Invoking Salawat on the Prophet is an Islamic obligation.
Invoking Salawat (i.e. peace and blessings) on the Prophet is principally a religious obligation. In his book Al-Istizkar, the hadith scholar Ibn Abd al-Bar said, "Scholars have unanimously agreed that invoking salawat on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is an obligation upon every believer as per the words of God the Almighty, “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.” (Al-Ahzab: 56).
Reverting and loving the Prophet is an Islamic obligation
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the seal of all Messengers sent by Allah to guide mankind. Like the other Prophets and Messengers, Allah the Almighty sent Prophet Muhammad to spread peace and happiness among humans.
He is the best of all Prophets and Messengers and occupies the highest and greatest rank in the sight of Allah the Almighty. He was sent to all creation while the Prophets who came before him were sent specifically to their people.
All previous Prophets and Messengers gave the glad tidings of his advent and Allah sent down with him the noble Qur'an which is the final word of God to mankind and the last covenant he took upon them. Prophet Muhammad will intercede for all Muslims before Allah the Almighty [on the Day of Judgment].
Why do Muslims love and revert Prophet Muhammad?
Muslims, as well as anyone who reads about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and learns his true biography, love him because he combines all the reasons why a person is beloved in the complete sense of the word. These reasons are manifold and include:
- Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of the Creator of this universe. It follows then that loving the Creator necessitates loving His Messenger, while respecting and venerating the messenger is in fact respect and veneration for Allah the Almighty.
- A person is loved if he brings blessings and favors. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the reason behind the best blessing that Allah bestowed upon His creation; namely, guiding them to the truth and the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is therefore the means through which one can obtain the eternal blessing of Paradise.
- Likewise, a person is beloved if he is the reason behind warding off harm and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the means through which we are saved from going astray, thus saving us from Hellfire which is the eternal abode for those who disbelieve in God Most High and deny His Divinity and Lordship.
- Possessing good manners and characteristics is another reason for winning the love of others and Prophet Muhammad had the best and most perfect manners with which he interacted with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He surpassed all other humans in terms of his characteristics and attributes: he was merciful and kind towards young and old alike and was like a tender father to all; he was gentle and patient , forgave others from a position of power and was forbearing in face of harm; he was generous, altruistic, kind, courageous, helpful, just, trustworthy, chaste, pure, faithful and maintained ties of kinship; he was truthful, humble, and indifferent to worldly pleasures and possessed other positive characteristics which no human can express.
Based on the above and in reference to the lofty status of our Prophet of mercy (peace and blessings be upon him), it is disliked to write the abbreviated form of salawat on the Prophet for the following reasons:
- In Arabic language, these abbreviations are not acknowledged in the first place;
- It is mandatory for every Muslim to revert and exalt the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) upon mentioning his name;
- Uttering (silently or audibly) or writing down the full form of salawat on the Prophet entails a great virtue and reward as per the words of the beloved (peace and blessings be upon him), “Whoever sends blessings upon me once will have God send blessings upon him ten times.” [Muslim]
However, a person is not blameworthy if he/she uses the abbreviated form.
Allah the Almighty knows best.