The Prophet’s (Pbuh) supplications are meant as guidance for us so that we know how to pray to God for our own protection from all evil.
Ibn Umar said: ‘God’s Messenger always used to say the following words, morning and evening: “My Lord, I pray to You for well being in this life and in the life to come. My Lord, I pray to You for forgiveness and well being in my faith and my life, with my family and in my property. My Lord, cover my defects and give me reassurance in time of fear. Grant me protection, my Lord, from the front and the rear, from the right and the left, and from above. I seek shelter with You against any evil that may overwhelm me from under me”. [Bukhari]
In this supplication, the Prophet (Pbuh) is appealing to God for well being in all situations and all aspects of one’s life. This is clear at the beginning where well being in faith, which means having only sound beliefs and following the Divine guidance in worship and other practices, is stressed ahead of safety in life which indicates physical and psychological health. The Prophet also teaches us to pray for the well being of one’s family and property. This prayer addresses practically all the main concerns of everyone. Having sound faith, feeling healthy, and taking proper care of family and property are the total sum of what everyone would like to have at any moment in time.
Times of Fear
But the Prophet’s supplication also addresses what may unexpectedly happen. To start with he prays for the covering of his defects and to be granted reassurance in time of fear. Needless to say, the Prophet had no defect in character, action or feelings towards others. He never entertained any feeling of hatred. He loved all people and cared for them. Even those who opposed him and did him much harm would have enjoyed his love had they, at any time, acknowledged the truth of his message and believed in God.
As a human being, the Prophet experienced times of fear, but he always placed his trust in God, and prayed to Him for wellbeing, safety and security. Hence, in this supplication, he prays for reassurance in times of fear, and for God’s protection all around. He expresses this in a very tangible way, since human beings have to think within their limited world. Besides, his supplication is meant as guidance for us so that we know how to pray to God for our own protection from all evil. We cannot do better than follow the Prophet’s example and repeat his supplication.
The Prophet varied his supplication, using different formulae so that his supplication did not become too stereotyped. Moreover, the variation meant that different people heard different prayers and supplications, and reported them. We have, as a result, a good variety, and whatever we learn is sufficient as such supplication is recommended, not obligatory.
(Compiled From:”Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality” – AdilSalahi)