As Salaamu Alaikum Imam,
I suppose these questions ought to be asked in a study group for converts (Islam 101), but so far the brothers haven’t committed to getting together in the same place at the same time to form such a group. (Maybe in the Masjid after Jummah?) My own independent studying hasn’t clarified these things (and a few others as well), so I’m asking in this forum. I hope you understand where I’m coming from. Thank you.
Why do we say “peace be upon him” whenever the name of Allah’s Messenger is mentioned? Are we not asking for something that already is? Or are we simply stating the obvious? Either way, I find it redundant. I mean if Muhammad, peace be upon him, hasn’t achieved peace, then who could ever hope to? And if he has, then why mention it?
And why do we say “Subhannah wa Ta’ala” (sp?) after the name of Allah? What does that mean? Surely the beleivers acknowledge that the Creator of the Universe is, by definition, The Greatest (Allahu Akbar). Is it really necessary to state that whenever His Name is mentioned? “Praise the Lord” is a phrase I’ve heard all my life, and I truly beleive that none is more worthy of praise, but it makes for awkward grammar, in English anyway, to say so every time the Name of God is mentioned. Is it really proper to say “Allah Subhannah wa Ta’ala” rather than simply “Allah”?
Time: Thursday March 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm
A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
Saying “peace be upon him” has multiple meaning, amongst them, a phrase that functions as a prayer and blessings for oneself. Muslims recognize that the sender of salutations brings more benefit for self then a given prophet. Allah (SWT) makes clear, He and the angels are continually sending salutations upon the Prophet (PBUH), our doing so resembles the angels in fulfillment of this nobel action.
The phrase “Subhannah wa Ta’ala” acknowledges the greatness of Allah (Creator). Saying it as muslims do also represents our vulnerability and submissivnes towards Him. The added word of ‘wa Ta’ala’ coupled with the word Allah is for greater respect and a verbal manifestation of our claim of this reality that He is indeed the Greatest.
(Although the following example is incomplete, suffice to say: calling a person Dr Jones conveys more respect them merely saying Jones. Although both names refer to the same person, one shows greater acknowledgment for the qualities of the person. If such respecct is given to mortal beings, then why limit in giving it to the Greatest of the Great.)
Allah Certainly Knows Best.