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“Believers! Send your Blessings on him” | Resource for Salawat on the Prophet

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Image Courtesy of Flickr: King-slaveofALLAH
Image Courtesy of Flickr: King-slaveofALLAH

Bismillah

Introduction

Of the greatest blessings that Allah ta’ala has given to mankind is sending the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as our guide and the Qur’an as our Book.

With the exception of Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, every Prophet and Messenger sent by Allah azza wa jal was sent to a specific nation for a specific time period. Allah ta’ala chose Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as the Messenger for all the worlds and raised his status and mention among all of mankind.

Allah ta’ala describes this bounty that He gave to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in the Qur’an,

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ

and We have raised for you your mention. (94:4)

We bear witness five times a day that he is the Messenger of Allah, we send peace upon him during our prayers, we open our gatherings with his mention after the mention of Allah azza wa jal and we ask Allah to bless him before we make a duaa. All of these acts show that we bear witness that he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam delivered the message.Bearing witness that he delivered the message necessitates his love, his obedience and sending salah when he is mentioned, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Allah azza wa jal says,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (33:56)

The ayaat in the Qur’an that commands the believers to do good deeds or refrain from evil actions begins with “Ya ayyuhal latheena aamano”, “O you who have believed” however this ayah does not begin in this way. Rather, Allah ta’ala mentions that He and His Angels send blessings and greetings on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam first before calling the Believers to follow. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala calls the believers, because of your emaan, send salah and salaam on the Messenger. The Scholars of tafseer state that this is to show the honorable and elevated status of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as well as to show the honor in the act of sending salah on him. If Allah and His Angels do this action, it should motivate the Believers to do so as well. Imam Sa’di rahimahullah states in his tafseer regarding this ayah,

And in this there is an indication of the Prophet’s completeness, high rank, elevated status with Allah and His creation, and his wide fame. Indeed Allah the exalted and His Angels confer blessings upon him meaning: Allah praises him before the Angels, and in the exalted assembly [of Angels] due to His love for him. And the close Angels [too] praise him , make dua for him, and seek forgiveness [for him] in humbleness and humility.

O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace following the example of Allah and the Angels, rewarding him for some of the rights he has upon you, completing your faith, glorifying him, loving and honoring him, increasing in your good deeds, and expiating from your sins. And from the best forms of asking Allah to confer blessings upon him is the form that he taught to his companions: “O Allah, send Your Salah upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your Salah upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are the Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. And send Your blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious” And this command of asking Allah to confer blessings upon him is legislated at all times and many of the scholars have made it mandatory in the prayer.

Tafseer al-Kareem al-Mannaan

Why do we Send Salawat on the Prophet?

If a close relative of ours passed away, such as a parent or a sibling, we would vehemently ask Allah to forgive them, to grant them security, and to enter them into Jannah. The Believers are those who love the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam more than their family, wealth and their own selves so just as we would ask Allah to forgive and bless our relative, we should send prayers upon our Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam who, by the bounty and mercy of Allah, has taught us our faith. Allah azza wa jal says,

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْهُمْ لَمَّا يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

It is He Who has sent amongst the unlettered a Messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to purify them, and to teach them the Book and Wisdom (Sunnah),- although they had been, before, in manifest error;-As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: And He is exalted in Might, Wise. Such is the Bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills: and Allah is the Lord of the highest bounty. [62:2-4]

We send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to acknowledge the great blessing that Allah has given us by sending the Messenger to us. Just as prayer is a manifestation of our love, gratitude and obedience to Allah azza wa jal, sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam shows our love for him, our respect for him, and our obedience to him.

We must also remember that Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was only a man who does not possess any power to harm or benefit us. Many from amongst our Ummah have taken their love of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to an extreme that is not only forbidden in our religion, but does the exact opposite of their intended goal. Worship is exclusive for Allah azza wa jal and obeying and loving the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam falls under the worship of Allah.

Meaning of ‘Salah’ and ‘Salaam’

The linguistic meaning of salah is to pray and to supplicate. When it is said, salla ‘alaa (صلى على) like the above ayah, it gives us three meanings:

  1. To incline to someone and pay attention to them out of love.
  2. To praise someone (thanaa’ ثناء).
  3. To pray for someone.

When Salaah is used for Allah ta’ala (i.e., when Allah does “salah” on someone) it means:

  1. Allah loves that person.
  2. Allah praises that person.
  3. Allah sends blessings, His Pleasure and Mercy on that person.

When the creation does salah it means that they pray to Allah to send blessings on that creation. They seek forgiveness for them and ask Allah to send good to them. The meaning of love and praise is also understood in this meaning.Salawaat is plural of salah.

We are commanded in this ayah to do two things:

Firstly:

صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ

“send your salah on him” this means that we ask Allah to send blessings on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and ask Allah to praise him in the manner that he guided us to do.

There is a small difference of opinion amongst the scholars on the meaning of sending salah; the majority state that it means ‘mercy from Allah, prayers for forgiveness offered by the angels, and duaa offered by humans.’ The other group of scholars such as Ibnul Qayyim, Abul Aliyah and shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen state that the meaning of sending blessings on the Prophet is to ask Allah to praise him in the assembly of the Angels.

Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states,

The best that can be said concerning this is what Abu’l-‘Aaliyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The salaah (blessing) of Allah upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is His praising him among the “higher group” (the angels). So what is meant by Allahumma salli ‘alayhi (O Allah send blessings upon him) is: O Allah, praise him among the higher group, i.e., among the angels who are close to Allah.

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/163, 164

Both of these meanings can be taken as the definition because it is all included in the linguistic meaning of sendingsalah, and Allah knows best.

Secondly:

وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

and offer tasleem as it should be (offered)“. The linguistic meaning of tasleem is to offer greetings of peace. It also gives a meaning of asking for peace and security. This meaning comes from the root word of tasleem and the word salaamah. The two meanings of tasleem are:

  1. ‘May as-Salaam (The Perfection, One who Gives Peace and Security) be with you’, meaning may His Blessings be upon you.
  2. ‘May you be secure, peaceful and safe.”

Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states:

The meaning is: May Allah protect, keep safe and take care of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is as if we are saying: Allah is watching over you, protecting you, helping you, etc. The meaning of greeting the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is to pray for him and ask that he be kept safe from all harm.

It may be said: This duaa is something obvious during his lifetime, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but after his death, how can we pray that he be kept safe and sound when he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has died?

The answer is that prayer for safety and well-being are not limited to the time when someone is alive…we pray for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), that he will be kept safe from the terrors of the standing (on the Day of Resurrection).

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/149, 150

How to Send Salawat

The most important aspect of sending salawat is that it is done in accordance with what the Prophet himself taught us; as a condition for the acceptance of deeds is that they are from the sunnah of Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

After the mention of his name, one should say: sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam or alayhi salaatu wa salaam which can be translated as: may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him or peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. One can also say any duaa that sends peace and blessings upon him such as: Allahumma sali wa sallim alaa Nabiyyina Muhammad, O Allah send Your praise, prayers and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad.

For other times such as in salah or on Fridays, one should say what the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us from the sunnah. There are two authentic narrations with different wordings:

Abu Muhammad Ka’b bin Ujrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam came to us and we asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, we already know how to greet you (i.e., say As-salamu alaykum), but how should we supplicate for you?” He said, “Say: `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid [O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you exalted the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious.]”’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Humaid As-Sa’idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said: “O Messenger of Allah! How should we supplicate for you?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Say: `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama sallaita `ala Ibrahima; wa barik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama barakta `ala Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum-Majid [O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and his wives and offspring as You exalted the mention of the family of Ibrahim, and bless Muhammad and the wives and the offspring of Muhammad as you blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praised, the Glorious’].” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Can we Send Salawat for the Prophet with those Traveling to Madinah?

A modern practice we see nowadays is asking those who are going for hajj/umrah and will be visiting the Prophet’s Masjid to say, “send my salaams to the Prophet,” however this is not from the sunnah nor has it been recorded that any of the righteous predecessors did this. Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah beautifully states,

We say: if you send salaam upon him from the farthest ends of the earth, your salaam will reach him, because Allah has appointed angels who travel about the earth, and if anyone sends salaams upon the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they convey that salaam to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). So if we say now, “O Allah, send blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah,” our salaam will be transmitted to him. In prayer we say, “Al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’l-nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakatuhu (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings),” and the salaam is transmitted to him…

I have heard some people saying in Madinah, “My father asked me to give his salaams to the Messenger,” but this is wrong. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not alive so that the salaams of a living person may be passed on to him. If your father sends salaams to the Messenger, the salaam is conveyed by those who are more able than you to convey it and are more trustworthy than you , namely the angels.

So there is no need for that, and we say: You are where you are, wherever you are on earth you can say, “Peace be upon you, O Prophet,” and it will reach him faster and more reliably than that.

Majmoo’ Fataawa aShaykh Ibn Baz, 23/416, 417

Send your salaam on him now and it will reach him by the will of Allah.

Benefits and Virtues of Salawat

There are numerous benefits in sending salah and salaam upon the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The fact that there are benefits for the person who performs this noble deed is one of the beautiful aspects of our deen. There is no such thing as a futile good deed in Islam; every good deed carries a benefit, even if it is a small one, for the one who engages in it.

  • You are following the way of Allah azza wa jal and His Honorable Angels. “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet.” (33:56)
  • Your salah on him reaches him sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. We have lost our chance in this life to see and interact with our Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, but out of Allah’s Great Mercy He has allowed our duaa to reach him no matter how far or close we are to his grave. It was narrated that Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.” [Sunan Nasaa’i, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam will return your greeting. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • Amplification of reward, removal of sins and receiving the blessings of Allah. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam saying: “Whoever supplicates Allah to exalt my mention (i.e., send salah), Allah will exalt his mention (i.e., send salah)ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.” [Muslim]
  • Jibreel alayhi salaam will send salah and salaam upon you. AbdurRahman ibn Awf (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam while he was in prostration and he elongated his prostration and then said, “Jibreel came to me and he said, ‘whoever sends blessings (salah) upon you, I will send blessings on him, and whoever sends greetings (salaam) upon you, I will send greetings upon him,’ so I prostrated out of thankfulness to Allah.'” [Haakim, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • Answering of one’s duaa. Most of us do not know that duaa is suspended between the heavens and earth until we send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Umar radi Allahu anhu said, ““Duaa is suspended between heaven and earth and none of it is taken up until you send blessings upon your Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani] The scholars state that it is recommended (mustahabb) to include salawat in our duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. More details here.
  • The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam invited the believers to make salah on him. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Do not take your houses as graves and do not take my grave as a place of festivity (which you visit repeatedly). Send blessings upon me for your greeting will reach me no matter where you are.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will not be among the humiliated. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “May his nose soil with dust in whose presence mention is made of me and he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albaani] Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states the saying ‘may his nose be rubbed in dust’ means to suffer humiliation and disgrace. That is “may such person be humiliated and disgraced who hears my name and does not invoke Allah’s blessings upon me.”
  • You will not be among the miserly. Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will not be among those that Jibreel alayhi salaam made duaa against and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied “Ameen” (O Allah, grant it). It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Ameen, ameen, ameen.” He said: “Jibreel came to me and said: ‘If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honour them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen.” [ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will be among the closest to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam on a Day that will cause a child’s hair to become grey. Ibn Mas’ood (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan li ghayrihi Al-Albani] Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states, “Nearest to me” signifies “those who are most entitled to my intercession”.
  • Allah will love you and forgive you because following the sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Allah says, “Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me , Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:31)
  • Your love for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam will increase. When you love someone, your mind is filled with thoughts of them. By constantly making duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam whenever his name is mentioned, you are making a conscious effort to remember him. Put in the effort to internalize the salawat whenever you make them and understand who you are making duaa for, and inshaAllah your love for him will increase tremendously, alayhi salaatu wa salaam.

Obligatory and Recommended Times to send Salawat

We’ve established that sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a noble deed in Islam, however there are prescribed times for it and times that this act is not recommended or allowed. Furthermore, for specific supplications that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us, we must only say what he narrated without any modifications.

Ibn Hajar rahimahullah says,

The wording of dhikrs is tawqeefi (i.e., acts of worship which must be done as prescribed in the texts), and they have special characteristics that cannot be subject to analogy. So one must adhere to the wording as it was narrated.

Al-Fath Al-Baari (11/112)

The obligatory and recommended times are as follows:

  1. During the tashahhud in prayer. Shaykh Al-Albani rahimahullah gives a detailed description on sending salah in the tashahhud as well as some important notes on this act in general in his book “The Prophet’s Prayer Described”.
  2. After the Adhan. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam saying, “When you hear the Adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says. Then ask Allah to exalt my mention because everyone who does so will receive in return ten rewards from Allah. Then beseech Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, which is a high rank in Jannah, fitting for only one of Allah’s slaves; and I hope that I will be that man. If any one asks Al-Wasilah for me, it becomes incumbent upon me to intercede for him.” [Muslim] In another hadeeth, Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “He who says after the Adhan: `Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah Wah-dahu la sharika Lahu; wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa Rasuluhu, radhitu Billahi Rabban, wa bi Muhammadin Rasulan, wa bil Islami Deenan [I testify that there is no true god except Allah Alone; He has no partners and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; I am content with Allah as my Rubb, with Muhammad as my Messenger and with Islam as my Deen],’ his sins will be forgiven.” [Muslim]
  3. When entering and leaving the Masjid.
  4. Fridays. Aus bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Among the best of your days is Friday; so supplicate Allah more often for me in it , for your supplications will be displayed to me.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah! How will our blessings be displayed to you when your decayed body will have mixed with the earth?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Allah has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  5. Daily Adhkar (remembrances) of the morning and evening. Abu Dardaa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “whoever sends blessings on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will receive my intercession.” [Al-Tabarani] This hadeeth is disputed amongst the scholars of hadeeth; Shaykh Al-Albani declared its chain weak while Al-Sakhawi and Imam ibnul Qayyim declared it authentic. However, sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam daily is still recommended based on the hadeeth, Ibn Mas’ood (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection (i.e., receive my intercession) will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani]
  6. When his name is mentioned in a gathering/written form etc. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani] It is important to note though that it is established among the scholars that it is not obligatory to send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam every time his name is mentioned. Shaykh Al-Munajjid from IslamQA explains in detail here.

Times When it is not Allowed or Disliked to send Salawat

Imam ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah stated,

Sending blessings upon the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, although it is one of the best and most beloved of deeds to Allah, every dhikr has its own place and time, where no other can take its place.

Jala’ al-Afhaam (1/424)

These times include:

  1. When slaughtering the animal. The sunnah of slaughtering is to say only “Bismillah Allahu Akbar”, “With the Name of Allah, Allah is Greater [than everything else]”.
  2. When sneezing. It was narrated from Nafi’ that a man sneezed beside Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) and said “Alhamdulillah was-salaam ‘alaa Rasul Allah (Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah).” Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “And I say, ‘Alhamdulillah was-salaam ‘alaa Rasul Allah (Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah)’ – but this is not what the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us. He taught us to say: ‘Alhamdulillahi ‘alaa kulli haal (Praise be to Allah in all situations).’” [Al-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  3. When bowing (ruku’) or prostrating (sujood) in prayer, or any times in the salah other than the tashahhud.
  4. If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Writing SAWS/SAS/PBUH etc

The Muslim is one who strives to do ihsaan (utmost good) in all of their deeds, even a seemingly simple deed such as making a duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Dr Saleh as Saleh rahimahullah mentions a few opinions on writing abbreviations in a short 20 min lecture which can be listened to here.

Shaykh ibn Baaz rahimahullah said when asked about the validity of writing SAWS or the like:

“The Sunnah is to write the entire phrase “sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam,” since it is a kind of supplication, and supplication is worship, (in one’s writing) just as it is in one’s speech. So to abbreviate it using the letter SAAD or the word SAAD-LAAM-‘AYN-MEEM [or in English: SAWS etc] is not a supplication nor it is worship, whether it occurs in speech or writing. For this reason, this abbreviation was not used by the first three generations, those that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam testified to their goodness.”

Fatwawa Al-Lajnatid-Daa’imah #18770

Imam Suyooti rahimahullah (as mentioned in the lecture by Dr. Saleh) also affirms this by saying, “It is disliked to resort to these abbreviations when making salah and salaam on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Shaykh Ahmad Shakir said, “It is the absurd tradition of some of the later generations that they abbreviate the writing of ‘sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.'” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]

Why is it that we can debate with each other and discuss futile issues but when it comes to making a duaa for your own Prophet, we resort to abbreviations? Let’s openly display our love and take those extra few seconds to add some letters.

We should all strive and adopt the practice of writing out the salawat, even if we are students taking notes. It allows us to do ihsaan (the utmost good), it causes others to read and say the salawat which will be a good deed for you, and it shows our love for the Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is reported that the past scholars and students of hadeeth would leave spaces after writing the name of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in their notes and after returning home, fill in all the blanks with the salawat. Resorting to abbreviations may also make us among those who are miserly and those who Jibreel alayhi salaam made duaa against; may Allah protect us from being among them.

As a final reminder, Shaykh ibn Baaz stated (as mentioned in the lecture by Dr. Saleh), “And this is my advice to every Muslim, to every writer and reader that he should seek the superior and look for that which has more reward and keep away from that which diminishes that.”

The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam loved this ummah so much so that on his deathbed he kept repeating “ummati, ummati“, “my Ummah! my Ummah!”

He is the one who said, “I wish to see my brothers!” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” [Muslim]

He is the one who made duaa for you after every prayer, so dear brothers and sisters, let us return a duaa for him.

A’ishah radi Allahu anha narrated “Once, when I saw the Prophet in a good mood, I said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah for me!” So, he said: “O Allah! Forgive ‘A’ishah her past and future sins, what she has hidden, as well as what she has made apparent.” So, I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into the lap of the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam out of joy. The Messenger of Allah said to me: “Does my supplication make you happy?” I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?” He then said: “By Allah, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah in every prayer.” [Narrated in Al Bazzaar, Hasan Al-Albani]

We ask Allah to make us among those who love, follow and obey His Prophet and we implore Him to make us among those who will be with His Messenger on the Day of Judgment and to grant us his companionship in The Highest Gardens of Jannah. Ameen.

May the most perfect and complete Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Messenger and Prophet, and Allah the Most High knows best.

Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ibnmasood

    December 21, 2009 at 1:03 AM

    That was rather exhaustive, not concise! masha Allah :-)

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 4:45 AM

      If you can believe it, this is condensed. SubhanAllah, I was surprised myself at the amount of information you can find on this topic! Of course, not much in English.

  2. Avatar

    Yousuf

    December 21, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    Thank you for the great article. Learned a lot and Inshallah will try my best to make it as my habit.

  3. Avatar

    Navaid Aziz

    December 21, 2009 at 2:08 AM

    As salam ‘alaikum,

    A very well researched piece. Jazaakillahu khairan! May Allah continue to grant you tawfeeq and success. Ameen.

  4. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    December 21, 2009 at 2:33 AM

    mashaAllah ukhti! May Allah swt reward you abundantly for your articles!

    And as a cherry to top off your already beautifully baked and decorated cake:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX48sFSuLdg

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 4:47 AM

      baarak Allahu feek. that video is amazing!

    • Avatar

      Ismail

      July 1, 2016 at 7:22 PM

      This video is gone, know where to find it

  5. Avatar

    muhajjirah

    December 21, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    asalaam alaikum warahmat ALLAH wabarakatu:

    Allahuma Sally Ala Sayidinna Muhammad, alayhee salaat wa’salaam!!! mashaAllah this is an excellent piece, may Allah reward you for the spreading of this knowledge.

    so many times ppl say “send my salaams to Rasullilah, alayhee salat wa’salaam” so it was one of the first things i wanted to learn about. but that deed is easier than having to be here in madinah! because it is the Noble Angels who deliver your salaams to him, and with which Prophet Muhammad alayhee salaam, responds.

    May Allah send His Peace & Blessings upon our beloved Rasullilah…alyahee salat wasalam!

  6. Pingback: “Believers! Send your Blessings on him” | Resource for Salawat on the Prophet | allah.eu

  7. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 21, 2009 at 4:51 AM

    baarak Allahu feekum for the comments! I realize that this is quite long but you must understand how difficult it is to do justice to any topic regarding the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. InshaAllah I hope it is beneficial and I’ll accept any feedback :)

    Just had to say that I didn’t work on this by myself, a few people helped me with resources. May Allah azza wa jal reward them greatly.

  8. Avatar

    ummmaryam

    December 21, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Assalamualykum warahemutullahee wabarakatahu,

    Allahu Akbar .Allahu Akbar..

    Jazakillahu khairaa .Mashaallah.Learned a lot.may Allah give you more and more barakah in your time.

    I do have a doubt regarding times when it is not allowed ” If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.” ..If we are reading Quran word by word for example “[وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ here rabbuka means your lord that is prophet salallahualayhiwasallam’s lord ..Can I send salams then or not?

    salaam

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Umm Maryam,

      wa iyyaki alhamdulillah.

      It is not recommended when reciting Qur’an meaning when you are reading in Arabic, like openly from the Mushaf or in salah or listening to a recitation. If it’s during class [i.e., like a tafseer class] or you are reading from a book, according to a link above from IslamQA and what I read from shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah, then you should say “sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam” or the like.

      Other than that, I can’t really expound as I only put this together based on research so I don’t know. Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        ummahmed

        December 21, 2009 at 11:06 AM

        jazakillahu khairaa..

      • Avatar

        ummmaryam

        December 21, 2009 at 5:46 PM

        Assalamualykum dear sister,

        Jazakillahu khairaa for being so kind and for answering each and every question with sabr.May Allahtaala accept all your service and reward you abundantly .

        salaam.

  9. Avatar

    Bint Khalid

    December 21, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Amatullah, may Allah subhana wa Ta’ala bless you immensley! Your articles are totally uplifting and inspiring and just know that I truly love you for the sake of Allah :) Miss you lots!

  10. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    December 21, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Beast. Jazakillahukhair.

  11. Avatar

    aarij

    December 21, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    Masha Allah, a very comprehensive article. I was wondering, what is the proof for this:

    “If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 10:56 AM

      It is from a fatwa of Imam Nawawi rahimahullah which can be found in the IslamQA link:

      In Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, which is a Shaafa’i book, it says (2/65):

      If the worshipper recites or hears a verse in which the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is mentioned, it is not mustahabb to send blessings upon him, as the author said in a fatwa (i.e., al-Nawawi).

      Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        aarij

        December 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM

        jazakillahi khairan. i saw one of my teachers do otherwise once (and that was at the end of juz 2 at the end of the recitation), so i was just wondering where that opinion came from.

  12. Avatar

    Hafsa

    December 21, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    Jazakallukhair! Beautiful!

  13. Avatar

    Ibrahim ibn Imran

    December 21, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    Jazaakumullahu Khairan for the great article mashaAllah.

  14. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    December 21, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    barak Allahu feekie, may Allah ta`ala grant you the highest ranks with the company of our beloved Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam)..what a beneficial article masha`Allah…

    Just would like to add to the list of virtues.

    – Our remembrance of our beloved prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) should increase our ittiba (following) and impact our character and interpersonal relations, specially in the home between spouses, parents, and children. As the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) said, “those closest to me on the day of Judgement are those of you with the best akhlaaq”..

    – When we make salawat upon our prophet, then we also follow him more obediently, thereby attaining Allah’s love as the ayah, (Say, If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins)..

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM

      wa feek barak Allah. Jazaak Allahu khayran for adding those virtues!

  15. Avatar

    abu nabeeha

    December 21, 2009 at 6:04 PM

    Jazakallah for this beautiful reminder.
    I shall be very grateful if somebody can answer my questions regarding this inshallah.
    1) When somebody mentions the name of the prophet, is it sufficient to send salaam silently in heart, or are we required to say it loud. If so, how loud?

    2) What is the ruling on this subject when the jumuah khutbah is going on. Is there any difference of opinion on this?

    Thanks alot again for sharing this beneficial knowledge.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

      inshaAllah I will try and do some research and get back to you.

  16. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    December 21, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    Ma sha Allah, keep up the good work sister!

    Yasir

  17. Avatar

    Faraz Omar

    December 22, 2009 at 12:50 AM

    Baarak Allahu feek. really nice article. may Allah accept it from you. may Allah guide us to often send salah n salaams on our beloved prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

    just one small criticism. Ending the article on the topic of abbreviation seems to undermine the purpose of the article. All the benefits and virtues and importance of the salaat alan-nabi ends on that note, which is not as important as the rest, and gives an impression that this is the crux of action that you want your readers to take after reading the piece.

    It would have been better if it had come in the middle or if you had added a last sub-title that urge us to implement this sunnah as an act of worship as much as possible. Though this is how I clearly see you intended.

    I hope you take this +vely and are not offended by this feedback.

    But Masha Allah… may Allah guide us to learn Islam and study it more. Really inspiring stuff.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:54 AM

      jazaak Allahu khayran for the feedback, I’m not offended in the least.

      Actually another staff writer told me the same thing but I honestly forgot to change it. InshaAllah I will be more mindful in the future.

  18. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran for the encouraging words and comments :) May Allah azza wa jal accept our deeds.

  19. Avatar

    Nisa

    December 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    MashaAllah I really enjoyed reading it :) Yet another wonderful article by Sr. Amatullah alhamdulilah. Looking forward to more bi’idnillah!

  20. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    December 24, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    Assalamu alykum wa ramatulahi wa barakatu

    MashaAllah!!!! Great article, very well put together with such good wealth of information. Thanks for sharing. I am AlhamduliAllah in the habit of saying this but why I say it has become so much more meaningful! Jazakillahu khaiyer.MashaAllah, I Learned a lot. It also reminded me of my faults I need to work on such as patience and guarding my tongue. It is a great article that can make me feel more knowledgeable, more in love with my deen and ashamed of my faults without making me “jumpy” May Allah reward you immensely and Jazak Allah Khayer for sharing

    May Allah give you much more barakah in your time and ability to share.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      December 24, 2009 at 5:35 PM

      I forgot to put in her, that I was beginning to develop the nasty habit of abbreviating it as well. This is very beneficial

      • Avatar

        Amatullah

        December 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM

        wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Holly,

        wa iyyaki, baarak Allahu feeki for your comments and duaa :)

        I totally understand what you mean about the abbreviations. i feel the same way about abbreviating the salaams.

  21. Avatar

    AbdAllah

    December 27, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    Dear respected sister in Islam

    Asalm ualkum.

    I have taken liberty to post your most beneficial article on follwing site with some editing (without changing meaning of the original text) to expand the rewards InshaAllah.

    http://ahlalhdeeth.cc/vbe/showthread.php?t=7729

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 28, 2009 at 2:02 PM

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullah

      baarak Allahu feek akhi.

  22. Avatar

    shuja

    December 31, 2009 at 6:56 PM

    subhan’ALLAH what a beautiful article.

    Sallahu Alayhi Wasalm.

  23. Pingback: Twists of the Texts | Ahmadiyya

  24. Avatar

    Muqith Mujtaba Ali

    February 26, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum, dear brothers and sisters, at Muslim Matters.

    Masha Allah this section covers all aspects of salawat and salam on our glorious Prophet Muhammad
    (Sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam).
    I am going to link this in my seerah blog,
    http://www.muhammad-theideal.blogspot.com
    insha allah.

    Jazakallah Khair.

    Muqith.

  25. Avatar

    Sam

    June 27, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    Reading this is beautiful, really well laid out and explained…i have personally benefited today. thank you for your hard work. I just want to suggest something, i think alot of people can benefit from this work if you share it, there a great site for muslim converts were this work can be of use to many people, please consider sharing it on http://www.MuslimsIn.com

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      June 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM

      Please feel free to share it inshaAllah.

      • Avatar

        Sam

        June 28, 2010 at 2:46 AM

        thanks brother

  26. Pingback: From the Nurse to the Shaykh: A Heartfelt Reminder | MuslimMatters.org

  27. Avatar

    feint

    March 28, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Salam Alaykum,

    A great addition I may suggest:

    Ubayy ibn Ka`b relates: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I send much blessings on you. What proportion of my prayer should I devote to you?” He said, “As much as you like.” I said, “A quarter?” He said, “As much as you like, and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then a half?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased then it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then two thirds?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “I’ll devote all of my prayers to sending blessings on you.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “In that case it will suffice you from your worries and your sins will be forgiven. “ [Reported by Tirmidhi who declared it well authenticated]

    And Allah knows best

  28. Pingback: Sunnah 8: Passing prayers on the Prophet (pbuh) « A Sunnah A Day

  29. Pingback: Manners of Making Du’a – Continued | Lollies Place

  30. Avatar

    druana1

    July 4, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Allah grant us useful resource from this website, al-wahhab.

  31. Pingback: All About the Selawat upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w (peace & blessings be upon him) | islambitbybit

  32. Avatar

    Abu Nour

    July 30, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum,

    Sorry I just cannot get over your phrasing: he (alayhi salawatu wa salam) is just a man with no power to benefit. Are you serious? I would think that statement borders kufr: Is the revelation of no benefit to you? Is the Sunnah or no value? Are you not counting on shifa’a? How did the Sahaba treat the Messenger (sallaLlahu alayhi wa sallam) and how does the Quran speak of him–every word of his is hidayah, every prayer of his is mustajab (with the four ways that Allah responds to prayer). May Allah reward us all for our intention and improve our adab and ‘ilm.

    • Avatar

      Zafar

      September 19, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      Bismillah alhamdulillah wassalatu wasalamu ala rasulillah wa ala alihi wasahbi

      As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

      Amatullah Jazakallahu Khairan Kasiran kasira.
      May Allah Subhanahu give you best rewards in this dunya and aakhirah. May Allah give you Wisdom.

  33. Avatar

    abu sa'adah

    February 25, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    salamun alaekum sir, if we are on solat for instance and the imam recites a verse containing the prophet’s name to our hearing, we are use to responding but please if it is not allowed do we have an evidence from quran and sunnah prohibiting it. and please can you help with how the sahabah used to respond to it at least they were there with the prophet. many sheikhs have many things about it but their fatwas seems more of ijtihad than direct evidence. may Allah bless you

  34. Avatar

    Anila Moin Syed

    May 30, 2016 at 6:30 AM

    Alhamdulillah. A teacher of mine recommend me to read this article as i had a lot of confusions but by the mercy of Allah SWT i am so clear now about my beliefs. May Allah put barakah into your work.

  35. Avatar

    Ali

    January 12, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Very informative and right directed to Deen-e-Ilahi
    plz Must watch like subscribe n share for more informative lectures

    Thanks

  36. Avatar

    humair

    January 28, 2018 at 3:32 AM

    Asalamoalaikum,

    Great resource i must say, my purpose for commenting is to showcase a resource which i recently discovered while surfing on the web, i was searching for different Fatwas, so i just encountered this website: https://www.awqaf.gov.ae/en/officialfatwacenter
    Here you can also ask your question and the best part is they help in you a very helpful manner and its for absolutely free.

  37. Avatar

    Hashim

    February 25, 2018 at 7:09 AM

    Salaam alaikum. If you don’t mind me asking how come some Muslim says the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) name and then say “salalahu aleyhi wa Salam” when at the same time all the Hadith quoted above say that we should be including his (pbuh) family in the salutation? Shouldn’t we be saying “salalahu aleyhi wa alehi wa Salam” after saying his (pbuh) name according to the evidences provided by this article?

  38. Avatar

    Eleeny

    June 2, 2018 at 6:39 AM

    World best online Quran academy for various Arabic Quran learning classes in an easy way. effective way no matter where you are in the world.
    https://alazharquranteaching.com

  39. Avatar

    Aamna

    August 29, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    MashAllah very nice. People should read this that do not send Salawat on out Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)

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The Unexpected Blessings of Being Alone

Juli Herman

Published

on

My seven-year old son sat on the ground, digging a hole. Around him, other children ran, cried, and laughed at the playground.

“He’s such a strange kid,” my oldest daughter remarked. “Who goes to the playground and digs holes in the ground?”

In an instant, scenes of my ten-year-old self flashed through my mind. In them I ducked, hiding from invisible enemies in a forest of tapioca plants. Flattening my back against the spindly trunks, I flicked my wrist, sending a paper shuriken flying towards my pursuers. I was in my own world, alone.

It feels as if I have always been alone. I was the only child from one set of parents. I was alone when they divorced. I was alone when one stepmother left and another came in. I was alone with my diary, tears, and books whenever I needed to escape from the negative realities of my childhood.

Today, I am a lone niqab-wearing Malay in the mish-mash of a predominantly Desi and Arab Muslim community. My aloneness has only been compounded by the choices I’ve made that have gone against social norms- like niqab and the decision to marry young and have two babies during my junior and senior years of undergrad.

When I decided to homeschool my children, I was no longer fazed by any naysayers. I had gotten so used to being alone that it became almost second nature to me. My cultural, religious, and parenting choices no longer hung on the approval of social norms.

Believe it Or Not, We Are All Alone

In all of this, I realize that I am not alone in being alone. We all are alone, even in an ocean of people. No matter who you are, or how many people are around you, you are alone in that you are answerable to the choices you make.

The people around you may suggest or pressure you into specific choices, but you alone make the ultimate choice and bear the ultimate consequence of what those choices are. Everything from what you wear, who you trust, and how you plan your wedding is a result of your own choice. We are alone in society, and in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as well.

The aloneness is obvious when we do acts of worship that are individual, such as fasting, giving zakah, and praying. But we’re also alone in Hajj, even when surrounded by a million other Muslims. We are alone in that we have to consciously make the choice and intention to worship. We are alone in making sure we do Hajj in its true spirit.

We alone are accountable to Allah, and on the Day of Judgment, no one will carry the burden of sin of another.

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا

“Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good; whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” Surah Al Israa 17:15

On the day you stand before Allah you won’t have anyone by your side. On that day it will be every man for himself, no matter how close you were in the previous life. It will just be you and Allah.

Even Shaytaan will leave you to the consequences of your decisions.

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.’ A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers” Surah Ibrahim 14:22

But, Isn’t Being Alone Bad?

The connotation that comes with the word ‘alone’ relegates it to something negative. You’re a loser if you sit in the cafeteria alone. Parents worry when they have a shy and reserved child. Teachers tend to overlook the quiet ones, and some even complain that they can’t assess the students if they don’t speak up.

It is little wonder that the concept of being alone has a negative connotation. Being alone is not the human default, for Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was alone, yet Allah created Hawwa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a companion for him. According to some scholars, the word Insaan which is translated as human or mankind or man comes from the root letters that means ‘to want company’. We’re naturally inclined to want company.

You might think, “What about the social aspects of Islam? Being alone is like being a hermit!” That’s true, but in Islam, there is a balance between solitary and communal acts of worship. For example, some prayers are done communally like Friday, Eid, and funeral prayers. However, extra prayers like tahajjud, istikharah, and nawaafil are best done individually.

There is a place and time for being alone, and a time for being with others. Islam teaches us this balance, and with that, it teaches us that being alone is also praiseworthy, and shouldn’t be viewed as something negative. There is virtue in alone-ness just as there is virtue in being with others.

Being Alone Has Its Own Perks

It is through being alone that we can be astute observers and connect the outside world to our inner selves. It is also through allowing aloneness to be part of our daily regimen that we can step back, introspect and develop a strong sense of self-based on a direct relationship with Allah.

Taking the time to reflect on worship and the words of Allah gives us the opportunity to meaningfully think about it. It is essential that a person gets used to being alone with their thoughts in order to experience this enriching intellectual, emotional and spiritual experience. The goal is to use our thoughts as the fuel to gain closeness to Allah through reflection and self-introspection.

Training ourselves to embrace being alone can also train us to be honest with ourselves, discover who we truly are, and work towards improving ourselves for Allah’s sake. Sitting with ourselves and honestly scrutinizing the self in order to see strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement is essential for character development. And character development is essential to reach the level of Ihsaan.

When we look into who we want to be, we are bound to make some decisions that might raise eyebrows and wag tongues. Being okay with being alone makes this somewhat easier. We should not be afraid to stand out and be the only one wearing praying or wearing hijab, knowing that it is something Allah will be pleased with. We should not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in even if it makes us unpopular. Getting used to being alone can give us the confidence to make these decisions.

Being alone can strengthen us internally, but not without pain. Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the “pain of independence.”

All our prophets experienced this ‘pain of independence’ in their mission. Instances of different prophets being rejected by their own people are generously scattered in the Quran for us to read and reflect upon. One lesson we can extract from these is that being alone takes courage, faith, conviction, and confidence.

 

We Come Alone, Leave Alone, Meet Allah Alone

The circumstances that left me alone in the different stages of my life were not random. I always wanted an older brother or someone else to be there to rescue me from the solitude. But the solitude came with a blessing. Being alone gave me the time and space in which to wonder, think, and eventually understand myself and the people around me. I learned reflection as a skill and independent decision-making as s strength. I don’t mind being alone in my niqab, my Islam, or my choices. I’ve had plenty of practice after all.

Open grave

You are born alone and you took your first breath alone. You will die alone, even if you are surrounded by your loved ones. When you are lowered into the grave, you will be alone. Accepting this can help you make use of your moments of solitude rather than fear them. Having the courage to be alone builds confidence, strengthens conviction, and propels us to do what is right and pleasing to Allah regardless of human approval.

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Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.

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israel, occupied Palestine

Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

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This Article Could be Zakat-Eligible

Who Accounts For This Pillar of Islam

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Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.  

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.   

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.  

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.   

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.  

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.   

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.  

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.

Footnotes:

  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

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