CONTENT – THE MEANING OF أعوذ – THE WAY OF THE AMBIYAH – IMPORTANT POINT – THE MEANING OF SHYTAAN – CONCLUSION
THE MEANING OF أعوذ
The term ISTI’ADHA is an abbreviation for saying Aoothubillah i.e ‘I seeking refuge in Allah’. Allah says;
‘So when you recite the Quran, [first] seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the expelled’ [An-Nahl 16:98]
What does it mean? This word أعوذ A’UDHU (I take refuge) is derived from the Arabic verb AA-THA It’s essential meaning is to flee from that which you fear will harm you to that which will safeguard you. This is why in Arabic the one or thing you seek refuge in or protection with is named MA’ADTH or MALJA’. Therefore the meaning of أعوذ A’UDHU is: I seek refuge, protection, guard myself and take precaution (with)
There are two views concerning the basis of this verb AA-THA
The first is that it is derived from the meaning of SATR meaning: to conceal/ hide/protect.
So when you say the ISTI’ADHA, it is if you’re saying ‘O Allah, conceal me from the gaze of the Shytaan/conceal me such that I am protected so that no Shytaan can influence me’.
Hence the Arabs would call a house that is built next to the roots of a date palm trees an UWWAATH (which derived from AA-THA). Why? Because when a house is surrounded by so many date palm trees you can’t actually see the house. And this the meaning of SATR.
The second meaning is that of LUZUUM AL-MUJAAWARA meaning: sticking on to/firmly adhering to. Hence the Arabs used to call the bits of meat that could not be taken off from the bone of an animal LUZUUM.
So when say the ISTI’ADHA it is as if you want to cling on to the One who you’re seeking refuge/protection with. Your heart attaches itself to Him [not physically but in terms of the state of the heart] and holds firm just as the child sticks close to its mother when threatened by an enemy. (And to Allah belongs the Highest similitude)
ISTI’ADHA: THE WAY OF THE AMBIYAH
If we look at the Quran and study the lives of the Messengers we will find they would constantly seek refuge with Allah.
And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you take us in ridicule?” He said, “I seek refuge with Allah from being among the ignorant.” [Al-Baqarah 2:67]
Our Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم used to seek refuge with Allah day and night and in all places. Example he صلى الله عليه وسلم would say, ‘O Allah I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger and from You, with You. We cannot count Your praise, You are as You have praised Yourself.’
So if this was the way of the Messengers then we should really pour out our hearts to Allah and always seek refuge/protection in Allah in all cases.
1) The ISTI’ADHA (seeking protection with Allah) is not just a mere statement of the tongue but rather 1st and foremost it’s an action of the heart.
2) We find many times that when we hear that someone has done some evil the 1st thing we says is أعوذ بالله AOOTHUBILLAH. But why are we saying such a statement? We must check our intentions. Are we saying it with an evil intent? Are we saying it to look down upon the one who has committed the evil, holding them in contempt and to belittle them etc? Rather when we say the ISTI’ADHA in this situation the intent should be because we are fearful of falling into the same sin. No one is safe from any sin except the One whom Allah has protected. So instead of filling us with pride it should humble us.
THE MEANING OF SHYTAAN
In the Arabic language the word Shytaan (Devil) is derived from the verb SHA-TA-NA
Which has the meaning of BA-UW-DA meaning: to be far away.
So the Ulamaa mention two reasons why Shytaan has this meaning of being far away.
1. He is far away from Allah and all goodness.
Allah has distanced him from all good. That’s why people who have no good in them are essentially SHAYYAATEEN (Devils) from amongst mankind.
2. He is far away from the nature of human beings.
Humans are made from TURAAB earth/clay. Shytaan/Jin is made from smokeless fire.
We will cover the subject of Shytaan in greater detail later on InshaaAllah.
The Meaning of Ar-Rajim
Ar-Rajim means, being expelled from all types of righteousness. Allah said, (And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps Rujuman (as missiles) to drive away the Shayatin (devils)) (67:5).
Further, Allah said, (And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders. And We have guarded it (near heaven) from every Shaytan Rajim (outcast Shaytan). Except him (devil) who steals the hearing then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.) (15:16-18).
There are several similar Ayat. It was also said that Rajim means, the person who throws or bombards things, because the devil throws doubts and evil thoughts in people’s hearts. The first meaning is more popular and accurate.
In summary the ISTI’ADHA means: “I seek refuge/protection with Allah from the cursed Devil so that he is prevented from affecting my religious or worldly affairs, or hindering me from adhering to what which I was commanded, or luring me into what I was prohibited from.” [Ibn Katheer]
Indeed, only Allah is able to prevent the evil of Shytaan from touching the son of Adam.
Further, the ISTI’ADHA entails seeking Allah’s help and acknowledging His ability to do everything. The ISTI’ADHA also affirms the servant’s weakness and inability to combat the unseen enemy, Shytaan. The servant cannot see Shytaan but Shytaan can see him, so the servant in turn takes refuge/protection with One who can see Shytaan but whom Shytaan cannot see, Allah.
This concludes the section on the ISTI’ADHA. There is so much more that can be said that has not been said but إن شاء الله this will suffice for now.
Click HERE for the explanation of the BASMALAH & TASMEEYAH
Seeking Refuge before reciting the Qur’an
Allah said, (So when you﴿ want to ﴾recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the outcast (the cursed one).
Seeking Refuge with Allah when One is Angry
In his Musnad, Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Ahmad bin `Ali bin Al-Muthanna Al-Mawsili reported that Ubayy bin Ka`b said, “Two men disputed with each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allah and the nose of one of them became swollen because of extreme anger. The Messenger of Allah said, (I know of some words that if he said them, what he feels will go away, ‘I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan.’)” An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith in his book, Al-Yawm wal-Laylah.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Sulayman bin Surad said, “Two men disputed in the presence of the Prophet while we were sitting with him. One of them was cursing the other fellow and his face turned red due to anger. The Prophet said, (I know of a statement which if he said it, will make what he feels disappear, `I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan.’) They said to the man, `Do you not hear what the Messenger of Allah is saying’ He said, `I am not insane.”’ Also, Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i recorded this Hadith.
There are many other Hadiths about seeking refuge with Allah. One can find this subject in the books on supplication and the virtues of righteous, good deeds.