I have many questions regarding this phrase:

  • Is this reserved for Muhammad (peace be upon him), or should it be used for other people as well?
  • Is it mandatory to say it every time his name is mentioned?
  • Should it be added after saying The Prophet?
  • Should non-muslims say it too?
  • Is it okay to abbreviate it as pbuh?

Is this reserved for Muhammad (peace be upon him), or should it be used for other people as well?

No it is not only reserved for Prophet Muhammad but also for all the other prophets like Jesus, Adam etc.
Peace be upon him is a phrase that practicing Muslims often say after saying (or hearing) the name of one of the Prophets of Islam.

Is it mandatory to say it every time his name is mentioned?

Well it is not mandatory but it is respectable to call a prophet by adding that

Should it be added after saying The Prophet?

Well it can be as long as the prophet whom you are referring to is known.

Should non Muslims say it too?

It depends on the person. If the person wants to show respect for the prophet he can say it.

Is it okay to abbreviate it as pbuh?

While writing it is usually allowed but while saying please don't use it.

  • Don't use it in speech? I'm not sure how that would even be possible. pbuh is hardly pronounceable, and spelling out the initialism would be slower than saying the full phrase. – TRiG Jul 7 '12 at 23:11
  • @TRiG i meant to say the whole thing in speech not the abbreviation. – Ashu Jul 8 '12 at 5:10

The majority of scholars are of the opinion that at-tasliyah (conferring prayers and peace and blessings) is not restricted to the Prophet ﷺ as Al-Bayhaqi documented in this hadith which was deemed sahih (authentic) by Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani in his book Silsilat al-Ahādīth as-Sahīha 7/1124/2963:

قَالَ: وَحَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ عُبَيْدَةَ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: صَلُّوا عَلَى أَنْبِيَاءِ اللهِ وَرُسُلِهِ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ بَعَثَهُمْ كَمَا بَعَثَنِي

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

Narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Pray on the prophets of Allah and His messengers, for it is Allah who sent them as He sent me.

— Shu'ab al-Iman 2/277/130

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya said that the consensus is that it is permissible to confer prayers and peace on all prophets independently:

وَقد حكى غير وَاحِد الْإِجْمَاع على أَن الصَّلَاة على جَمِيع النَّبِيين مَشْرُوعَة مِنْهُم الشَّيْخ محيي الدّين النَّوَوِيّ رَحمَه الله وَغَيره قد حُكيَ عَن مَالك رَضِي الله عَنهُ رِوَايَة أَنه لَا يصلى على غير نَبينَا صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم وَلَكِن قَالَ اصحابه هِيَ مؤولة بِمَعْنى أَنا لم نتعبد بِالصَّلَاةِ على غَيره من الْأَنْبِيَاء كَمَا تعبدنا الله بِالصَّلَاةِ عَلَيْهِ صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

... and it was narrated through more than one the consensus that sending prayers on all prophets is permissible, including Mohi ad-Dīn an-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, among others. It was narrated that Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said that prayers should not be conferred on anyone other than our Prophet ﷺ, but his companions said that it is to be interpreted as only prayers on prophets other than our Prophet ﷺ are not to be considered a ritual as is the case with prayers on our Prophet ﷺ.

— Jalā' al-Afhām, pp.463

It is to be noted that conferring prayers, peace, and blessings on people other than prophets or messengers is a matter of dispute that it can be done independently, but doing it dependently is permitted. For example, it is not permitted according to most scholars to say "Abu Bar, peace be upon him, said ..." as this would be independently conferring peach on him. It is permitted to say "Mohammad and his companions, peace be upon them, did ..." as this would be conferring peace on the Prophet ﷺ independently then on his companions with a dependence on him (as expressed by the possessive pronoun "his").

The dominant opinion is that conferring prayers, peace, and blessings on the Prophet ﷺ is mandatory based on this hadith documented by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and At-Tirmidhi:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: رَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ ذُكِرْتُ عِنْدَهُ فَلَمْ يُصَلِّ عَلَىَّ وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَمَضَانُ ثُمَّ انْسَلَخَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لَهُ وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ أَدْرَكَ عِنْدَهُ أَبَوَاهُ الْكِبَرَ فَلَمْ يُدْخِلاَهُ الْجَنَّةَ

Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "May the man before whom I am mentioned — and he does not send Salah upon me — be humiliated. And may a man upon whom Ramadan enters and then passes, before he is forgiven, be humiliated. And may a man whose parents reached old age in his presence, and they were not a cause for his entrance to Paradise, be humiliated."

— Jami' at-Tirmidhi, Book 48, Hadith 176

The hadith above is further endorsed by another hadith documented by At-Tirmidhi:

عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: الْبَخِيلُ الَّذِي مَنْ ذُكِرْتُ عِنْدَهُ فَلَمْ يُصَلِّ عَلَىَّ

'Ali bin Abi Tālib narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The stingy person is the one before whom I am mentioned, and he does not send Salat upon me."

— Jami' at-Tirmidhi, Book 48, Hadith 177

Since the literary device used in the verse in the Qur'an is that of emphasis, especially on the conferring of blessings, scholars are of the opinion that using a short form is not permitted:

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

Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace.

— Surat Al-Ahzab 33:56

As-Suyuti documented what Ibn as-Salāh said about this matter in his book Al-Muqaddimah (Introduction to the Science of Hadith):

التاسع: أن يحافظ على كتابة الصلاة والتسليم على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عند ذكره، ولا يسأم من تكرير ذلك عند تكرره، فإن ذلك من أكبر الفوائد التي يتعجلها طلبة الحديث وكتبته، ومن أغفل ذلك فقد حرم حظا عظيما

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

Ninth. To preserve in writing the prayers and peace upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when mentioned, and not to be bored from repeating when his mention is repeated; for this is one of the greatest benefits that students of hadith and its writers should rush to, and whoever overlooks doing so is deprived of a great fortune.

— Tadrīb ar-Rāwi, Vol. 1, pp. 503

Modern scholars, like Ibn Baz, are of the same opinion that abbreviation or shortened forms, regardless, should not be used:

ولا ينبغي عند الكتابة الاقتصار في الصلاة على رسول الله على كلمة (ص) أو (صلعم) وما أشبهها من الرموز

NOTE. My own translation, so treat with care.

There should not be any abbreviation when writing prayers and peace be upon the Prophet ﷺ as in (S) or (SAW) or any other such abbreviation.

— Majmū' Fatāwa Ibn Bāz, Vol. 3, pp. 397


According to Ahadith, It's "vajib" when it comes to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his family whom are five people: Fatimah Zahra, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hussein ibn Ali and Hussan ibn Ali. Which is not proven by an evidence, so only about the prophet you must say it.

It's mandatory when you mention his name directly, not when you're referring to him indirectly by saying "the prophet".

About if non-Muslims must say it or not, when they don't believe in it, why should they? It's good if they say but I don't think it's expected.

There's more information about the phrase in this Wikipedia article which explains it can be written as SAW (in accordance with the Arabic words sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or PBUH (which stands for Peace be upon him in English) or A.S. (Arabic: عليه السلام‎ ʿalayhi s-salām - A.S.).


Scholars such as Imam Ahmed narrated that it is disliked after referring the name of a prophet to shorten the salawat (i.e. what would in English be translated as "peace and blessing be upon him" or "may Allah raise his rank and protect his nation from what he fears for it")

In terms of non-Muslims saying it, no they do not: This is a du'a (prayer) to Allah and Allah does not accept the prayers of non-Muslims.


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