Four Things to Seek Refuge from Daily in the Prayer
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « إِذَا فَرَغَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِنَ التَّشَهُّدِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَتَعَوَّذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ أَرْبَعٍ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ وَمِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ وَمِنْ شَرِّ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ
“When one of you finishes the last Tashahud ,then seek refuge in Allah from four things; from the punishment of Jahannam, from the punishment of the grave, From the trials of life and death and from the evil of the Messiah Dajjal.
A brief commentary of this hadith (Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymeen)
“When one of you finishes the last Tashahud” This clearly proves that this supplication isn’t said after the 1st Tashahud.
“Then seek refuge in Allah from four things…” seeking refuge means one seeks protection from evil. It’s a safety shield. Thus seeking refuge is asking security from something that a person fears. These four things mentioned are things which the human-being hates; this is why he seeks refuge in Allah from them.
“from the punishment of Jahannam…” Jahannam is one of the many names for Hell. It’s called Jahannam because it’s dark, black and gloomy
“from the punishment of the grave…” The intended meaning of the grave here is everything after one’s death until his resurrection, regardless whether he is buried in a grave underground, or above ground, or if the animals eat his corpse, or even if he’s buried at sea.
The grave punishment is an established act as mentioned in the Quran and the authentic Sunnah.
** Issue ** Is the grave’s punishment on the body, the soul, or on both?
The origin is the punishment of the grave is on the soul, however, at times the soul and the body, both join and the punishment can take place on both.
** Issue ** Does the punishment of the grave continue until the Resurrection or does it stop”
For the disbelievers then it continues as their punishment is everlasting. Then as for the sinner’s punishment from the believers, it can also continue until the Resurrection or cease; as Allah wills from His mercy. This is based on him being punished to the extent of his disobedience.
A questioner might ask,” Why is it then that the punishment of the grave is established in the Quran, the Sunnah and the consensus of the scholars, yet we don’t see any physical evidence of torture when we dig up the body?
The answer is the punishment in the next life isn’t like the punishment of this life. It’s impossible to compare the two. The punishment of the grave is on the soul, and even if the body is punished along with it then it doesn’t mean that the punishment must be visible. The reason being, if the punishment of the grave was visible to the naked eye this would take away the benefit of believing in the unseen. It’s been authentically reported that when a disbeliever is hit in his grave he screams to point everything hears him, except the Jinn and mankind.
“ From the trials…” The word Fitna (trial/test) refers to everything a person is facing in regards to his faith which drives him away from it. When the servant finds in front him things which turn him away from his religion, but he has strong faith then he won’t be affected, but if his faith is lax, then he will have a hard time.
“trials of life” This life. These tests go back to two things. They are either desires or doubtful matters. A desire is when a person doesn’t intend the truth and doubtful matters are when the truth isn’t crystal clear. Every trial and test for person is either one of these two situations. Everything intended to oppose the truth is a trial from evil desires. For example, a person wants to pray, but his soul doesn’t want to, or a person doesn’t want to steal, but he ends up stealing. What’s more is a person doesn’t drink intoxicants, but ends up drinking, or isn’t a known fornicator; however, in the end, he commits fornication or adultery. These are all examples of evil desires testing a person’s faith.
The fitnah of doubtful matters is when a person is ignorant of the truth and is lead to follow falsehood. He follows the wrong path unintentionally, but out of ignorance thus he goes astray.
There is dua about asking for protection against being misled.
اللَّهُمَّ أَرِنَا الْحَقَّ حَقًّا وَارْزُقْنَا اتِّبَاعَهُ ، وَأَرِنَا الْبَاطِلَ بَاطِلاً وَارْزُقْنَا اجْتِنَابَهُ وَلاَ تَجْعَلْهُ مُلْتَبِساً عَلَيْنَا فَنَضِلَّ
Oh Allah show us the actual truth and grant us the ability to follow it and show the reality of falsehood and grant us the ability to avoid it and don’t place it over us causing us to go astray.
“ the trials of the death…” can either refer to the trial a person faces at the time of his death or after his death. Some scholars have said this implies after his death as everything before it is life. A person is either alive or dead. The meaning for the trials of death is the questioning in the grave from the two angels about his lord, his religion, and his prophet. This is a trial among the doubtful matters; as a person is afraid that he’ll be lead away from answering correctly.
Other scholars have said, “ the trials of death…” means at the time of death; since after death one is saved if he dies following what’s correct, and if he dies following misguidance then he’s misguided. There no way to seek refuge from the trials of death at that time. The trials of after death are connected to what precedes it. The text only mentions the trials after death, although the trials of life are more severe; since Satan strives diligently at the time of a person’s death to mislead him as that is the final hour.
In closing what’s apparent is the trials of death are what are before death, at the time of death, and after it.
“from the evil of the Messiah Dajjal.” There are three narrations which taking refuge from the Dajjal is mentioned.
- From the trials of the Dajjal
- From the evil of the Messiah Dajjal
- From the evil trials of the Messiah Dajjal
The Dajjal is one who lies constantly. His appearance is a sign of the major signs of the Day of Judgment. The Dajjal will claim to be Allah. Allah will give him the ability to do things that will serve as a test for the people. When he goes to the people he will tell to make a deity of him to worship and when they do so he will tell the sky to rain and command the Earth to grow vegetation.
Among his other trials is he will kill a person, then cut him in half and walk between him, and then put him back together. He will roam this earth for forty days. The first day will feel like a year, the second day will be like a month, and the following day will be like a week. Then following this the rest of the days will be a normal thirty- seven days. After that Isa ibn Maryam will descend and kill him. Isa will remain on Earth as long as Allah wills. Then after that Gog and Magog will appear and all of these are among the major signs of the hour.
Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle Sr.
 At-Taleeq ala Al-Muntqa min Akbaril Mustafa , by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymeen ,vol 1,pg 377-388