Allah has enjoined us, when we wish to begin reading His Book, to seek His protection against Satan the stoned so that we place ourselves under the aegis and care of Allah. Allah SWT says in his noble book:
فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
So when you recite the Qur’an, [first] seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the expelled [from His mercy]. (16-98)
This verse, therefore, prompts the reader to seek refuge (protection) from Allah when reading the Holy Qu’ran. The formula to seek refuge with Allah against the cursed satan:
أَعُوذُ بِاللَّـهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
“I seek refuge with Allah against satan the accursed”
This formulation is unanimously accepted by scholars and is necessary for anyone who is beginning to recite or read the Qu’ran.
Its legal character is the recommendation (mustahabb), and it is the opinion of most scholars of qiraa, but some scholars have seen it as obligatory.
We can also stop reading it or link it to what follows (the basmala or other verse of Holy Qu’ran). Both ways are genuine and righteous, although linking al isti’adha with the following is better.
Depending on the situation, we will pronounce al isti’adha aloud or in a low voice.
Saying it out loud is done in 2 cases:
- When other people hear the reciter, he will say it aloud.
- When the reciter is in a learning group and is the one who starts reading in the group, that is to say, that he will say it out loud knowing that it is the first person to recite, the others will not need to pronounce it afterwards, they will be exempt from it.
Saying it in a low voice is done in 4 cases:
- For prayer, both in a low voice and in a loud voice.
- A person reading the Holy Qur’an in a low voice, on a train or otherwise.
- When the reciter takes place in a learning group and is not the first to read, maintain the common reading continuity.
- When reading the Holy Qur’an alone.
Note: When the reader wishes to recite a passage from a sura which is not the beginning of it, he pronounces the formula of al-‘isti’adha.
However, it is not recommended to chain al-‘isti’adha directly with the verse if this direct link can confuse the meaning of the verse.
Sura Al-Baqara verse 255 (ayat al-kursiy), the beginning is:
اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ
It is not appropriate to link the word الرَّحِيْمِ to the name of Allah اللَّـهُ. Thus Imam Ash-Shâtibi ordered to read al-basmala after al-‘isti’adha in such cases.
The different ways of linking al ‘isti’adha and the basmala
It is a fact of tying everything together without pausing, al – ‘isti’adha and basmala with the beginning of a surah. This is a permissible way. Example with Surah Al Ikhlas verse 1:
We mark a stopping point after al isti’adha, then after the basmala and before the reading of the sura. This is what is most common.
al ‘isti’adha and the basmala bond
You tie al isti’adha to the basmala, mark a stopping point, and then start the beginning of the sura.
The break on al ‘isti’adha and the bond between the basmala and the first verse of the surah
We read al isti’adha and mark a break point, then tie the basmala and the beginning of the sura.
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Al Basmala - البَسْمَلَة
The basmala is the act of saying:
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
There is no disagreement that it is a verse in Sura An-Naml verse 30:
نَّهُ مِن سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Indeed, it is from Solomon, and indeed, it reads: ‘In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, (27:30)
But there is a divergence on the basmala at the beginning of each sura, on whether it is a verse, strictly speaking, or not. Thus the readers of Kufa and Mecca consider it as a verse for all suras, this is also the opinion of Imam Ach-Châfi’i.
While readers of Medina, Basra, as well as of Sham do not consider it as a proper verse, but as a break between the suras and as barakah (blessing) at the beginning of the suras, this is the opinion of Imam Malik.
Imam Hafs considers the basmala of each sura to be averse. Ibn Kathir, Asim, Al-Kasahi, Abu Jafar, Qalun, warsh (by the Tariq of Asbahany) read the basmala between two suras (except between suras Al-Anfal and At-Tawbah).
While Hamza linked two suras without basmala, just like Khalaf (from whom it is also reported that he made a slight silence, that is to say, that he read the last verse of a sura and the first verse of the following one, without basmala and without taking a breath during the silence).
The rest of the readers, that is to say, Abu Amru, Ibn Amr, Yaqub, and the version of Warsh (by the Tariq of Al-Azraq), read with the 3 possibilities:
- the basmala between the two suras,
- silence without basmala,
- the link without the basmala.
Regarding sura barâa also called At-Tawbah the opinion of all readers is that there is no basmala between the two suras.
The different ways of reading the basmala between 2 suras according to Hafs
Tying everything together without pausing, we will read the end of the sura by chaining the basmala with the beginning of the sura without stopping.
Example with sura Al Falaq verse 5 and sura An Nas verse 1:
There is a stopping point after al isti’adha, as well as for the basmala and before the reading of the sura. This is what is most common.
The break on the last verse
Read the end of the sura and mark a breakpoint, then tie the basmala and the beginning of the next sura.
the interdiction of making a tie between the last verse and the basmala, then to take a break
The possibility to link the last verse of the sura to the basmala and to mark a stopping point before reading the first verse of the next sura is however not allowed, because the basmala defines the beginning of a sura and not its end.
- It is recommended to read al-basmala at the beginning of every sura except Sura At-Tawbah (repentance).
- When the reader begins to read during a sura, he has the choice of whether or not to read al-basmala.
However, if he wishes to follow the reading of al-basmala with the beginning of the verse in the middle of the sura, he must take care that the meaning is not confusing, as mentioned previously concerning al-‘isti`adha.