about this. He saidto me: I was told to say 'qul', so I said 'qul'. Therefore, we toosay the same as the Holy Prophet said." In the tradition related byImam Ahmad, Hadrat Ubayy's words are to the effect: "I bear witnessthat the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) told me that Gabriel (peacebe on him) had told him to say: Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq; therefore,he recited likewise, and Gabriel asked him to say: Qul a'udhu bi-Rabbin-nas; therefore he too said likewise. Hence, we too say as theHoly Prophet said." A little consideration of these two traditionswill show that the word qul (say) in the two Surahs caused HadratAbdullah bin Mas'ud the misunderstanding that the Holy Prophet (uponwhom be peace) had been commanded to say: A'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq andA'udhu bi-Rabbin-nas. But he did not feel any need to question theHoly Prophet about it. In the mind of Hadrat Ubbay bin Kab also aquestion arose about his and he put it before the Holy Prophet. TheHoly Prophet replied: "Since Gabriel (peace be on him) had said qul,so I too say qul." Let us put it like this. If somebody is commandedand asked: "Say, I seek refuge", he will not carry out the command,saying: "Say, I seek refuge", but he will drop the work "say" and say:"I seek refuge." On the contrary, if the messenger of a superiorofficer conveys to somebody the message in these words: "Say, I seekrefuge", and this command is given to him not only for his own personbut to be conveyed to others, he will convey the words of the messageverbatim to the people, and will not have the permission to dropanything from the text of the message. Thus, the fact that these twoSurahs begin with the word qul is a clear proof that it is Divine Word,which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was bound to conveyverbatim. It was not merely a command given to him for his person. Besides these two Surahs, there are 330 other verses in the Qur'anwhich begin with the word qul (say). The presence of qul in all theseis a proof that it is Divine Wprd. which was obligatory for the HolyProphet to convey verbatim; otherwise if qul everywhere had meant acommand, the Holy Prophet would have dropped it and said only thatwhich he was commanded to say, and it would not have been recorded inthe Qur'an, but, on the contrary, he would have remained content withsaying only what he was commanded to say.
Here, if one considers this,one can understand fully well how unreasonable it is to regard theCompanions as infallible and to make the clamor that a Companion hasbeen defamed as soon as one hears a saying or doing of his beingdescribed as wrong. Here, one can clearly see what a blunder happenedto be committed by an illustrious Companion like Hadrat Abdullah binMas'ud about two Surahs of the Qur'an. If such an error could becommitted by an eminent Companion like him, others also might commitan error. We can examine it in the scientific way, and describe it aswrong if a thing said or done by a Companion is proved to be wrong. But wicked indeed would be the person who went beyond describing awrong act as wrong and started reproving and finding fault with theCompanions of the Holy Prophet of Allah. Concerning theMu'awwidhatayn the commentators and traditionists have described theopinion of Ibn Mas'ud as wrong, but no one has dared to say that bydenying these two Surahs of the Qur'an, he had, God forbid, become adisbeliever.
Question of Holy Prophet's being affected by Magic
The second thing that has arisen in respect of these two Surahs is that,according to traditions, magic had been worked on the Holy Prophet,and he had fallen ill under its effect, and Gabriel (peace be on him)had instructed him to repeat these Surahs to remove the charm. Thishas been objected to by many rationalists of both ancient and moderntimes. They say that if these traditions are accepted, the wholeShari'ah becomes doubtful. For if the Prophet could be charmed, andaccording to these traditions he was charmed, one cannot say what theProphet might have been made to say and do under the influence ofmagic by his opponents, and what in his teaching may be Divine andwhat the result of magic. Not only this: they also allege that ifthis is accepted as true, it might well be that the Prophet might havebeen prompted to make the claim to Prophethood through magic and theProphet by misunderstanding might have thought that an angel had cometo him. They also argue that these traditions clash with the Qur'an. The Qur'an mentions the accusation of the disbelievers who said thatthe Prophet was bewitched (Bani Isra'il:47), but these traditionsconfirm the accusation of the disbelievers that the Prophet hadactually been charmed and bewitched.
For a proper investigation ofthis question it is necessary that one should first see whether it isestablished by authentic historical evidence that the Holy Prophet(upon whom be peace) had actually been affected by magic, and if so,what it was and to what extent. Then it should be seen whether theobjections raised against what is established historically do actuallyapply to it or not.
The Muslim scholars of the earliest period weretruly honest and upright in that they did not try to corrupt historyor conceal facts according to their own ideas, concepts andassumptions. They conveyed intact to the later generations whateverwas confirmed historically, and did not at all care how the materialsupplied by them could be used by the one who was bent upon drawingperverse conclusions from the facts. Now, if something standsconfirmed by authentic and historical means, it is neither right foran honest and right-minded person that he should deny history on theground that in case he accepted it, it would lead to these evilresults according to his thinking, nor it is right that he should addto and stretch beyond its genuine limits by conjecture and speculationwhatever is established historically. Instead, he should accepthistory as history and then see what is actually proved by it and whatis not.
As far as the historical aspect is concerned, the incident ofthe Holy Prophet's being affected by magic is absolutely confirmed,and if it can be refuted by scientific criticism, then no historicalevent of the world can be proved right and genuine. It has beenrelated by Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Imam Ahmad, Abdur Razzaq,Humaidi, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Ibn Sad, Ibn Mardayah, Ibn Abi Shaibah,Hakim, Abd bin Humaid and other traditionists on the authority ofHadrat Aishah, Hadrat Zaid bin Arqam and Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas,through so many different and numerous channels that forgery is out ofthe question. Although each tradition by itself is an isolated report(khabar wahid), we give it below as a connected event from the detailsprovided by the traditions.
After the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah whenthe Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) returned to Madinah, adeputation of the Jews of Khaibar visited Madinah in Muharram, A.H. 7and met a famous magician, Labid bin Asam, who belonged to the Ansartribe of Bani Zurayq. They said to him: "You know how Muhammad (uponwhom be Allah's peace and blessings) has treated us. We have triedour best to bewitch him but have not succeeded. Now we have come toyou because you are a more skilled magician. Here are three goldcoins, accept these and cast a powerful magic spell on Muhammad." Inthose days the Holy Prophet had a Jewish boy as his attendant. Throughhim they obtained a piece of the Holy Prophet's comb with some hairstuck to it. Magic was worked on the same hair and the teeth of thecomb. According to some traditions, magic was worked by Labid binAsam himself, according to others, his sisters were more skilled thanhim and he got the spell cast through them. Whatever be the case,Labid placed this spell in the spathe of a male date-tree and his itunder a stone at the bottom of Dharwan or Dhi Arwan, the well of BaniZurayq. The spell took one whole year to have effect upon the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace). In the latter half of the year the HolyProphet started feeling as if was unwell. The last forty days becamehard on him, of which the last three days were even harder. But itsmaximum effect on him was that he way melting away from within. Hethought he had done a thing whereas, in fact, he had not done it: hethought he had visited his wives whereas he had not visited them; andsometimes he would doubt having seen something whereas, in fact, hehad not seen it. All these effects were confined to his own person;so much so that the other people could not notice what state he waspassing through. As for his being a Prophet, no change occurred inthe performance of his duties. There is no tradition to say that hemight have forgotten some verses of the Qur'an in those days, or mighthave recited a verse wrongly, or a change might have occurred in theassemblies and in his counsels and sermons, or he might have presenteda discourse as Revelation which may not have been revealed to him, orhe might have missed a Prayer and thought that he had performed it. God forbid, if any such thing had happened, it would have caused aclamor and the whole of Arabia would have known that a magician hadoverpowered the one whom no power had been able to overpower. But theHoly Prophet's position as a Prophet remained wholly unaffected by it.Only in his personal life he remained worried on account of it. Atlast, one day when he was in the house of Hadrat Aishah, he prayed toAllah to be restored to full health. In the meantime he fell asleepor drowsed and on waking he said to Hadrat Aishah: "My Lord has toldme what I had asked of Him." Hadrat Aishah asked what it was. Hereplied: "Two men (i.e. two angels in human guise) came to me. Onesat near my head and the other near my feet. The first asked: whathas happened to him? The other replied: Magic has been worked on him.The first asked: who has worked it? He replied: Labid bin Asam. Heasked: In what is it contained? He replied: In the comb and haircovered in the spathe of a male date-tree. He asked: where is it? Hereplied: under a stone at the bottom of Dhi Arwan (or Dharwan), thewell of Bani Zurayq. He asked: what should be done about it? Hereplied: the well should be emptied and it should be taken out fromunder the stone. The Holy Prophet then sent Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Ammarbin Yasir and Hadrat Zubair: They were also joined by Jubair bin Iyasaz-Zurqi (two men from Bani Zurayq). Later the Holy Prophet alsoarrived at the well along with some Companions. The water was takenout and the spathe recovered. There they found that beside the comband hair there was a cord with eleven knots on it and a wax image withneedles pricked into it. Gabriel (peace be on him) came and told himto repeat the Mu'awwidhatayn. As he repeated verse after verse, aknow was loosened and a needle taken out every time, till on finishingthe last words all the knots were loosened and all the needles removed,and he was entirely freed from the charm. After this he called Labidand questioned him. He confessed his guilt and the Holy Prophet lethim go, for he never avenged himself on anyone for any harm done tohis person. He even declined to talk about it to others, saying thatAllah had restored him to health; therefore he did not like that heshould incite the people against anyone.
This is the story of themagic worked on the Holy Prophet. There if nothing in it which mightrun counter to his office of Prophethood. In his personal capacity ifany injury could be inflicted on him as it happened in the Battle ofUhud, if he could fall from his horse and be hurt as is confirmed bythe Hadith, if he could be stung by a scorpion as has been mentionedin some Traditions and none of these negates the protection promisedhim by Allah in his capacity as a Prophet, he could also fall illunder the influence of magic in his personal capacity. That a Prophetcan be affected by magic is also confirmed by the Qur'an. In Surah Al-A'raf it has been said about the magicians of Pharaoh that when theyconfronted the Prophet Moses, they bewitched the eyes of thousands ofpeople who had assembled to witness the encounter (v. 116). In SurahTa Ha it has been said that not only the common people but the ProphetMoses too felt that the cords and staffs that they cast were runningtowards them like so many snakes, and this filled Moses' heart withfear. Thereupon Allah revealed to him: "Don't fear for you will comeout victorious. Cast down you staff." (vv. 66-69). As for theobjection that this then confirms the accusation of the disbelieversof Makkah that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was a bewitchedman, its answer is that the disbelievers did not call him a bewitchedman in the sense that he had fallen ill under that effect of magiccast by somebody, but in the sense that some magician has, God forbid,made him mad, and he had made claim to Prophethood and was telling thepeople tales of Hell and Heaven in his same madness. Now, obviouslythis objection does not at all apply to a matter about which historyconfirms that the magic spell had affected only the person of Muhammad(upon whom be peace) and not the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom bepeace), which remained wholly unaffected by it.
In this connection,another thing worthy of mention is that the people who regard magic asa kind of superstition hold this view only because the effect of magiccannot be explained scientifically. But there are many things in theworld which one experiences and observes but one cannot explainscientifically how they happen. If we cannot give any suchexplanation it does not become necessary that we should deny the thingitself which we cannot explain. Magic, in fact, is a psychologicalphenomenon which can affect the body through the mind just as physicalthings affect the mind through the body. Fear, for instance, is apsychological phenomenon, but it affects the body: the hair stand onend and the body shudders. Magic does not; in fact, change thereality, but under its influence man's mind and senses start feelingas if reality had changed. The staffs and the cords that themagicians had thrown towards the Prophet Moses, had not actuallybecome snakes, but the eyes of the multitude of people were sobewitched that everybody felt they were snakes; even the senses of theProphet Moses could not remain unaffected by the magic spell. Likewise, in Al-Baqarah: 102, it has been said that in Babylon peoplelearnt such magic from Harut and Marut as could cause division betweenhusband and wife. This too was a psychological phenomenon. Obviously,if the people did not find it efficacious by experience they could notbecome its customers. No doubt, it is correct that just like thebullet of the rifle and the bomb from the aircraft, magic too cannothave effect without Allah's permission, but it would be merestubbornness to deny a thing which has been experienced and observedby man for thousands for years.
Question of Reciting Charms and Amulets in Islam
The third thing that arises in connection with these Surahs is whetherrecitation of charms and amulets has any place in Islam, and whethersuch recitation is by itself efficacious or not. This question arisesfor in many ahadith it has been reported that the Holy Prophet (uponwhom be peace) at the time of going to bed every night, especiallyduring illness, used to recite the Mu'awwidhatayn (or according toother reports, the Mu'awwidhat, i.e. Qul Huwa-Allahu Ahad and theMu'awwidhatayn) thrice, blow in his hands and then rub the hands onhis body from head to foot as far as his hands could reach. Duringhis last illness when it was not longer possible for him to so do,Hadrat Aishah recited these Surahs herself or by his command blew onhis hands in view of thei