What Does ‘Peace Be Upon Him’ Really Mean in Islam?

What is it?

“Peace Be Upon Him (pbuh)”, often said as sending salam, is an honorific phrase used by Muslims whenever the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or any other prophet in Islam is mentioned or written. It is an abbreviated form of the arabic phrase عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ (ʿalayhi as-salām) which means Peace Be Upon Him. There is a longer variant of it which is صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ (ṣallā -llāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) which means Allah’s peace & blessings upon him. Sometimes, it is also presented like ﷺ.

This is not just an honorific phrase but also a supplication to God (Allah) that muslims make not only for Prophet Muhammad but also other prophets including Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), ‘Isa (Jesus); may peace be upon them all.

Why muslims utter it?

This practice of sending salat & salam is not just a cultural or traditional formality. Based on the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the heartfelt utterance of this is a requirement and sign of reverence and respect that muslims must adhere to.

In Quran, Allah commanded all believers that

Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O  believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.

Al-Quran 33:56

The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said

He who blesses me once, Allah would bless him ten times.

Sahih Muslim 408

This implies that by saying “Peace Be Upon Him” muslims also gain spiritual rewards!

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