Taken from the ‘Original Sifat as-Salah‘ By Shaykh Muhadith Nasir as-Sunnah Muhammad Nasir-Deen Al-Albaani (rahimahullaah) Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
The Obligation of Seeking Refuge from four things before the Du'aa
‘The Messenger sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to say: ‘If one of you finishes from the [last] (1) Tashahud; then he should seek refuge (2) with Allaah from four things; [he says: ‘O Allaah I seek refuge with You] from the punishment of the Hell-Fire, and from the punishment of the grave, and from the Fitna of life and death, and from the evil of the Fitna (trials) of the Maseeh ad-Dajjal.’ [then he makes Dua’ for himself with that which appears apparent to him (3)] [He -sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam- would make Du'aa with it in Tashahud] (4) [He -sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam- used to teach it to his Companions -Radhi Allaahu 'anhum- just as he would teach them a Surah from the Qur’aan.](5)
Shaykh Albani’s footnotes:
(1) The benefit of this extra wording is the legislation of this ‘seeking refuge’ in the last Tashahud rather than the first Tashahud; this is in contrast to what Ibn Hazm said in ‘al-Muhalla’ (3/271) and Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid followed him in this, whereby he said: ‘The chosen way is to make Du'aa in the first Tashahud, like making Du’aa in the last Tashahud, due to the general authentic hadeeth: ‘If one of you makes Tashahud; then he should seek refuge with Allaah from …’
Al-Hafidh said in ‘al-Talkhees’ (3/507): ‘And he commented that it is in ‘as-Saheeh’ (al-Bukhari) from Abu Huriara with the wording: ‘If one of you finishes from the last Tashahud; then he should seek refuge with Allaah from …’ Ibn al-Qayyim said in ‘Za’ad’: ‘The Messenger sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam did not seek refuge in the first Tashahud – from the punishment of the grave and punishment of the Fire …. Etc. Whoever recommended saying it, (in the last Tashahud) had understood this standing from the general texts, but the absolute texts indeed correctly clarified its position, and restricted it to the last Tashahud.’ Then al-Hafidh said in ‘al-Fath’ (2/253) after bringing the hadeeth: ‘So in this hadeeth this ‘seeking refuge’ is specified to after finishing the Tashahud; and this Du'aa precedes all other Du'aas. As for when the person praying is given the permission to choose which Du'aa he wants to supplicate with, then this is after the ‘seeking refuge’ and before giving the Salams.’
I say (sh. al-Albani): ‘And the extra wording is at the end of the hadeeth – ‘then he makes Du'aa for himself with what he wants.’ And this is a text to show that seeking refuge is in the second Tashaahud.’
(2) This shows clearly that seeking refuge is obligatory and some of the Ahl-ul-Dhahir hold this opinion – and from them is Ibn Hazm (3/271)). Al-Hafidh said (2/256): ‘Some of the people claimed that there is a consensus that it is not obligatory, however there is a problem with this; because AbdurRazaq narrated with an authentic Isnaad from Tawwoos, indicating that he holds the ‘seeking refuge’ to be obligatory. This was when he asked his son; if he had said it after the Tashahud? And his son replied: No. Tawwoos ordered him to repeat the prayer.’
I say (sh al-Albani): Indeed Muslim narrated this in his ‘Saheeh’ (2/94) as it came from Tawwoos. Al-Hafidh said: ‘Ibn Hazm was over generalizing when he said that you should also say it in the first Tashaahud. Ibn al-Mundhir said: if it was not for the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood whereby he narrated that: ‘then the person has a choice of what to make Dua’ with’ then I would have said it was obligatory.’
I say (sh al-Albani): This choice of making Du'aa excludes ‘seeking refuge from these four things’, so due to the evidence this choice of making Du'aa becomes restricted, to be said after finishing ‘seeking refuge from these four things’ – has as preceded – ; so the truth is that it is obligatory, and Allaah Knows Best.
(3) From the hadeeth of Abu Huraira -Radhi Allaahu 'anhu- collected by Muslim, Abu ‘Awaanah, Ibn Majah and Ahmad.
(4) From the hadeeth of 'Abdullaah bin 'Abbas -Radhi Allaahu 'anhu- collected by Abu Dawood and this sanad is Hasan, its narrators are all narrators of Muslim.
(5) From the hadeeth of 'Abdullaah bin 'Abbas -Radhi Allaahu 'anhu- collected by Malik and Muslim, and from him Abu Dawood, Nisaae’ and Tirmidhi. ['Original Sifat as-Salah' vol. 3/p.998 – 1001]http://en.miraath.net/content/129-obligation-seeking-refuge-four-things-duaa-tashaahud