Allāh ta’ala chose Muḥammad ﷺ as the Messenger for all the worlds and raised his status and mention among all of mankind. Allāh describes this bounty that He gave to the Prophet ﷺ in the Qur’an, and We have raised for you your mention. (94:4)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Verily, Allaah and His angels send their Salaah upon the Prophet. O you who believe, send your Salaah upon him as well as Salaam. [Ahzaab: 56]
Verses in the Quran that commands the believers to do good deeds or refrain from evil actions begins with “O you who have believed” however this verse does not begin in this way. Rather, Allāh mentions that He and His Angels send Salaah on the Prophet first before calling the Believers to follow.
The Scholars of tafseer state that this is to show the honorable and elevated status of the Prophet ﷺ as well as to show the honor in the act of sending Salaah on him. If Allāh and His Angels do this action, it should motivate the Believers to do so as well.
Imām Sa’di rahimahullah states in his tafseer regarding this āyah, And in this there is an indication of the Prophet’s ﷺ completeness, high rank, elevated status with Allāh and His creation, and his wide fame. [Tafseer al-Kareem al-Mannaan]
THE MEANING OF SALAAH
Many scholars Salaf and khalaf state that the meaning of Allah sending Salaah on the Prophet ﷺ is to praise him ﷺ in the assembly of the Angels.
- Abul-‘Aaliyah (rahimahullaah) has defined Salaah as mentioned by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh has been interpreted to mean Allah’s praising of him ﷺ before the angels.
- Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states, The best that can be said concerning this is what Abu’l-‘Aaliyah said: The ṣalāh of Allāh upon the Prophet is His praising him among the “higher group” (the angels). So what is meant by Allahumma salli ‘alayhi (O Allāh send Salaah upon him) is: O Allāh, praise him among the higher group, i.e., among the angels who are close to Allāh. Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/163, 164
- Imām Sa’di rahimahullah said, Indeed Allāh the Exalted and His Angels send Salaah upon him ﷺ meaning: Allāh praises him before the Angels, and in the exalted assembly [of Angels] due to His love for him. And the close Angels [too] praise him, make duā’ for him, and seek forgiveness [for him] in humbleness and humility. Tafseer al-Kareem al-Mannaan
- Al-Haafidh (Ibn Hajr) said: “Al-Haleemee said in ash-Shu’ab: The meaning of Allaah’s Salaah on the Prophet is His praising of him.
- The great scholar, Ibn Al-Qayyim said in his book “Jalaa-ul-Afhaam fis-Salaati was-Salaam ‘alaa Khair-il-Anaam” while discussing the meaning of the Salaat of Allaah after refuting the claim that the meaning of Salaah is Mercy and Forgiveness: Rather, concerning His Salaah and the Salaah of the Angels, and that is: Praising him (in order to elevate his remembrance ), manifesting his virtue and nobility, and seeking to honor and elevate him (his rank).”
ALLAH COMMANDS US, SALLI!
The word Salaah, we use it to mean (The 5 daily) Prayers. When Allah commands us here to ‘SALLI’, here He does not mean Pray (obviously). He means the original meaning of that word (before the coming of Islam) which is Dua. So Allah is commanding us that we supplicate to Him that He Himself sends His Salaah upon the the Prophet. So based on this, what is meant by Allaah’s statement Send your Salaah upon him! is: “Supplicate to your Lord to send His Salaat on him.” The Salaah of the angels means their requesting the same thing (i.e. praise and honor) for him from Allaah.
The meaning of Salaam
The word “SALLIM” linguistically has two meanings. Indeed, this is the route word of Islam (Salima). Its two main meanings are 1. To be free from of all agony, pain and difficulty & 2. To be in peace and tranquility.
So we supplicate to Allah saying, O Allah SALLIM ALAIHI i,e Free the Prophet from every agony, pain & difficulty (in the Dunya and akhirah) and send to him ultimate peace and tranquility.
Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states: The meaning is: May Allāh protect, keep safe and take care of His Messenger ﷺ. It is as if we are saying: Allāh is watching over you, protecting you, helping you, etc. The meaning of this then is to Ask Allah that he be keeps the Prophet safe from all harm.
It may be said: This duaa is something obvious during his lifetime ﷺ but after his death, how can we pray that he be kept safe and sound when he (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has died?
The answer is that prayer for safety and well-being are not limited to the time when someone is alive, we pray for the Prophet ﷺ, that he will be kept safe from the terrors of the standing (on the Day of Resurrection). Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/149, 150
Al-Majd Al-Fayrooz Abaadee said in his book As-Silaatu wal-Bushr fis-Salaati ‘alaa Khair-il-Bashr: “SALLIM, It means: As-Salaam – which is one of Allaah’s Names – be upon you. And the interpretation of that is: ‘May you not be void of goodness and blessing, and may you be safe from detestable and harmful things. This is since a Name of Allaah is only mentioned upon certain things in the hopes of gathering all of the meanings of good and blessing for those things, and to remove the occurrence of defects and corruption from those things.
It is befitting that the SALAAM (here) take on the meaning of SALAAMAH (i.e. peace/safety). Meaning: May Allaah’s divine decree on you be that of peace and security. i.e. May you be safe and secure from blemishes and defects.
So if you say: ‘O Allaah, send your Salaam on Muhammad’, then what you intend from this is: ‘O Allaah, decree for Muhammad – with regard to his Call, ummah and remembrance – safety and absolvement from every defect. Thus throughout the passage of time, let his Call increase in status, his ummah in numbers, and his remembrance elevation.’”
Benefits and Virtues of Salawat
- It was narrated that Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (RA) said: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “Allāh has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.” [Sunan Nasaa’i, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “Do not take your houses as graves and do not take my grave as a place of festivity (which you visit repeatedly). Send Salaah upon me for your greeting will reach me no matter where you are.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- Aus bin Aus (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “Among the best of your days is Friday; so supplicate Allāh more often for me in it , for your supplications will be displayed to me.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allāh! How will our salaah be displayed to you when your decayed body will have mixed with the earth?” He ﷺ replied, “Allāh has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (RA) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ saying: “Whoever supplicates Allāh to exalt my mention (i.e., send ṣalāh), Allāh will exalt his mention (i.e., send ṣalāh) ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.” [Muslim]
- It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Talhah from his father that the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ came one day with evident signs of happiness on his face, and he said: “Jibreel came to me and said, ‘Would it not please you, O Muhammad, to know that no one among your ummah will send Salaah upon you but I will send ten Salaah upon him, and no one among your ummah will send salaams upon you but I will send ten salaams upon him.” (Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1228)
- AbdurRahman ibn Awf (RA) said, I came to the Prophet ﷺ while he was in prostration and he elongated his prostration and then said, “Jibreel came to me and he said, ‘whoever sends ṣalāh upon you, I will send Salah on him, and whoever sends greetings (salaam) upon you, I will send greetings upon him,’ so I prostrated out of thankfulness to Allāh.’” [Haakim, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allāh returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- Ibn Mas’ood (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who supplicate Allāh more often for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan li ghayrihi Al-Albani]
Imām Nawawi rahimahullah states, “Nearest to me” signifies “those who are most entitled to my intercession”.
Abu Dardaa (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “whoever sends Salaah on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will receive my intercession.” [Al-Tabarani] This hadeeth is disputed amongst the scholars of hadeeth; Shaykh Al-Albani declared its chain weak while Al-Sakhawi and imām ibnul Qayyim declared it authentic
Censure for not sending Salaah
- Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “May his nose soil with dust in whose presence mention is made of me and he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albaani]
Imām Nawawi rahimahullah states the saying ‘may his nose be rubbed in dust’ means to suffer humiliation and disgrace. That is “may such person be humiliated and disgraced who hears my name and does not invoke Allāh‘s blessings upon me.”
- Ali (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allāh sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
- It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: The Prophet ﷺ ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Ameen, ameen, ameen.” He said: “Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to me and said: ‘If Ramadaan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allaah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honour them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allaah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send Salaah upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allaah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen.” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, 3/188; classed as saheeh by al-Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1679.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (11/168-169): Those who said that it is obligatory to send blessings upon him every time he is mentioned based their view on the ahaadeeth quoted, because the prayer for their noses to be rubbed in the dust and describing them as misers imply a warning, and the warning for omitting something indicates that it is obligatory.
Those who did not regard it as obligatory responded in several ways, such as noting that it is an opinion which is not known from any of the Sahaabah or Taabi’een, so it is a fabricated view, and if that were understood in general terms when his name is mentioned in a gathering/written form etc.
The Prophetﷺ said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani] It is important to note though that it is established among the scholars that it is not obligatory to send Salaah on the Prophet ﷺ every time his name is mentioned. (Only the 1st time is obligatory, after that it is sunnah)
Shaykh ibn Baaz rahimahullah said when asked about the validity of writing SAW/PBUH or the like: “The Sunnah is to write the entire phrase “sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam,” since it is a kind of supplication, and supplication is worship, (in one’s writing) just as it is in one’s speech. So to abbreviate it using the letter SAWS PBUH etc is not a supplication nor it is worship, whether it occurs in speech or writing. For this reason, this abbreviation was not used by the first three generations, those that the Prophet ﷺ testified to their goodness.” Fatwawa Al-Lajnatid-Daa’imah #18770
Imām Suyooti rahimahullah (as mentioned in the lecture by Dr. Saleh) also affirms this by saying, “It is disliked to resort to these abbreviations when making ṣalāh and salaam on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”
Shaykh Ahmad Shakir said, “It is the absurd tradition of some of the later generations that they abbreviate the writing of ‘sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.’” [Musnad imām Ahmad]
Sending Salaah during Dua
- Umar (RA) said, ““Duaa is suspended between heaven and earth and none of it is taken up until you send Salaah upon your Prophet ﷺ.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani]
The scholars state that it is recommended (mustahabb) to include salaah in our duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
O Allāh send Your praise and peace upon our Prophet Muḥammad
(Always and forever)
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