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Why do we send blessings upon the Prophet and his family in the prayer and not upon the rest of the ummah?

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Publication : 12-12-2016

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Question

One of the basic principles of Islam is that a human in the eyes of Allah is always equal. When we pray, at the end of our prayer, after the Tashahhud, we always ask Allah to bestow peace and blessings on the Prophet, and his family. We do not say peace upon the rest of the ummah or the sahabah etc. With regard to this, please can you explain to me fully what is the status of the prophets family.

Praise be to Allah

Firstly:

Submission to Allah and His Messenger is one of the fundamentals of the Islamic religion, without which it cannot be complete. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission”

[an-Nisa’ 4:65].

Submission leaves no room for doubt and it puts an end to the whispers of the Shaytaan. By means of submission one may attain certainty and perfect faith, and when there is submission, one does not need to ask why or how.

Secondly:

People are all equal in terms of them being slaves of Allah, but after that they very in status and virtue according to their level of piety or fear of Allah, as Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (pious)]”

[al-Hujuraat 49:13].

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said on the middle day of the days of at-Tashreeq: “O people, verily your Lord is one and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of piety. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.

Narrated by Ahmad (22978) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (2700).

Thirdly:

Sending greetings of salaam upon the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and upon the righteous slaves of Allah in the prayer is done in the tashahhud, which is then followed by sending blessings upon the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and upon his family.

The greeting of salaam is sent upon all the righteous slaves of Allah in heaven and on earth, as al-Bukhaari (831) and Muslim (402) narrated that Ibn Mas‘ood said: When we prayed behind the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), we used to say: Peace (salaam) be upon Allah, peace be upon So and so. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said to us one day: “Allah is as-Salaam, so when one of you sits to pray, let him say: at-Tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa’s-salawaatu wa’t-tayyibaat; as-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’n-nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakaatuhu; as-salaamu ‘alayna wa ‘ala ‘ibaad-illaah is-saaliheen (All compliments, prayers and good words are due to Allah; peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings; peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah). For if you say that it will reach every righteous slave in the heavens and on earth. (Then say:) Ash-hadu al-laa ilaaha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger).”

As for sending blessings when saying “Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad… wa baarik ‘ala Muhammad” what is prescribed is for it to be intended for the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his family, and it is said after the Tashahhud.

This is how it is prescribed and it is prescribed to be exclusively for the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his family. Allah instructed His Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to say it this way, and He has commanded people to follow the Prophet’s example and act in accordance with his Sunnah, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) told us when he said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (631).

Allah, may He be exalted, bestows His favour and generosity upon whomever He will among His slaves. He is not to be questioned about what He does and no objection is to be raised to what He prescribes on the basis of what people may think or imagine. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“He selects for His Mercy (Islam and the Qur’an with Prophethood) whom He wills and Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:74]

“That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower”

[al-Maa’idah 5:54].

It is well-known that the family of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoy special virtue and status that others do not share.

Moreover, the grace of Allah will be bestowed upon the righteous and His slaves with the sending of greetings of salaam upon them, as we see above. Obviously, it is not necessarily the case that those who are favoured receive equal favour in all things.

Our Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) taught his Companions to send blessings upon him when they said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we know how to send greetings of salaam upon you, but how should we send blessings upon you? He said: “Say: Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kama salayta ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed; Allahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kama baarakta ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed (O Allah, send Your salaah (grace, honour and mercy) upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your salaah upon the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, send Your blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Praiseworthy, Most Glorious).”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6357) and Muslim (406).

This is how to send blessings upon him (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and not one of them said: O Messenger of Allah, why do we send blessings upon you and upon your family, and we do not send blessings upon the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, or upon any of your Companions or any of your ummah? They only said, as Allah tells us about them and about His believing slaves: We hear and we obey. This is what is required of us.

Fourthly:

What is meant by the family of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is his wives and descendants, and Banu Haashim and Banu’l-Muttalib.

See also the answer to question no. 10055.

And Allah knows best.

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