I seek refuge in God
I seek refuge in God A
I seek refuge in God from Satan the accursed.
When you begin reading the Quran, God wants the initial meeting point between you and him to be under his care and protection. He states:
Whenever you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with God from the accursed Satan (Chapter 16: Verse 98)
This is because as you direct yourself to the creator and seek refuge in Him, you become stronger despite your weakness; and as long as God is with you, your ability and power is above all abilities and powers. Keep in mind that many of the distractions that occupy your mind while you read the Quran are the work of Satan. Thus, when you begin reciting the Quran, it is vital that you fine-tune your attention and direct your consciousness to receive God's words properly.
Satan always comes to the believer from his weak side in order to lead him astray. If Satan finds a person rigorous in a particular act, he comes to him from another direction. For example, if a believer is careful in prayers, offering them properly in their appointed time, then Satan will attempt to sway him regarding wealth. He whispers to him the fantasy of a richer and safer future if he does not pay zakat (the obligatory alms) to the poor; while this in reality is a lie. In fact, charity instills God’s blessings and protection in our wealth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us: "Never has the wealth of a person decreased due to charity". The devil exploits people's greed and negligence of this fact by driving them towards earning unlawful money and not paying Zakat on what they have lawfully earned. Likewise, if a person is rigorous regarding wealth, then the devil may tempt him or her to indulge in adultery. And if Satan finds a person abstaining from all of these immoral acts, he turns him or her to the allure of drinking, bad company or slandering. He keeps revolving around the person's weaknesses until he manages to drag him or her into committing sin. For this reason, you should seek refuge in God, so he may strengthen your weak points and protect your vulnerabilities. When you ask for God’s company and protection before you recite the Quran, God prevents Satan from approaching and distracting you. Only then will the Quran truly become your means of guidance and enlightenment.
While the merits of the Quran are equally available to everyone, each person reaps from them according to the strength of his or her faith. Here, you may ask: Doesn't everyone who reads or listens to the Quran benefit equally? The answer is: No, as God states in this verse:
Among them are those who listen to you and then, when they leave your presence, say to those who have been given knowledge, ‘What was that he just said?’ They are those whose hearts God has sealed up and who follow their own desires (47:16)
Meaning, the Quran did not have any effect on them. On the other hand, it certainly has a positive effect on the believers who listen attentively as mentioned in this verse:
And if we had made it a Qur'an in a foreign tongue, they, surely, would have said, `Why have not its verses been made clear? What ! a foreign tongue and an Arab Prophet?' Say, `It is a guidance and a healing for those who believe.' But as to those who believe not, there is a deafness in their ears and to them it is blindness. They are, as it were, being called from a far-off place (41:44)
As you can see, the most important element in reaping the benefits of the Quran is the state of mind and faith of the person reading or listening to it. For this reason, God wants you to purify and distance yourself from Satan when you recite the Quran before Satan manages to distract you from God's verses. And while you cannot see Satan, and you might not even be aware of his presence, he can see us as mentioned in the following verse:
O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe (7:27)
Therefore, we should seek refuge and protection in a power that has the ability to see and overpower Satan. Only then will Quran's verses penetrate into the heart.
God had expelled the devil Satan from his mercy making him accursed and destined to hellfire. This was because Satan had committed his sin when he denied God's command to prostrate before Adam. His disobedience had reached its height not only because he disobeyed a direct order from God, but also because he questioned God's wisdom as stated in this verse:
God said, ‘What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?’ He replied, ‘I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from clay.’ (7:12)
It is as though Satan was not pleased with God’s judgment, and intended to be equal to Him. It was this defiance and arrogance that resulted in God banishing him from His mercy. Satan believes that Adam was the reason for his predicament, so he set his goal to deviate not only Adam but entire mankind into hellfire.
Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) lived in paradise and had readily available to them all their daily needs without any work or effort. Paradise was rich in trees and luxuries providing Adam and his wife with every fruit. They were permitted to eat from whatever they wished, except for one tree, the fruit of which was forbidden. Satan began to allure them towards sin by persuading them that by not eating from this tree they will be deprived of great benefits as mentioned in this verse:
Satan whispered to them so as to expose their nakedness, which had been hidden from them: he said, ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree to prevent you becoming angels or immortals,’(7:20)
and in another chapter the Quran states:
But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" (20:120)
In order to trick Adam and Eve, Satan exploited their reverence for God and swore by God's honor to gain their trust as stated in this verse:
Then he said to them on oath: "I am your sincere friend;" (7:21)
Through these examples, you can appreciate how Satan approaches us from many different angles. He approached Adam and Eve trying to convince them that whoever eats from this tree will become an angel or become immortal or will be granted an everlasting kingdom. Satan depicts for us that there is good in what God has prohibited, and if we just disobey the creator, we will acquire wealth and power. Adam and Eve ate from the tree, but they did not become immortal nor did they attain any lasting kingdom. On the contrary, their private parts became manifest to them. They understood that God only intended good for them by making the fruit of this tree unlawful. Had Adam and Eve thought rationally, they would have realized that Satan's temptations were false. If this tree had the ability to make the eater immortal, then why did Satan feel the need to ask God to grant him life till the day of resurrection? He could have simply eaten from this tree.
Likewise, we should always keep in mind the animosity between Satan and Adam; and we should remember that Satan asked God to keep him alive until the last day so he can take revenge from Adam and entire mankind by deviating them towards sin. Only when we remain cautious and seek refuge in God would Satan fail and his whispers become exposed.