Adding Salawat
After Al-Hamdulillah Is Always Excellent
by Sh Gibril F Haddad

Praise and thanks all belong to Allah Most High. May Allah Most High bless and greet the Messenger of Allah on our behalf with a blessing and a greeting that cleanses us inwardly and outwardly from every attribute of disbelief and hypocrisy, manifest or hidden. May Allah Most High bless you and reward you and yours here and hereafter for your good works and your question.

I wanted to relate an incident that happened here at our local masjid.

Yesterday, [...] the khatib yelled out from the pulpit the following:

"The one who says 'Al-hamdulillah wa Salatu Wa Salamu ʿala Rasulillah" after drinking water is WORSE than the one who drinks alcohol and commits zina. This is because the hadiths make mention of only saying "al-hamdulillah" after drinking water."

Obviously, the man is a Wahhabi and his understanding of the definition of "bidʿa" is greatly skewed. But when a group of people at the masjid (myself included) expressed their extreme distaste to the board members of the masjid about shouting such a statement from the pulpit, the masjid simply replied saying that the khatib was just emphasizing the need to refrain from bidʿa!

I just wanted to know, from a fiqh standpoint, how grave would such a statement exactly be? Can anyone possibly justify such a wording to be permissible with the intent of "emphasizing the need to refrain from bidʿa?" I would imagine that such a "seeghah" would be outside the demarcation of appropriate adab to say the least.

The statement in question comprises two claims: the first claim is that it is an innovation of misguidance to invoke blessings on the Prophet after drinking water; the second claim is that such an innovation is degenerate corruption of an order worse than drinking alcohol and committing zina. We seek refuge in Allah Most High from straying into misguidance or being strayed.

There are many books by the Ulema of Islam on the merits and fiqh of invoking blessings on the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace. None of those books mentions, to my knowledge, that it is reprehensible to invoke blessings on the Prophet after saying al-hamdu lillah after drinking water.

In the Shafiʿi school it is a Sunna mustahabba to invoke much blessings on the Prophet in all situations, including after drinking water. However, there is disagreement in the other schools whether it is desirable or undesirable in certain situations which were summed up by one of the Malikis as follows:


"Slaughtering; sneezing; tripping;
amazement; advertising wares;
the call of nature; know that in all the above situations
they disliked that one pray upon the greatest intercessor."

Another scholar added the following:


"Likewise the bath, also eating,
and wherever there is filth, so as to keep him exalted."

The above means that if the situation ends, for example, after eating, then the ruling of dislike is cancelled. Note that there is no mention of drinking. Note also, that in any case, to ignore the above and going ahead, say, while selling something in the souk, would be simply disliked or offensive, certainly neither amounting to one of the greatest sins (kaba'ir) such as winebibbing, nor to an innovation of misguidance.

There are three situations where the invocation of blessings on the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, is specifically "not legitimized" (ghayr mashruʿ) by agreement of the Schools, all three inside Salat: when bowing, when standing after bowing, and in prostration. "Even so, it is important to *not* consider this to be disliked" (much less a grave sin!) warns Imam Shams al-Din al-Qastallani (d. 923) in Masalik al-Hunafa ila Mashariʿ al-Salat ʿala al-Nabi al-Mustafa (Ed. Bassam Muhammad Jarud, Abu Dhabi: al-Majmaʿ al-Thaqafi, 1999, p. 416).

The most that can be said is that dislike applies only in one way: wher/never *dhikr itself* is generally disliked, such as (i) in the bath, or (ii) "answering the call of nature," or (iii) at places of filth.

As for the narration, "Do not mention me in three situations: when naming (Allah Most High) over food, when slaughtering, and when sneezing," it was dismissed by al-Bayhaqi, al-Sakhawi (in al-Qawl al-Badiʿ fil-Salat wal-Salam ʿalah al-Habib al-Shafiʿ), and Ibn al-Qayyim (in Jala' al-Afham fi fadl al-Salat wal-Salam ʿala Muhammadin Khayri al-Anam) as forged.

Furthermore, not only are the above rulings of dislike not based on firm proofs; but there are Qur'an and hadith proofs as well as fiqh positions to the opposite, namely, that it is good to invoke blessings in situations of slaughtering, sneezing, and amazement (let alone after drinking).

Following are some of the proofs which apply to the desirability of blessing the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, after drinking, most of them general and deductive, some of them precise and explicit:

- Allah Most High in His Book explicitly commanded the believers to invoke blessings and salutations on the Prophet:

{Truly, Allah (blesses the Prophet!)
and the angels bless the Prophet!
You all who believe, invoke blessings on him!
and invoke salutations of peace!
Abundant salutations!}
Sura 33-56

There is consensus in Islam [1] that such invocation is obligatory and (more relevantly here) [2] that Allah Most High did not restrict such invocation to a quantity, modality, time, or place other than the abundance and magnification expressed in the emphatic wording of the Aya.

As for the proofs from hadith they are too many. Suffice it to mention the following:

- Wherever there is dhikr of Allah Most High it is required of us to invoke blessings on the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, as a general rule. Saying "al-hamdu lillah" after drinking water is one such dhikr.

- In every duʿa and supplication to Allah Most High it is required of us to invoke blessings on our Prophet also. this is particularly emphasized in the Shafiʿi and Hanbali schools. Saying al-hamdu lillah after drinking water is one such duʿa.

- It is recommended to drink water, recite shahada, and invoke blessings on the Prophet after wudu'.

- The Prophet said, upon him blessings and peace, that "Whoever does not thank people, does not thank Allah." If a believer thanks whoever brought them water, it is even more appropriate to thank the Messenger of Allah, upon him blessings and peace, who brought them the means for that water to be, in our lives, a foresign of Divine forgiveness, not Divine wrath.

- A hadith states that the invocation of blessings on the Prophet insures that one shall drink from his Basin on the Day of resurrection. Whoever knows this, ought to remember it even more when drinking water.

- Another hadith states that the invocation of blessings on the Prophet insures one shall never be parched from lack of water here or hereafter. Whoever knows this, ought to remember it even more when drinking water.

- Another hadith mentions that the invocation of blessings on the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, Other hadiths mention that it enlivens the heart, benefits one's children and grandchildren, brings wealth and banishes poverty by the grace of Allah Most High.

- The hadith of Thawban in Muslim mentions that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, supplicated from Allah Most High that He spare his Umma the hardship of drought. Look at your Prophet, he wants you and your descendants to drink your fill here and hereafter, and here we are discussing whether it is bidʿa for people to bless him. It is written in the Psalms about al-Quds: May my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you day and night.

- The Prophet said: "If this world was worth even as much as the wing of a gnat in the sight of Allah Most High, He would not have given from it a single draught of water to a disbeliever." This means the believer is required to remember that, although water is vital, yet the gifts of Allah Most High are immeasurably greater than water. Consequently, the believer is required to invoke blessings on the Prophet, as Allah's Mercy to the worlds is dearer than life itself and dearer than cool water on a parched tongue on a hot day.

- The invocation of blessings on the Prophet is a protection from the hardships of the Day of Reckoning. After drinking water one day the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, told those present that they shall be questioned over this blessing. A believer who knows he shall be questioned over a cup of water is required to redouble the invocations of blessings before, during, and after drinking it.

If a good action is not specifically contextualized in the Qur'an and Hadith, it does not mean that its performance in that context becomes an innovation of misguidance. There are many examples of supplications and other acts of devotion innovated by the Companions (sometimes inside Fard Salat), the Successors, and those of later generations among the early Muslims. I have mentioned 160 such examples in my Sunna Notes, volume 2, on the Sunni definition of what is bidʿa and what is not.

To take a very relevant example here, the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, told us to say "al-hamdu lillah" after sneezing, but he never added for us to also invoke blessings upon him. Al-Tirmidhi narrates that a man sneezed then said: "As-Salamu ʿalaykum." The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, said: "and upon you and your mother. When one of you sneezes, let him say: 'al-hamdu lillahi rabbi al-ʿalamin,' and let whoever answers him say: 'yarhamuka Allah,'" etc.

Yet it is related that Ibn ʿUmar, may Allah be well-pleased with him, upon hearing someone sneeze and say only "al-hamdu lillah," told him on the spot: "You have acted miserly! *Wherever you say al-hamdu lillah, why do you not also invoke blessings on the Prophet?*" Something similar is also narrated from Abu Saʿid al-Khudri and Ibn ʿAbbas, may Allah be well-pleased with them.

(Ponder the meaning of a pure Arab calling another pure Arab stingy. Before Islam he might have killed him for the insult; after Islam he might have thanked him all his life for the teaching.)

This is because the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, *did not prevent us from adding the blessings on him either.*

Similarly, the famous hadith of Ubay ibn Kaʿb in which he said to the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace: "I shall make my entire prayer consist in blessing upon you," and the latter more than approved him: "Indeed, your whole need shall be taken care of then." Ubay's statement has been explained to mean: "After my required salat and the required dhikr therein, I shall devote myself completely to salawat upon your noble person."

As for the second claim, namely, that to invoke blessings and peace on the Prophet after drinking water "is worse than drinking alcohol and committing zina," it is a gross exaggeration which is sadly-comically typical of the scene in American Islam. I have observed over the years two traits which characterize dramatis personae from top to bottom in the United States: ignorance and audacity. These can be ultimately summed up in one trait, which is irreligion. Gone for good are the times and places where such statements would have been met by a symphony of sandals confidently slammed on the speaker's head.

Whether the reason is that the Muslim scene remains void of the people of knowledge or some more essential cause such as the spiritual bankruptcy of the world-drunk culture, the fact is that the full frontal assault on Belief inside the community is stronger in the US than anywhere else.

The increasing numbers of Muslims and mosques there, or anywhere for that matter, is a delusion as long as those individuals and buildings cultivate a false understanding of the religion of Islam, to wit, the equivalent lack of institutions of sacred knowledge, a lack which stems from the diehard misunderstanding that it is better to build more mosques than to build the men and women who should teach and study in them.

So this particular case is only a belch from the ongoing devouring of the Umma predicted by the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, just as he predicted the situation akin to what we now see, where a man might step into a mosque a believer and exit it a munafiq.

Sabrun jamil! Our duty is nasiha, and when the father of our liegelord Ibrahim, upon him blessings and peace, refused to hear, our liegelord Ibrahim forsook him and went far away.

The Hanbali Imam of Damascus, al-Mardawi (d. 699) said in his poem al-Aadaab al-Sharʿiyya:


"Forsaking whoever calls unto a matter of misguidance, or a matter which corrupts people - be sure of it without hesitation - is an obligation upon those who lack the wherewithal to shatter his lie and repel the harm of the misguider with camel prods!"

This is as far as identifying evil in the community and either uprooting it or shunning it is concerned. As for actually building up the community, see the words of the apple of the eyes of the seekers of truth in our time, Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaʿqubi at ghazaliinstitute.com, x L 20120706 , which can be summed up in the four sentences which begin his four paragraphs:

1. The first priority of Muslims in the West should be to establish Institutions of sacred knowledge and support the students, the seekers of knowledge who have decided to devote their life to the service of this Deen.

2. Jihad, for Muslims in the West, is in learning the Deen and supporting the learners of the Deen.

3. One of the best acts of worship is to help a student who is traveling abroad not on a vacation but for the sake of Allah.

4. A few thousand Dollars may not build a mosque, yet they can contribute to the making of a man, a scholar who can revive a whole community and bring people to the way of Allah.

Blessings and peace on the Holy Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions, in every breath of the lungs and every glimpse of the eye, for as long as there exists a tongue to speak and hearing that heeds the truth.

GF Haddad

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latest update: 2020-12-21


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