Servitude in the Opening Supplication

And when he says, “You are glorified O Allah and praised! Your Name is Blessed” And then glorifies Him and praises Him in repetition with what befits Him, he comes out of the state of heedlessness that stands as a barrier between him and Allah. Then he greets and praises with expressions that befit His Kingship when someone enters upon Him, to glorify Him and as a prelude to his own needs and requests that he hopes the King to grant. This is why praising over and over again is considered from the etiquettes of expressing one’s servitude to Allah and glorifying Him, and the means whereby the slave receives the attention of Allah as well as His pleasure and approval to fulfil his requests.

The state of the slave in al-Qira’ah and al-Istiadhah

As he is about to recite the Quran, he precedes it by seeking refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan who never spares any effort in his tireless endeavour, to bring about the downfall of the slave of Allah – especially when the slave is in a station of utmost honour (i.e. salah) while seeking to perform the single most beneficial deed for this life and the hereafter. Hence, he (Satan) is fervently determined to prevent the slave of Allah from praying by any means; failing to do so he wants to see to it that at the very least, his heart does not benefit from it (i.e. the salah) by casting into his heart all sorts of whispers and thoughts to distract it from fulfilling the duties of servitude to Allah. Therefore Allah has ordered His slave to take refuge in Him from Satan (before starting his recitation in salah) to assure the safety of his salah, so that his heart may be revived and illuminated by the understanding he acquires from contemplating the words of Allah as He is the Master in whose hand is the success, grace and life of his heart. This also explains why Satan is keen to distract his heart from understanding the words of Qur’an when recited.

It is from Allah’s knowledge about the enmity and resentment of Satan against His believing slaves and their incapacity to face him that He ordained upon them to take refuge in Him from Satan so that He may suffice them against his evil and harm. It is as if he is saying to His slaves, you cannot win against this enemy; thus take refuge in me and I shall protect you against him and safeguard you from his evil and harm.

Inner Dimensions of the Prayer by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah Pages 30-33