Teacher’s Corner: Pearls of Mercy- The virtues of Durood Shareef and Salawat
During the month of Rabi’al-Awwal, many of us were blessed to attend gatherings in which the birth, life, teachings and qualities of the beloved Rasool (May God bless him and give him peace) were outlined. To know him is to love him, but sadly, many Muslims today remain largely unaware of the dimensions of his perfection and his extraordinary nature. He is the Best of Creation and the Habib (Beloved) of Allah, whose exalted status is something which we cannot fully comprehend. Only Allah truly knows his ultimate reality.
As the poet Imam Busiri (d. 695 AH) says in the Poem of the Mantle (Qasidat al-Burda):
“How can his reality be grasped in this world by people who are asleep,
distracted from him by dreams?”
The Mantle Adorned, transl. A.H.Murad
The first few generations of Muslims (the Salaf) were certainly the best people of this Ummah. However, not all of them had deep knowledge of the details of religion or the ability to perform long and difficult acts of worship. But one characteristic that they all had in common was their deep reverence for the Prophet (May God bless him and give him peace), love of his family and everything that had any relation to him. They truly understood that love of the Noble Messenger (May God bless him and give him peace) is the quickest and most direct means of gaining Allah’s Pleasure.
Through him, we were brought out of darkness into the light of Islam and were saved from falsehood and the wrath of Allah. Because of his excellent example, there is no area of our life in which we are left without guidance, showing us the clear and broad path to Paradise. The debt we owe to our parents—who have sacrificed their lives for our earthly well-being—is very little in comparison to the gratitude we owe to the one who opened for us the door to eternal salvation. Our love for him can only grow when we realize his genuine concern for each one us:
“There has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves, grievious to whom is your suffering, concerned for you, to the believers gentle and compassionate.”
The Majestic Quran: an English rendition of its meanings (9:128)
This concern was present throughout his whole life and even at the time of his death, he pleaded for his Ummah. This concern is still present now, and will be openly displayed on the Day of Judgment at a time when everyone, even the greatest of prophets (peace be upon them all), will be worried about their own souls. As we recall his life and sacrifices, our longing for him increases, as does our realization that he is in fact the greatest favor of Allah to us and the whole of creation.
The question then arises: how can we express our love for him, thank him for his generosity, and praise him in a way that is befitting and appropriate to his rank? In general, this entails following his Sunnah and reciting blessings and peace (known as Durud Sharif in the Indian subcontinent) or salawat and salam upon him as specifically commanded in the Quran:
“Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O you who believe! Bless him and salute him with a worthy salutation.”
The Majestic Quran: an English rendition of its meanings (33:56)
The greatness and honor of this act is clear, in that Allah includes Himself among those who would perform this act, in a manner befitting His Majesty. As believers, we ask Allah to shower His blessings upon him by saying “Allahumma salli…”, or “O’ Allah, bless him…” because we ourselves cannot fully repay his generosity.
If reciting the Salawaat was only about thanking him, then it would be enough for us to consider it our duty to do this all the time. But in fact, the salawat is itself another of his many gifts to us. It gives us an opportunity to partake in the incredible outpouring of Divine blessings, Mercy and peace which occurs continuously forever. Allama Sakhawi (d.902 AH) and many other scholars have discussed the Ahadith which recount the benefits of performing salawat on the Prophet:
1) God sends tenfold blessings and mercy on the recitor of salawat
2) Sins are pardoned and one’s prayers are answered
3) The salawat preserves from afflictions
4) It drives away poverty
5) It increases good deeds and light (nur) in one’s life
6) The recitor will receive a greeting in return from the Prophet (May God bless him and give
him peace) himself each and every time they perform salawat
7) The recitor will increase in love for the Prophet (May God bless him and give him peace)
8) On the Day of Judgment, those who recite salawat abundantly will be the nearest to him.
9) They will be shaded by the Throne,
10) They will receive his Intercession,
11) They will be present with him at the Hawdh-e Kawthar (the Pond)
12) They will be immune from the Fire
Qawlul Badi’ Imam Sakhawi
The Final Prophet (May God bless him and give him peace) was sent as a Mercy to all the Worlds (Rahmatal-lil Alamin), and this mercy extends to everyone, whether they are aware of it or not. As we are honored to be among his followers, we need to constantly remind ourselves of this blessing, by learning about his example and teachings, remembering his character and the qualities of his sacred being, and reciting salawat upon him, his family and his descendants. If our example as a community often falls short of the noble teachings of our religion, the key to Divine Mercy remains our love (for) and connection to the Beloved of Allah (may God bless him and give him peace).
JazaLlahu anna sayyidna Muhammadan sallaLlahu alaihi wa sallam bima huwa ahluh
May God reward Sayyidina Muhammad (may Allah bless him and give him peace!) on our behalf such a reward that is due to him.
-Dr. Raza Akbar