Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Praying for Muhammad’s Peace and Security

More Islamic evidence that Muhammad is not Saved

Sam Shamoun

In several articles and rebuttals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) we have discussed and presented conclusive and clear evidence proving that Muhammad was uncertain of his own salvation. Here we would like to provide some additional data which further confirms that Muhammad wasn’t saved even according to the Islamic source materials. We will specifically be discussing the Islamic practice of praying for Muhammad during the five daily prayers or whenever his name is mentioned in order see the implications that such a practice has in understanding and determining Muhammad’s status in the afterlife.

We begin by analyzing what the Quran has to say about this issue.

According to the Quran Allah and his angels pray for Muhammad and on that basis commands all believers to do the same:

Verily, God and His angels pray for the prophet. O ye who believe! pray for him and salute him with a salutation! S. 33:56 Palmer

The following commentators tell us that the prayers of Muslims consist of invoking peace and blessings upon Muhammad:

Indeed God and His angels bless the Prophet, Muhammad (s). O you who believe, invoke blessings on him and invoke peace upon him in a worthy manner, in other words, say: ‘O God, bless our master Muhammad and grant him peace’ (Allāhumma sallī ‘alā sayyidinā Muhammad wa-sallim). (Tafsir al-Jalalayn)

We will see a little later why such invocations of peace are crucial in determining whether Muhammad is truly saved or not.

The hadith literature is filled with traditions of Muhammad commanding his followers to pray for him and instructing them how to do it:

The Command to say Salah upon the Prophet

Al-Bukhari said: "Abu Al-`Aliyah said: “Allah's Salah is His praising him before the angels, and the Salah of the angels is their supplication.” Ibn `Abbas said: “They send blessings.” Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi said: “This was narrated from Sufyan Ath-Thawri and other scholars, who said: `The Salah of the Lord is mercy, and the Salah of the angels is their seeking forgiveness.’” There are Mutawatir Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah commanding us to send blessings on him and how we should say Salah upon him. We will mention as many of them as we can, if Allah wills, and Allah is the One Whose help we seek. In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ka`b bin `Ujrah said, “It was said, `O Messenger of Allah, with regard to sending Salam upon you, we know about this, but how about Salah?’ He said…

<<Say: ‘O Allah, send YOUR SALAH upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent YOUR SALAH upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are the Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, send YOUR BLESSINGS upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent YOUR BLESSINGS upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious.’'>>” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abi Layla said that Ka`b bin `Ujrah met him and said, “Shall I not give you a gift? The Messenger of Allah came out to us and we said, `O Messenger of Allah! We know how to send Salam upon you, but how can we send Salah?’ He said…

<<Say: ‘O Allah, send YOUR SALAH upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent YOUR SALAH upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are the Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, send YOUR BLESSINGS upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent YOUR BLESSINGS upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious.’'>>” This Hadith has been recorded by the Group in their books with different chains of narration. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:56; capital and underline emphasis ours)


Another Hadith

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said: “We said, `O Messenger of Allah, this is the Salam upon you, but how do we send Salah upon you?’ He said…

<<Say: ‘O Allah, send YOUR SALAH upon Muhammad, Your servant and Messenger, as You sent YOUR SALAH upon the family of Ibrahim, and send YOUR BLESSINGS upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent YOUR BLESSINGS upon the family of Ibrahim.’>>” Abu Salih narrated that Layth said…

<<Upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent YOUR BLESSINGS upon the family of Ibrahim.>> Ibrahim bin Hamzah told that, Ibn Abi Hazim and Ad-Darawardi told, that Yazid, i.e., Ibn Al-Had said…

<<As You sent YOUR SALAH upon Ibrahim, and send YOUR BLESSINGS upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim.>> This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)

See also the following narrations, repeating basically the same thing: 1, 2.

Ibn Kathir goes on to exhort Muslims to not only pray for Muhammad often but to do so on many occasions, especially during the call to prayer:

Occasions for saying Salah upon Him

It is reported that we should send blessings upon him on many occasions, such as following the call to prayer, as in the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad from `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As, who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say…

<<When you hear the Mu'adhdhin, repeat what he says, THEN SEND SALAH UPON ME, for whoever sends Salah upon me, ALLAH WILL SEND SALAH UPON HIM TENFOLD. Then ask Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, which is a status in Paradise to which only one of the servants of Allah will be entitled, and I HOPE that I will be the one. Whoever asks Allah for Al-Wasilah for me, it will be permitted for me to intercede for him.>> This was recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i. Other occasions when we should send Salah upon the Prophet include when entering or exiting the Masjid, because of the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad from Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah who said: “When the Messenger of Allah entered the Masjid, he would send Salah and Salam upon Muhammad, and say

<<O Allah, forgive me my sins and open for me the gates of Your mercy>> When he exited, he would send Salah and Salam upon Muhammad, and say

<<O Allah, forgive me my sins and open for me the gates of Your bounty.>>” We should also send Salah upon him during the Funeral prayer. The Sunnah is to recite Surat Al-Fatihah following the first Takbir, to send Salah upon the Prophet during the second Takbir, to make supplication for the deceased during the third Takbir, and in the fourth Takbir to say, “O Allah, do not deprive us of his reward, and do not test us after him.”' Ash-Shafi`i, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Umamah bin Sahl bin Hunayf was told by one of the Companions of the Prophet that the Sunnah in the funeral prayer is for the Imam to pronounce the Takbir, then to recite Surat Al-Fatihah silently after the first Takbir, then to send Salah upon the Prophet then to offer sincere supplication for the deceased, but not to recite any Qur'an in any of the Takbirs, then to conclude by saying Salam silently. An-Nasa'i also recorded this from Abu Umamah, who said, “This is from the Sunnah,” and he mentioned it. According to the correct view, such a statement reported from a Companion carries the ruling of Marfu`. (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)

As a side note, notice how uncertain Muhammad was regarding whether Allah would actually grant him the status of al-Wasilah, i.e. mediation. Muhammad could only hope for this privilege and asked his followers to pray that Allah would give him this honor.


Saying Salah upon the Prophet before the Supplication

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi reported the following Hadith and graded it Sahih; An-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban recorded in their Sahihs that Fadalah bin `Ubayd, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah heard a man making supplication in his prayer when he had not praised Allah or said Salah upon the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah said…

<<This man is rushing.>> Then he called him over and said, to him or to someone else…

<<When any one of you supplicates, let him start by praising and glorifying Allah, may He be exalted, then let him send Salah upon the Prophet, and after that let him make supplication as he wishes.>>” (Ibid.; underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad even had the audacity to claim that a person’s prayer will not reach Allah if s/he does not pray for him at the start of the prayer, during its middle part, and at its conclusion!

It is recommended to conclude supplications with Salah upon the Prophet.

At-Tirmidhi recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said: “A supplication remains suspended between heaven and earth and does not ascend any further UNTIL you send Salah upon your Prophet.” This was also narrated by Mu`adh bin Al-Harith from Abu Qurrah from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib from `Umar, as a saying of the Prophet. It was also recorded by Razin bin Mu`awiyah in his book, where he also attributed it to the Prophet reporting that he said…

<<A supplication remains suspended between heaven and earth and does not ascend any further UNTIL a person sends Salah on me. Do not treat me like a spare water container, send Salah upon me at the beginning of your supplication, at the end and in the middle.>> Sending Salah upon the Prophet is even more strongly encouraged in the Qunut supplication. Ahmad, the Sunan compilers, Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim recorded that Al-Hasan bin `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah taught me some words to say during Al-Witr…

<<‘O Allah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, grant me health along with those to whom You have granted health, be an ally to me along with those to whom You are an ally, and bless me for that which You have bestowed. Protect me from the evil You have decreed, for verily You decree and none can decree over You. Verily, he whom You show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take as an enemy is never honored and mighty, O our Lord, blessed and Exalted are You.’>>” In his Sunan, An-Nasa'i has the addition…

<<“and may Allah bless Muhammad.”>> at the end of this Qunut. It is also recommended to say plenty of Salah upon him on Friday and on the eve of Friday. (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad also went so far as to encourage his followers to make their entire prayer for him, promising that their sins would be forgiven if they did so!

The Virtue of saying Salah upon the Prophet

Another Hadith At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “When two thirds of the night had passed, the Messenger of Allah would get up and say…

<<O people, remember Allah, remember Allah, the first blast of the Trumpet has come and will be followed by the second blast, death has come with all its horrors, death has come with all its horrors.>>” Ubayy said, “I said, `O Messenger of Allah, I send a lot of Salah upon you, how much of my prayer should be Salah upon you?’ He said…

<<Whatever you want.>> I said, `A quarter?’ He said…

<<Whatever you want, but if you increase it, it will be better for you.>> I said, `Half?' He said…

<<Whatever you want, but if you increase it, it will be better for you.>> I said, `Two thirds?’ He said…

<<(Whatever you want, but if you increase it, it will be better for you.>> I said, `Should I make my whole prayer for you?’ He said…

<<This would be sufficient to relieve your distress and earn you forgiveness of your sins.>> Then he said: “This is a Hasan Hadith.” (Ibid.; underline emphasis ours)

Another incentive that Muhammad gave for praying for him is that Allah will reward all such prayers tenfold and reckon them as charity to the one performing them:

Another Hadith

Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said…

<<Send Salah upon me, for this is Zakah for you, and ask Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, for it is a position in the highest part of Paradise which only one man will attain, and I hope that I will be the one.>> This was recorded only by Ahmad. (Ibid.; underline emphasis ours)


Another Hadith

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Talhah said that the Messenger of Allah came one day looking happy. They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we see that you look happy.” He said…

<<The angel came to me and told me, “O Muhammad, would it not please you if your Lord, may He be glorified, says: `No member of your Ummah SENDS SALAH UPON YOU BUT I SEND SALAH UPON HIM TENFOLD, and no member of your Ummah sends greetings of Salam upon you but I send greetings of Salam upon him tenfold.’” I said, “Of course.”>> This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i. (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)


Another Chain of Narration

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Talhah Al-Ansari said: “One morning the Messenger of Allah was in a cheerful mood and looked happy. They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, this morning you are in a cheerful mood and look happy.’ He said…

<<Of course just now someone [an angel] came to me from my Lord and said, ‘Whoever among your Ummah sends Salah upon you, Allah will record for him ten good deeds and will erase for him ten evil deeds, and will raise his status by ten degrees, and will return his greeting with something similar to it.’>>” This is also a good chain, although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not report it. (Ibid.; underline emphasis ours)


Another Hadith

Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah said…

<<Whoever sends one Salah upon me, ALLAH WILL SEND TEN UPON HIM.>> At-Tirmidhi said: “This is a Sahih Hasan Hadith. On the same topic, narrations come from `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf, `Amir bin Rabi`ah, `Ammar, Abu Talhah, Anas and Ubayy bin Ka`b.” (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)

There are other narrations where Muhammad even warned and outright threatened the Muslims that they would experience humiliation if they did/do not pray for him whenever they hear his name mentioned:

Another Hadith

Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Husayn bin `Ali said that the Messenger of Allah said…

<<The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned, then he does not send Salah upon me.>> Abu Sa`id said…

<<... and he does not send Salah upon me.>> This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who then said: “This Hadith is Hasan Gharib, Sahih.” (Ibid.)


Another Hadith

At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allah said…

<<May he be humiliated, the man in whose presence I am mentioned and he does not send Salah upon me; may he be humiliated, the man who sees the month of Ramadan come and go, and he is not forgiven; may he be humiliated, the man whose parents live to old age and they do not cause him to be granted admittance to Paradise.>>” Then he (At-Tirmidhi) said: “Hasan Gharib.” (Ibid.; underline emphasis ours)

It is obvious that praying for Muhammad is no light matter since a Muslim’s success and salvation hinge on it.

The reason why Muslims are required to pray for Muhammad

The following verse gives us an idea as to why Allah, his angels, and the believers pray for Muhammad:

He it is who prays for you and His angels too, to bring you forth out of the darkness into the light, for He is merciful to the believers. S. 33:43 Palmer

According to this specific text Allah and the angels pray for the believers to be brought out of darkness and into the light. In other words, Allah and his angels are actively praying for the salvation of Muslims, a point that is confirmed by this next passage.

Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah) (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! Our Lord! And make them enter the 'Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And save them from (the punishment, because of what they did of) the sins, and whomsoever You save from (the punishment, because of what they did of) the sins (i.e. excuse them) that Day, him verily, You have taken into mercy.” And that is the supreme success. S. 40:7-9

Angels pray to Allah to forgive the believers and to save them from hellfire by bringing them into paradise.

In light of this it seems reasonably certain that Allah, his angels and the Muslims are all praying for Muhammad’s salvation. Muhammad didn’t have any assurance that he would be saved and so decided to command his followers to pray that Allah would grant him deliverance from hell.

This is further brought out by the Arabic words that Muslims normally utter whenever Muhammad’s name is mentioned, namely sallallahu alayhi wa-salam, which literally means, “the prayers of Allah be upon him and peace.” The Muslims are basically asking their god to grant Muhammad peace.

It is obvious that the peace that Muslims are praying that Allah would give Muhammad is paradise which is actually called the home or abode of peace in the Quran:

Allah calls to the home of peace (i.e. Paradise, by accepting Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds and abstaining from polytheism and evil deeds) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path. For those who have done good is the best (reward, i.e. Paradise) and even more (i.e. having the honour of glancing at the Countenance of Allah) Neither darkness nor dust nor any humiliating disgrace shall cover their faces. They are the dwellers of Paradise, they will abide therein forever. S. 10:25-26

The Quran, in several places, speaks of paradise as the place of both peace and security. Hence, to enter paradise is to enter into peace and safety:

Truly! The Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons - see V.2:2) will be amidst Gardens and water-springs (Paradise). (It will be said to them): 'Enter therein (Paradise), in PEACE and security.' And We shall remove from their breasts any sense of injury (that they may have), (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones. No sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shall they (ever) be asked to leave it. S. 15:45-48 Hilali-Khan

Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of PEACE and respect. Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell. S. 25:75-76

And Paradise will be brought near to the Muttaqun (pious - see V.2:2) not far off. (It will be said): “This is what you were promised, - (it is) for those oft-returning (to Allah) in sincere repentance, and those who preserve their covenant with Allah (by obeying Him in all what He has ordered, and worship none but Allah Alone, i.e. follow Allah's Religion, Islamic Monotheism). "Who feared the Most Beneficent (Allah) in the Ghaib (unseen): (i.e. in this worldly life before seeing and meeting Him), and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him - and absolutely free from each and every kind of polytheism), "Enter you therein in PEACE and security; this is a Day of eternal life!" There they will have all that they desire, and We have more (for them, i.e. a glance at the All-Mighty, All-Majestic). S. 50:31-35 Hilali-Khan

And those foremost [(in Islamic Faith of Monotheism and in performing righteous deeds) in the life of this world on the very first call for to embrace Islam,] will be foremost (in Paradise). These will be those nearest to Allah. In the Gardens of delight (Paradise). A multitude of those (foremost) will be from the first generations (who embraced Islam). And a few of those (foremost) will be from the later time (generations). (They will be) on thrones woven with gold and precious stones, Reclining thereon, face to face. They will be served by immortal boys, With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, Wherefrom they will get neither any aching of the head, nor any intoxication. And fruit; that they may choose. And the flesh of fowls that they desire. And (there will be) Houris (fair females) with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), Like unto preserved pearls. A reward for what they used to do. No Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk) will they hear therein, nor any sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.). But only the saying of: Salam!, Salam! (greetings with peace)! S. 56:10-26 Hilali-Khan

Then, if he (the dying person) be of the Muqarrabun (those brought near to Allah), (There is for him) rest and provision, and a Garden of delights (Paradise). And if he (the dying person) be of those on the Right Hand, Then there is safety AND PEACE (from the Punishment of Allah) for (you as you are from) those on the Right Hand. S. 56:88-91 Hilali-Khan

Thus, by praying that Allah would grant Muhammad peace Muslims are essentially praying for Muhammad’s salvation! Muslims are basically asking Allah to save his messenger from hell by allowing him to enter paradise which is the abode of peace.

What this all means for Muhammad and his followers

The Islamic practice of praying for Muhammad’s peace and safety raises some serious problems and questions for Muslims. In the first place, there is not a single Biblical verse or Quranic citation which exhorts believers to pray for the peace and salvation of any of God’s true prophets and apostles after their respective deaths; Muhammad is utterly unique in this respect.

Interestingly, according to the late great Christian scholar of Islam, W. St. Clair Tisdall, the command to pray for Muhammad’s salvation caused one particular Muslim to start doubting and questioning Muhammad’s prophetic claims and eventually led him to embrace Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior:

1 A learned Maulavi from Swat, now a Christian convert, was first brought to doubt Muhammad's claims by reflecting upon the durud (darud) or petition in which, at the close of the fixed prayers (salawat), a Muslim says, “O Lord, have mercy upon and give peace to Muhammad,” &c. The thought arose in his mind, “In no other religion is it thought necessary to pray for God's mercy on its founder. Why then is Muhammad prayed for?” He next noticed that in the kalimah or Muhammadan creed the title given to Muhammad is merely rasul: he is not even called a nabi or “prophet,” whereas far higher titles are given to Christ in the Qur'an itself (§§ 116-122, 129). In argument it would be well to put these objections to Muhammad's claims either in the form of the tale told here, or as questions, asking, e.g., “Why is it necessary for Muslims to pray for Muhammad?” This leads the inquirer to form his own conclusions. (Dr. H. M. Clark.) (W. St. Clair Tisdall, A Manual of the Leading Muhammadan Objections to Christianity [Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1904] CHAPTER VII. Objections Against Christianity On The Ground of Muhammad's Divine Mission, p. 217; bold emphasis ours)

Secondly, both the Quran and ahadith testify that Muhammad lived in fear and doubt concerning his salvation since Allah never gave him the assurance that he would be saved:

Or say they: “He (Muhammad) has fabricated it.” Say: “If I have fabricated it, still you have no power to support me against Allah. He knows best of what you say among yourselves concerning it (i.e. this Qur'an)! Sufficient is He for a witness between me and you! And He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” Say (O Muhammad): “I am not a new thing among the Messengers (of Allah) (i.e. I am not the first Messenger) nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner.” S. 46:8-9

Say (unto them, O Muhammad): I pray unto Allah only, and ascribe unto Him no partner. Say: Lo! I control not hurt nor benefit for you. Say: Lo! none can protect me from Allah, nor can I find any refuge beside Him (Mine is) but conveyance (of the Truth) from Allah, and His messages; and whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger, lo! his is fire of hell, wherein such dwell for ever. Till (the day) when they shall behold that which they are promised (they may doubt); but then they will know (for certain) who is weaker in allies and less in multitude. Say (O Muhammad, unto the disbelievers): I know not whether that which ye are promised is nigh, or if my Lord hath set a distant term for it. S. 72:20-25 Pickthall

In fact, Allah repeatedly threatens to kill his prophet if he turns away or decides to change the message:

And when Our signs are recited to them, clear signs, those who look not to encounter Us say, 'Bring a Koran other than this, or alter it.' Say: 'It is not for me to alter it of my own accord. I follow nothing, except what is revealed to me. Truly I fear, if I should rebel against my Lord, the chastisement of a dreadful day.' S. 10:15 Arberry

This is (part) of that wisdom wherewith thy Lord hath inspired thee (O Muhammad). And set not up with Allah any other god, lest thou be cast into hell, reproved, abandoned. S. 17:39 Pickthall

Verily, they were about to tempt you away from that which We have revealed (the Qur'an) unto you (O Muhammad), to fabricate something other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken you a friend! And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little. In that case, We would have made you taste a double portion (of punishment) in this life and a double portion (of punishment) after death. And then you would have found none to help you against Us. S. 17:73-75 Hilali-Khan

O Prophet! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and do not comply with (the wishes of) the unbelievers and the hypocrites; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise; S. 33:1

Say (O Muhammad): "Verily, if I disobey my Lord, I am afraid of the torment of a great Day." S. 39:13 Hilali-Khan

it is the speech of a noble Messenger. It is not the speech of a poet (little do you believe) nor the speech of a soothsayer (little do you remember). A sending down from the Lord of all Being. Had he invented against Us any sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand, then We would surely have cut his life-vein. S. 69:40-46 Arberry

And even though Allah never promised to save Muhammad he did inform his messenger that he would definitely die and go to hell!

Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord. S. 39:30-31

Now, by thy Lord, We shall surely muster them, and the Satans, then We shall parade them about Gehenna hobbling on their knees. Then We shall pluck forth from every party whichever of them was the most hardened in disdain of the All-merciful; then We shall know very well those most deserving to burn there. Not one of you there is, but he shall go down to it; that for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. Then We shall deliver those that were godfearing; and the evildoers We shall leave there, hobbling on their knees. S. 19:68-72 Arberry

Thus, the only guarantee Muhammad had was that he was going to die and enter into hell itself!

This is why Muhammad could only hope and pray that Allah would perhaps honor and glorify him:

And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur'an in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad). It MAY BE that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!). S. 17:79

Third, if Muhammad whom Muslims consider to be their example and the greatest man that ever lived wasn’t certain of his own salvation then what does this say about the fate of his followers? What hope or assurance do Muslims have of ever entering paradise when even their own prophet wasn’t guaranteed of being saved?

The doubt which lingers over every follower of Muhammad can be more clearly seen from the fact that Muslims are also expected to pray for the companions and wives of Muhammad whenever they happened to be mentioned by name. For instance, whenever a Muslim speaks of Umar ibn al-Khattab s/he is expected to pray the following: “may Allah be pleased with him” (radhi Allah anhu).

Muslims will even do this when mentioning a renowned Muslim figure or scholar by saying the words, “may Allah have mercy on him” (rahmatullahi alayh).

In fact, if the readers scroll back and read some of Ibn Kathir’s quotations they will find Ibn Kathir actually doing this very thing whenever he mentions Muhammad’s companions, his wives, and/or some prominent Muslim. I.e.,

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi reported the following Hadith and graded it Sahih; An-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban recorded in their Sahihs that Fadalah bin `Ubayd, may Allah be pleased with him, said… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:56; bold and italic emphasis ours)


“… Ash-Shafi`i, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Umamah bin Sahl bin Hunayf was told by one of the Companions of the Prophet that the Sunnah in the funeral prayer is for the Imam to pronounce the Takbir… (Ibid.; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Now this makes perfect sense. If Muhammad who is the founder of Islam needed and continues to need individuals to pray for his salvation then how much more do his followers and the rest of the Muslim population need such prayers? Surely, Muhammad’s companions and all who follow his religion cannot be more savable than their own prophet; nor could/can any of them have greater assurance that they will be saved than even the founder of their own religion. In light of this, Muslims actually need a lot more prayers for their salvation than Muhammad himself does since they can never expect to be on his level, at least as far as Allah is concerned.

A Muslim may deny that Muhammad needs the prayers of his people in order to be saved by arguing that he is already in a state of peace. However, if this were really the case then why even pray for Muhammad’s peace? Why pray that Allah grant him mercy if Muhammad has already entered into a state of security and rest? Does it even make sense to pray for a person’s peace if s/he is in paradise or in some other state in which s/he is already experiencing joy and bliss?

In other words, if Muhammad is already in paradise or is experiencing safety and security in the grave then there is absolutely no need to pray for him at all. There is no need to constantly beg Allah to send down his mercy upon Muhammad when the latter is already experiencing the peace and blessings of his god. Such prayers only make sense if Muhammad isn’t saved and that Allah will actually accept invocations for the salvation of those who have died.

In fact, the hadiths themselves record that Muhammad was afraid of the torment which he believed individuals would have to experience in the grave and used to pray to Allah to save him from it:

Narrated Masruq:
‘Aisha said that a Jewess came to her and mentioned the punishment in the grave, saying to her, "May Allah protect you from the punishment of the grave." ‘Aisha then asked Allah’s Apostle about the punishment of the grave. He said, "Yes, (there is) punishment in the grave." ‘Aisha added, "After that I never saw Allah’s Apostle but seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment in the grave in every prayer he prayed." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 454)


Narrated 'Amra bint 'AbdurRahman:
A Jewess came to 'Aisha to ask her about something and then she said, "May Allah give you refuge from the punishment of the grave." So 'Aisha asked Allah's Apostle, "Would the people be punished in their graves?" Allah's Apostle asked Allah's refuge from the punishment of the grave (indicating an affirmative reply). Then one day Allah's Apostle rode (to leave for some place) but the sun eclipsed. He returned on the forenoon and passed through the rear of the dwellings (of his wives) and stood up and started offering the (eclipse) prayer and the people stood behind him. He stood for a long period and then performed a long bowing and then stood straight for a long period which was shorter than that of the first standing, then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first bowing, then he raised his head and prostrated for a long time and then stood up (for the second Raka) for a long while, but the standing was shorter than the standing of the first Raka. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than that of the first one. He then stood up for a long time but shorter than the first, then again performed a long bowing which was shorter than the first and then prostrated for a shorter while than that of the first prostration. Then he finished the prayer and delivered the sermon and said what Allah wished; and ordered the people to seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 164)

Hence, it only makes perfect sense that Muhammad would command his followers to constantly pray for his peace and security seeing how deathly afraid he was of the torment and punishment of the grave.

Still, other Muslims see such prayers as Allah’s way of honoring Muhammad more than any other prophet!

(Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet…) [33:56]. Abu Sa'id informed us> Ibn Abi 'Amr al-Naysaburi> al-Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Makhladi> al-Mu'ammil ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Isa> Muhammad ibn Yahya> Abu Hudhayfah> Sufyan> al-Zubayr ibn 'Adiyy> 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Layla> Ka'b ibn 'Ujrah who said: “It was said to the Prophet: 'We know how to salute you, but how do we invoke blessings on you?' And so this verse was revealed (Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation)”. 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Hamdan al-'Adl informed us> Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad ibn 'Isa al-Washsha'> Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Suli> al-Riyashi> al-Asma'i who said: “I heard al-Mahdi say from the pulpit of [the grand mosque of] al-Basrah: 'Allah has commanded you with something that He Himself has started first when He said (Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation). Through this, Allah has preferred the Prophet over all other messengers and singled you out from all other communities. Do, therefore, meet Allah's bounty with gratitude' ”. I heard master Abu 'Uthman al-Hafiz say that he heard Imam Sahl ibn Muhammad ibn Sulayman say: “The honour that Allah, exalted is He, bestowed upon our Prophet by His saying (Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet) is more far-reaching and more complete than the honour bestowed upon Adam when the angels were ordered to prostrate to him. This is because it is not conceivable that Allah be with the angels upon the bestowal of that honour. However, Allah, exalted is He, has informed that He Himself showers blessings on the Prophet, and then He informed that the angels do shower blessings upon him. Therefore, an honour which ensues from Him is much far-reaching than an honour which ensues from the angels only and which is inconceivable that Allah be with them upon its bestowal”. What Sahl has said is taken from the saying of al-Mahdi. He might have come across it, adopted some of it and explained it further. He also compared it with the honour bestowed upon Adam and showed that it is more far-reaching and complete than it. It is also mentioned in the rigorously authenticated collections of prophetic sayings the following: Abu Bakr ibn Ibrahim al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn 'Isa ibn 'Amrawayh> Ibrahim ibn Sufyan> Muslim> Qutaybah and 'Ali ibn Hajar> Isma'il ibn Ja'far> al-'Ala'> his father> Abu Hurayrah who reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever invokes blessings on me once, Allah will invoke blessings upon him ten times”. ('Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul; bold emphasis ours)

On the contrary, such prayers actually dishonor Muhammad and are a source of major embarrassment for Muslims. As we had noted, no where will one find in either the Holy Bible or the Quran a command to pray for the peace and salvation of any of the true prophets and messengers of God especially after their deaths. The inspired Scriptures are clear that all true believers, which would include God’s prophets and apostles, enter into the heavenly presence of God the moment after they die (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:21, 23; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).

As we stated, Muhammad is the only person who requires that his followers actually pray for his salvation and security, and not only during his life time. Today there are over one billion followers of Muhammad who are still obligated to pray for him as long as they live, many times in the course of every single day. How many billions of such prayers will ever be sufficient to grant Muhammad’s salvation?

Thus, by requiring Muslims to pray for the peace of Muhammad Allah has actually dishonored his prophet since this calls into question the very salvation of the one whom Muslims claim is the perfect man. This also casts great fear and doubt into the hearts of Muslims since they can never know whether Allah is truly pleased with them enough to give them salvation. After all, if even Muhammad wasn’t certain that he was saved then how can any Muslim know for sure or have the peace of mind that when s/he dies Allah will grant him/her eternal bliss? The answer is that no Muslim can ever know and must therefore die in fear and despair.

However, there is hope for Muslims if they will only turn away from the Islamic god and abandon the false prophet Muhammad. Muslims can have the assurance that God loves them so much that he has promised to give every one of them eternal life if only they turn to his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and accept him as their sovereign Lord and risen Savior.

With that said we would like to conclude our discussion by quoting various passages from the Holy Bible, God’s truly inspired Word, which emphatically highlight and proclaim the willingness and desire of the only true and living God to perfectly save every single individual who, by his grace and mercy, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, his glorious and majestic Son, for salvation:

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Mark 10:45

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:14-17

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty… All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day… I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.’” John 6:35, 38-40

“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world… Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6:50-51, 57-58

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

"Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’” John 11:23-27

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me… I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will livePeace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’” John 14:1-6, 18-19, 27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him… I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:1-2, 23-24

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.” John 1:10-13

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand… But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1, 8-11

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:1, 28-39

“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20

“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 7:23-27

“It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:26-28

“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:10, 14

“We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:13-18

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God… And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life… We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:4-5, 11-13, 18-20

“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” Revelation 14:13

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