By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 28 May 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town

This is how the beautiful Dua of Makarimul Akhlaq starts:

أَللَّهمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household,

وَبَلِّغْ بِإيْمَانِي أكْمَلَ الإِيْمَانِ،

cause my faith to reach the most perfect faith,

وَاجْعَلْ يَقِينِي أَفْضَلَ الْيَقِينِ،

make my certainty the most excellent certainty,

و انتَهِ بِنِيَّتِي إلَى أَحْسَنِ النِّيَّـاتِ،

and take my intention to the best of intentions

وَبِعَمَلِي إلى أَحْسَنِ الأعْمَالِ.

and my deeds to the best of deeds!

أللَّهُمَّ وَفِّرْ بِلُطْفِكَ نِيَّتِي،

O God, complete my intention through Your gentleness,

وَصَحِّحْ بِمَـا عِنْدَكَ يَقِينِي،

rectify my certainty through what is with You,

وَاسْتَصْلِحْ بِقُدْرَتِكَ مَا فَسَدَ مِنِّي.

and set right what is corrupt in me through Your power!

Our discussion will focus on these deeply profound initial verses of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq.

As you can see in this first portion, Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) draws our attention to 5 very important points:

A. Salawaat on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS)

B. Imaan (faith)

C. Yaqeen (certainty)

D. Niyyah (intention)

E. Amal (our actions/deeds)

In this discussion, we will delve deeper into Salawaat on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS), specifically covering the following:

1. Salawaat is a Dua (supplication)

2. Salawaat in the Holy Quran

3. Does our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) need our Salawaat?

4. The method of Salawaat narrated from Sahaaba

5. Imam Shafi’i – Salaah is incomplete without Salawaat including Ahlul Bait (AS)

6. The connection of Salawaat with Dua (supplication)

Salawaat on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) is repeated 20 times in Dua Makarimul Akhlaq, at the start of each portion of this Dua. This shows the great importance of Salawaat before making Dua and after concluding Dua.

It also emphasises how crucial Salawaat is in Dua, that Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) repeats it 20 times!


Salawaat, in simple terms, means to seek the mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT). When we say that we make Salawaat, it means we seek the mercy, blessings and favours of Almighty Allah (SWT). That is the simple meaning. But when Almighty Allah (SWT) makes Salawaat, He does not SEEK Salawaat, but rather, He BLESSES with His mercy and favours.

So in the case of Almighty Allah (SWT), Salawaat is His blessings of Mercy, and in our case as well as Angels (Mala’ika), Salawaat is the seeking of mercy from Almighty Allah (SWT).

Salawaat also comes in the context of Salaah (formal praying), because Salaah falls under the definition of Dua (supplication).

From our previous discussion we mentioned that Dua (supplication) is the channel of communication between you and your Lord (SWT). Now Salaah (praying) is a compulsory communication between you and Allah (SWT). Hence, Salawaat applies on Salaah (praying) as well.

In the Arabic language, Salaah means Dua (supplication). So the origin of Salaah is Dua (supplication), but then in Shariah (Islamic jurisprudence), Salaah became the term for a particular form of Ibadah (worship), in the manner which we know.


Salawaat in this context of SEEKING Mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT) for someone has been mentioned in the Holy Quran at least 3 times.

Firstly, in verse 103 of chapter 9 of the Holy Quran (Surah Tawba), Almighty Allah (SWT) says to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS):

خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them. Lo! Thy prayer is reassurance for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower.”

Secondly, in verse 43 of chapter 33 of the Holy Quran (Surah Ahzaab), Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا

“He it is Who sends His blessings on you, and (so do) His angels, that He may bring you forth out of utter darkness into the light; and He is Merciful to the believers.”

The third verse, which is the most important one, and directly connected to us, is verse 56 of chapter 33 of the Holy Quran (Surah Ahzaab), where Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

“Surely Allah and His Angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! Call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.”

So this is from the Holy Quran, where we understand that Allah (SWT) makes Salawaat, our Holy Prophet (SAWAS) makes Salawaat, Angels make Salawaat and WE are also commanded to make Salawaat.

But where are we COMMANDED to make Salawaat? There is only one place, a very special place, where Almighty Allah (SWT) COMMANDS us to make Salawaat, and that is in the third verse cited above!

Salawaat itself is an amazing Ibadah (act of worship). We always worship Allah (SWT), and not the other way around. However, there is only one act of worship that Almighty Allah (SWT), the Angels and us have in common, and that is when we read Salawaat on our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS)!


Rasulullah (SAWAS) is referred to in the Holy Quran by Almighty Allah (SWT) as “rahmatan lil aalameen”! He is the best of creation! So does it make sense that we must ask Allah (SWT) for Mercy upon Rasulullah (SAWAS)? He does not need our Dua, right?

This is a very important, ever popular question! There are numerous angles to respond to this.

a. The mystical response to this question

The first response is a very mystical response. Our Holy Prophet (SAWAS) is indeed the best of creation and closest person to Allah (SWT). There is no better than our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS).

However, does it mean that his status and movement is frozen and does not evolve? He is indeed on the highest of the levels, but it does not mean that he is not going up even further!

Yes, he is still travelling, because his journey is toward Almighty Allah (SWT). So his journey is toward Infinite, and hence our Salawaat on him elevates him even further and further despite his ultimate and supreme status! This is an endless journey!

The second mystical response is that the mercy and blessings of Almighty Allah (SWT) is manifested in the Muhammadian truth and reality (“Hakeekati Muhammadia”), since he is the best of creations!

So, whatever comes to US, comes through the Muhammadian channel of mercy, as he is the channel of Allah’s (SWT) mercy to US!

So, when we read Salawaat asking Allah (SWT) to bless Muhammad (SAWAS), we are asking Allah (SWT) to bless US, because we cannot be blessed without the blessings of Muhammad (SAWAS)!

Therefore, seeking mercy for Muhammad (SAWAS) is seeking mercy for ourselves!

b. Salawaat is harmonisation with the Divine system

Salawaat is in harmony with the Divine system. So, we make Salawaat because we want to be co-ordinated with the Divine system! We read verse 56 of chapter 33 of the Holy Quran (Surah Ahzaab), where Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

“Surely Allah and His Angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! Call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.”

This verse confirms that Almighty Allah (SWT), the Angels, and everything in this earth are making Salawaat. Therefore, if we human beings want to be part of this Divine system then we must make Salawaat in order to be harmonised in this Divine system of Salawaat!

c. Salawaat is compensation for our shortcomings

The purpose of Salawaat is also to express our appreciation to Rasulullah (SAWAS) for his efforts in guiding us. Salawaat is the method of connecting and committing ourselves to Rasulullah (SAWAS). Hence, Salawaat is also a connection of commitment and allegiance to Rasulullah (SAWAS).

In Ziyarah Jamia Kabeera, the 10th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS) Imam Ali al-Hadi an-Naqi (AS) says so beautifully that Salawaat is not only for our appreciation of our Holy Prophet (SAWAS) and the Ahlul Bait (a.s), but also importantly that it is the purity of our creation, the cleansing of our souls and spirits. Imam Ali al-Hadi an-Naqi (AS) goes further to say that Salawaat is compensation of our sins and shortcomings!


A collection of 38 authentic narrations have been accumulated of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) from reputable sources such as his wife Ummul Mumineen Aisha, and well-known companions like Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, ibni Abbas, Abu Huraira, Talha, Anas ibni Malik, and the list goes on.

The summary of these 38 narrations conveys the following message, albeit in different wording that when our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) was asked how we should make Salawaat on him, he responded categorically that Salawaat should be upon him AND his family, the Ahlul Bait (AS)!

In most of the 38 narrations, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) also added that Salawaat should include Nabi Ibrahim (AS) and his family too (AS)!


The reason for this is because Nabi Ibrahim (AS) is the father of all the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), and when it comes to Muhammad (SAWAS) and the 12 Imams (AS) who succeeded him, the whole community of Islam (Ummah) are under their authority and guidance.

Therefore, the family of Ibrahim (AS) and the family of Muhammad (SAWAS) are equivalent and parallel to each other!


The highly regarded Sunni scholar, ibni Hajar al-Asqalani, narrates another recording where our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) said that Salawaat should not be read on him which is incomplete.

The Sahaaba (companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS)) asked for clarification, and Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) said that the proper method of Salawaat is:

أَللَّهمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ

O God, bless Muhammad and his Household

Another well-known Sunni historian from earlier centuries by the name of Al-Bayhaqi narrates that our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) said that Salaah is not accepted if you did not recite Salawaat on him and his Ahlul Bait (AS).

This is consistent with the great love of Imam Shafi’i towards Ahlul Bait (AS), who also says that Salaah is incomplete without proper Salawaat on Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) and his Ahlul Bait (AS).

So the question arises, where does the introduction of Sahaba (companions) in Salawaat originate? With the utmost respect and admiration that we show towards the righteous companions of Rasulullah (SAWAS), there is not a single Hadith narration from him where his Sahaba (companions) are included.

The great importance and stature of proper Salawaat on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) AND his purified Ahlul Bait (AS) has unfortunately been trivialised, which is contrary to Sunnah!


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) said that every Dua (supplication) is hanging in the air, but what takes it further is the Salawaat on Muhammad (SAWAS) and his Ahlul Bait (AS)!

In this regard, there is a beautiful narration from the 6th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS), Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (AS), who explains why every Dua (supplication) must start with Salawaat. He explains that Salawaat on Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) and his Ahlul Bait (AS) is a GUARANTEED acceptance of Dua (supplication)!

Almighty Allah (SWT) has every right to reject your Dua, but what Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (AS) is saying is that it is not in the nature of Almighty Allah (SWT) to reject your Dua if it is combined with Salawaat! Allah (SWT) will not accept part of your Dua (supplication), being the Salawaat, and reject the remainder, because the Salawaat is the guarantee!

Therefore, the 4th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS), Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) taught us in Dua Makarimul Akhlaq to start our supplication to our Lord (SWT) with Salawaat, and therefore he repeats in this Dua 20 times:

أَللَّهمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ
O God, bless Muhammad and his Household

In the next discussion, the focus will be on Imaan (faith), as explained in this beautiful Supplication of Noble Moral Character, Dua Makarimul Akhlaq.

To be continued…………..