Question: What is the ruling of Shari'ah (Islamic Law) on saying, "Convey my Salams to the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam)"? Is it an Innovation (Bid'ah) ? Please guide us shedding some light in this context.
Answer: A person is allowed to ask someone traveling to the noble grave of the Beloved Prophet of Allah to give his greetings if he is unable to physically go himself. There is sufficient evidence that the Tabi’un would do this and therefore censoring it is erroneous as the reader shall notice from the below quotes of the great Imams of Hadith.
Shaykh Abdullah Siraajudin al-Halabi Rahmatullahi Ta'ala Alaih writes in his Salah al-Nabiy [Page 154-155]:
[Imam Shams al-Din] Sakhawi [1427 or 8-1497], May Allah have mercy on him, said [In al-Qawl al-Badee fi al-Salah ala al-Habeeb al-Shafee]: on the authority of Yazeed ibn Abi Sa’eed al-Madani who said: I gave my farewell greetings to Umar ibn Abd al-Azeez [d. 720] whilst leaving for the blessed trip to al-Madinah al-Munawwarah] who said: I need you to do something for me. He replied: “Oh Amir al-Muminin, what kind of a need do you ask me to fulfill?” Umar ibn Abd al-Azeez replied: “When you reach Madinah (al-Munawwarah) and you visit the Prophet’s grave, may Allah give him peace and blessings, give him greetings from me”.
Ibn Abi Dunya [823-894] narrated this and Bayhaqi [994-1066] cited it in his Shu’ab al-Iman through the former’s pathway.
Al-Hafiz al-Sakahwi also said: Bayhaqi [994-1066] narrated in Shu’ab al-Iman on the authority of Hatim ibn Wardan who related that Umar Ibn Abd al-Azeez, may Allah be pleased with him, used to send al-Bareed from Shaam to go to Madinah (al-Munawwarah) especially to give greetings to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah give him peace and blessings, on his behalf.
Shaykh al-Islam Imam Taqi al-Din as-Subki [1284-1355] states in his Shifa al-Siqam Fi Ziyarati Khayr al-Anaam:
Here I shall summarize some points given above in the passage by Imam Subki [1284-1355] in his unrivalled Shifa al-Siqam:
1. The report that Umar ibn Abd al-Azeez [d. 720] used to send al-Bareed from Shaam is well-circulated and a popular report .
2. Imam Subki saw this report in Mutheer al-Azm al-Sakin by Ibn al-Jawzi [1116 (ca.)-1201] in his handwriting.
3. Ibn Abi Asim [822-900] narrated it in his Manasik and declared it was an established report.
4. The only purpose of Umar II for sending someone from Shaam [this was in the era of the Tabi’un] was to give greetings to the Noble Prophet at his grave and then return.
5. Asking someone to give greetings to the Noble Prophet has been reported from others scholars too.
6. Abu al-Layth Samarqandi [d. 983] mentioned in his Fatawa, chapter on Hajj, that Abul Qasim said: When I was leaving for Madinah (al-Munawwarah), Qasim ibn Gassan told me that I should give the Prophet greetings from him. He said: I remembered this as soon as I entered the Masjid. Samarqandi thereafter remarked: in this is evidence that whoever is not able to physically make the journey, if he asks someone to convey his greetings, there is hope insha-Allah that he will get the reward of the greetings .
Lastly, there is no doubt that there are angels that carry the greetings to the Noble Prophet from wherever someone sends greetings but that does not restrict one from physically sending his greetings too. Various hadiths describe a single greeting reaches the Noble Prophet several times, Imam Ahmad Rida Khan [1856-1921] showed in his works that it reaches him 10 times [Ref: Inba al-Hay & Saltanat al-Mustafa]!
So what harm is there in sending the greeting through someone physically? The various ways a greeting reaches the Noble Prophet are in order to venerate the great station of the Beloved of Allah . After all, Allah Most High could have had a single means of having the greeting reach the Blessed Prophet but He chose not to. A faithful believer should not feel troubled with this view. Does that person not feel the pleasure of his name and greeting being presented before the Prophet through the angels as well as through someone who endured the pains of travel to reach the Noble Habeeb ? A faithful believer should feel the joy of this in his heart and not any bitterness.
We ask Allah Most High for the sweetness of greetings in our hearts and on our tongues and that He allows us to visit the Blessed Habeeb in order that we may humble ourselves before him and utter our greetings at his gracious door, Aameen!! I pray this suffices the seeker of guidance.