Why do We Send Prayers of Peace & Blessings Upon the Beloved Prophet of God?
Copyright 2012, Afroz Ali
Amongst the most noble of selfless acts we can undertake is to send prayers of peace and blessings upon the Final Messenger, (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted). God Almighty establishes this noble act Himself first and foremost; how noble is an act that God The Compassionate Himself confirms to Do! He, The exalted, states:
Verily, God and His angels send blessings upon the Prophet: O you who believe! Send blessings upon him and salute him with all due respect to him.”
Above all other reasons, therefore, we must send salutations upon the Prophet because God Almighty has exhorted us to do so. It is His Command. Further, in a vigorously authenticated Hadīth, the Prophet also informs us of its significant benefit:
Ubayy bin Ka’ab said “I once told the Messenger of God, (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted) ‘O Messenger of God, I invoke much. What portion should I offer salutations upon you?’
The Prophet replied, “However much you wish.”
To this I asked, “A fourth?”
He said, “If you wish, but should you increase the number, it will be better for you.”
I then asked, “A third?”
He said, “If you wish, but should you increase the number, it is still better for you.”
I then asked, “A half?”
He said, “If you wish, but should you increase the number, it is still better for you.”
I then said, “Indeed in my invocation, I shall make all of my prayers upon you!”
To this, the Messenger of God replied, “If you do that you will be freed from anxiety and all your wrongs pardoned.” [Hadith, recorded by Tirmidhi]
Today’s world is full of corruption, violence and an incessant maligning of God, The Prophets of God and indeed Islam, from both outside attacks and internal transgression (particularly from the transgressing literalists who are stopping people from being part of sending collective salutations upon the Prophet in abundance). And today’s world is also full of people like ourselves feeling helpless. Anxiety and depression is endemic, not to mention our wrongs and shortcomings. Thus, an immediate and a significant benefit is that our invocation to God Almighty for peace and blessings upon His Beloved is a means of healing, Shifa, upon our own selves. In the midst of our wrongdoing, God’s Forgiveness and Grace may not fall upon us, but invoking selflessly for the Prophet is an intercessory means, the very permissible and Divinely approved act of Tawassul, of God’s Mercy and Peace to flow upon ourselves. God of Mercy only wills Mercy when the one sent as mercy is mercifully invoked for. As is mentioned in a tradition, “every matter is between acceptance and rejection, except invocation of peace upon the Prophet”.
The erudite Scholar, Shams al-Din al-Sakhawi, one of the foremost student of the Hadith polymath Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, quotes the following in his book, Al-Qawl al-Badī’ fi al-Śalāt ‘ala al-Habīb al-Shafī’ (The Commendable Position Concerning the Sending of Blessings Upon the Beloved Intercessor), regarding why we invoke God to bless his Prophet:
Because he is the pure one, without blemish, and we are with flaws and blemishes. So how can the one with flaws praise the one without? Therefore, we ask God to send blessings upon him so that the blessings are from the Pure and Holy Lord upon the Pure Prophet.”
This is no small matter. To explain further, in another narration, the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted), said:
“Whoever will send one blessing upon me, God will send ten blessings upon him.” [Hadīth, recorded by Muslim]
Case in point: invoking peace and blessings upon the Prophet opens the floodgates of peace and blessings upon ourselves. In the midst of a world absent of peace, and starving of blessings, there is no quicker, better and greater way for the Believer of One God to seek His Grace, Protection, Favour and Blessing.
Whilst there are specific times that are mentioned to be the most commendable of times to invoke peace and blessings of God The Exalted upon the Prophet, there are absolutely no restrictions if one or a congregation chose to it on any other day or night. This is evidenced by the Qur’anic injunction to send salutations upon him with all and unbounded due of such salutation (taslīma). Further, it is authoritatively mentioned in too many narrations, one of them two of them above, that neither quantum nor time is restricted. Anyone who misleads another to not send salutations upon the Prophet as a means of goodness from God, The Compassionate, is depriving others from the Favours of God, and only the Justice of God can respond to such oppressive deprivation instituted by mere mortals upon others and their own souls.
But beyond the benefits one attains in this world (removal of anxiety, harm and anarchy) by the Will of God, The All-Knowing All-Wise of our states and realities, there are benefits beyond this ephemeral world; the reality of such salutation’s objective being the Grace of God in the Hereafter. It would be remiss of us not to remind ourselves of these ultimate benefits. Here are some of the statements of the Prophet of God regarding them:
“From those from among my community who send blessings upon me sincerely from his heart, God will shower His blessings upon him ten times, elevate his status by ten, and will have the angels record ten good deeds for him and will erase ten of his sins.” [Hadīth, recorded by Nasa’i]
Two extremely important facts must be highlighted regarding this narration. Firstly, the originating phrase “From those from among my community who send blessings upon me” is undoubtedly non-singular. In other words it implies both someone sending the salutations whether alone or as a congregation. Secondly, sending salutations upon the Prophet is a matter of ultimate concern- seeking the approval of God (recorded as good deeds) as well as seeking His forgiveness (erasure of sins). These are not simple matters to be wrongfully dismissed as innovation. These are the foundational objectives of devotional worship of our Exalted Creator.
“Without a doubt supplications are stalled between the heavens and the earth, and are not lifted up until the supplicant invokes blessings upon the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted).” [Hadīth, recorded by Tirmidhi]
There is not a single Believer who does not hope for his supplication to be answered by the Answerer of supplications. Invoking blessings upon the Prophet when asking our Lord, hastens a response from our Merciful Lord. The Prophet’s intercession with our Lord is a Mercy from our Lord.
“The closest people to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who invoked the most blessings upon me.” [Hadīth, recorded by Tirmidhi]
And who from amongst you would not want to be in the company of the Beloved of the Lord, who has been given the authority when no other authority will exist to intercede for us, let alone be closest to him!
“Verily, your best day is Friday, so invoke blessings upon me in abundance on this day, for your invocation is presented to me.’ They said, ‘O Messenger of God! How can our invocations be presented to you after your bones have turned to dust? He replied ‘Verily, God has forbidden the earth from consuming the bodies of the Messengers.” [Hadīth, recorded by ibn Majah and others]
To this profound reality of the blessed beloved Prophet of God (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted), it is incumbent to quote from the Divine Speech of God, The Exalted, related to the Prophetic narration above:
There has without any doubt come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievously serious to him is what you suffer; he is concerned over you, and to the believers he is kind and merciful.
The relevant point to note here is that the Prophet’s concern is continuous and was not limited to a particular time or people, but to all who are from his community til the end of time! There is no question or ambiguity regarding this fact: the Prophet’s concern and care for us remains til the end of time and into the Hereafter. Seek every gathering and every moment of your voluntary and free time and send salutation upon the one whom God does not reject!
“He who invokes blessings upon me, the angels send blessings upon him equal to that which he invoked, so let the worshipper invoke some, or increase upon that.” [Hadīth, recorded by Tirmidhi]
Note here, that the Prophet himself authorises not only one or ten salutations, but as many as anyone wishes, that they are permitted to increase it to whatever they are capable of. Whether it is one, one hundred, one million or one billion; the right to send as many salutations upon the Prophet is your God-given right.
But take heed, that anyone who would either see the sending of salutations upon the Prophet as a wasteful act or a simple matter, or not worthy of gathering for, then the Prophet has also warned us:
“He who, when I am mentioned before him, fails to invoke blessings upon me is a miser.”
“Disgraced be the person who, when I am mentioned before him, fails to invoke blessings upon me.” [both Hadīths, recorded by Tirmidhi]
I urge you to not be part of a mindset or a community that decimates and prevents this honourable act of invoking peace and blessings of God almighty upon His Beloved Prophet. Understand its irreplaceable value and hold on to those who aid and assist you to invoke God’s Peace and Blessings. As the Prophet of God (upon whom be peace and blessings of God The Exalted) said himself:
“God, without any doubt, has angels that roam the earth and convey to me the greetings of my community.” [Hadīth, recorded by Tirmidhi]
May God’s Grace be upon us all to be blessed to be part of the Prophet’s community, and may God the Exalted bestow His unbounded and overflowing peace and blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger.