Surah An-Nas Kata per Kata

QS 114 An Naas

Surah 114 An-Naas menggambarkan tentang manusia (sesuai nama surah) yang:

  1. memiliki Rabb, Malik (Raja), dan Ilah,
  2. selalu menghadapi kejahatan melalui bisikan yang masuk ke dalam “dada” yang dibawa oleh jinn dan sesama manusia.

Cara agar manusia terhindar dari kejahatan bisikan adalah dengan memohon perlindungan dari Rabb, Maalik, dan Ilah manusia.

Kejahatan dasar yang mengancam manusia bukan sesuatu yang terlihat/tampak melainkan yang terdengar. Bahaya sebenarnya bukan apa yang kita lihat melainkan apa yang kita dengar; suara apa/siapa yang kita dengar (baca:patuhi, ikuti)?

Akar kejahatan adalah “suara”…

Suara yang datang dari jin dan manusia yang buruk/jahat adalah akar dari kejahatan.

Al-Waswaas. “Pembisik” atau suara diri yang memasukkan ide, pikiran jahat/buruk dari tempat yang tidak terlihat atau tidak disadari

Bagaimana cara menghadapi atau melawan bisikan kejahatan dari syaitan jin dan manusia?



Part of the difficulty in translating the Qu’an is the presence of huge number of difficult and archaic words with a wide range of contextual meanings. To illustrate the problem this versatility poses to translators, consider the words Al-waswas (الوسواس ) and yuwaswis(يوسوس ), derived from the root verb waswasa ) وسوس ) and translated respectively as ‘the whisper’ and ‘whispereth’ in Pickhall’s and most other English versions of the Qur’an ‘from the evil of the sneaking whisperer who whispereth in the hearts of mankind من شر الوسواس الخنّاس الّذي يوسوس في صدور النّاس (124-4-5). Considering the root وسوس by the monolingual dictionary , المحيط the definition of the root verb وسوس is as follows:

  1. of the devil-to talk evil words to someone
  2. of the self (نفس ) to talk evil to oneself
  3. of a man-to talk repetitively in secret

The noun al-waswas and the gerund waswasa are also listed under the same entry:

  1. al-waswas-name of the devil
  2. waswasa
    1. whispering sounds of hunting dogs
    2. the clank of jewelry or light metal
    3. Every evil thought that comes to the heart

As the above definition reveals, the verb وسوس is etymologically a mimetic term associated with the clank of jewelry or light metal. Like tick-tack and choo-choo in English. The duplicate syllabic structure of waswasa comes close to being a direct transcription of the repetitive voice of its common referent ‘Satan.’ Such repetitiveness adds semantic intensification to the basic iconicity of the word. The synonyms offered in more bilingual dictionaries to the word waswasa include to whisper, to suggest, and to promote evil thoughts. Although waswas is a closely associated with Satan and the inner self (nafs) wherein the devil is assumed to reside, the meaning of the verb is usually extended to include any secretive incitement to evil or sin. Given the Arabic definition above, the English verb ‘to whisper’ lacks three essential components that are integral to the Arabic verb, namely (+ satan + negative + sound)

It is important to realize that the process of waswasa is restricted to Satan in the Arabic language system, and cannot have a positive sense. Even when the grammatical subjects are human agents, they are meant to be assuming the role of the devil (Shaytan). Thus, the Arabic word “waswasa’ and the noun Shaytan collocate like the pairs dog-bark or cat-purrs. The English verb “whisper’ on the other hand has a positive sense component derived from its association with the rustle of leaves, wind, and soft agreeable sounds (Leeman 662)

It is also significant to note that the theory of one-to-one translation failed because the common one-to-one word for ‘whisper’ in Arabic is washwasha وشوش and not waswasa. In addition, one must keep in mind that ‘whispering’ denotes some measure of soft or low-frequency sounds which make the word incompatible with the mute internal speech of waswasa. In an attempt to compensate for the loss of the crucial (+Satan) encapsulated in waswasa, Pickthall (1969) inserted the word ‘sneaking’, thus hoping to convey some of the negativeness of the Arabic original while Ali (1983) chose to insert the adjective ‘evil’ in brackets after the verb

There are probably a number of reasons for Pickthall’s and Ali’s translations of waswasa as ‘whisper.’ Foremost among them is the fact that washwasha andwaswasa are semantically and phonologically similar: both are words that are low in frequency and high in sussuration. They are also intrinsically iconic. Yet they are not used interchangeably in Arabic. This translation may have been readily accepted since there appears to be no exact one-to-one equivalent in the English lexicon.

Arabic lexical terms, however, are not always translation-resistant. Rather, at times translation requires deep knowledge of the denotational and referential system in Arabic as well as in English. For example, English has alternatives to the word waswasa in Arabic. One can find the verbs ‘tempt’ and ‘hiss’ as possible equivalents to waswasa. The verb ‘tempt,’ however, has a syntactic limitations because it cannot be used in conjunction with the prepositional phrase of direction (in the hearts of people). On a lesser scale, it also lacks the /s/ sound and it is not used as an iconic for Satan. Hence, it loses a basic functional and aesthetic factor. Since the /s/ embedded within the word, waswasa is actually an icon of the mute but internally ringing and reverberating incitements of the devil.

A more adequate equivalent for the Arabic verb waswasa may be the English word /hiss/ which is loaded with /+ s/ and (+iconic) components, in addition to its strong collocation with ‘snakes’ and ‘serpents’ which in turn are figuratively collocated with Satan. The employment of this verb surely saves the aesthetic value of the Arabic text. []

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