Please note that the following introduction is for both Surah Al Falaq (113) and Surah An Nas (114).
Although these two Surahs of the Qur'an are separate entities and are written in the Mushaf also under separate names, yet they are so deeply related mutually and their contents so closely resemble each other's that they have been designated by a common name Mu'awwidhatayn (the two Surahs in which refuge with Allah has been sought). Imam Baihaqi in Dala'il an-Nubuwwat has written that these Surahs were revealed together, that is why the combined name of both is Mu'awwidhatayn. We are writing the same one Introduction to both, for they discuss and deal with just the same matters and topics. However, they will be explained and commented on separately below.
Hadrat Hasan Basri, 'Ikrimah, 'Ata' and Jabir bin Zaid say that these Surahs are Makki. A tradition from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas also supports the same view. However, according to another tradition from him, it is Madani and the same view is held also by Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Zubair and Qatadah. One of the traditions which strengthens this second view is the Hadith which Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal have related on the authority of Hadrat 'Uqbah bin 'Amir. He says that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peach) one day said to him: "Do you know what kind of verses have been revealed to me tonight? These matchless verses are A'udhu bi-Rabbil-falaq and A'udhu bi-Rabbin-nas. This Hadith is used as an argument for these Surahs to be Madani because Hadrat 'Uqbah bin 'Amir had become a Muslim in Madinah after the hijrah, as related by Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i on the basis of his own statement. Other traditions which have lent strength to 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 were revealed when the Jews had worked magic on the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in Madinah and he had fallen ill under its effect. Ibn Sa'd has 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 as Madani.
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 on this or that particular occasion, it does not necessarily mean that it was revealed for the first time on that very occasion. Rather it sometimes so happened that a Surah or a verse had previously been revealed, then on the occurrence or appearance of a particular incident or situation, the Holy Prophet's attention was drawn to it by Allah for the second time, or even again and again. In our opinion the same also was the case with the Mu'awwidhatayn. The subject matter of these Surahs is explicit that these were sent down at Makkah in the first instance when opposition to the Holy Prophet there had grown very intense. Later, when at Madinah storms of opposition were raised by the hypocrites, Jews and polytheists, the Holy Prophet was instructed to recite these very Surahs, as has been mentioned in the above cited tradition from Hadrat Uqbah bin Amir. After this, when magic was worked on him, and his illness grew intense, Gabriel came and instructed him by Allah's command to recite these very Surahs. Therefore, in our opinion, the view held by the commentators who describe both these Surahs as Makki is more reliable. Regarding them as connected exclusively with the incident of magic is difficult, for to this incident related only one verse (v.4), the remaining verses of Surah al Falaq and the whole of Surah An-Nas have nothing to do with it directly.
English Translation: Noor International