This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Islamic honorifics" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (April 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Islam uses a number of conventionally complimentary phrases praising God (e.g., Subḥānahu wa-taʿālā), or wishing good things upon Muhammad or others considered prophets and chosen figures of God (e.g., ʿalayhi s-salām). These phrases are encompassed by a number of terms that may be referred to simply as Arabic: صَلَوات, romanizedṣalawāt, "prayers", Persian: درود, romanizeddorud, "greetings", or Urdu: درود, romanizeddurūd.

Applied to God

After mentioning one of the names of God, such as Allah, an expression of worship is used as opposed to the phrases of supplication used for regular individuals. These include:

Arabic
Transliteration
Meaning Abbreviation
سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ Glorified and Exalted (swt), (s.w.t.)
subḥānahu wa-taʿālā subhanah wataeala sbnh wtela
تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَىٰ Blessed and Exalted (twt), (t.w.t.)
tabāraka wa-taʿālā tabarak wataeala tbark wtala
عَزَّ وَجَلَّ Prestigious and Majestic (azwj), (a.z.w.j.)
ʿazza wa-jalla az wajal az wjl

Applied to Muhammad and his family

Sallā -llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam ("blessings of God and peace be upon him") written in Arabic
"Blessings of God be upon him and his progeny" in Arabic
Arabic
Transliteration
Meaning
Usage Abbreviation
عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ This expression follows after naming prophets and messengers in Islam, companions in Sunni Islam and Imams in Shia Islam. (as), (a.s.)
ʿalayhi as-salāmu
Peace be upon him
عَلَيْهِ ٱلصَّلَاةُ وَٱلسَّلَامُ This expression follows after naming prophets and messengers, companions in Sunni Islam, Imams in Shia Islam. (asws), (a.s.w.s.), (pbbuh), (p.b.b.u.h.)
ʿalayhi aṣ-ṣalātu wa-as-salāmu
Blessings and peace be upon him
سَلَامُ ٱللَّٰهِ عَلَيْهِ This expression follows after naming Imams in Shia Islam or angels. The feminine version (سَلَامُ ٱللَّٰهِ عَلَيْهَا) is commonly used for historical Islamic women (e.g. Fatimah, Khadijah, Maryam, Asiya, Sarah, Eve, etc.). (sa), (s.a.)
salāmu -llāhi ʿalayhī
Peace of God be upon him
صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ This expression follows specifically after uttering the name of Muhammad, although "peace be upon him" may be used instead. (saw), (s.a.w.), (sa), (s.a.), (sm) (as a single character in Arabic Unicode ﷺ)
ṣallā -llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallama
Blessings of God be upon him as well as peace
صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ This expression follows specifically after uttering the name of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is used by all Muslims. (saww), (s.a.w.w.), (saws), (s.a.w.s.), (saw), (s.a.w.), (sa), (s.a.), (pbuh), (p.b.u.h)
ṣallā -llāhu ʿalayhi wa-ʾālihī wa-sallama
Blessings of God be upon him and his progeny and grant him peace
صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ This expression follows specifically after uttering the name of Muhammad. It is more commonly used by Shia Muslims. (sawa), (s.a.w.a.), (saww), (s.a.w.w.), (sa), (s.a.)
ṣallā -llāhu ʿalayhi wa-ʾālihī
Blessings of God be upon him and his progeny
رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ This expression is used when mentioning historic and contemporary Muslims. (ra), (r.a.), (r.h)(rah), (r.a.h.), (raa), (r.a.a.)
raḥimahu -llāhu
God have mercy on him
رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ This expression is used when mentioning the companions of Muhammad but sometimes used with other religious persons,[1] the feminine version رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَا. (ra), (r.a.)
raḍiya -llāhu ʿanhū
God be pleased with him

In the above, Arabic: عليه, romanizedʿalayhi "upon him" may be replaced by Arabic: عليه وعلى آله, romanizedʿalayhi wa-ʿalā 'ālihi "upon him and upon his family."

Usually, ṣallā or "blessings" is used exclusively for Muhammad to distinguish between him and other prophets (and Imams in Shia Islam), but theoretically, it is used for all prophets equally.

Scriptural and hadith basis for prayers upon Muhammad

Qur'ān

Verse 33:56 in Arabic

The honorifics for Muhammad are enjoined by Surat al-Ahzab:

إِنَّ ٱللّٰهَ وَمَلَـٰٓىِٕكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ ۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا
"Surely Allah (God) and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! Send blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation."
[Quran 33:56 (Translated by Shakir)]

Hadith

Al-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurairah said, "The Messenger of Allah said, 'May he be humiliated, the man in whose presence I am mentioned and he does not send Salaam upon me; may he be humiliated, the man who sees the month of Ramadan come and go, and he is not forgiven; may he be humiliated, the man whose parents live to old age and they do not cause him to be granted admittance to Paradise.'" Al-Tirmidhi said that this hadith was ḥasan gharib, "good but only reported once".

In Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami' at-Tirmidhi and al-Sunan al-Sughra, four of the six major hadith collections recorded that Abu Hurairah said, "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Whoever sends one Salaam upon me, Allah will send ten upon him.'"

Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported in his Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal that the Companion of Muhammad, Abu Talha ibn Thabit, said:

One morning the Messenger of Allah was in a cheerful mood and looked happy. They said, "O Messenger of Allah, this morning you are in a cheerful mood and look happy." He said, "Of course, just now someone [an angel] came to me from my Lord [Allah] and said, 'Whoever among your Ummah sends Salaam upon you, Allah will record for him ten good deeds and will erase for him ten evil deeds, and will raise his status by ten degrees, and will return his greeting with something similar to it.'"

Al-Bayhaqi reports that Abu Hurairah said that Muhammad said, "Send the Salaam on Allah's messengers and prophets for Allah sent them as He sent me."

This point is further founded in the saying by Muhammad, "The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned, then he does not send the Salam upon me." This was recorded in Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

Anas bin Malik said, "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: 'Whoever sends salah upon me once, Allah (SWT) will send salah upon him tenfold, and will erase ten sins from him, and will raise him ten degrees in status.'"

— Collected by Al-Nasa'i, Al-Sunan al-Sughra, Book 13, Hadith 119[2]

Salafi ruling on abbreviating prayers upon Muhammad

Scholars of the Salafi branch of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia have instructed their followers not to abbreviate the salawat upon Muhammad. For example, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said:

As it is prescribed to send prayers upon the Prophet (peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) in prayer when saying the tashahhud, and it is prescribed when giving khutbahs, saying Du'a and praying for forgiveness, and after the Adhan, and when entering and exiting the mosque, and when mentioning him in other circumstances, so it is more important to do so when writing his name in a book, letter, article and so on. So it is prescribed to write the prayers in full so as to fulfil the command that Allah has given to Muslims, and so that the reader will remember to say the prayers when he reads it. So one should not write the prayers on the Prophet (peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) in short form such as writing (S) or (SAWS) etc, or other forms that some writers use, because that is going against the command of Allah in His Book, where He says (interpretation of the meaning):

صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا

Send blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation."[Quran 33:56 (Translated by Shakir)]

And that (writing it in abbreviated form) does not serve that purpose and is devoid of the virtue of writing "salla Allaahu 'alayhi wa salaam (May Allah send prayers and peace upon him)" in full. Moreover the reader may not take notice of it and may not understand what is meant by it. It should also be noted that the symbol used for it is regarded as disapproved by the scholars, who warned against it.[citation needed][year needed]

Applied to angels and prophets

'Alay-hi 's-salām in Arabic script

Some honorifics apply to the archangels (Jibril, Mikhail, etc.) as well as any other Islamic prophets preceding Muhammad (Isa as, Musa as, Ibrahim as etc.). Group of modern scholars from Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Yemen, and Mauritania has issued fatwa that the angels should be invoked with blessing of alaihissalam, which also applied to human prophets and messengers.[3] This fatwa was based on the ruling from Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.[3]

Applied to companions of Muhammad

"May Allāh be pleased with him" in Arabic

Some honorifics are used after companions (Aṣ-Ṣaẖābah) of Muḥammad:

Applied to enemies of Muhammad

Some honorifics are not used in the sense of "honoring" a person, and are instead used after the mention of the enemies (Arabic: العَدُوّ, romanizedal-'aduww) of Muḥammad:

Applied to scholars

"May Allah's mercy be upon him" in Arabic

Some honorifics apply to highly revered scholars and people thought to be of high spiritual rank who have died:

If a revered scholar is still alive, the following is custom:

Unicode

See also: Arabic script in Unicode § Word ligatures

Unicode
UTF-8 Encoding Symbol Unicode Name Transcription Arabic English
ؑ ؑ Arabic sign ALAYHE ASSALLAM ʿalayhi s-salām عليه السلام peace be upon him
ؒ ؒ Arabic sign RAHMATULLAH ALAYHE raḥmatu Llāhi ʿalayh رحمة الله عليه God have mercy upon him
ؓ ؓ Arabic sign RADI ALLAHOU ANHU raḍī Llāhu ʿanh رضي الله عنه God be pleased with him

See also

References

  1. ^ "هل يقال رضي الله عنه لغير الصحابة - إسلام ويب - مركز الفتوى".
  2. ^ "The Book of Forgetfulness (In Prayer) (55) Chapter: The virtue of sending salah upon the Prophet (SAW)". sunnah.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-02.
  3. ^ a b Abdullaah Al-Faqeeh (2003). "Saying 'Peace be upon him' to Angel Gabriel". Islamweb.net. Fatwa center of Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Yemen, and Mauritania Islamic educational institues. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Islamic Terminology". islamic-dictionary. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Radi Allahu Anhu in Arabic, Meaning". Retrieved February 4, 2023.