Greetings and Salutations on the Prophet (PBUH)

Reception of Salat and Salam by the Prophet (saw)

An area of dispute often occurs regarding as to whether the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) receives the blessings sent to him. It is clearly apparent from the previous discussion that offering salat and salam in the court of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is an extraordinary and highly acceptable act. Avoidance of this act is in no way a plus point for the believers of Islam but a sign of deploration. Therefore, whether or not salat and salam reaches the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), whether it reaches itself or is carried away by angels is a question of pedantics serving to deviate from the actual act itself. These disparities are not for the believers to worry about. We have to concentrate on the command to offer and recite sala and salam.
 
Unfortunately man is a curious creature by nature and apt to query and debate regardless of its benefits. We should be satisfied that if it is carried away by angels, they perform their duties and if it reaches directly, it is the quality of divinely bestowed excellence and miracles of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). If it does not reach and is not responded to, why was it ordered? Its commandment is the reason for it’s being accepted. However, since this has become an area of confusion let us look at the controversy surrounding this debate.
 

The Bodies of Prophets (عليهم السلام) are Immune from Decay

It is an undisputed fact that Allah keeps the bodies of the Prophets (عليهم السلام) immune and intact in their graves. This is symbolically a benignity of Allah to preserve the Prophets’ bodies so as to elevate the station of their personages. Shaddad bin Aws (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
The most excellent day is the day of Jumu‘ah (Friday). Adam was created on that (day) and on it the Trumpet will be blown and on it will (the people) loose their senses. So invoke blessings on me abundantly on that (day) for your blessings are presented to me.
 
Upon this, a man said:
Allah’s Messenger, how are our blessings presented to you while you will decay, i.e. you will be rotten and antiquated?
 
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Certainly Allah has made it unlawful (haram) for the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets.[1]
 
At another place, it is reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Invoke blessings on me abundantly on the day of Jum‘ah (Friday). Verily it is attended and the angels attend it, and none invokes blessings on me but his supplication is presented to me till he finishes it.

The narrator, Abu Darda’ (رضي الله عنه), asked:

(Is it also compulsory for us) even after your demise?
 
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) replied:
And even after my demise because Allah has forbidden the earth to eat up the bodies of the Prophets. Therefore, a Prophet of Allah is alive (and) is granted provisions (from Heaven).[2]
 
Hasan Basri (رضي الله عنه) narrates that he heard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) saying:
Spread plush for me in my grave because earth has not been empowered upon the bodies of the Prophets.[3]
 
At another occasion Hasan (رضي الله عنه) reported:
Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, "Earth has not been allowed to eat the flesh of one with whom the Holy Spirit conversed."[4]
 

Qasim Nanotwi says about the immunity of the Prophets’ bodies in their graves in the following words:

"Reverence is offered to the Prophet’s bodies because they are alive. Soulless bodies do not have any power over the earth."[5]

 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) Receives the Greetings

Although angels are commissioned by Almighty Allah to convey the blessings on the Noble Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), salam is directly received by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He has categorically and unambiguously said:
Invoke blessings on me, since blessings invoked by you are conveyed to me wherever you may be.[6]
 
We have mentioned two sayings of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) substantiating the same theme in the preceding pages. Ahmad Shahab-ud-Dīn Khafajī says in this context as follows:
It was the routine of predecessors to invoke blessings upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). "Abdullah bin ‘Umar also complied with this routine, and invoked blessings and salutations upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) along with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (رضي الله عنهما). Everyone’s blessings are conveyed to him whether he is remote from him. But it is rather better to invoke blessings in person and receive the benign of response from the Prophet.[7]

 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) Listens to the Greetings

Different traditions reveal that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself directly listens to those who invoke blessings on him irrespective of their nearness and remoteness. As Abū Darda’ narrated Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Invoke blessings on me abundantly on Friday. Verily it is an attended day and the angels attend. Whoever invokes blessings on me, his voice reaches me regardless of the distance. We asked, "Even after your demise?" The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) replied, "(Yes), even after my demise because Allah made unlawful for the earth to eat up the bodies of the Prophets." [8]
 
This hadith reveals the vastness of the Prophet’s sense of hearing. At another occasion, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was asked about those who invoke blessings on him from far and wide. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) replied:
I listen to the blessings of my lovers and know them.[9]
 
It is revealed that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) knows his lovers and listens to them. Once he said to his companions about Hadrat ‘Isa (عليه السلام) that he will return to this world. Then Hadrat Eisa (عليه السلام) will visit Madinah and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
And when he (‘Isa) will stand beside my grave calling: "O Muhammad!" I will respond to him.[10]

 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) Answers the Greetings

It is absolutely clear that the Noble Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) also answers the one who invokes blessings (salam) on him. Which other reward could be worthier than this for a faithful? Obviously greetings answered by the beloved Prophet of Allah, in itself, it is the greatest and worthiest reward for a Muslim. As the Noble Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
There is no Muslim who invokes blessings upon me (salutes me), but Allah returns to me my soul till I respond to him in return.[11]
 
Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) reported the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
There is no Muslim in the east and the west who salutes me, but I and the angels of my Lord answer him.[12]
 
Taqiyy-ud-Din Subki says about the mentioned traditions in the following words:
The aforesaid sayings of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) substantiate that the Prophet’s soul has been returned to him. Certainly he listens to the salutations and responds in return.[13]

 

Benefits of the Prophet’s Life and Demise

Both the life and demise of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) are beneficial and advantageous for the Muslim Ummah. The Prophet’s benignity is highly gainful for the Ummah because he (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) seeks forgiveness from Allah for us. The following traditions of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) substantiate this:
My life is a great good for you and my death is (also) a great good for you.[14]
 

My life is a great good for you in whom you talk (to me) and we talk to you, and my demise is also a great good for you (because) your deeds will be presented to me. If they are good, I will praise Allah, and if they are bad, I will ask Allah’s forgiveness for you.[15]

 
Bakr bin ‘Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) also reported that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
My life is a great good for you in whom you talk (to me) and you are responded. And when I will die my demise will be a great good for you. Your deeds will be presented to me, if I see goodness, I will praise Allah, and if I see wrongs, I will ask Allah’s forgiveness for you.[16]
 
At another place, Anas bin Malik (رضي الله عنه) narrates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
"My life is a great good for you", and he (the Prophet) said it three times. "My demise is a great good for you", and he (the Prophet) said it three times. Then the people kept silent and ‘Umar bin Khattab asked, "May my parents be sacrificed for you! How would it be?" He (the Prophet) said, "My life is a great good for you because I get Heavenly revelation and inform you what is allowed and what is disallowed for you. And my demise is good for you because your deeds are presented to me every Thursday. If they are good, I say, "Praise be to Allah." If they are bad, I seek forgiveness for you.[17]
 

Other sayings of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) include:

Invoke blessings on me abundantly every Friday, because blessings of my Ummah are presented to me every Friday. And the nearest one to me in rank is one who invokes the greatest number of blessings upon me.[18]
 

Invoke blessings on me on the day and night of Jum‘ah (i.e. Friday), because one who invokes blessing upon me once, Allah will shower ten blessings upon him.[19]

 
Since the deeds of the believers are presented to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), if we send salat and salam upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) this constitutes a very good deed and pious act. It is presented to Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who praises Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in his happiness.







1. Ibn Majah, Sunan, b. of iqamat-us-salat was-sunnah fiha (establishing prayer and its sunnahs), ch. 79 (1: 345 # 1085); ibid, b. of jana’iz (funerals), ch. 65 (1: 524 # 1636); Abū Dawūd, Sunan, b. of salat (prayer), 1: 275 (# 1047).
 
2. Ibn Majah, Sunan, b. of jana’iz (funerals) ch. 65 (1: 524 # 1637).
 
3. Ibn Sa‘d, at-Tabaqat-ul-kubra (2:299); ‘Ala’-ud-Din ‘Alī, Kanz-ul-‘ummal, 15:577 (#42245).
 
4. Jalal-ud-Din Suyooti, ad-Durr-ul-manthūr, 1: 87.
 
5. Muhammad Qasim Nanotwī, Ab-i-hayat, p.32.
 
6. Abu Dawood, Sunan, b. of manasik (rituals of hajj) (2: 218 # 2042); ‘Ali bin Abu Bakr Haythami, Majma‘-uz-zawa’id, 2: 247.
 
7. Ahmad Shahab-ud-Dīn Khafajī, Nasim-ur-riyad, 3: 516.
 
8. Yousuf bin Isma‘il Nabhani, Hujjatullahi ‘alal-‘alameen, p.713.
 
9. Muhammad Mahdi, Matali‘-ul-masarrat, p.81.
 
10. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani, al-Matalib-ul-‘aliyah, (4: 23 # 3853).
 
11. Abu Dawood, Sunan, b. of manasik (rituals of hajj), (2: 218 # 2041); Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad, 2:527.
 
12. Abu Nu‘aym Asbahani, Hilyat-ul-awliya’ wa tabaqat-ul-asfiya’, 6: 349.
 
13. Taqiyy-ud-Din Subki ‘Ali, Shifa’-us-siqam fi ziyart khayr-il-anam, p.133.
 
14. ‘Ala-ud-Din ‘Ali, Kanz-ul-‘ummal, (11: 407 # 31904).
 
15. Narrated by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani, through Harith in his al-Matalib-ul-‘aliyah, 4: 22-3 # 3853).
 
16. Ibn Sa‘d, at-Tabaqat-ul-kubra (2: 194); ‘Ali bin Abu Bakr Haythami related in Majma‘-uz-zawa’id (9:24) and its men are those of saheeh (sound) hadith.
 
17. Yousuf bin Isma‘il Nabhani, Hujjatullahi ‘alal-alameen, p.713.
 
18. Ahmad bin Husayn Bayhaqī, as-Sunan-ul-kubra, 3: 249.
 
19. Ahmad bin Husayn Bayhaqi, as-Sunan-ul-kubra, 3: 249.

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