There is certain etiquette that applies when we take the names of our predecessors.
These are Great leaders in Din, and they deserve a certain amount of respect. Many have the habit of merely sufficing on abbreviations like: “r.a.” or “a.s.” Even worse is the use of the “s.a.w.” acronym!
The Greatest human on earth deserves more respect than that.
To suffice on an abbreviation instead of the entire “sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam” is Makruh (offensive) according the scholars of Hadith.
(Ibnus Salah, pg.189 and Tadribur Rawi, vol.2 pg.22)
There were several painful consequences for those who wanted to save ink by sticking to abbreviations!
(refer Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg. 494)
In our modern era, it takes no time or energy to type out the entire “sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam” or “radiyallahu’anhu” or “rahimahullah” or “’alahis salam”
One could even utilise the keyboard shortcuts for this. The point is to say it in full.
The Muhaddithun have encouraged writers to write the entire “sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam” as well as pronounce it verbally as they write it.
(Tadribur Rawi, vol.2 Pg.20, Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg.495)
By the writer using or abstaining from such acronyms, the readers also learn to follow suite…
The famed Tabi’e, Ja’far as-Sadiq (rahimahullah) said:
“The angels continue to send salutation for the one who writes salutations upon Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) for as long as that ink remains on the paper.”
(verified by Ibnul Qayyim in Jila-ul Afham, pg.56. Also see: Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg.484 and Tadribur Rawi, vol.2 pg.19)
Sufyan Thawri (rahimahullah) -the famed Mujtahid- says:
“It is sufficient a benefit for those engaged in Hadith; that they continue to receive salutations themselves for as long as the “sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam” remains written on that paper.”
(Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg.485)
A Motivational Incident
‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) has cited numerous anecdotes on the above from several Muhaddithun.
(Al-Qawlul Badi’, pgs.486-495. Also see Ibnul Qayyim’s (rahimahullah) Jila-ul Afham, pg.56)
Among them is the following:
The son of ‘Allamah Mundhiri; Shaykh Muhammad ibnul Mundhiri (rahimahumallah) was seen in a dream after his demise. He said: I have entered Jannah and kissed the blessed hand of Rasulullah –sallallahu’alaihi wasallam- and he told me: “Anyone who writes with his hands: “Rasulullah -sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- has said” will be with me in Jannah.”
‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) says: “This is reported with a sahih (authentic) chain. We hope from Allah’s grace that He grants us that virtue.”
(Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg.487)
Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has also reported a few dreams like the above.
(Al-Jami’u li Akhlaqir Rawi, vol.1 pg.420-423)
Some of us have the habit of only saying: “alayhis Salam” when taking the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
The ‘Ulama have ruled it as “not good” to make a habit of this.
(Fathul Mughith; see footnotes on Al-Qawlul Badi’, pg.158)
In fact Hafidh Ibnus Salah and ‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahumallah) have declared it as makruh (offensive)
(Muqaddimah Ibnus Salah, pg.189-190, Sharh-Sahih Muslim, pg.2 and Taqrib ma’at Tadrib, vol.2 pg.22)
The same would apply if one were to only say: “alayhis Salat” (salutations be upon him)
The reason for this is that we are instructed in the Quran to send both; Salat (salutation) & Salam (peace) upon Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). (Surah:33, Ayah:56)
By saying: “alayhis salam” we are only sending “Salam” (peace) and no “Salat (salutation)!
If one has the habit of saying: ‘alayhis salam (peace be upon him) sometimes and on other occasions: ‘alayhis salat (salutations be upon him) it would not be makruh.
Lets go all the way and write/say it in full every time we take the name of our Beloved (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
We should also do the same for other respectable predecessors, and write the entire (‘alayhis salam), (radiyallahu’anhu) or (rahimahullah) for example.
May Allah Ta’ala bless us all.