What does Salawat on Prophet Mohamed mean ?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Assalamo Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu,

Thanks for your noble services in the cause of Deen-e-Islam.  May Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala give you Ajr for your selfless services. Ameen. Here is my question, which may seem unusual.

The Arabic words YUSALLI and YUSALLUNA, as in Ayats No. 43 and 56 of Surah Al Ahzab (33) means "sending blessing" as per most of translations, including that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Therefore, around 99% of Muslims believe the translation of Ayat No. 56 of Surah Al Ahzab (33), as under: "Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe!

Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect." (33:56) (By Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

"Sending blessings" they mean as reciting Darood (DAROOD BHEJNA in Urdu or DAROOD MOKLWUN in Gujarati), and therefore millions of Muslims treat reciting Darood (as a prayer with wordings Allahumma In the beginning) as one of the greatest Ajr (sawab), as per Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala's command in the above Ayat Here the question arises that whether really Allalh Subhan Wa Ta'ala Himself is sending Darood i.e. reciting Darood?

The reason of my asking the above is that presently there are three websites, where the translation of the Ayat No. 56 of Surah Al-Ahzab(33) is somehow as under:

"Allah and His Angels support the Messenger and his Mission. O' believers!

You must help and support him and his Mission. And salute him with respect." (33:56)

The above meaningful translation is by the following three translators:

Dr. Shabbir Ahmed of Florida, U.S.A., Ghulam Ahmed Perwez (Late) of Lahore, Pakistan and Rashad Khalifa (Late) of Arizona, U.S.A.

All the above three translate the words YUSALLI (in Ayat No. 43) and YUSALLUNA (in Ayat No. 56) as "support" and not as "send blessing".

There is a valid reason for that. Please refer to Ayat No. 43 of same Surah Al Ahzab (33) and see the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

"He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His Angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers." (33:43)

Here what we read, as per Abdullah Yusuf Ali, that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala and His Angels "send blessings" (YUSALLI) to all the Mo'amineen. Then do we believe that Allah and His Angels recite Darood (as a prayer) on all the Mo'amineen?

So my question is that as per Ayat No. 43 and 56 of Surah Al Ahzab (33), whether YUSALLI and YUSALLUNA mean "sending blessing" (recite Darood) or "support"?  Because if we mean recite Darood, then do we have to believe that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala and His Angels also recite Darood (as a prayer, as per wordings of Darood, which begin with ALLAHUMMA) on our Holy Prophet and also on all the Mo'amineen?  It seems unusual that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala "prays" in favour of our Holy Prophet and in favour of all the Mo'amineen. If He really "prays", then to whom He prays? If we mean the word "support" in both the Ayats, the meaning is well suited and conveys some logic that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala and His Angels support the Holy Prophet and the Mu'amineen. And in Ayat 33:56 Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala commands Mo'amineen to support Holy Prophet.

Wassalam.

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

What does Salawat on Prophet Mohamed mean ?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Q-1: So my question is that as per Ayat No. 43 and 56 of Surah Al Ahzab (33), whether YUSALLI and YUSALLUNA mean "sending blessing" (recite Darood) or "support"?

A similar question was asked by the noble companions of the Prophet (saws) to the Messenger of Allah (saws), when the Aayah 56 of Surah Ahzaab was revealed; and the very best person to answer the question, the person of Mohamed ar-Rasool Allah (saws), answered it thus in an authentic narration:

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.588 Narrated by Abu Humaid As Saidi

The companions asked, "O Messenger of Allah! How shall we (ask Allah to) send blessings on you?" The Messenger of Allah (saws) replied, "Say: O Allah! Send Your Mercy on Muhammad and on his wives and on his offspring, as You sent Your Mercy on Abraham's family; and send Your Blessings on Muhammad and on his offspring, as You sent Your Blessings on Abraham's family, for You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious."

 

Abu Mas'ud Al-Ansari reported the following account from Bashir ibn Sa'd: "I asked Prophet (saws), 'O Messenger of Allah, Allah has commanded us to sal-ley (invoke blessings) upon you. How should we do it?' The Messenger of Allah (saws) remained silent until we wished we had not asked him. Then he told us to say: 'Allahumma salli 'ala muhammadin wa 'ala ali muhammadin kama sallayta 'ala ali ibrahima, wa barik 'ala muhammadin wa 'ala ali muhammadin kama barakta 'ala ibrahima wa 'ala ali ibrahima fil 'alamin, innaka hammidum majeed.

(O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim, and give baraka to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You gave baraka to the family of Ibrahim, in all the worlds. You are worthy of Praise and Most Glorious)."

(Narrated by Muslim)

 

In light of the above authentic narrations, it is absolutely clear that the command of salle in Surah Ahzaab Aayah 56 means to recite what was taught to the believers by the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself, which is known to us as the durood.

 

Q-2: Because if we mean recite Darood, then do we have to believe that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala and His Angels also recite Darood (as a prayer, as per wordings of Darood, which begin with ALLAHUMMA) on our Holy Prophet and also on all the Mo'amineen?  It seems unusual that Allah Subhan Wa Ta'ala "prays" in favour of our Holy Prophet and in favour of all the Mo'amineen. If He really "prays", then to whom He prays?

Beloved brother in Islam, may Allah Subhanah bless you and increase your quest for the knowledge of Truth for asking such an intelligent and thought provoking question in Islam.

 

The Truth is brother, that some common words or terms, when used for the creation, believers, or worshippers of Allah Subhanah have a different meaning when compared to its connotation when the same term is used for Allah Subhanah.

 

Allow us to give a few examples from the Glorious Quran to explain our point.

 

Example-1: The term Shukoor (grateful)

When the term shukoor is used for the believers, it means that the believers are grateful to Allah Subhanah for the innumerable favors the Merciful Lord has done on them.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 34 Surah Sabah verse 13: They worked for him as he desired (making) Arches Images Basins as large as Reservoirs and (cooking) Cauldrons fixed (in their places). "Work ye sons of David with thanks! But few of My servants are shukoor (grateful)!"

 

But when the same term, Shukoor is used for Allah Subhanah, it obviously cannot mean that the Self-Sufficient and Self-Praiseworthy Lord is grateful to someone for his favors, for Allah Subhanah stands not in any need or favors from any of His creation! Thus when the same term, Shukoor is used for Allah Subhanah, it means that He is Most Ready to Appreciate service and rewards His slaves who do good righteous deeds.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 35 Surah Faatir verse 30: For He will pay them their meed. Nay! He will give them (even) more out of His Bounty; for He is Oft-Forgiving, Shukoor (Most Ready to appreciate service).

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 42 Surah As-Shura verse 23: That is (the Bounty) whereof Allah gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin." And if anyone earns any good, We shall give Him an increase of good in respect thereof: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Shukoor (Most Ready to appreciate service).

 

Example-2: The term Tawwaab (to seek forgiveness, or turn back)

When tawwaab is used for the believers, it means one who constantly seeks forgiveness from the Merciful Lord, or one who turns back in repentance to the Merciful Lord.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 222: They ask thee concerning women's courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution; so keep away from women in their courses and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves ye may approach them in any manner time or place ordained for you by Allah. For Allah loves those who are tawwaabeen (turn to Him constantly) and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.

 

But when the same term Tawwaab is used for Allah Subhanah, it obviously cannot mean that the Mighty and Majestic Lord seeks forgiveness from any in the Universe, for He indeed is the Lord and Master of everything in existence. Tawwaab when used for Allah Subhanah means that Allah Subhanah bestows and turns His Mercy and Grace on the one seeking repentance, or that Allah Subhanah is Oft Forgiving and Oft-Returning His Mercy and Grace towards His believing slaves.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 16: If two men among you are guilty of lewdness punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone; for Allah is Tawwaab (Oft-Forgiving or Oft-Returning), Most Merciful.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 110 Surah An-Nasr verse 3: Celebrate the Praises of thy Lord and pray for His Forgiveness: for He is Tawwaba (Oft-Returning in Grace and Mercy).

 

Similarly, when the term sallu is used for Allah has a different meaning and connotation compared to when the same term is used for any amongst His creation.

 

When sallu or salle is used for any amongst His creation, be it mankind, the Prophets, or the Angels, etc., it means to pray, beseech, supplicate or call upon Allah Subhanah.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verse 103: (O Prophet) Of their goods take alms so that thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and salle (pray) on their behalf. Verily thy prayers are a source of security for them: and Allah is One who Heareth and Knoweth.

 

But when the same term sallu is used for Allah Subhanah, it obviously cannot mean that the Majestic and Mighty Lord prays to anyone, for The Self-Sufficient Lord stands not in need of anyone or anything in the least! Sallu when used for Allah Subhanah means He bestows His Blessings, Mercy, and Grace upon the person. And when Allah Subhanah bestows His Blessings, and Mercy, and Grace upon someone, it is assumed that He supports the work and mission of the person. The English word support is only an aspect or a part-meaning of the Arabic term Sallu.

 

Abual-'Aliyah said, "Allah's sending blessings to the Prophet (saws) means that He praises him (saws) in front of the Angels, and the blessings of angels mean their supplications invoking Allahs blessings on the Prophet.'

(Narrated by Bukhari)

 

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.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

Burhan