A group of believers in North America would like to inquire about that which was…
There are numerous supplications within the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) that help us to build a relationship with our Creator. We are advised to recite many such supplications during specific days or times of the year. But our traditions demonstrate that we should recite at least one supplication often, in just about every circumstance. This supplication is one where we ask God to send His blessings upon our beloved Prophet and his family, otherwise known as the salawat.
Among the most unique aspects of the salawat is that God Himself commands us in the Holy Quran to pray and send blessings upon God’s messenger when He states, “Indeed [God] and his angels bless the Prophet; Oh you who have faith! Invoke blessings on him and invoke Peace upon him in a worthy manner.”1 There are many benefits and blessings that come with seeking His bounty upon the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut).
The Method of Reciting Salawat
There are many merits to the recitation of the salawat. However, it is vital that we recite it properly as prescribed to us by the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) himself. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) was asked, “How do we send blessings [salawat] on you?” He responded, “Say, ‘Oh God, send your blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.’”2 In another narration, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) said, “Do not send an incomplete salawat on me.” His companions replied, “What is an incomplete salawat?” The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) replied, “When you say, ‘Oh God, send your blessings upon Muhammad’ and stop after that. You should say, ‘Oh God, send your blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad (Allahumma sali ala Muhammad wa al-e Muhammad).’”3 Thus, we see the importance of making sure to recite salawat in the appropriate fashion including both the Prophet and his progeny (pbut). This is the reason we (I.M.A.M.) use the acronym “(pbuh&hp)” to represent peace be upon him and his progeny.
Imam Ali al-Rida on Reciting Salawat
One important lesson that Imam al-Rida (p) advised his followers during his imamate is the recitation of the salawat for the Holy Prophet and his progeny (pbut). The Imam states in a remarkable tradition, “Sending blessings on Muhammad and his progeny is equivalent in the eyes of God to reciting [God’s] glorification, there is no [deity] but God (tahlil), and God is [the greatest] (takbir).”4 The similitude of seeking favor and grace for the infallible family is that of praising God himself. But this one tradition of the Imam puts something larger into perspective. Remembering the Prophet and his family (pbut) by reciting the salawat is a way for us to recognize that they are how we can attain closeness to God and that they are our guides to fulfilling our responsibilities to Him.
Blessings of Reciting Salawat
Sending blessings on the Holy Prophet and his family is a simple yet powerful supplication that has many blessings. Among them is that it helps destroy our sins. Imam al-Rida (p) states, “Whoever [is seeking to] have his sins forgiven should send blessings on [Prophet] Muhammad and his family, as it destroys sins completely.”5 The remembrance of the Prophet and his immaculate family is a means to remove ourselves from the darkness of vice and error and to place ourselves into the light of virtue and good deeds. This, of course, requires full sincerity in the supplication and striving to be a righteous person.
Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) states, “Send blessings on me frequently, as it is the light which will light up [your] grave].”6 Abundant recitation of the salawat is a means for us to attain blessings in the world beyond this one.
Pieces of Advice
1. Send blessings on the Holy Prophet and his family (pbut) during duas (supplication): When we have a specific prayer to ask from the Almighty, we should recite salawat as many times as we can while praying for what we desire. Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (p) states, “Every prayer is concealed from the skies until blessings are sent on the Holy Prophet [and his progeny].”7
2. Recite salawat when you hear the name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp): Whenever the Holy Prophet’s name is mentioned in our gatherings, we should always try to recite salawat. Imam al-Sadiq (p) states, “Whenever the Holy Prophet’s name is mentioned, send blessings on him and his family, for whoever does so one time, God will send a thousand blessings on that servant, and have one thousand rows of angels do the same.”8
3. Recite Salawat one hundred times every Friday: We should do our best to make it a habit to recite salawat one hundred times every Friday, for it has a great reward. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) states, “The one who recites salawat one hundred times every Friday…God will answer seventy of his wishes.”9
1. The Quran 33:56, translation by Ali Quli Qarai.
2. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 91, p. 86.
3. Al-tajali al-atham, 335.
4. Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol. 2, p. 265.
5. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 91, p. 47.
6. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 94 p. 80.
7. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 91, p. 253.
8. Tawab al-amal, 154.
9. Marij al-yaqin fi usul al-deen, 154.