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Aspects Of Islamic Faith - 48: Supplication During Prayer - In The Prophet Way

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Aishah, the Prophet’s wife, reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say in his supplication during prayer: “My Lord, I seek shelter with You from the torment in the grave, from the test of the Imposter claiming to be the Messiah, from the tests of life and death and from sin and debt.” Someone said to him: ‘You often pray for shelter from debt.’ He said: “When a person is unable to repay his debt, he talks and lies; he promises and fails to honor his promises.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

The Prophet used to include this supplication in his prayer, as its penultimate component, which means that he used to say it after the tashahhud and before finishing the prayer with salam. The first thing the Prophet appealed to God to protect him from is the “torment in the grave.” Some people question whether such torment is real. The facts that the Prophet included it in his supplication, and that the hadiths mentioning it are authentic, are sufficient evidence that it is true. How it happens? Is it limited to the soul or does it affect the body? How can the dead body feel the torment? All such questions relate to matters beyond our world. We cannot begin to understand them because there is nothing in our human experience to indicate how they happen. It is sufficient for our purposes to remember the Qur’anic verse relating to Pharaoh’s people: “Before the fire they are brought, morning and evening, and then on the Day when the Last Hour comes, it will be said: Cast Pharaoh’s people into the worst suffering.” (40: 46) It is clear that the verse mentions an action that takes place before the Day of Judgment. It may be that one form of the torment in the grave is that these people are brought before the fire every morning and evening. This leaves them in dread of what will happen to them when they are finally cast into it.

The Prophet also told us of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Before his descent, an Imposter will claim to be him, and he will be followed by large numbers of people. They will be deceived by his actions, which will appear miraculous. However, true believers will see him for what he is. Hence, the Prophet appeals to God to protect him from accepting the Imposter’s claims should he come during his own lifetime.

During life we are exposed to a great variety of tests. The most important of these is that which proves whether we are true believers or not. Temptations are varied and unless we have good resolve to adhere to our values, we are likely to yield to one form of temptation or another. We are then set on a slippery road that may take us out of faith altogether. Therefore, we should seek God’s protection against failing in such tests. The test after death is that of examining our beliefs and actions. If these prove to be of the right type then we have nothing to fear.

The last appeal the Prophet included in his supplication was for protection against sin and debt. It is easy to understand the need to be protected from sin, because sin incurs God’s displeasure and repetitive sinning leads to punishment in hell in the hereafter. It is then to be avoided at all cost.

What the Prophet’s companions needed to understand was why he frequently appealed to God for protection against debt, which is a normal transaction that people always resort to. The Prophet explained that when a person is unable to settle his debt on time, he resorts to lying and he breaks his promises. He tells his creditor that things were beyond his control and tries to find excuses. Such excuses may be untrue and his assertions may be false. He also promises the creditor to settle within a certain period. He often finds himself unable to fulfill his promises. Telling lies and failing to honor one’s promises are two characteristics of hypocrites. Hypocrisy is a major sin. Hence, the Prophet’s supplication against failing to repay one’s debts.
 

 

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