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The Meaning of the Duʿāʾ: ‘I Seek Refuge in You from You’

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim

This duʿā shows respect for the ultimate authority and wisdom of Allāh. Understanding our dependance on Him prevents us from straying away from Islām. Goodness cannot be attained except through obedience to Him.

Whomsoever knows the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ): ‘I seek refuge in You from You’ and properly bears witness to [this statement], pays it the respect it deserves, and wholly recognizes the ownership [of Allāh] it alludes to, will find himself truly destitute [before Allāh].

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim [d. 751 AH]

For the path of true need [of Allah’s creation to Him] is predicated on this statement. Whomsoever is able to fully grasp its secret is able to fully appreciate the neediness [of the creation] that Muḥammad (ﷺ) called towards.

For He, the Glorified, is the One who saves His creation from His decree with another one of His own decrees. He is the One who grants His creation refuge from Himself. He is the One who defends what comes from Him using that which also comes from Him. For the creation in its entirety belongs to Him, all command belongs to Him, and all rulings belong to Him. Whatever He wills surely must occur, and what He does not will must not come to pass. If He should will something, nothing can divert it except by His leave. What he does not will can never be attained except by His leave. So [not a soul] is able to achieve deeds of righteousness except by His will, neither are evil deeds expunged except by Him.

There is no guidance to the most pious of actions and to the highest of moral standards except from Him, neither do the creation receive protection from objectionable actions except from Him.

وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَإِنْ يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَادَّ لِفَضْلِهِ ۚ

‘And if Allāh should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty.’
[Yūnus, 10:107]

True realisation and appreciation of this stipulates [for the creation of Allāh] their complete requirement, neediness, and destitution before Allāh. It acts as a barrier for a servant [of Allāh] that prevents him from having pride in his own actions and state. It stops him from leaving the companionship of true servanthood and claiming that which does not belong to him. How could he possibly claim for himself any state, ownership, or [lofty] station in his heart when all of his desires and actions, both apparent and unapparent, are in the Hands of His Lord and Keeper? He has absolutely no control over such matters, for it is all in the hands of the Changer of the hearts, the One who controls it however He wills. To have īmān in this and truly appreciate it is the achievement of tawḥīd itself. If this [īmān] is to waiver from one’s heart, it is as if tawḥid has also abandoned it. So glory be to the One who cannot be reached except through Him, the One who cannot be obeyed except by His will. His bounties can never be attained except through complete obedience to Him but there exists no path to complete obedience except by tawfīq and aid from Him. Thus do all matters ultimately return to Him just as all matters begin from Him. He is the First and the Last. And that to your Lord is the return (of all beings and affairs) (and of all perfections in attributes).”

Source: Ṭarīq al-Hijratayn: 29-30
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: May 31, 2023
Edited: June 1, 2023


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