Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Is it correct to say “Sayyidina” Muhammad, and “Sayyidina” Ibrahim during the salawat after the tashahud in the prayer?
Answer: Imam al-Haskafi mentioned in his Durr al-Mukhtar that it is recommended to do so, and this was confirmed by Ibn Abidin in his supercommentary (Hashiya) on the text. This is also mentioned in Imam Zafar Ahmad Usmani’s I`la’ al-Sunan, a 21-volume masterpiece outlining the hadith proofs for the Hanafi school, with commentary, and in Ahsan al-Fatawa, and other works.
We find in central books of Hanafi fiqh, such as the Durr al-Mukhtar of al-Haskafi, which says, “It is recommended to add Sayyidina,” (1.513-514) after which he quoted Shafi`i texts as well to confirm this, similar to the one quoted below.
Ibn Abidin commented on this, after confirming the ruling in the Hanafi school and answering some objections, by saying, “One should not add it to Ashhadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluhu, and it should also be mentioned for Ibrahim (upon whom be peace).” (1.513-514) Meaning, this applies to the Salat al-Ibrahimiyya (Durud Sharif), not the Tashahhud itself, where one should not add “Sayyidina.”
This ruling of recommendation was also confirmed by Imam Zafar Ahmad Usmani in his magnificent I`la’ al-Sunan, a 21-volume work on the textual proofs and reasonings of the Hanafi school.
Similarly, the great Shafi`i imam, hadith expert, and sufi, Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari (823AH/1420 – 926AH/1520) said in his highly-regarded work in Shafi`i fiqh, Asna al-Matalib Sharh Rawd al-Talib,
Ibn Dhahira said that it is best to add the word Sayyidina, as mentioned by many. Jalal al-Mahalli [co-author of Tafsir al-Jalalayn] gave fatwa on it, saying, “In it is performing that which we have been commanded, and adding a factual statement that is from proper adab. As such, performing it is better than leaving it… As for the reported hadith, “Do not refer to me as Sayyid in prayer,” it is a baseless fabricated hadith, as some late hadith experts have confirmed…” [Asna al-Matalib Sharh Rawd al-Talib, 1.166]
This is also mentioned by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Tuhfat al-Muhtaj (2.86, and elsewhere), and by al-Ramli in his Nihat al-Muhtaj, arguably the two greatest commentaries on Imam al-Nawawi’s Minhaj al-Talibin, the central reference for fatwa in the Shafii school. Similar rulings are found in central Maliki works.
The Word “Sayyid”
As for the word “Sayyid” itself, Ibn Abidin explained near the beginning of his Radd al-Muhtar (1.22-23, it is famous as Hashiyat Ibn Abidin and, in the Indian Subcontinent as al-Shami):
“Some said that it can only be used for Allah Most High, because the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Only Allah is Master (sayyid).” However, he also said, “I am the master of the children of Adam.” Some said it cannot be used for Allah, and this has been attributed to [Imam] Malik… The correct opinion is that it is absolutely permitted. When used in reference to Allah, it means the tremendous who is needed, and for others, the noble, virtuous, head/leader…”
Like Mawlana Rumi said,
This is love: to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of live.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to be the self.
Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.
All blessings and the best of peace on our Master Muhammad, his folk, companions and followers.
And Allah knows best.