In his book, Hayat-e-Qudsi, Hazrat Maulana Ghulam Rasul Sahib Rajekira states:
The words Aal and al-Nabi
The word al-Nabi has been mentioned in the verse:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ وَمَلٰٓئِكَتَهٗ يُصَلُّوۡنَ عَلَي النَّبِيِّ ؕ يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا صَلُّوۡا عَلَيۡهِ وَسَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِيۡمًا
[“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.”]
On the other hand, the word “Aal” [آل] has been included in Durood Sharif. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, explained the word al-Nabi in the words of “Muhammad” and “Aal” [the progeny of Muhammadsa] because in terms of prophethood, even though he was a prophet till the Day of Resurrection, as a person, when he passed away at the age of 63, in the absence of personal existence, only the progeny of Muhammadsa could carry on his mission in his place.
Aal-e-Muhammad refers to the siddiq [truthful], shaheed [martyrs] and saleh [righteous] people of his ummah, and especially the mujaddideen [reformers] of his ummah, who are the manifestation of:
عُلَمَاءُ اُمَّتِي كَانْبِيَاءِ بَنِي اِسرَائِيل
[“The scholars of my (the Holy Prophet’s) ummah are like the prophets of the Bani Israel”], and the Righteous Khulafa. Moreover, since a prophet cannot be without an ummah, when the ummah is part and parcel of the word Al-Nabi, then Aal-e-Muhammad, who are the true heirs of the prophet and the true bearer of his mission, are also its part. Consequently, when al-Nabi needs the prayers of the ansar [helpers] of his ummah and the help of Durood Sharif for the fulfilment of his aims and objectives, then there is also a need for the progeny of the Prophet, or Aal-e-Muhammad, to be also included in the said Durood Sharif.
Thus, the inclusion of the words Muhammad and Aal-e-Muhammad in Durood Sharif by the Holy Prophetsa, while interpreting and explaining the word al-Nabi, was done under divine wisdom and to fulfil this need. In this way, the Holy Prophetsa has given the most accurate and best possible explanation of the word al-Nabi as far as its interpretation is concerned.
Why include Abraham in Durood Sharif?
Surely, there is a question as to why and from where the need arose to recite the words:
كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلٰى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلٰى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ۔۔۔الخ
[“As You (God) sent Your blessings on Abraham and on the family of Abraham.”]
Its answer is that Prophet Abrahamas beseeched the following prayer:
رَبَّنَا وَاجۡعَلۡنَا مُسۡلِمَيۡنِ لَكَ وَمِنۡ ذُرِّيَّتِنَاۤ اُمَّةً مُّسۡلِمَةً لَّكَ
[“Our Lord, make us submissive to Thee and make of our offspring a people submissive to Thee.”]
And he also prayed:
رَبَّنَا وَابۡعَثۡ فِيۡهِمۡ رَسُوۡلًا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُوۡا عَلَيۡهِمۡ اٰيٰتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الۡكِتٰبَ وَالۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيۡهِمۡ
[“And, our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Thy Signs and teach them the Book and Wisdom and may purify them.”]
This [prayer] means, “O God, both of us, i.e. Abrahamas and Ishmaelas, are Your servants and propagators of the hanif religion. In the same way, for the service and propagation of this religion, make a Muslim ummah from our progeny and descendants and send in it a Messenger who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and Wisdom, and purify them with respect to their beliefs, practices and [moral] condition.”
This is the prayer by the influence and result of which the advent of the Holy Prophetsa happened and consequently, the ummah of the Holy Prophetsa, which is the Muslim ummah, appeared. Hence, with this prayer of Prophet Abrahamas, the Holy Prophetsa was blessed in such a way that the series of the blessings of the Holy Prophetsa and the series of the blessings of his progeny and descendants has been extended forever till the Day of Resurrection, as [Allah the Almighty] has mentioned this blessing about Prophet Abrahamas at another place [in the Holy Quran]:
قَالَ اِنِّيۡ جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ اِمَامًا ؕ قَالَ وَمِنۡ ذُرِّيَّتِيۡ ؕ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهۡدِي الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ
[“He (God) said, ‘I will make thee a Leader of men.’ Abraham asked, ‘And from among my offspring?’ He said, ‘My covenant does not embrace the transgressors.’”]
According to this prayer, as long as the progeny and descendants of Prophet Abrahamas remain in the world, the reward of imamat [spiritual leadership] and prophethood will continue in his righteous descendants. Moreover, since the progeny of Prophet Abrahamas will continue till the Day of Resurrection, the series of the blessings of imamat and prophethood will also continue till the Day of Judgment. However, only the transgressors will be deprived of this reward, but this exception does not necessarily mean that an obedient progeny will also be deprived of this reward for an indefinite period of time.
It is clear from the above two verses that as a result of the said prayer of Prophet Abrahamas, his progeny flourished in two lineages and both of them were blessed with the rewards of imamat and blessings of prophethood. One of the lineages started from Prophet Isaacas and ended with Prophet Jesusas and the other started from Prophet Ishmaelas and reached the Holy Prophetsa.
Thus, the inclusion of the prayers of salawat [salutations] and blessings for Prophet Abrahamas and his progeny in the words of Durood Sharif by the Holy Prophetsa was in fact for the continuation of the said series of blessings for himself and his ummah.
The holy effects of Durood Sharif
This prayer of the ummah which has been presented in the words of Durood Sharif and which is sought under the command and guidance of God Almighty is an accepted supplication. The Holy Prophetsa was also given the glad tidings of its acceptance and due to this very good news, the Holy Prophetsa said:
عُلَمَاءُ اُمَّتِي كَانْبِيَاءِ بَنِي اِسرَائِيل
[“The scholars of my (the Holy Prophet’s) ummah are like the prophets of the Bani Israel.”]
Moreover, the Holy Prophetsa said:
يُوْشِكُ أَنْ يَّنْزِلَ فِيكُمُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ حَكَمًا عَدَلاً وَّ اِمَامًا مَهْدِيًّا
[“The son of Mary shall surely appear among you as a just arbiter and Imam Mahdi.”]
That is to say, “The ulema-e-mujaddideen [scholarly reformers] of my [the Holy Prophet’s] ummah, who will be sent to their specific nation and at a specific time like the prophets of Israel, will be similar to the Israelite prophets.”
This blessing was to be bestowed upon the Holy Prophetsa through the lineage of Prophet Abrahamas as it was given to Prophet Abrahamas through the lineage of Prophet Isaacas. Moreover, the blessing of the Promised Messiah, who was to come as Imam Mahdi and whose advent was for all the nations of the world and till the Day of Resurrection, is that which was to be given to the Holy Prophetsa through the lineage of Prophet Abrahamas as it was given to Prophet Abrahamas through the lineage of Prophet Ishmaelas in the form of the appearance of the Holy Prophetsa.
Hence, by the grace of God, the holy effects of the prayers and durood of the [Muslim] ummah have been manifested to this day. On the one hand, the appearance of reformers at the beginning of every century up to the thirteenth century has manifested the same blessings of Prophet Isaac’s dynasty under the glad tidings of عُلَمَاءُ اُمَّتِي كَانْبِيَاءِ بَنِي اِسرَائِيل [“The scholars of my (the Holy Prophet’s) ummah are like the prophets of the Bani Israel”], and on the other, at the beginning of this fourteenth century, with the appearance of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, peace be upon him, that second blessing manifested similar to the one that came about with the appearance of the Holy Prophetsa under the blessings of the Prophet Ishmael’s dynasty.
The appearance of the Holy Prophetsa happened after the Israelite prophets and the glory of his prophethood surpassed the blessings of the prophets of Bani Israel. Likewise, the glory of the appearance of the Promised Messiahas, who came as a complete manifestation and reflection of the Holy Prophetsa, surpassed all those reformers who came up to the thirteenth century along the lines of the Israelite prophets. Just as the Holy Prophetsa has the distinction of being Khatam-ul-Anbiya [Seal of the Prophets], so did he [the Promised Messiahas] have the distinction of being Khatam-ul-Auliya [Seal of the Saints].
Thus, in this day and age, it is an occasion of great joy and happiness for the Muslim ummah that their invoking of Durood Sharif has manifested holy fruits and blessed results.
Blessings of the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa
Although the people who reached the status of siddiq [truthful], shaheed [martyrs] and saleh [righteous] were also born in this ummah, but in the word al-Nabi, which has been mentioned in the statement of يُصَلُّوۡنَ عَلَي النَّبِيِّ, there is an indication – where many truthful, martyrs and righteous people were born owing to the siddiqiyat, shaheediyat and salehiyat of the Holy Prophetsa and as a manifestation of his glorious faith [in God], prophets are also to be born in his ummah from his followers. It is for this reason that by the addition of the word Aal-e-Muhammad with the word al-Nabi, [the spiritual progeny of the Holy Prophetsa] has also been included in the blessings of prophethood as a reflection.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in Hayat-e-Qudsi, pp. 606-609)