Why do we send salah and salam on the Prophet (peace be on him)?

It was narrated from Abdullah bin Abi Talha, from his father, that:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) came one day with a cheerful expression on his face, and we said: ‘We see you looking cheerful’.

He said: ‘The Angel Jibril came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, your Lord says: ‘Will it not please you (to know) that no one will send salah upon you that Allah will send salah upon him tenfold, and no one will send salams upon you but I will send salams upon him tenfold?’‘ (Nasa’i)

Similar narrations

We have a multitude of similar authentic narrations. They say that the one who sends salam and salah on the Prophet (peace be on him) in turn receive salam and salah ten times. 

I wish I could go through them all, but they exceed 50-70 narrations, each with subtle difference and additions, creating a fuller picture.

The background of this narration

In Musnad Ahmed for instance, we have more details about this episode. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went out one day and entered a garden which was full of palm trees and then made sujood and remained in sujood for such a long time, that Abdul Rahman bin Auf thought the Prophet (peace be on him) must have passed away (peace be upon him). He went to him (peace be upon him) and examined him to see if he was still alive, when the Prophet (peace be on him) raised his head and asked ‘What’s wrong with you?’ He replied that he feared during this prolonged sujood the Prophet (peace be on him) had passed away.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then told him, ‘Jibril came to me (may Allah be pleased with him) and he said:

I’ll give you the good news Allah the Almighty says He said to you, ‘Whoever sends his salah upon him I will send salah upon him and whoever sends salams upon you I will send salams upon him.’ (Musnad Ahmad)

Sajda shukr

The fact the Prophet (peace be on him) made the sujood for shukr is used by scholars of hadith say it is very authentic evidence for performing sujood shukr when you are grateful.

The Prophet (peace be on him) prolonged his sujood because Jibril had given him good news, and he was celebrating it, thanking Allah and praising Him for his blessing.

From this incident we see that the sunnah is to make sujood or to pray two rakaats to celebrate good things which we receive from Allah.

The joy of the Prophet (peace be on him)

What was it that made the Prophet (peace be upon him) so happy about the news?

His face was beaming with happiness, and he couldn’t contain it, it was radiating from his face and from his eyes.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Atani Malak’. So Jibril came to him, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Ya Muhammad, inna Rabbaka yaqulu ama yurdika:

Your Lord is saying to you, O Muhammad, will it not please you to know that no one will send salah upon you but Allah will send ten salah upon him. (Nasa’i).

In Surat Duha, Allah Almighty said: wa la sawfa yu’tika rabbuka fa tarda:

And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied. (93:5)

This is one of the things that pleased the Prophet (peace be upon him), that whoever sent salah upon him would be rewarded in this way. In some narrations, the reward is seventy.

The virtues of Salah on Nabi

In almost every book of the sunnah, we see a special section dedicated to the virtues of as salah ala nabi (peace be upon him).

Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:

Those who are nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection are those who invoke many blessings on me. (Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban)

The station of the scholars of hadith

Scholars of hadith commented on this that no one has such an elevated level as the scholars of hadith because they are engaged in the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) day and night and sending their salah upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). So they deserve that station.

Books on the virtues of Salawat

No wonder so many scholars wrote many books on the virtues of as salah ala nabi from the early years of the 2nd century onwards.

One of these is a book dedicated to Salah ala Nabi Prophet (peace be upon him) by Imam Ismail bin Ishaq Qadi al Asdi, may Allah be have mercy on him, (199AH-282H) and Ibn Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him), who lived from 751AH-902AH, in his book Jalaa al afham fi fadl salat wa salam ala Muhammad.

Imam Sakhawi, who was a student of Imam ibn Hajar and passed away 902H) wrote Al Qawlul Badi.

The famous Imam Yusuf Nabahani (may Allah have mercy on him) who passed away in 1932 (1350H) and many others till today, have written about the virtues of the salah al Nabi (peace be upon him).

The Quran commands it

Allah has commanded the believers to send Salah ala Nabi (peace be upon him).

Allah Almighty mentions in Surah Al Ahzab:

Indeed, Allah and His angels give blessings to the Prophet (peace be upon him). O you who have believe, confer blessings on him and greet him with prayer of peace or greet him with salam in abundance (peace be upon him). [33:56]

What is the meaning of Salah ala Nabi?

Salah’ linguistically means dua; as salah ad dua. Salah is a homonym, as it has different meanings. (In Arabic, a word with multiple meanings is called mushtarak.) 

Here, specifically, the meaning changes depending on whether the salah is from Allah, the angels or us.

When you say Allah Almighty is sending salah on the Prophet (peace be on him), it means He is sending rahma (mercy) on the Prophet (peace be upon him).

From Allah Almighty it means rahma, from the angels it means seeking istighfar and from ourselves it means dua (supplications).

Forms of Salah ala Nabi

We have different forms of salah mentioned in the the authentic narrations, such as the most famous one in Bukhari and Muslim:

Allahumma salli ‘alaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa ‘aali Muhammad, kamaa sallayta ‘alaa ‘Ibraaheem wa ‘alaa ‘aali ‘Ibraaheem, ‘innaka Hameedun Majeed.

We use this in our five prayers. It is authentic (sahih).

There are some Salah an Nabi which are not in this form, or not in line with general guidance, so it is better not to use these and stick to the authentic forms and ask Allah Almighty to accept it.

Abu Humaid As-Sa’idi (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! How should we supplicate for you?’

He replied, ‘Say: “Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama sallaita `ala Ibrahima; wa barik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama barakta `ala Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum-Majid”‘

O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and his wives and offspring as You exalted the mention of the family of Ibrahim, and bless Muhammad and the wives and the offspring of Muhammad as you blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praised, the Glorious’. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Why send Salah ala Nabi

Allah Almighty and His angels yusallunna alan Nabi ‘give blessings to the Prophet (peace be upon him)’, when you read this verse, you might ask why?

The reason is because Allah Almighty selected Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be the Last Messenger – to receive the last message, the perfect message and to be the seal of the prophets, the best creation of Allah Almighty, and the most beloved person to Allah Almighty. You have to take this into consideration when you read this ayah, and these narrations, to understand what’s behind this.

Allah Almighty wants the ummah to send their salah and salams upon this very prophet whom Allah selected, whom Allah loves. This is part and parcel of our commitment to the message that we receive from Him.

It is a way of showing appreciation to him for what he did for us and passed on to us, which Allah Almighty sent.

Benefits of saying Salah ala Nabi

Imam Ibn Qayyim in his book mentioned 40 benefits for the Salah ala Nabi (peace be upon him) to show how important it is.

  • Respond to Allah’s command
  • Firstly, we are responding to Allah’s command in the ayat, which I recited earlier.

  • Be engaged in what Allah and the angels are doing
  • Secondly, when you send salawat, you are doing the same thing at the same time as Allah Almighty. You are sending salah, while Allah and His angels are sending salah. And when you do salah then Allah and His angels send salah on the Prophet (peace be on him) as well as you. So you receive blessings from Allah Almighty.

  • Reward
  • You receive ten hasanat as is in the hadith, which means that sayyiaat (bad deeds) will be deleted from your record as per 40 different narrations.

  • Accepted dua

  • Your dua will be more entitled to be accepted when you begin or end with Salah ala Nabi. When you put it at the beginning and end of your dua, hopefully Allah will accept what’s in between as well.

  • Lessen your troubles

  • When you send salah, it decreases your worries. If you are troubled, increase your Salah ala Nabi (peace be upon him) tukfa hamak, your concerns will be looked after by Allah Almighty. Again there are many narrations on that.

    Have your wishes fulfilled

    Ubayy ibn Ka‘b (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

    I said: O Messenger of Allah, I send a great deal of blessings upon you; how much of my du‘aa’ should be sending blessings upon you? He said: ‘Whatever you wish.’ I said: One quarter? He said: ‘Whatever you wish, and if you do more, that will be better for you.’ I said: One half? He said: ‘Whatever you wish and if you do more, that will be better for you.’ I said: Two thirds? He said: ‘Whatever you wish and if you do more, that will be better for you.’ I said: I will make all of my du‘a’ for you. He said: ‘Then your concerns will be taken care of and your sins will be forgiven.’ (Tirmidhi, Bayhaqi)

    This is the reason for your supplications and wishes to be fulfilled by Allah Almighty, and a purification of the heart and a reason for you to be firm on the sirat on the Day of Judgement.

    Perfume in a gathering

    Salah an Nabi is the perfume in any gathering. If you are in a group of people and you mention Salah alan Nabi it is the fragrance in that place.

    Don’t be a miser

    You will not be classified as a miser when you send salah ala Nabi (peace be upon him), whereas the  because as well in the hadith whoever who have been mentioned before and he didn’t say salah upon me, he will be classified as a miser.

    Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

    The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned and he does not send blessings upon me. (Tirmidhi)

    Increased barakah and sign of love

    The reason barakah is increased is because the Salah an Nabi is a sign of loving of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The more you love him the more you send salah and salams upon him (peace be upon him). And the more you are blessed.

    Your name is presented to the Prophet (peace be on him)

    It is the reason for your name to be presented to the Prophet (peace be upon him) because as well in the hadith, whoever sends salah salams upon me, an angel will present his name to me. Will say X the son of X his sending you your salam, and then Allah Almighty will enable me to reply the salam to him. This is an authentic narration.

    Increase the salat blessings on me, for God has entrusted an angel to my grave. If a man from my nation sends salah to me, the angel will say to me: Oh Muhammad, so and so, son of so and so sent salah for you now. (Daylami)

    The more salams you send to the Prophet (peace be upon him) the more it elevates your status in the akhirah (peace be upon him).

    Raise your rank

    In the sahih, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

    Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) saying:

    Whoever supplicates Allah to exalt my mention (i.e., send salah), Allah will exalt his mention (i.e., send salah) ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees. (Muslim).

    Every time you say this you get all this reward from Allah Almighty.

    Allah has special angels roaming around

    Abdullah ibn Masoud said the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:

    Allah has appointed angels who travel about the earth, conveying to me the salams of my ummah. (Nasa’i)

    The Prophet (peace be on him) returns your greeting

    In the hadith,we find out that Allah returns the souls of the Prophet (peace be on him) to reply the salam. This is an authentic hadith, because the life of barzakh is special life, we cannot compare with our life.

    Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:

    Whenever someone greets me, Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting. (Abu Dawud)

    Prophets have a special life after their death with special advantages from Allah Almighty.

    Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger (peace be on him) said:

    Increase the salat blessings on me, for God has entrusted an angel to my grave. If a man from my nation sends salah to me, the angel will say to me: Oh Muhammad, so and so, son of so and so sent salah for you now. (Daylami)

    Increase your connection with Allah and His Messenger (peace be on him)

    This hadith is an encouragement from Allah Almighty to increase our connection with the Prophet (peace be upon him) not just through salah and salaams we are sending to him but also through his teachings, his guidance, his sunnah, his practices, his character (peace be upon him).

    Follow the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be on him)

    Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

    If you love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. (3:31)

    Therefore to show our love to Allah Almighty we have to follow the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

    Being consistent in word and deed

    There’s no point in sending Salah ala Nabi (peace be on him) if you contradict it by bad behaviour and bad character. You shouldn’t do this.

    Real love is beyond words. Truly loving the Prophet (peace be on him) is not simply verbal love. We need true love, which is reflected in the ayat of following him.

    At the end of the day, the Prophet (peace be upon him), who is the Messenger of Allah, related to us the revelation, and we worship Allah but we learn from the Prophet (peace be upon him) how to do that (peace be upon him).

    Sending the salah and salam to the Prophet (peace be upon him), has to move from our lips to our hearts, our limbs, and our practices, not just our tongues. That is why we must put it into practice and do as much as possible to follow his footsteps (peace be upon him).

    Follow him (peace be upon him), increase your love for him, your salah upon him and whenever he’s being mentioned, always say ’alahi salatu was salaam’ or ‘alahi assalam’ but the perfect form is to say ‘sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wasallam’.

    Ensure salawat is part of your daily dhikr

    Part of our daily dhikr and daily wird is to send our Salah ala Nabi ’alahi asalahtu wasalam. You will see the benefit of this when you start practicing this much, you will see the barakah in your time, in your life.

    We ask Allah Almighty, to enable us to be truthful about the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to be amongst those who are always connected to the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in practice and in our da’wah. And to convey this message to others and we act upon the message our self. Ameen.

    Delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim in his Online Hadith Qudsi Sessions. 16th June 2020. Transcribed by Rose Swinburn

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    Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001.His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College).He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.