The act of seeking refuge necessarily consists of three parts:The act of seeking refuge itself;the seeker of refuge; andhe whose refuge is sought.
Seeking refuge implies feeling fear of something and seeking protection of another, or taking cover of it, or clinging to it, or going under its shelter for safety. The seeker after refuge in any case is the person, who feels that he cannot by himself resist and fight the thing that he fears, but stands in need of refuge with another for protection. Then the one whose refuge is sought must necessarily be a person or being about whom the seeker after refuge believes that he or it alone can protect him from the calamity.
Now, one kind of refuge is that which is obtained according to natural laws in the physical world from a perceptible material object or person or power. For example, taking shelter in a fort for protection against the enemy's attack, or taking cover in a trench or behind a heap of earth, or a wall for protection against a shower of bullets, or taking refuge with a man or government, for protection from a powerful tyrant, or taking refuge in the shade of a tree or building for protection from the sun. Contrary to this, the other kind of refuge is that which is sought in a supernatural Being from every kind of danger and every kind of material, moral or spiritual harm and injury on the basis of the belief that the Being is ruler over the physical world and can protect in super-sensory ways the one who seeks His refuge. This second kind of refuge is the one that is implied not only in Surah AI-Falaq and Surah An-Nas but wherever in the Qur'an and the Hadith mention has been made of seeking refuge with Allah, it implies this particular kind of refuge, and it is a necessary corollary of the doctrine of Tauhid that this kind of refuge should be sought from no one but Allah. The polytheists sought this type of protection, and even seek it today from other beings than Allah, e.g. the jinn, or their self-made gods and goddesses. The materialists also turn for such refuge in material means and resources, for they do not believe in any supernatural power. But the believer only turns to Allah and seeks refuge only with Him, to ward off against all calamities and misfortunes in which he feels powerless.
For example, about the polytheists it has been said in the Qur'an:"And that from among men some people used to seek refuge with some among the jinn (Al-Jinn: 16)."And explaining it in Surah Al-Jinn we have cited Hadrat `Abdullah bin 'Abbas's tradition that when the polytheistic Arabs had to pass a night in an uninhabited valley, they would call out, saying: We seek refuge of the lord of this valley (i e. of the jinn who is ruler and master of this valley)." Contrary to this, about Pharaoh it has been said:"When he witnessed the great Signs presented by the Prophet Moses, he showed arrogance on account of his might." (Adh-Dhariyat: 39).
As for the attitude and conduct of the God-worshippers, the Qur'an says that they seek Allah's refuge for protection against the evil of everything that they fear, whether it is material or moral or spiritual. Thus, about Mary it has been said that when God's angel appeared before her suddenly in human guise (when she did not know that he was an angel), she cried out: "I seek the merciful God's refuge from you, if you are a pious man." (Mary: 18). When Prophet Noah made an improper petition to Allah, and was rebuked by Allah in response, he immediately submitted: "My Lord, I seek Your protection lest I should ask of You anything of which I have no knowledge." (Hud: 47) When Prophet Moses commanded the children of Israel to sacrifice a cow, and they said that perhaps he was jesting with them, he replied: "I crave Allah's protection from behaving like ignorant people." (Al-Baqarah: 67)
The same is the case with alI the acts of seeking refuge which have been reported in respect of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in the books of Hadith. For instance, consider the following prayers that the Holy Prophet made:
Supplications of The Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
- Hadrat 'A'ishah has reported that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) used to pray, saying: "O God, I seek Your refuge from the evil of the works which I did and from the evil of the works which I did not do." (i.e. if I have done a wrong, I seek refuge from its evil results, and if I have not done a work which I should have done, I seek refuge from the loss that I have incurred, or from that I should do what I should not do)." (Muslim)
- Ibn Umar has reported that one of the supplications of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was to the effect: "O God, I seek Your refuge from being deprived of a blessing that You have bestowed on me and from being deprived of the well-being that You have granted me and I seek refuge lest Your wrath should descend on me suddenly, and I seek refuge from every kind of Your displeasure." (Muslim)
- Zaid bin Arqam has reported that the Messenger Of Allah used to pray: "O God, I seek Your refuge from the knowledge which is not beneficial, from the heart which does not fear You, from the soul which is never satisfied, and from the prayer which is not answered." (Muslim)
- Hadrat Abu Hurairah has reported that the Holy Messenger used to pray: 'O God, I seek Your refuge from hunger, for it is a most evil thing with which one may have to pass a night, and I seek Your refuge from dishonesty, for it is sheer evil-mindedness." (Abu Da'ud).
- Hadrat Anas has reported that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) used to pray: "O God, I seek Your refuge from leprosy and madness and all evil diseases." (Abu Da'ud).
- Hadrat 'A'ishah has reported that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) used to pray in these words: "O God, I seek Your refuge front the mischief of the fire and from the evil of affluence and poverty." (Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud)
- Shakal bin Humaid requested the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to teach him some prayer. He told him to say "O God, I seek Your refuge from the evil of my hearing, from the evil of my sight, from the evil of my tongue, from the evil of my heart, and from the evil of my lust," (Tirmidhi Abu Da'ud).
- Anas bin Malik has reported that the Holy Prophet used to say: "O God, I seek Your refuge from helplessness, indolence, cowardice, old age and stinginess, and I seek Your refuge from the torment of the grave and from the mischief of life and death, (and according to a tradition in Muslim also) from the burden of debt and that the people should overpower me. " (Bukhari, Muslim)
- Khawla bint Hukaym Sulamiyyah says that she heard the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) as saying that the one who halts at a new stage (during the journey) and says: "I seek refuge in the blameless Words of Allah from the evil of the creatures", will not be caused any harm until he departs from that stage. (Muslim)
We have related these few prayers of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) from the Hadith, which show that the believer should seek Allah's refuge from every danger and evil and not the refuge of anyone else and that he should not place reliance only on himself.
compiled by Ishaq Zahid
Jan. 20, 2011