To a certain degree we understand little of our relationship with Allah (ﷻ), because the actual relationship and how the benefits work for us, are all clouded in mystery. We know of the Lord-servant relationship but its nature and how it operates and the periods of maximum spiritual benefit within that relationship are only known by our Lord. We have little bits and pieces of information which we assume are of major importance. But the actual important aspect of this relationship, we are totally unaware of. Perhaps we only know, more or less, what we have to do as servants. But even this, or rather its impact on this relationship, we do not know. One is sometimes amazed at how easily this relationship is spoken about, but how little we know of it. We only try to stress certain aspects hoping that there would be some understanding by us, and others.
Perhaps our relationship of Allah (ﷻ) is best summed up by the words: “O my Lord”. One needs nothing more than this. In these words, are all that we need to be, because they express a call from one’s heart to one’s Lord. When one thinks of the relationship with one’s Lord and tries to delve into it to whatever degree one’s Lord allows, then our relationship with the Messenger (ﷺ) is equally difficult to understand. This is a human to human relationship or perhaps more accurately, the relationship of the servant of our Lord with His Most Beloved (ﷺ). You see, one of our problems is that we tend to oversimplify our relationship with Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), without realizing that this relationship is with the best of creation or with the original creation. We don’t seem to see, or perhaps we don’t know, the kind of status he (ﷺ) has with his Lord. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that we don’t know. And so, in a sense, we find ourselves incapable of showing him (ﷺ) maximum respect. Our lack of understanding of his (ﷺ) status and in many cases, seeing him (ﷺ) as just an ordinary human being, has deleted from our personalities the kind of respect we should have for him (ﷺ). If we understand his (ﷺ) status with his Lord or just know about it, we would search in ourselves the most honoured means to show respect to him (ﷺ). As a person in education, I find the lack of respect extremely strange.
One of the first things we should learn of our relationship with him (ﷺ) is how do we show the maximum possible respect for the one shown so much Divine respect. Allah (ﷻ) has honoured him (ﷺ) in ways not granted to the other Messengers (a.s.) and although we cannot show, even in the minutest way, the kind of honour that his (ﷺ) Lord shows him, we should at least see what we have available of ourselves to grant honour and respect.
Our problem always is, first of all, how do we establish a link with him, in such a way, so that he comes to know about us almost intimately. To some of us this is critically important. We know that our deeds are presented to him (ﷺ) with our names and the names of our fathers, on a regular basis. This would of course mean that he (ﷺ) knows each one of us by name and by deeds performed. We are only human beings and each one of us has a variety of desires. In many cases, although he (ﷺ) knows about us and our deeds, we still want to see whether it is possible for us to strengthen or to establish our links with him (ﷺ) from our side. Our weaknesses and also being unsure of ourselves in many cases, cause us to want to reach out to him (ﷺ) in some way. Perhaps it has to be like that. Perhaps this is one way of showing our love for him (ﷺ). We go through life, weak and unsure, desiring a special connection with him (ﷺ), but our Lord knows what is in our hearts and how we feel about His Messenger (ﷺ).
I have said on numerous occasions that it appears Allah (ﷻ) has granted the Salawat to us as a means to establish our links with Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). Of course, our recital of Salawat is in fact a supplication to Allah (ﷻ) to place peace and blessings on the Prophet (ﷺ). We cannot do that. Only Allah (ﷻ) can do that. And Allah’s (ﷻ) recital of peace and blessings on him (ﷺ) is immense; without limits and incapable of being quantified. In fact Allah (ﷻ) has been busy, from whenever to whenever, pouring peace and blessings on His Messenger (ﷺ). Let me repeat, our Salawat is a supplication to Allah (ﷻ), to pour His different kinds of peace and blessings on His Messenger (ﷺ). And so, a large degree of the Salawat that we recite, is for our benefit. Although we know that the benefits for him (ﷺ) must be immense, I have not come across anywhere where it states the benefit that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) receives from our recitals. I have only come across the benefits that we receive from such recitals. And so, the Messenger (ﷺ), if our supplications are accepted, gets in an indirect way, immense peace and blessings from his Lord, whether we ask or whether we do not ask.
Our recital of Salawat is of major benefit for us. With our Salawat, Allah (ﷻ) deletes our transgressions, raises us in status, pours virtues upon us, and may even place our stations near to that of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) in Paradise. These are unbelievable benefits for us, and of course, Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) supplicates for us. The Salawat therefore stands out as one of the primary means of establishing special links between us and Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), and for us to obtain major spiritual benefits. I read once of a wali of Allah (ﷻ) who reached Wilayah primarily through reciting Salawat.
I want to come to that part of this benefit at which the Messenger (ﷺ) supplicates for us. I think of this supplication as a major present for his Ummah. I cannot, in my assessment of my religion, see our Lord rejecting his (ﷺ) supplications. I can only see Divine acceptance of the Prophetic supplications and so if we wish to have guaranteed supplications for us, we should recite Salawat.
We say: “Allahumma salli ‘ala Sayyiduna Muhammad wa ‘ala ali Sayyiduna Muhammad wa Ashabihi wa barik wa sallim, amin.”