Why we are told to take refuge from satan when reading the Quran?


In Quran, the Final Revelation from God to mankind, God command it's readers in general, to seek refuge in Lord God from the satan / devil / the arch-enemy of mankind. Here is the commanding verse:


‏فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ فَٱسْتَعِذْ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ ‎

‏إِنَّهُۥ لَيْسَ لَهُۥ سُلْطَنٌ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ ‎

‏إِنَّمَا سُلْطَنُهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُۥ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِهِۦ مُشْرِكُونَ ‎


So when you read the Qur'an, seek refuge in God from Satan, the expelled [from His mercy].

Indeed, there is for him no authority over those who have faith and trust their Lord.

Satan's authority is only over those who take satan as an ally and those who through him associate others with God.

- The Qur'an 16:98-100


Now any reasonably intelligent person who understand the reality, facts, history and preservation of the Quran as a Scripture or Divine Revelation may ask the following question:

If Qur'an is God's verbatim word, why God command it's readers to seek refuge in God from the satan?


I am not an academician, nor a mullah type preacher who earn his or her living through preaching religion. I am just an ordinary human being who prefer to think and ponder about God and God's communication. So I will not go into references full of academic acrobats reviewing all the archaic literature of people of the past who may have thought ten thousand different theories about this. 

Instead here is what I will share: My original thoughts and meditation on the above question in a brief fashion (since we are dealing with scarcity of time bombarded with hundreds of parallel distractions and short attention span).

We human beings have a remarkable ability to project our thoughts and perception outwardly. Metaphysically speaking, this is a quality of God, because the bringing forth of everything in the creation, whereas there was nothing in the beginning through emanation. This projection or emanation has infused everything with the qualities of God. Not to forget that God is the First, Huwa al-Awwalu, Alpha.

The Divine Sunnah (SunnataAllah) or Divine Way of Things is such that all Divine Qualities (Sifat) is a confirmation of this reality because we find all qualities of God in myriad forms and intensity inside all of creation and nature. Qualities such as beauty (jamal), mercy (rahma), love, justice, intensity, majesty (jalal) are example of some of such divine qualities.

Since we are made in the very Nature of God, we also project outwardly what is inside of us. Our perception, thoughts, consciousness. We see only those things about which we are pre-occupied with.

As a result when we don't like a person, we increasing notice more dislikable characteristics of that person. That persons behavior get filtered through our perception and we become blind to qualities which doesn't agree to our filter.

When it comes to Divine Scripture, my thesis is that if we are not very conscious, if we do not approach it with enough clarity and patience, our inward projections and perceptions will only jump out to us. This is how religious text across human history have been used to abuse truth and justice. People have justified injustice, violence, murder, aggression based on Scripture.

Even in today's world, if we take a small section of those who claim themselves to Muslim, we will find that their interpretation of the Quran is filtered through their sectarians zeal and bias. Dozens of theological schools of thoughts will be created just from interpretation of a single verse.

What happens as a result? The side effects can be quite dangerous. We may end up with people who may read the Quran (or Bible or Torah in that matter) and will never try to give it enough attention or thoughts, neither will they attain enough clarity to get the fuller spectrum of truth. Instead they may be only ending up validating their (or their ancestors or past theologians') limited and biased perceptions and understanding by cherry picking verses here and there. As a result understanding get fragmented and easily prone to divisions and differences of opinions. That is more or less is the history of religion of mankind.

A closed sort of mentality coupled with pre-conceived notion can give rise to literalism or literal interpretation. It may lead of intellectual suicide. This approach is dangerous and can deceive people, offering them interpretations that may seem pious but illusory. This may gives false perception that the Divine Scripture is only to be used in a disconnected way from real life. In the long run, this has a very adverse affect on human relationship with God. Such intellectual suicide can lead others to turn away from the Path of God.


The Quran or any other Divinely inspired sacred text can function like a mirror where we see only that we take in front of it.


My point is that we are told to take refuge from satan when reading the Quran to achieve a number of objectives:

1) To enter into an heightened state of awareness

2) To become conscious about possible projections from our base self, its historical pre-conceived notions, from our biographical / environmental biases such as false interpretation of the past

3) To approach the Scripture from a clear and beginners mind, as they say in zen tradition

4) To guard against falsehood from any and all possible sources and channels

5) To fix our priority, so that we know that its God's agenda first; ours last

6) And finally to remind ourselves that the highest place of refuge and place of return is God and God alone.



And to end, here is how God teaches in the Quran how to seek refuge in God from the satan / devil:

 ‏وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَتِ ٱلشَّيَطِينِ ‎

 ‏وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ ‎

And say, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils,

And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me." - The Qur'an 23:97-98



Allah is the Source of all Knowledge. May God increase our knowledge, wisdom and gnosis.


Sadiq M. Alam
Mirpur, Dhaka
Whatsapp/ Viber +8801924572887

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Technology of the Heart: Why we are told to take refuge from satan when reading the Quran?
Why we are told to take refuge from satan when reading the Quran?
The Quran or any other Divinely inspired sacred text can function like a mirror where we see only that we take in front of it.
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Technology of the Heart
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