Importance of Praising the Prophet
By Ismail Ebrahim
It is among the prescriptions of the Shari'ah (Islamic Law) to recite Salutations and Blessings upon Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) as is evident in the following Qur’anic verse : "Undoubtedly, Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet (the Communicator of Unseen News), O you who believe ! Send upon him blessings and salute him fully well in abundance" (Surah al-Ahzab, Verse 56).
Allah Almighty in the Holy Qur’an has enjoined the performance of many things by us such as Salaat, Fasting, Hajj etc. and has praised His Prophets and described their good qualities. He created Sayyidina Adam (`alayhis salaam) and directed the Angels to make sajda (prostration) to him. However, he does not say in any of His directions, "I (Allah) am doing it, therefore you should do likewise". This honor was exclusively conferred upon our Beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Here, in the above verse, Allah Almighty at the very outset attributed salawat (recital of blessings) on our Beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s), first to Himself (Sunnat iIaahi), then to His Angels (Sunnat il-Malaa'ika), and after this enjoined on the Muslims (Sunnat il-Mu'mineen) to do the same, by saying, "Undoubtedly, Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet (the Communicator of Unseen News), O you who believe ! Send upon him blessings and salute him fully well in abundance". There cannot be a greater honor for the Believers than this, who have been favored with a share in this Divine Action by Allah Almighty and His Angels.
It is stated in the commentary of the Qur’an, Tafseer Ruh al-Bayaan, "Some Ulema are of the opinion that the meaning of Allah's blessing is, to raise Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa (s) to al-maqaam il-mahmood (Glorious Station), the place from where he will intercede with Allah Almighty on behalf of his Ummat; the Angels' blessing means their prayer for enhancing the position of Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa (s) and beseeching forgiveness for his followers. Blessings on the path of the believers means to obey, love and eulogize him." Tafseer Ruh al-Bayaan further states that the honor and reverence shown to Sayyidina Muhammad (s) is of a much greater degree than shown to Sayyidina Adam (as) to whom only angels were made to bow down (in honor). For in honoring Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa (s) Allah Almighty has also attributed it to Himself, whereas in the case of Sayyidina Adam (as) Allah Almighty asked only the Angels to show honor.
Having established and expounded on the injunction of the Holy Qur’an we quote a few ahadith of the Holy Prophet (s) pertaining to salawat and salaam.
Imam Tibraani (rahmat ullah `alayh) has recorded this Hadith narrated by Sayyidina Abu Darda (r):
The Holy Prophet (s) said : "Increase your recitation of salawat on me on Friday because on this day Angels present themselves to me. There is no servant of Allah who recites salawat upon me, except that his voice reaches me from wherever he is". The Companions asked even after your departure ? "He replied, Yes after my departure too, because Allah has made it Haraam upon the earth to consume the bodies of the Prophets". 
“On Fridays recite the Salawat for me repeatedly ! The Salawat will be conveyed to me."  When it was asked whether it would be conveyed to him after his wisaal also, the Prophet (s) answered, "Soil does not rot Prophets' bodies. Whenever a Muslim says the Salawat for me, an Angel informs me of it and says, 'So-and-so's son, so-and-so of your Ummah sent his Salaam and prayed for you.'"
Sahl ibn Sa`d (r)narrates: Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wasalam) came out and met Abu Talha. The latter rose and went to him saying: "My father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah! I see joy and delight in your countenance?" The Prophet (s) said: "Yes, for Gabriel has just come to me saying: O Muhammad, whoever among your Community invokes blessings upon you once, Allah records for Him ten good deeds, erases from his account ten evil deeds, and raises him ten degrees because of it." 
"Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday because it is a day that is (particularly) witnessed and the Angels witness it (abundantly). As soon as a person invokes blessings on me his invocation is shown to me until he ends it." Abu al-Darda' (r)said: "Even after (your) death?" The Prophet (s) replied: "Verily, Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets." 
Some made the initial addition of the following: "The best of your days is Friday, for in it Adam was created, and in it his soul was taken back, and in it is the blowing of the Horn, and in it is the universal Seizure, therefore invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday…” 
The Holy Prophet (s) says in a Hadith, "Definitely there are many Angels of Allah that sojourn the earth and bring the Salaam of my Ummat to me". 
Sayyidina 'Abd ar-Rahman bin 'Auf (r) says that one day the Holy Prophet (s) came and entered a date garden. There he performed a very long prostration. Sayyidina 'Abd ar-Rahman (r) feared that Allah had sent death to him. He drew close to him and began to look at him. The Holy Prophet (s) raised his holy head from the prostration and asked what had happened to him, then he disclosed his fear to him. At this, the Holy Prophet (s) said Sayyidina Jibra'il ('alaihis salaam) asked whether he should not give him glad tidings that Allah said that He would send blessings to the person who recited the Holy Qur'an on him and peace and security to the person who bade Salutations to him. 
Jila-ul Ifhaam, by Ibn Qayyim.Ibn Habbaan, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood.al-Sakhawi, al-Qawl al-badi` p. 107., al-Sakhawi said: "Our shaykh (Ibn Hajar) graded it hasan without doubt."Related by Ibn Majah with a sound chain through Abu al-Darda'. Also related with a sound chain from Aws ibn Aws al-Thaqafi by Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shayba, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa`i, Ibn Majah, al-Darimi, Ibn Khuzayma, Ibn Hibban, al-Hakim (sahih, confirmed by Dhahabi), Tabarani in his Kabir, and Bayhaqi in many places.The first part concerning the order to invoke more Salat on Friday and the disclosure of this invocation to the Prophet is related by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman through Abi Umama, Anas, and Abu Mas`ud al-Ansari, and by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak from the latter. Shafi`i in his Musnad relates the first part only ("Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday") mursal from Safwan ibn Salim.Narrated by Nisai and Ibn Habban.Ahmad.