Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 243
The Obligation of Supplicating Allah to Exalt His Mention and its Excellence, and its Manner

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Allah exalts the mention of His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and His angels supplicate Him to do so. O you who believe! supplicate Allah to exalt his mention and to grant him safety and security.

 

1397. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying: "Whoever supplicates Allah to exalt my mention, Allah will exalt his mention ten times.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: Recitation of Salat upon the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) means the recitation of benediction. Such as the one recited in Salat "O Allah, have mercy on Muhammad...)'' It is a prayer for mercy and exaltation of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) which is highly meritorious. (At-Tirmidhi, Hadith Hasan).

 

1398. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’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].

Commentary:  "Nearest to me'' signifies "those who are most entitled to my intercession''. Thus, this Hadith has also an inducement for very frequent recitation of Salat on the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

 

1399. Aus bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’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 (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied, "Allah has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary:  That "Allah has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets'' means that the earth does not consume them. That "their Salat (salutations) will be presented to him'' indicates that angels present the salutation performed to him, as is elucidated in other Ahadith. Moreover, his soul is then returned to him and he answers the salutations also. (In the opinion of Muhaddithun, the Hadith relating to the return of the soul comes in the category of "Hadith Hasan'', i.e., it is acceptable).

 

1400. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’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].

Commentary: "May his nose soil with 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.'' Those who merely kiss thumbs of their hands can also be the addressee of this saying because they do not supplicate Allah for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) while what is in fact ordained is salutation, and not kissing of thumbs. The latter gesture has not been ordained in any Hadith. Some religious scholars regard the salutation obligatory while others hold that it desirable.

 

1401. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Do not make my grave a place of festivity, and supplicate Allah for me, for your supplication reaches me wherever you are.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary:  "Do not make my grave a place of festivity'' means do not gather there as people do on the festival of `Eid. Unfortunately, a fraction of heretics consider such festivities laudable. When the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not like such gatherings on his own grave, how can it be permissible on the death anniversaries of other people? Some people misinterpret this Hadith and contend that what it means is that `You should not come to my grave once in a while but very frequently'' although its real meaning is that which we have just mentioned. The next sentence confirms this contention. There is no need for frequent gathering for the reason that wherever a Muslim may be, the salutations which he performs to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) will be conveyed to him through the angels. Every Muslim has a desire to visit the Prophet's grave, and there cannot be any doubt about its desirability, but there is no need to undertake journey for paying homage and salutation only. In fact, the real intention of going to Al-Madinah should be to visit Prophet's Mosque which will include visiting his grave. This is the real meaning of this Hadith. There is another Hadith which prohibits undertaking a journey to any mosque except the three which have been marked by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

 

1402. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whenever someone greets  me, Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary:  We learn from this Hadith that the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is alive in his grave and he answers the salutation offered by a Muslim. But this life of his is the life of Barzakh (an intervening state between death and the Day of Resurrection, and whoever dies, enters it) the reality of which is not known to us. Thus, it is wrong to say that the life of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is like worldly life or more vigorous than it. Such a claim is baseless because it is not confirmed by the Qur'an and Hadith. Were he to be alive the way he was in his lifetime, there would have been no need for "the returning of the soul to his body'' and he would be able to answer the salutations without it. As far this ambiguity is concerned, when countless Muslims are always offering salutations to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) how does the return of the soul takes place after such short intervals? Such questions arise due to the lack of certitude in the Omnipotence of Allah. When the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stated that his soul is returned to him then we should have absolute faith in his statement because Allah is Capable of doing every thing. What is its nature and form, it is not known to us, nor can we know it. Thus, the question of the return of soul in the grave should be considered similar to the ambiguous Ayat of the Qur'an in which every Muslim is required to have blind faith but their secret is known to Allah Alone.

This Hadith has an inducement for offering more and more supplications for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) so that the devotee is blessed with the maximum reward in the form of the Prophet's response to his salutations. It is certainly a great blessing which a Muslim should try every nerve to achieve.

 

1403. `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.''
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  "Miser'' means to deny someone his right. If a Muslim does not supplicate for him upon hearing his name, then such a person is a miser beyond doubt. Thus, we learn that one must recite Salat when he hears the name of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). It is sufficient to say May Allah render him from evil and exalt his mention) for this purpose.

 

1404. Fadalah bin `Ubaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) heard some one supplicating after his prayer without praising Allah and without supplicating Allah for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). With regard to him, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "This man rushed.'' Then he called him and said, "When any one of you have performed Salat (prayer) and wants to supplicate, let him praise Allah first then glorify Him in the beginning and then he should supplicate Allah for me. Then he may supplicate for whatever he likes.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  "Fi salatihi" means that after the Salat or at the end of Salat, he heard someone invoking Allah. Similarly, "idha salla ahadukum'' means when one completes the Salat and invokes Allah. In any case, it is necessary to praise Allah and supplicate Him for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) before invoking Allah.

 

1405. Abu  Muhammad  Ka`b  bin `Ujrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’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 `alaikum), but how should we supplicate for you?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Say: `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala `ali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala `ali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala `ali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala `ali 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].

Commentary:  In this Hadith, the Salam means the supplication which is recited in At-Tashahhud. The Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to recite it in At-Tashahhud in the manner taught by him. When Almighty Allah ordained Muslims to supplicate for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), it raised the question in their minds as to the wordings of the benediction (as they already knew how to greet him). They asked the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and he taught it. Invoking Allah's blessings upon the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) should be done in the manner which he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has taught us, because in doing so we get the reward of following the guidance of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

 

1406. Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: We were sitting in the company of Sa`d bin `Ubadah (May Allah be pleased with him), when the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) came to us. Bashir bin Sa`d said: "O Messenger of Allah! Allah has commanded us to supplicate for you, but how should we do that?'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) kept silent. We were much perturbed over his silence and we wished he did not asked him this question. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Say: `O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you exalted the family of Ibrahim. And bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praised, the Glorified,' and the method of greeting (i.e., Salam) is as you know.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  In this Hadith, the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has showed us that the manner of offering Salam was the same as the one mentioned in the previous Hadith. "Al'' means the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and those of his relatives who were from Banu Hashim and Banu `Abdul-Muttalib and had embraced Islam. Some scholars are of the opinion that it is general and applies to all his followers.

This Hadith also teaches us that if one does not have knowledge of a religious matter, he must seek guidance from the knowledgeable scholars of Islam about it, rather than going by his opinion. Knowledgeable persons (scholars) here means persons who are well-versed in the Qur'an and Hadith and can answer questions in the light of them, and not from the sayings of others or from their own intelligence.

 

1407. Abu Humaid As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "O Messenger of Allah! How should we supplicate for you?'' He (sallallaahu ’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 sent Your Salat (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].

Commentary:  "Azwaj''  is the plural of "Zauj'' that is a pair. This is the reason that in Arabic it applies to both, masculine as well as feminine. Man is the Zauj of woman and woman is the Zauj of a man. In any case, here it means the Prophet's wives who are eleven in number. Two of them had died during the lifetime of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and nine survived after him. Islam does not permit more than four wives to a Muslim but the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was given the exclusive permission for numerous considerations which have been discussed by religious scholars at length.

This Hadith also refutes the opinion of those who do not include his pious wives in the category of his "Al''. The progeny of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) includes his male and female children and their descendants. But after his death none except Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her) and her children remained alive. In short, his "Al'' includes his wives and progeny.