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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Reciting Salawat on the Prophet (PBUH): a tool to have your sins forgiven and achieve higher rank in piety

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Surely, Allah and His angels send blessings to the Prophet. O you who believe, do pray Allah to bless him, and send your Salam (prayer for his being in peace) to him in abundance.” (Surah Al-Ahzab: v. 56)

This verse speaks the position of the Prophet (PBUH) which he holds in the heavens. Allah Almighty speaks of the Prophet (PBUH) among the angels and sends blessings upon him. Even the angels pray for exaltation of his status. Apart from that, Allah Almighty commanded those on earth to send blessings upon him. According to a hadith, when this verse was revealed, the blessed Companions(may Allah be pleased with them) said to the Prophet (PBUH):“We know how to say Salam upon you, o Messenger of Allah, but what is the way to says Salawat?” Upon this, the Prophet (PBUH) recited the Ibrahimi Salawat which is recited in salah after Al-Tahiyyat. (Sahih Bukhari)

Note: That Allah recites Salawat on the Prophet (PBUH) means that He sends His blessings upon him and mentions him among the angels, while reciting of Salawat by the angels or Muslims means praying to Allah for exaltation of his status.

Virtues of reciting Salawat as explained by the Prophet (PBUH):“He who recites Salawat upon me once, Allah will sendHis blessings ten times upon him.” (Sahih Muslims) “He who recites Salawat upon me once, Allah will send His blessings ten times upon him, forgive ten of his sins and upgrade his status ten times.” (Sunan Nasai)The ahadith speak of numerous rewards for those reciting the Salawatin accordance with their sincerity and righteousness.“He who recites Salawat upon me excessively will be closet to me on the Day of Judgment.”(Sunan Tirmidhi) “Reciting Salawat excessively will cause the (minor) sins to be forgiven.” (Sunan Tirmidhi) “The supplication is put on hold from being accepted, until Salawat is recited upon me.”(Tabarani) “Humiliated be the one in front of whom my name is mentioned and he does not recite Salawat upon me.”(Sunan Tirmidhi) The angel Gabriel invoked curse upon those who listen to the name of the Prophet (PBUH) and do not recite Salawat upon him:‘perish the one in front of whom the Prophet (PBUH) is mentioned and he does not recite Salawat upon him.’On this, the Prophet (PBUH) said Amin. (Hakim) “He is miser in front of whom my name is mentioned and he does not recite Salawat upon me.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)

Wordings of the Salawat: Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammadin Wa Ala Aali Muhammadin Kamaa Sallaita Ala Ibrahima Wa Ala AaliIbrahima Innaka Hamidum Majid. (O Allah, let Your Blessings come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.)

Who are counted in the family of Mohammad (PBUH)? The scholars have different opinions in this regard. But according to the most preferable opinion, the children of the Prophet (PBUH), his wives, his companions and all the followers of Islam are included in his family.

Some important situations to recite the Salawat:(1) The Salawat should be recited while reading, writing or listening to the name of the Prophet (PBUH), as the ahadith explain it. Reciting only Sala Allahu Alaihi Wasallam will also suffice.(2) In the last Tashahhud of salah after reciting the Al-Tahiyyat.The Prophet (PBUH) said: When a person offers salah, he should begin with praise of Allah Almighty …. then recite salah on the Prophet (PBUH) in Tashahhud, and then supplicate. (Sunan Tirmidhi) Whether reciting the Salawat after Al-Tahiyyat in the last Tashahhud of salah is Wajib (mandatory) or Sunnah Muakkadah(emphasized Sunnah), the Ulama have adopted different views about it.But we should carefully recite the Salawat in the last Tashahhud of every salah, whether it is fard or nafl. (3) After listening to the adhan before reciting the Dua: The Prophet (PBUH) said: “When you hear the Adhan of Mu’adhdhin, repeat the words which the Mu’adhdhin says. After that, recite the Salawat upon me, for Allah sends ten blessings upon the one who recites Salawat upon me. And then recite the Dua prescribed after Adhan (Allahuma Rabba Hadhihi al-Da’wati Tammati…).” (4) Recite Salawat excessively on Friday. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Recite Salawat upon me excessively on Friday. He who recites Salawat upon me on Friday is presented before me.” (Hakim and Baihaqi) (5) While making any supplication, firstly praise Allah Almighty followed by the Salawat. A person came to mosque, offered salah and began to supplicate: O Allah, forgive me, show mercy upon me. Upon this, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Hey you, you hastened in making the supplication. When you offer salah, you firstly praise Allah, then recite Salawat upon me and then supplicate for yourself.” (Sunan Tirmidhi) (5) Recite the Salawat whenever you find time. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Do not make my grave dirty, nor make your home graveyard. Keep on reciting the Salawat upon me wherever you are. Your Salawat is conveyed to me.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Reciting the Salam collectively in loud voice: The Islamic Shari’ah lays down much empasis on reciting the Salam and Salawat on the Prophet (PBUH). Reciting the Salam and Salawat is actually a form of Dhikr which can also be performed in loud voice with some conditions. But the Dhikr according to the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah should essentially be performed undertone.We should recite the Salawat on the Prophet (PBUH) from each and every corner of the world as much as possible. We should visit the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and offer Salam, which is a highly virtuous and rewarding act according to the ahadith. We can recite Salah on him from any place, as we do in Qa’dah of every salah. But while reciting Assalaamu Alaika Aiyuha Al-Nabiy in Qa’dah, we do not imagine that the Prophet (PBUH) is in front of us, and we are doing it believing him to be ever present. Instead, these Salam and Salawat are recited only because we are so directed by the Prophet (PBUH). This is not proved from the actions and sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) or those of the blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) to believe, while reciting the Salam and Salawat in salah, that the Prophet (PBUH) is physically present in front of us. Having such belief is against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.These wordings of the Salam and Salawat can also be recited any time out of salah, provided that there should not be such belief. But reciting the Salam and Salawat collectively or at a fixed time is not proved. There are no reports indicating that it ever took place in the life of the Prophet (PBUH), nor in the period of the Khulafa Rashideen (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and the blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). During the early periods of Islam, not even a single person knew about this act, nor did any of the four Imams practiceit.This innovated tradition was not found in any region till 790 AH. This act was introduced in Egypt in 791 AH. The fact is that believing in the Prophet (PBUH) to be present in every place and reciting the Salam with this belief is not permissible. The Salam can, however, be recited without such belief. Some of our brothers from India and Pakistan, who fondly practice the Salam collectively or in loud voice, do try to find out the proof of this act in the Holy Quran and ahadith. But the fact is that presenting a proof for this act from the Holy Qur’an or ahadith is just an effort to achieve self satisfaction. The clear proof of this claim is that not even a single event of collective or loud recitation of the Salam in the period of the blessed Companions, their successors and their pupils is found in the books of history. Thus, reciting the Salam with the belief that the Prophet (PBUH) is physically present in the gathering is clearly against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (