How should one take refuge in Allah from Satan when he starts to read the Quran?

The Details of the Question

What is the difference between "AUDHU BILLAHIS-SAMIIL ALIMI MINASH-SHAYTANIR-RAJIM" and "AUDHU BILLAHI MINASH-SHAYTANIR-RAJIM"? Since “TAKING REFUGE” before reading the Quran is certain, why is the “TAKING REFUGE” before reading the last verses of the chapter of al-Hashr different?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Istiadha lexically means "to take refuge, to be protected". As a religious term, it is used in the sense of "taking refuge in Allah from evil and asking help from Him". (1)

When a believer wants to take refuge in Allah, he says, “audhu, maadhallah” (I take refuge in Allah), “naudhu billah” (we take refuge in Allah). Basmala is the sentence “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim"; it means "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”. “Audhu basmala” is the name given to full basmala and the sentence “audhu billahi minash-shaytanir-rajim”, which means “I take refuge in Allah from the rejected Satan”.

In the Quran, the Prophet (pbuh) is ordered to take refuge in Allah from various evils, primarily the delusions of Satan, those whose hearts are full of hatred and enmity, the ill intentions and deeds of the people who discuss the verses of Allah without based on any evidence. (2) Hz. Prophet (pbuh) took refuge in Allah from bad attributes, delusions of Satan and the things that caused man trouble in both the world and the hereafter; he generally read the chapters of al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas with this purpose and advised his Companions to read them. (3)

In addition, Hz. Nuh took refuge in Allah from wishing what he does not know, (4) Hz. Yusuf from making mistakes related to the woman who approached him with lust and the incidents between him and his brothers, (5) Hz. Musa from displaying a sarcastic attitude toward his nation, (6) from the conceited people who do not believe in the hereafter, (7) from their enmity. (8) and wanted the help of Allah. It is also mentioned in the Quran that Imran’s wife (9) and his daughter, Hz. Maryam, (10) took refuge in Allah. It is stated in verse 6 of the chapter of al-Jinn that some people took refuge in jinn and that it was a wrong deed.

Acting upon the order "When thou dost read the Qur´an, seek Allah´s protection from Satan the rejected one" in verse 98 of the chapter of an-Nahl, some scholars decreed that it was wajib to take refuge in Allah before reading the Quran but the majority of the scholars hold the view that it is mustahab and that it will be more appropriate to make istiadha before starting to read the Quran. Besides, the desire to take refuge in Allah from the mistakes that can take place while reading the Quran necessitates this.

Istiadha in prayer is sunnah in the first rak’ah according to Hanafi and Hanbali madhhabs and in every rak’ah according to Shafiis. According to Malikis, it is sunnah in nafilah prayers if it is said silently and it is makruh in fard prayers. In the prayers performed in congregation, those who follow the imam do not make istiadha because istiadha is necessary for reading the Quran, not for the prayer. According to Abu Hanifa and Ahmad b. Hanbal, istiadha is said silently in prayers. According to Shafii, istiadha can be said aloud or silently in prayers in which qira’ah is aloud.

It is necessary to make istiadha aloud while reading the Quran when there are listeners except in prayer. For, it is necessary to show that qira’ah will be aloud. (11)

Istiadha can be in the form of "audhu billahi minash-shaytanir-rajim" (12); it is also permissible to start qira’ah with sentence "audhu billahis-samiil alimi minash-shaytanir-rajim". For, there are hadiths narrated from the Prophet (pbuh) about the virtue of reading the last three verses of the chapter of al-Hashr in the morning by starting with the sentence "audhu billahis-samiil alimi minash-shaytanir-rajim". (13) Probably due to those narrations, it became a tradition in some Islamic countries to start the last three verses of the chapter of al-Hashr recited especially after the morning (fajr) prayer by starting with that istiadha.

Before Islam, Arabs used to start something sometimes by mentioning the names of the idols like Lat and Uzza and sometimes “in the name of Allah” by saying, "bismikallahumma". This custom continued in the first years of Islam but after the verse of basmala in the chapter of an-Naml (14) was sent down, it became the last form of basmala and the Prophet (pbuh) uttered this form of basmala throughout his life after that. (15)

"Every deed that does not start with bismillah is unfruitful." (16)

With the hadith above, the Prophet advises starting every important and legitimate deed whether related to the world or the hereafter with bismillah. When a Muslim utters bismillah before starting something, he means this: "I start in the name of Allah, not myself or another being, in order to attain His consent, with His permission and help." And, he waits for His names Rahman and Rahim to become manifest. Thus, he states that he wishes happiness in both the world and the hereafter, that he wishes Allah to grant him the power that is necessary to fulfill the deed that he has started and that he always needs His help; he attracts the help of the Creator by doing so.

Thus, a bond based on love and a spiritual bridge forms between divinity and the slaves of Allah with bismillah, which is a symbol of Islam, the key to every good deed, and Allah’s grant to His slaves.


1. Firuzabadi, al-Qamusul-Muhit, "awdh" item.
2. Al-A’raf, 7/200; an-Nahl, 16/98; al-Mu’minun, 23/56, 97-98; Fussilat, 41/36; al-Falaq, 113/1-5; an-Nas,114/1-6.
3. For hadiths, see Wensinck, al-Mu’jamul-Mufahras li-Alfazil-Hadithin-Nabawi, "awdh" item.
4. Hud, 11/47.
5. Yusuf, 12/23,79.
6. al-Baqara, 2/67.
7. al-Mu’min, 40/27.
8. ad-Duhan, 44/20.
9. Aal-i Imran, 3/36.
10. Maryam, 19/18.
11. Ibnul-Arabi, Abu Bakr, Ahkamul-Quran, Beirut, 1988, III/157-159; Shirbini, Mughnil-Muhtaj, Beirut, 1995, I, 217; Shawkani, Naylul-Awtar, Beirut, 1994, II/200-202; Zuhayli, Wahba, al-Fiqhul-Islami wa Adillatuh, Damascus, 1989, I, 692; II/84.
12. Bukhari, Bad’ul-Khalq, 11, Adab, 76; Muslim, Birr, 109-110; Musnad, VI, 394.
13. Abu Dawud, Salat, 123; Tirmidhi, Mawaqit, 65, Thawabul-Quran, 22; Musnad, III, 50; V, 26.
14. an-Naml, 27/30.
15. Qurtubi, al-Jami’ li-Ahkamil-Quran, Cairo,1966-67, I, 92.
16. Ajluni, Kashful-Khafa, Beirut, 1988, II/119.

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