Salaah: Explanation of The Thanaa and Isti’aadha

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Praising Allah (Thanaa)

Inorder to attain kushoo’ in salaah, it is important to understand the words you are saying. After the first takbeer you should say:

سُبْـحانَكَ اللّهُـمَّ وَبِحَمْـدِكَ وَتَبارَكَ اسْمُـكَ وَتَعـالى جَـدُّكَ وَلا إِلهَ غَيْرُك

“How perfect You are O Allah, and I praise You. Blessed be Your name, and lofty is Your position and none has the right to be worshipped except You.”

The term, ‘subhaanak’, incorporates one of the greatest fundamental meanings of Tawheed and one of the basic principles of belief in Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, which is declaring Him to be above any fault, shortcoming, corrupt notions or false ideas that are attributed to Him by the mushrikeen or heretics.

“He is Allaah, beside Whom Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All‑Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allaah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him”

[al-Hashr 59:23]

A man came to Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) and said:

Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah” we know: there is no god other than Him. “Al-hamdu Lillaah” we know: all blessings come from Him and He is the One Who to be praised for them. “Allaahu akbar” we know: there is nothing greater than Him. But what does “Subhaan Allaah” mean?

He said: “This is a word that Allaah has approved for Himself, and has enjoined His angels to say, and inspired the elite of His creation to utter.”


حَمْـد- is to praise Allah with love and reverence, whether good has happened to you or not. As mentioned in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, ‘حَمْـد’ means that ‘all thanks are due purely to Allah, alone, not any of the objects that are being worshipped instead of Him, nor any of His creation. These thanks are due to Allah’s innumerable favours and bounties, that only He knows the amount of. Allah’s bounties include creating the tools that help the creation worship Him, the physical bodies with which they are able to implement His commands, the sustenance that He provides them in this life, and the comfortable life He has granted them, without anything or anyone compelling Him to do so. Allah also warned His creation and alerted them about the means and methods with which they can earn eternal dwelling in the residence of everlasting happiness. All thanks and praise are due to Allah for these favours from beginning to end.”

After praising Allah and affirming your belief in His oneness and negating anything attributed to Him, we seek refuge in Allah from shaytaan-turning away from our enemy and turning towards our Protector.

Three of the expressions of seeking refuge from Shaytaan:

Note: All three are from the way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, so it is good to use one or the other from time to time when commencing to recite Surah Fatiha in the first Rak’ah.

<< أَعـوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْـطانِ الرَّجيـم >>

  • “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan, the Rejected”

«أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزَهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ»

  • “I seek refuge with Allah from the Evil One (shaytan), the Rejected, from his coercion, lures to arrogance and his poems.”

«أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ السَّمِيعِ الْعَلِيمِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزَهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ»

  • “I seek refuge with Allah, the Hearing, the Knowing, from the cursed Satan, from his coercion, lures to arrogance and his poems.”

Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen shares some wisdom of seeking protection of Allah:

“The benefit of Isti’aadha is such that the Shaytaan be far away from the person’s heart while he is reciting the Book of Allah, such that he reflects and ponders upon the Qur’aan, understands its meanings and benefits from it. There is a difference between you reciting the Qur’aan while your heart is present versus you reciting the Qur’aan while your heart is distracted! But when you recite it while your heart is present (and attentive), you get to know meanings and benefit from the Qur’aan what you will not get if you read it while distracted and inattentive. Try it for yourself, you’ll see!” [ Sharh Mumti: volume 3]

Below is a detailed meaning of the terms used in the iti’aadha, from the Arabic root, by Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen from Sharh Mumti:

معني أعوذ بالله أي ألتجئ وأعتصم به لأنه سبهانه وتعلي هو الملاذ وهو المعاذ…قال العلماء الفرق بينهما أن اللياذ لطلب الخير والعياذ للفرار من الشر:

يا من ألوذ به فيما أُؤَمِّلُهُ
ومَن أعوذ به مما أُحاذِره

لا يَجْبُرُ الناسُ عظماً أنت كاسِرُه
ولا يهيضونَ عظماً أنت جابِرُه

“A’oodhu billah means “I seek refuge and protection in/with Him, because He, Glorified and Exalted, He is the One from whom all good is sought (called ‘malaadh’ in Arabic), and He is the One to whom we turn to seek refuge and protection from others (called ‘Eaadh’ in Arabic).”[The poetry cited shows this meaning from classical literature]

الشيطان من شَطَنَ إذا بعُدَ لبعده من رحمة الله فإن الله لعنه أي طرده. و أبعده عن رحمته
أو من شاط إذا غضِب لأن طبيعته الطَيشُ والغضبُ والتسرعُ ولهذا لم يتقبل أمر الله سبحانه وتعالى بالسجود لآدم بل ردَّه روراً وأنكر السجود له “وقال أأسجد لمن خلقتَ طيناً”[الإسراء:61].

والمعنى الأول هو الأقرب ولذلك لم يمنع من الصرف، لأن النون فيه أصلية

“The word ‘Shaytan’, in Arabic is:

Either derived from shatana which means to be distanced, i.e. shaytaan is far from the mercy of Allah because Allah cursed hi, i.e. repelled him and distanced him and distanced him from His mercy

Or it may be derived from the word ‘Shaata’ meaning to be angry, because his nature is to be reckless, angry and hasty, and thus he did not accept to follow the command of Allah to prostrate to Adam, and immediately (with pride, arrogance and hate) refused to prostrate to Adam and said, “Should I prostrate to he whom You created from clay?” (Surah Isra: 61)

The first meaning seems to be the more correct and that is why the word shaytaan is used in the Arabic language in different morphological forms because the letter Nuun in it, is one of its root letters.”

أما الرجيم فهو بمعنى راجم وبمعنى مرجوم لأن فعيلا تأتي بمعنى فاعل وبمعنى مفعول فمن إتيانه بمعنى فاعل سميع و بصير و عليم والأمثلة كثيرة ومن إتيانه بمعنى مفعول جريح و قتيل و كسير وما أشبه ذلك.

فالشيطان رجيم بالمعنيين فهو مرجوم بلعنة الله والعياذ بالله وطرْدِه وإبعاده عن رحمة الله، وهو راجم غيره بالمعاصي فإن الشياطين تؤُزُّ أهلَ العاصي إلى المعاصي أزّاً

“As for Rajeem, it means to be pelted away or the one who distances other away. Shaytaan is indeed pelted away with the curse of Allah-we seek refuge in Allah- and he is distanced away from the mercy of Allah.

Shaytaan is also the one who distances others away through sins, because he entices and severly pushes the sinful person towards sins!”

Understanding the meaning of the thanaa and the isti’aadha will grant us the ability to attain khushoo’ from the beginning and maintain it throughout the salaah. Keep an eye out for the next article and until then, may Allah make salaah the coolness of our eyes ameen.

Wa asalaamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh.




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