Commanded to give Peace & Blessings upon the Prophet

Commanded to give Peace & Blessings upon the Prophet

In June I reached out to the host of Quran Talk Podcast when I had a doubt in my heart. In hindsight I should have been more patient and asked God to have guided me but I think his answer may help clarify the reasons this verse seems to contradict other verses if you are still unfamiliar with the Qur’an.

Q: Peace be upon you,

I have removed Muhammad’s (PBUH) name from my Salah. Recently, my sister pointed out this verse:

Al-Ahzab 33:56

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.

This has left me feeling conflicted with my decision. Can you please clarify what is the meaning of this verse to the best of your ability, if you happen to understand.

Thank you,


A: Peace,
Individuals love to bring up this verse as justification to continue mentioning the prophet in their Salat, prayers and/or Shahadah. There are several primary arguments to why 33:56 does not justify such actions. 

1. The religion is to be absolutely dedicated to God alone, and this is something we should be completely satisfied with. There are so many verses in the Quran that depict this point, but below are a couple that I find the most impactful. 

[72:18] The places of worship belong to GOD; do not call on anyone else beside GOD.

[39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers.

[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.

[40:10] Those who disbelieve will be told, “GOD’s abhorrence towards you is even worse than your own abhorrence towards yourselves. For you were invited to believe, but you chose to disbelieve.”[40:11] They will say, “Our Lord, you have put us to death twice, and You gave us two lives; now we have confessed our sins. Is there any way out?” [40:12] This is because when GOD ALONE was advocated, you disbelieved, but when others were mentioned beside Him, you believed. Therefore, GOD’s judgment has been issued; He is the Most High, the Great. [40:13] He is the One who continuously shows you His proofs, and sends down to you from the sky provisions. Only those who totally submit will be able to take heed. [40:14] Therefore, you shall devote your worship absolutely to GOD ALONE, even if the disbelievers dislike it.

2. We are not allowed to make distinctions in regards to any of God’s messengers. If we mention Muhammad’s name and not the other prophets and messengers therefore we are making a distinction between Muhammad and the other messengers. 
[2:136] Say, “We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters. 
[2:285] The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in GOD, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: “We make no distinction among any of His messengers.” They say, “We hear, and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny.” 
[3:84] Say, “We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and in what was given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters.” 
[4:150] Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, “We believe in some and reject some,” and wish to follow a path in between; [4:151] these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution. [4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.[3:144] Muhammad was no more than a messenger like the messengers before him. Should he die or get killed, would you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels, does not hurt GOD in the least. GOD rewards those who are appreciative.
3. Consistently when God uses the Arabic term “nabi” in reference to the prophet Muhammad it only applies to when he was alive. These were commandments to the people of the time of the prophet that they had to uphold. This is obvious in the verse 33:56 itself as we cannot possibly great the prophet when he is dead. 

Another perfect depiction of this is in the following verse:
[49:2] O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the prophet, nor shall you shout at him as you shout at each other, lest your works become nullified while you do not perceive.

Obviously, we cannot possibly raise our voices above Muhammad’s voice, when he is not alive. Similarly, we can only help and support the prophet with our blessings when he was alive per 33:56. This can also be confirmed by looking at the following previous verses where God commands us to remember Him frequently:

[33:41] O you who believe, you shall remember GOD frequently. [33:42] You shall glorify Him day and night. [33:43] He is the One who helps you, together with His angels, to lead you out of darkness into the light. He is Most Merciful towards the believers.

It is interesting to note that 33:43 uses the word yuṣallī in reference to God towards the believers. This word has the same root as is used in 33:56 for the believers towards Muhammad. Again showing that this applies only while someone is alive as a form of support and help as God obviously does not pray for the believers. 

God willing this helps answer your question.
Peace  & God bless:)

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