Salawat

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Salawat written in Nast'aliq calligraphy

Ṣalawāt (Arabic: صَلَوات) is a special Arabic phrase, containing a salutation upon the Prophet of Islam (s), which Muslims say in the tashahhud of prayer, and also when hearing or uttering the name of Prophet Muhammad (s). In addition to the holy Quran (verse 56 of the sura al-Ahzab), many hadiths have stressed delivering this salutation.

Muslims believe that salawat shows one's respect to the Prophet (s), and generates Divine reward in the other world, as well as positive worldly results. Besides, it has a lofty position in common Islamic culture of many countries, in which Muslims relate salawat on various occasions as an expression of happiness in festivals, or a blessed and auspicious start for their works.

The most common phrase for salawat among Shi'a is; "اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد" (O Allah, May you grant peace and honor on Muhammad and his family; trans.: Allahumm-a Sall-i 'Ala Muhammad-in Wa Al-i Muhammad).

Meaning

Prayer
مسجد جامع خرمشهر.jpg

Salawat is the plural form of "salat" (Arabic: صلاة), and from the root of "Sad Lam Waw" (Arabic: ص ل و), meaning prayer, salutation, greeting, and mercy. "Salat", the singular form of "salawat", also means the ritual prayer, and it is called so since it includes some prayers, and thus "salawat" has a plural meaning in Arabic, and means ritual prayers, prayers (in general), or salutations.[1] Among non-Arab Muslims though, it is not regarded as a plural word, but it has rather assumed a terminological meaning of the special salutation upon the Prophet (s) and his family.

Arabic philologists have mentioned that when used as salutation and greeting, the meaning of the word "salat" would vary according to who has used the word, and to whom it is used for:

  • "Salat" of the Prophet (s) upon believers is a prayer for their welfare, blessing, and salvation,
  • "Salat" of angels upon one means that they implore forgiveness and blessing for him,
  • "Salat" of believers upon Muhammad (s) shows their praise and respect for him,[2]
  • "Salat" of God upon the Prophet (s) is to grant His blessings to him,
  • "Salat" of angels upon the Prophet (s) means that they implore God's blessings for him.[3]

As a religious term, "salawat" is used for a special salutation upon the Prophet (s), and its common form among Shi'a is; "اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد".

Variants and Different Phrases

The most common phrase of salawat among Shi'a is; "اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد" (O Allah, May you grant peace and honor on Muhammad and his family, trans.: Allahumm-a Sall-i 'Ala Muhammad-in Wa Al-i Muhammad). All Islamic denominations are consent to "اللهم صل علی محمد" (O Allah, May you grant peace and honor on Muhammad) as the main phrase of salawat, but there are conflicts about the following phrase. Unlike Sunnis, Shi'as often attach the following phrase; "and his family", adducing many hadiths in Shi'a and Sunni sources, in which it is suggested that a complete salawat contains the following phrase. For instance it is narrated that the Prophet (s) said to a man who asked about salawat; "Say, 'O Allah, May you grant peace and honor on Muhammad and his family, so as You granted peace and honor on the dynasty of Ibrahim, verily You are the Laudable, the Glorious. O Allah, May you grant blessing on Muhammad and his family, so as You granted blessing on Ibrahim, verily You are the Laudable, the Glorious'.[4]

Some hadiths state that salawat is not complete without the "and his family" phrase.[5] Also some hadiths stress that salawat upon the holy Prophet (s) should accompany salawat upon his family, such as a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that phrases salawat as; "The salutations of Allah, and the salutations of His angels, His prophets, and all His creatures, upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and all peace be upon him and them, along with Allah's mercy and blessings".[6] It is also narrated that salawat upon the Prophet (s) is recorded as a hundred good deeds, while a salawat upon him and his family is recorded as a thousand.[7]

Furthermore, as suggested by several hadiths narrated from Ahl al-Bayt, some Shi'as, utter the phrase; "و عجل فرجهم" (and may You hasten their glad advent)", following to salawat.[8]

Significance and Merits

According to some hadiths, the prophets preceding his highness Muhammad (s) would utter salawat. As stated in a hadith, salawat promoted Ibrahim (a) to higher spiritual degrees.[9] It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that; 'Whoever sends salawat upon me, the angels would send him blessing, many or few, just as he does.[10] ' As stated in some other hadiths, among them a hadith narrated from Imam al-Rida (a), salawat wipes out one's sins.[11]

In Quran

In addition to stating that God and His angels send salawat upon the Prophet (s), holy Quran commands believers to do the same:

In Hadiths

In relation to salawat, many divine and worldly rewards are mentioned in hadith sources, in many of which there are separate chapters in regard to salawat and its features and significance. It is reported in al-Kafi, the most reliable hadith source of Shi'a, that:

Whoever sends ten salawats upon Muhammad and his family, God and His angels will send him a hundred salutations, and whoever sends a hundred salawats upon Muhammad and his family, God and His angels will send him a thousand.[12]

In his book Wasa'il al-Shi'a, al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili (and also in the epilogue of this book called Mustadrak al-wasa'il, by Mirza Husayn al-Nuri) has compiled several chapters titled as; the character of salawat,[13] saying salawat out loud,[14] and so forth. Also al-'Allama al-Majlisi has reported 67 hadiths in the chapter of "the merits of salawat upon the Prophet and his family", in his book Bihar al-anwar, which is the greatest hadith source of Shi'a.[15]

In the sixth chapter of the first volume of Kanz al-'ummal, which is a Sunni hadith collection, 119 hadiths are narrated in regard to salawat and its significance and virtues.

Some effects of salawat mentioned in hadiths are as:

Results of Disregarding Salawat

  • One who does not send salawat upon the Prophet when hearing his name is regarded as miser, cruel, and remorseful on the resurrection day.
  • A supplication which is not preceded by salawat would be restrained from ascending to heaven and fulfillment.

Incomplete Salawat

Several hadiths are narrated from the Prophet (s) in which he said; 'perfect your salawat upon me with the salawat upon my dynasty. A salawat upon me is incomplete but with a salutation upon my family.'

Also in some hadiths, one who does not send salawat upon the family of the Prophet is represented as distant from heaven and a violator of their right.

Special Occasions

Salawat is recommended in many occasions. As stated in a hadith, salawat is desirable in any occasion.[39] Some important occasions are:

  • When God is mentioned: it is recommended that when God is mentioned, salawat should be sent upon Muhammad and his family.[40]
  • Following to prayer: according to reliable hadiths, salawat is of the most important dhikrs after prayers, so as it is included in the three common supplications that are recommended after all prayers (ta'qibat). In the ta'qibat particular to the morning prayer, it is recommended to say a hundred salawats. It is also desirable to say the al-salawat verse as one of the ta'qibat of maghrib prayer.[41] A common tradition in Shi'a mosques is that following to each prayer, the al-Salawat verse is recited, and then the prayers send three salawats upon Muhammad and his family.
  • Following to a speech: as reported by some hadiths, sending salawat after giving a speech is very desirable.[42]
  • After any supplication: it is recommended to include salawat in the late phrases of any supplication, and according to some hadiths, it causes the fulfillment of the supplication.[43]
  • Before other prophets: it is stated in some hadiths that, when mentioning the prophets of God, before sending a salutation upon them, a salawat ought to be sent upon Muhammad and his family.[44]
  • To recall what is forgotten: according to some hadiths, salawat is an influential dhikr to recall what is forgotten, provided that it is completed by a salawat upon the Prophet's (s) family.[45]

In Prayers

Salawat is a compulsory dhikr in the prayers, and every Muslim is obliged to utter salawat in the tashahud of his daily prayers, and salute the Prophet (s) and his family with the special phrase. According to reliable hadiths, deliberate abandonment of this salawat invalidates the prayer.[46]

Notes

  1. Al-Turayhi, Majma' al-bahrayn, vol.1 p.266
  2. Al-Farahidi, al-'Ayn, vol.7 p.153
  3. Al-Turayhi, Majma' al-bahrayn, vol.1 p.266
  4. Al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-manthur, vol.5 p.214
  5. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199
  6. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.196
  7. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.197
  8. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.5 p.96
  9. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194
  10. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194
  11. Al-Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194
  12. Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2 p.493
  13. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.196
  14. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.193
  15. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.47-73
  16. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.25 p.229
  17. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.197; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.49
  18. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.56
  19. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.54, vol.12 p.4
  20. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.192,200; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.59
  21. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.71
  22. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.96; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.53
  23. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.6 p.479; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.83 p.135, vol.91 p.58
  24. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.70
  25. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194
  26. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.92 p.136
  27. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.381; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.56 p.27, vol.86 p.268, vol.91 p.50
  28. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.83 p.77, vol.86 p.363, vol.87 p.65
  29. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.63
  30. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.193; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.57, vol.96 p.369
  31. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.68
  32. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.79 p.64, vol.91 p.70
  33. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.63
  34. Nuri, Mustadrak, vol.5 p.356
  35. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.36 p.419, vol.58 p.37, vol.91 p.51
  36. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.22 p.284, vol.39 p.274, vol.71 p.369, vol.91 p.70
  37. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.194; Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.91 p.74
  38. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.43 p.55, vol.97 p.194
  39. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.201
  40. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.201
  41. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.5 p.96
  42. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199
  43. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199
  44. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199
  45. Al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol.7 p.199
  46. Al-Saduq, Man la yahduruhu al-faqiq, vol.2 p.183

References

  • Farahidi, al-Khalil b. Ahmad al-. Al-'Ayn. Qom: Hijrat, 1410
  • Hurr al-'Amili, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-. Wasa'il al-Shi'a. Qom: Mu'assia Al al-Bayt, 1409
  • Al-Kulayni, Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-, Al-Kafi. Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya, 1365
  • Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir al-, Bihar al-anwar li durar akhbar al-a'imma al-athar. Beirut: 1983
  • Nuri, Husayn al-. Mustadrak al-wasa'il al-shi'a.
  • Saduq, Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Babiwayh al-, Man la yahduruh al-faqih. Qom: Jami'a Mudarrisin, 1413
  • Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-. Al-Durr al-manthur fi tafsir al-ma'thur.
  • Turayhi, Fakhr al-Din b. Muhammad al-. Majma' al-bahrayn. Tehran: Murtadawi, 1375