Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him: Why Do Muslims Say It?

Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him: Why Do Muslims Say It?

Have you ever heard a Muslim say peace and blessings be upon him, or something in Arabic, after mentioning Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)? That something in Arabic was probably “sallallahu alaihi wasallam”, “alayhi salam” or something else along those lines.

To find out why Muslims always say these things, keep on reading.

What Exactly Does It Mean?

Adding “peace and blessings be upon him” after mentioning Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is a mark of respect.

Sala Allah Alayhi wa-Salaam
Peace and blessings be upon him (abbreviated PBUH). Epithet used by pious Muslims in speech and writing as a sign of respect and honor after the name of a prophet or holy person, especially Muhammad. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam

The meaning of the Arabic phrase, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, is peace and blessings be upon him. This symbol (ﷺ) is the phrase written in Arabic.

Alayhi salam simply means peace be upon him.

When Muslims say these phrases, what they’re doing is demonstrating their love and gratitude towards the Prophet (ﷺ). It rewards a believer in this world and in the hereafter.

In The Qur’an

Peace and blessings be upon him
Image courtesy of Zaid Balushi via Creative Commons

Each time Muslims send peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), they’re following Allah’s command in Surah Al-Ahzab of the Qur’an.

Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace. Qur’an 33:56

In line with this ayah, it’s recommended to send both peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Not just one or the other.

Make an effort to say sallallahu alaihi wasallam or peace and blessings be upon him. This is better than just saying alayhi salam or peace be upon him.

Abbreviations

Quite often, you might come across people using abbreviations.

  • SAW: sallallahu alaihi wasallam
  • AS: alayhi salam
  • RA: radhiallahu ‘anhu/radhiallahu ‘anha/radhiallahu ‘anhum

Its better that we write out these abbreviations in full.

Ahadith About Saying Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him

Peace and blessings be upon him
Peace and blessings be upon him written in Arabic

In the following ahadith, salah refers to blessings or salutations. The meaning of salam is peace.

Just for sending one blessing or salutation upon the Prophet (ﷺ), Allah sends ten upon the Muslim sending it in return. Imagine the reward for sending hundreds a day!

Abu Hurairah narrated that:
Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever sends Salat upon me, Allah sends Salat upon him ten times.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi

It was narrated from Abdullah bin Abi Talha, from his father, that:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came one day with a cheerful expression on his face, and we said: “We see you looking cheerful”. He said: “The Angel came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, your Lord says: ‘Will it not please you (to know) that no one will send salah upon you that I will send salah upon him tenfold, and no one will send salams upon you but I will send salams upon him tenfold?'” Sunan an-Nasa’i

Avoiding Humiliation

The Muslim should send peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) every time his name is mentioned. This is in order to avoid humiliation on the Day of Judgement.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“May the man before whom I am mentioned – and he does not send Salat upon me – be humiliated. And may a man upon whom Ramadan enters and then passes, before he is forgiven, be humiliated. And may a man whose parents reached old age in his presence, and they were not a cause for his entrance to Paradise, be humiliated.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi

What If Someone Forgets To Say It?

From the above ahadith, we can see why Muslims are so motivated to send peace and blessings. We do so because we are granted hasanat (good deeds) for it.

Each time I’m sending salah or salam upon Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in this blog post, I’m getting rewarded for it.

Who doesn’t want to get rewarded just by saying a simple salutation?

It’s not an obligation to do so. But we are fearful of Allah and the Day of Judgement that’s approaching. We don’t want to be humiliated on that Day for not sending blessings or salutations upon Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

We want our good deeds to weigh heavier than our bad deeds.

In Daily Prayers

Peace and blessings be upon him

Even while performing their five obligatory daily prayers, Muslims send peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin, kama sallaita ‘ala aali Ibrahima innaka Hamidum-Majeed. Allahumma barik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kama barakta ‘ala aali Ibrahima innaka Hameedum-Majeed.

O Allah: bless Muhammad and his family as Thou didst bless the family of Ibrahim. Verily Thou art Praiseworthy and Glorious, O Allah. O Allah: prosper Muhammad and his family as Thou didst prosper the family of Ibrahim. Verily Thou art Praiseworthy and Glorious, O Allah.

Ibn Abi Laila reported:
Ka’b b. ‘Ujra met me and said: Should I not offer you a present (and added): The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to us and we said: We have learnt how to invoke peace upon you; (kindly tell us) how we should bless you. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Say: “O Allah: bless Muhammad and his family as Thou didst bless the family of Ibrahim. Verily Thou art Praiseworthy and Glorious, O Allah.” Sahih Muslim

Is It Just For Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)?

Its not only for Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Muslims grant peace to all of the 25 prophets mentioned in the Qur’an.

Adam (peace be upon him)
Nuh (peace be upon him)
Idris (peace be upon him)
Hud (peace be upon him)
Saleh (peace be upon him)
Ibrahim (peace be upon him)
Lut (peace be upon him)
Ismail (peace be upon him)
Ishaq (peace be upon him)
Yaqub (peace be upon him)
Yusuf (peace be upon him)
Ayub (peace be upon him)
Shoaib (peace be upon him)
Musa (peace be upon him)
Haroon (peace be upon him)
Dhul Kifl (peace be upon him)
Dawood (peace be upon him)
Suleman (peace be upon him)
Ilyas (peace be upon him)
Al-Yasa (peace be upon him)
Yunus (peace be upon him)
Zakariya (peace be upon him)
Yahya (peace be upon him)
Isa (peace be upon him)

Greeting Of Peace

Muslims greet each other with peace.

“Assalamu alaykum!” – “peace be upon you!”
“Wa alaykum assalam!” – “and unto you peace!”

And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” Qur’an 6:54

Should Non-Muslims Say It?

A Muslim wouldn’t take offense if a non-Muslim mentioned a prophet of Islam without sending peace and blessings upon them.

If they were to, a Muslim would probably appreciate the effort they’ve taken to show respect.

But at the same time, we would also see it as being pointless (on their part). In that it’s an act of ibadah that rewards the believers in this world and in the next.

It wouldn’t make sense for a Muslim to expect a non-believer to say “peace be upon him”.

What would be offensive to a Muslim though is deliberately insulting any of the Prophets of Islam, the angels, the sahaba/sahabiyah, the pious and noble Muslims, etc.

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