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On Praising the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Allah (ta’ala) says in the Glorious Qur’an (Surah 33:56):
“Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.”
The very name “Muhammad” means “the one who is praised, often praised” and the name of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is also known as “Ahmad” meaning “the one deserving of praise”.
Imam Jalaludin as-Suyuti mentions:
His name is Muhammad and Ahmad; his people are the people of praise (hamd)- and his prayer rite and the prayer rite of his people is opened with praise (hamd). In the Preserved Tablet in God’s abode it was written that his Caliphs and his Companions in writing the Sacred Volume, should open it with praise (Surah 1:1). And in his hand on the Resurrection Day will be the banner of praise. And when he then prostrates himself before God in intercession in our behalf and it is accepted he will praise the Lord with a new song that shall then be revealed to him, for his is the Heavenly Station of Praise (al-maqam al-mahmud, Surah 17:79)-and when he rises up in that Station all the assembly shall praise him, Muslims and misbelievers alike, the first and the last, and all meanings and modes of thankful praise shall be gathered up and offered to him. [quoted from And Muhammad is His Messenger by Annemarie Schimmel p. 107]
There are those naysayers that may object on the grounds that too much praising will lapse Muslims into the major sin of shirk, to this Imam al-Busiri in his amazing Qasidah al-Burdah says:
Leave what the Christians have said about their Prophet!
And then affirm what you will in praise, and do so with excellence.
It is clear that sending praise, blessings and salutations on the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a general obligation on each and every Muslim as mentioned by Qadi Iyad in the Shifa, and if we keep Imam al-Busiri’s principle in mind then there is no danger of falling into the trap that the Christians have fallen into with Sayyidina Isa (AS).
Unfortunately, we live in an age where very few Muslims actually know their Prophet. He is the fountainhead of our guidance and the light by which we tread the straight path, and yet Muslims in general and Muslim children in particular, know more about their favourite pop star, footballer or film actor and our Prophet is as a stranger to them. How can this be? Why have we forgotten the one whom Allah has commanded us to send salutations and blessings upon? Again it comes down to the age in which we live; no more are there special chairs in our masajid where the Sirah or the Shifa’ of Qadi Iyad or the Shama’il of Tirmidhi are read in perpetuity to the faithful as was once the practice throughout the Muslim world. The Mawlid-celebrations of the birth and life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)-are frowned upon by certain sections of the community. Our mosques are ill equipped to teach our children anything besides the reading of the Holy Qur’an and the very basics of the faith, which, while important, are insufficient to the long term spiritual and religious development of our community and especially our children who are our future. We have to look at ways in which we can help to nurture the love and familiarity that are missing. From hadith literature we know how important it is to love the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace): Bukhari and Muslim report- “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.” In another hadith in Bukhari the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves himself.”
© Mas’ud Ahmed Khan has contributed this beautiful article to the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. The article was originally published as a foreword to Inayat Petker’s “Salutions” Album by Meem Music back in 2004