Among the notable events that occurred in the month of Rabiul Awwal, is the birth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, a mercy for all creations. As we are in this blessed month, let us take this opportunity to increase our love and remembrance for the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Sending Selawat to the Prophet s.a.w is an act of love and respect. Other than abiding by the sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w, this is the ultimate way to extend our gratitude to the beloved s.a.w.
As an Arabic saying goes by:
مَن أَحَبَّ شَيئًا أَكثَرَ ذِكْرُه
“Whoever loves a thing will make its remembrance abundantly.”
Selawat linguistically means “prayer” or “seek the blessing of” in literal terms. Whereas, the essential meaning of it when attributing to the Prophet s.a.w. varies according to some Muslim scholars, such as the verse:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“Allah s.w.t and His angels send Selawat on the Prophet s.a.w: O you who believe! Send your Selawat upon him and salute him with all respect”
(Surah Al Ahzab, 33:56)
Ibn Abbas r.a explains that Selawat in this verse means:
1. Allah and the angels bestow blessings upon the Prophet s.a.w.
2. Allah bestows His mercy upon the Prophet s.a.w. and the angels pray for him.
In a momentous book about the Prophet s.a.w. As-Shifa, Imam Al-Qadhi ‘Iyad quotes Al-Mubarrad, the grammarian scholar, commenting on the verse above “The essence of Selawat is asking for mercy. Hence, it is mercy from Allah, and (when attributed) to angels, it means their affection and an invocation for Allah’s mercy (upon the Prophet s.a.w.)”
The Selawat in Islam isn’t just a rectitude or a mere verbal act. Indeed behind every Selawat uttered, there are hidden blessings and rewards. Muslim scholars have written many books on the rewards, benefits and merits of Selawat. Its benefits are truly great in number to the extent of which, as beautifully described by the scholar, Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin Al-Hussayni, “renders the pen helpless to document it all, and turns books confined to compile everything.”
In this article, you will discover 5 benefits of offering the Selawat to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيَّ صَلاَةً صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ بِهَا عَشْراً
"Whoever sends Selawat upon me once, will be blessed for it by Allah ten times."
In this hadith, the Prophet s.a.w highlighted the rewards attained are multiplied when one offers the Selawat. This is a manifestation of Allah’s love for our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w in which, every salutation by His creation made for the beloved, is honoured.
In another narration by Imam An-Nasa’i, the reward exceeds more than receiving tenfold of blessings. It also includes the erasing of sins and elevating one’s status in the sight of Allah s.w.t, as if removing one from darkness into light.
من صلَّى عليَّ صلاةً واحدةً صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ عشرَ صلواتٍ، وحُطَّت عنهُ عَشرُ خطيئاتٍ، ورُفِعَت لَهُ عشرُ درجاتٍ
“Whoever sends Selawat upon me once, will be blessed by it tenfold, erased by it ten sins, and raised by it ten degrees in status”
The power of love is that it reunites hearts and souls physically and spiritually, and to love the Prophet s.a.w is the desire to be close with him spiritually in this world and, by Allah’s will, physically in the hereafter. In a hadith the Prophet s.a.w said:
أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ عَلَىَّ صَلاَةً
"The person closest to me on the Day of Resurrection
is the one who sent the most Selawat upon me."
Looking back in time through the history of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, we can see the innumerable sacrifices the beloved s.a.w had made for us. The fact that Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had placed us before himself evinced his unconditional love for his people.
Although our eyes have never met the beloved s.a.w, the heart yearns to be close to him. Hence, sending the Selawat increases our love for the Prophet s.a.w and through love, our heart connects with the beloved s.a.w.
As we live through the obstacles in life, there is always growth and contraction and a fair share of balancing and unbalancing.
The Prophet s.a.w promised that by constant remembrance, one will be freed from worries of worldly affairs. As mentioned in the hadith narrated by Ubay ibn Ka’ab r.a:
قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنِّي أُكْثِرُ الصَّلَاةَ عَلَيْكَ فَكَمْ أَجْعَلُ لَكَ مِنْ صَلَاتِي؟ فَقَالَ: مَا شِئْتَ. قَالَ قُلْتُ الرُبُعَ؟ قَالَ: مَا شِئْتَ فَإِنْ زِدْتَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ. قُلْتُ النِّصْفَ؟ قَالَ: مَا شِئْتَ فَإِنْ زِدْتَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ. قَالَ قُلْتُ فَالثُّلُثَيْنِ؟ قَالَ: مَا شِئْتَ فَإِنْ زِدْتَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ. قُلْتُ أَجْعَلُ لَكَ صَلَاتِي كُلَّهَا؟ قَالَ: إِذًا تُكْفَى هَمَّكَ وَيُغْفَرُ لَكَ ذَنْبُكَ
“O Messenger of Allah, I frequently invoke Allah to send Selawat upon you. How much of my supplication should I devote to you (Selawat)?” He said, “You may devote as much as you wish.”
When I suggested “a quarter”, he said, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I suggested “a half”, he replied, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I suggested “two-thirds”, he then said, “Do whatever you wish but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I said, “Shall I devote all my supplications to send Selawat upon you?”
He said, “Then you will be freed from your worries and your sins will be forgiven.”
When our heart is in a state of constant remembrance (zikr), it is easier for us to centre and ground our feelings. This is essential in life as we go through phases of growth and decision making. When our heart and mind is stable, we will be able to collect our thoughts and see things in a different light.
The companion of the Prophet s.a.w, Umar Ibn Al-Khattab r.a. said:
إِنَّ الدُّعَاءَ مَوْقُوفٌ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ لاَ يَصْعَدُ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ حَتَّى تُصَلِّيَ عَلَى نَبِيِّكَ صلى الله عليه وسلم
"Indeed the supplication stops between the heavens and the earth. Nothing of it is raised up until you send Selawat upon your Prophet."
Verily Allah s.w.t. hears all our prayers and even the deepest whispers of our hearts. However, there are causes that can hinder our prayers from ascending to the heavens, such as engaging in unlawful acts or making insincere Dua. By sending Selawat upon the Prophet s.a.w, it increases the chances of having our prayers to be accepted.
Sending salutations or giving selawat is how we portray our love to the Prophet s.a.w while obtaining Allah’s love at the same time. By Selawat, we are also seeking closeness to Allah by abiding by His favours as commanded in the Quran.
In fact, the Prophet s.a.w. taught us how to make a Dua in a hadith:
إِذَا صَلَّى أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَبْدَأْ بِتَحْمِيدِ اللَّهِ وَالثَّنَاءِ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ لْيُصَلِّ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ لْيَدْعُ بَعْدُ بِمَا شَاءَ
“When any of you prays, let him begin by praising Allah s.w.t,
Then let him send blessings upon the Prophet s.a.w,
Then let him ask for whatever he wants.”
Hence the steps are as follows:
1. Begin your supplication (dua) by praising Allah s.w.t - At-Tahmid
2. Invocation of blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w - Selawat
3. Make Dua
The heart is a reflection of oneself. If it’s pure, beauty will emanate naturally from within and you will see the beauty around you.
Imam Mawlud in his book ‘Purification of the Heart’ mentioned that:
“If one’s heart is safe, so too are the limbs, for they carry out the deeds inspired by the heart”
Purifying your heart is essential as we embark on the journey of life, and one of the many ways to purify your heart is to build love for the Prophet and increase sending Selawat upon him s.a.w. The Prophet said in a hadith:
صَلُّوا عَلَيَّ فَإِنَّهَا زَكَاةٌ لَكُمْ
“Send the Selawat upon me, for verily it is a purification for you.”
Sending invocations of blessing unto the Prophet s.a.w is a form of worship and whatever form of worship that pleases Allah and the beloved s.a.w purifies the heart.
Living in this era and getting ourselves caught up in the daily hustle and bustle in life, let us never miss a chance to reconnect ourselves with the Prophet s.a.w. Without a doubt the Prophet s.a.w, his legacy and teachings are always with us. As mentioned in the Quran:
وَاعْلَمُوْٓا اَنَّ فِيْكُمْ رَسُوْلَ اللّٰهِ
"And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah"
(Surah Al-Hujurat 49:7)
Among the various ways, the Selawat is a medium to draw yourself closer to the Beloved Messenger s.a.w, the more salutations given, the more your love for him s.a.w will develop. May we all receive the blessings of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w and be reunited with him in the hereafter. Amin
And Allah knows best
 Abdullah Sirajuddin Al-Hussayni, As-Solatu ‘Alan-Nabi, (Aleppo: Maktabah Darul Falah, 1990)