Here again, you get SO much more out of just a little bit of study of the Arabic words used instead of just reading the English translation. Nouman Ali Khan does an amazing job of explaining it. May Allah wa ta’ala continue to bless NAK!
(Quotation marks here usually mean Ustadh Nouman is talking & I’m quoting his words. I also use quotes for Arabic words & phrases and their translation.)
Qur’an 16:98-99 is the 98th and 99th ayat (verses) of Surah An-Nahl. They say:
98: فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ Fa ‘idha qara’ta al-Qur’ana
فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ Fasta ‘idh billah
مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ mina ash-Shaytani ar-rajim
99: إِنَّه ُُ لَيْسَ لَه ُُ سُلْطَانٌ ‘Innahu laysa lahu sultanun
عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ‘ala al-ladhina ‘amanu
وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ wa ‘ala rabbihim yatawakkalun.
So when you recite the Qur’an,
[first] seek refuge in Allah
from Satan, the cursed one.
Indeed, for him there is no authority (Indeed, he has no power)
over those who have believed
and those that rely on their Lord. (and those that put their trust only in their Lord.)
(Here is a further breakdown of the words used in this ayah.)
“Allah says: “Fa ‘idha qara’ta al Qur’ana.” ”Whenever you recite the Qur’an.” It doesn’t say if you recite the Qur’an; it’s when you recite the Qur’an. Allah expects you to read the Qur’an. If the expectation was not there, it would have said “if.” Allah says when you recite it, then “fasta ‘idh billah.” ”Then seek Allah’s refuge.” “
” “Mina ash-Shaytani ar-rajim” “From the accursed Satan.” When you recite the Qur’an, Shaytan will come and try to put you to sleep. When you recite the Qur’an, Shaytan will put evil thoughts in your head. When you recite the Qur’an, you will remember the other twenty things you had to do and finish it off quickly. This is going to happen when you’re praying, this is going to happen when you’re just sitting there reciting Qur’an, when you’re trying to memorize, or when you’re just in the plane and you have some time so you pull out your Mus-haf and you start reading. It is going to happen every single time. And so every single time, seek Allah’s refuge from the accursed shaytan.”
Mus-haf: The word “Qur’an” refers to the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad. ”Mus-haf” means the written form of that revelation. For more info on the difference between Qur’an and Mus-haf, read here.
“Say, “Audhu billahi min shaytan ar-rajim” (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan) before you start reading the Qur’an. It’s a commandment of Allah Aza waJal. This is a really important part of your relationship with the Qur’an. And the one thing Shaytan wants is a distance between you and Allah. Qur’an will bring you close to Allah. He (Shaytan) hates that, so he wants to corrupt your experience with the Qur’an. He will do everything he can to corrupt that experience.”
” ” ‘Innahu laysa lahu sultanun ‘ala al-ladhina ‘amanu.” No doubt about it, he has no authority over those who truly have iman, who truly have faith. “Wa ‘ala rabbihim yatawakkalun.” And those who place their trust in Allah. In other words, Allah didn’t overwhelm us with fear, like “Oh, Shaytan, the devil is here, he’s going to mess me up.” Actually, if you trust Allah and say “Audhu billahi min shaytan ar-rajim (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan), then you believe that Allah is enough to guard you [and] Allah is enough to protect you.”
“So when you recite Qur’an, make sure that you seek Allah’s refuge. Also, the isti’ada is not just because he (Shaytan) will distract you, or not let you finish your recitation, or make you lazy. It’s also because he will make you misunderstand and misinterpret. He’ll make you think something is there that isn’t there. So seeking Allah’s refuge shouldn’t just be a recitation like “Audhu billahi… ” You should genuinely seek Allah’s protection and say “Ya Allah, protect me. I’m about to enter into Your book, I’m about to engage in Your book. I genuinely need your protection from the accursed shaytan who can take guidance and turn it into misguidance for me if I’m not careful.” “
“isti’ada” = ٳستعاذة = seeking Allah’s refuge from the devil
“May Allah protect all of us, and our recitation of the Noble Qur’an. And may Allah keep Shaytan away from our recitation of the Qur’an.”
link to video of lecture