Abual-’Aliyah said, “Allah’s sending blessings to the Prophet, peace be upon him, means that He praises him in front of the angels, and the blessings of angels mean their supplications invoking blessings on the Prophet.’ (Bukhari) Sufian Al-Thawri and other scholars said, “Blessings of the Lord mean His mercy, and the blessings of the angels refer to their supplications and seeking forgiveness.” (Tirmizhi) Commenting on the Qur’anic verse 33.56, Ibn Kathir said, “In this verse Allah, the Exalted, informed His servants about the revered status that His Prophet and servant occupies with Him in the higher assembly. He revealed that He praises him in the company of the angels close to Him, and that the angels pray for him, and that He has commanded the inhabitants of the lower world to send their salutations and greetings to the Prophet, so that the lower and the higher worlds would join together in his praise. On this subject there are many hadith. Some of these are given below:
Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-’As reported that he heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying, “If anyone invokes blessings upon me once, Allah will bestow blessings upon him ten times over.” (Muslim) Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The people nearest to me on the Day of Judgment will be the ones most conscientious in invoking blessings upon me.” Tirmizhi reported this hadith, and he considers it a sound hadith. The words “nearest to me” here mean the ones most deserving of the Prophet’s intercession and nearest to him in station.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Do not turn my grave into a site of festivities, but send greetings to me for your greetings are raised to me wherever you might be.” (Reported by Abu Daw’ud with a sound chain of authorities) Aus reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The best of your days is Friday, so send more and more greetings to me on it, for your greetings are presented to me.” They asked, “How are our greetings presented to you while you are dead and your body is turned into dust?” He replied, “Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of the prophets.” (Abu Daw’ud and Nasa’i) Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “When any Muslim sends greetings to me, Allah returns my soul to me so that I may respond to his greetings.” (Reported by Abu Daw’ud with a sound chain of authorities)
Ahmad recorded that Abu Talha Al Ansari said, “The Prophet, peace be upon him, woke up one day cheerful and beaming. His companions exclaimed, ‘O Prophet of Allah, you woke up today cheerful and beaming.’ He replied, ‘Yes! A messenger of Allah, the Mighty and the Glorified, came to me and said, “If anyone from your Ummah sends you a salutation, Allah will record for him ten good deeds, wipe off ten of his sins, and raise him thereby ten degrees in rank, and He will return his salutation with a similar salutation”.’ Ibn Kathir considers this a sound hadith. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever desires to be given (his reward) in full measure, should send salutations to us - the members of my family - and should say, ‘O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad, the Prophet, his wives, the mothers of the believers, his descendants, and the members of his family, as you showered blessings upon the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy and Glorious.” (Related by Abu Daw’ud and Nasa’i)
Abu ibn Ka’ab said, “When two-thirds of the night had passed, the Prophet, peace be upon him, would get up and say, ‘O people, remember Allah, remember Allah. The great commotion has come, followed by more commotions. Death has come with all that it has in store. Death has come with all that it has in store.’ I said, ‘O messenger of Allah, I invoke blessings to you a great deal. How much of my prayer should I reserve for invoking [such] blessings upon you?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Whatever you want.’ I asked, ‘A quarter of it?’ He said, ‘Whatever you wish. If you increase it, that would be better for you.’ I asked, ‘Half of it?’ He repeated, ‘Whatever you wish, but if you increase it, that would be better for you.’ I asked, ‘Two-thirds of it?’ He said, ‘Whatever you wish. If you increase it, that would be better for you.’ I said, ‘I devote my whole prayer to invoking blessings on you (i.e. I pray for you wherever I am).’ He concluded, ‘Thus will you be relieved of your anxiety, and your sins forgiven’.” (Related by Tirmizhi)
Sending Salutations to the Prophet on Hearing His Name.
Is this Obligatory? Some Muslim scholars hold that it is obligatory to send salutations to the Prophet, i.e. invoke blessings upon him, each time one hears his name mentioned. They, like Al-Tahawi and Al-Halimi, base their argument on a hadith recorded by Tirmizhi, which he grades as sound, from Abu Hurairah, that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “May the nose of the person in whose presence I am mentioned be covered with dirt if he does not invoke blessings upon me. And let the nose of that person be smeared with dust who finds the month of Ramadan but lets it come to an end without securing pardon for himself. And may the nose of the person be smeared wlth dust whose aged parents, both of them or one of them, are still living, and who fails them (i.e. by serving them) to enter Paradise.” (Related by Tirmizhi, who said it is an authentic hadith)
In a report related by Abu Zharr we read, “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, ‘The most miserly among people is the one who fails to invoke blessings upon me when my name is mentioned in his or her presence’.” Other scholars are of the opinion that invoking Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, only once while in a gathering is obligatory. After that it is no longer necessary, though it is preferred to do so. This is based on a hadith from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If some people sitting together in an assembly do not remember Allah in it, nor invoke Allah’s blessings upon His Prophet, peace be upon him, they will be sorry on the Day of Judgment. Allah may either punish them or forgive them.” (Tirmizhi)
Invoking Allah’s Blessings Upon the Prophet when Writing his Name
The scholars hold it desirable to invoke Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, each time one writes his name. But this is not mentioned in any hadith, so none can be used to support this view. Al Khatib al-Baghdadi said, “I saw the handwriting of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and I found that often he wrote the name of the Prophet, peace be upon him, without invoking Allah’s blessings upon him.” Then he added, “It has come to my knowledge that he used to invoke Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet verbally.
“ An-Nawawi said, “When invoking Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, we should combine prayers for peace and blessings upon him (by saying Salalahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam), and should not confine it to one of these saying either Sallahu ‘alaihi (May Allah shower His blessings upon him) or ‘Alaihi as-salaam (peace be upon him)’.”
To be continued