Some people, when they want to start speaking in a khutbah, lecture or speech, start by saying A’oodhu Billaahi min al-Shaytaan il-raajeem (I seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed shaytaan). What is the ruling on that?.
It is not prescribed to seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed shaytaan when starting to speak, except when reciting Qur’aan only. Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So when you want to recite the Qur’aan, seek refuge with Allaah from Shaytaan (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one)”
It is not mustahabb for the preacher or speaker to start his words with seeking refuge with Allaah, unless there is a reason for doing so, such as if the shaytaan is whispering to him (waswaas) and filling his heart with pride or self admiration and the like. There is nothing wrong with seeking refuge with Allaah in that case for that reason, when seeking refuge is not done in order to start speaking. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And if an evil whisper from Shaytaan (Satan) tries to turn you away (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allaah. Verily, He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Knower”
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd said:
It is not prescribed to seek refuge with Allaah when starting to speak about something good, apart from recitation of the Holy Qur’aan. Hence starting to speak or preach by seeking refuge with Allaah has no basis. This is indicated by what Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) noted when discussing the benefits of seeking refuge with Allaah, when he said:
Seeking refuge before reciting is a signal that what is to follow is Qur’aan. Hence it is not prescribed to seek refuge before any other kind of speech, rather seeking refuge is an introduction that alerts the listener to the fact that what is to follow is Qur’aanic recitation, so that when the listener hears the words seeking refuge, he can prepare himself to listen to the words of Allaah. It is also prescribed for the reader, if he is alone, for the reasons that we have mentioned of this ruling and others. End quote.
Tasheeh al-Du’aa’ (p. 273).