I am currently studying arabic/Islam in Syria and my professor told me that verse #98 in Surat Al Nahl Is not Wajib. It reads: “And when thou recitest the Qur’an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast” He compared this verse w/ verse #2 in Surat al- Ma’idah which reads: “…..and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt” So he basically said that the 2nd ayah i have posted is not a demand to hunt even though it is in a demand form (in arabic). So he said the verse in Ch. 16 is just like this one and said that its only a sunnah of the prophet to do it which doesnt make any sense. So my question is, how do i know when something is wajib (fard) and when something is the sunnah. Please clear this up for me, thanks!
Let us first look at the whole verse:
O you who believe! do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor (interfere with) the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people– because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid– incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil). – Al Ma’idah 5:2
It is very clear that God first orders believers not to violate the restrictions that they need to observe during the sacred month. It then says that only after finishing the obligations of Hajj, you can hunt. In other words, “then hunt” here implies “then you may hunt because you are allowed to do so.”
Now let us look at the next verse in Al Nahl:
So when you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaitan – Al Nahl 16:98
It is very obvious that the Prophet (and subsequently any one who wants to read the book) is ordered here to seek refuge from Satan when reading the Qur’an.
I think by looking at the two verses in their entirety, it is very evident that the nature of the two verses are totally different. The second verse in Al Ma’idah 5:2 (relating to Hajj) refers to permission of doing something (hunt) when Hajj is finished, while Al Nahl 16:98 is a command to do something when reading the Qur’an.
Based on the above, the comparison between the two verses does not seem to be reasonable.
There is however a point that is worth mentioning; Al Nahl 16:98 does not read, “Say I seek refuge with Allah from Satan,” it only says “seek refuge with Allah from Satan”.
Accordingly, it is not obligatory to necessarily say the above sentence.
Reading the Qur’an means opening a divine window to our Creator. A blessed and divine communication will take place. In this communication, one reads the words of his Lord and these words will affect both his mind and his soul. We want a pure and clean thoughts and spirit when this communication is taking place. We want to be free from impure thoughts, prejudgements, pride, and all other elements that could interfere in this communication. This is why we need to take refuge with Allah from Satan. Taking refuge here does not necessarily mean to say, “I take refuge…” It is really protecting and guarding our state of mind and spirit when reading the Qur’an. It is of course a good idea to say the words, “I take refuge…” to further reinforce our protected state. This (saying) however is not obligatory.
March 1, 2005