Islamic honorifics

Islam uses a number of "conventionally complimentary phrases" or durood, sometimes called Islamic honorifics, ‘blessings’, ‘titles’ or even ‘prayers’.[1] The "honorifics" either praise (e.g. "Subhanahu wa-ta’ala", in the case of Allah), or wish good things (such as "prayers and peace", "Allāh be pleased with them") for Muhammad, another prophet or other objects of the honorific. In Arabic writing (and speaking) they follow the name of the object of the honorific fully spelled out (fully enunciated), while in English language sources they are sometimes abbreviated, ("Allah (swt)" or "Muhammad (pbuh)"), sometimes spelled out ("Abdurrahman ibn Abi Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu"),[2] sometimes appear spelled out in Arabic,[3] and sometimes appear as a typographic ligature of Arabic calligraphy.[4]

Unlike conventional honorifics they follow, rather than precede, the name of the individual being noted. (They are distinct from honorifics such as "Hadrat-i Muhammad", the Persian title given Muhammad, which precedes his name,[1] or titles for distinguished Muslims such as Mawlānā or Sheikh.) (The term durood may be limited to the prophets in Islam, or go beyond "conventionally complimentary phrases" into short prayers,[5][6] honorifics for scholars or companions follow the same pattern as durood but are not prayers.)

Some Muslims preach against the use of abbreviations in honorifics, insisting on the entire phrase spelled out, quoting a hadith in support of this.[7][8]

Scriptural basis

The honorifics for Muhammad are based on a Quranic verse according to one source:

"Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace." - Qur'an 33:56

A hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah states: The Messenger of Allah said:

"Whoever sends one salah upon me, Allah will send ten upon him."

Honorifics applying to God

  • Subhanahu wa Taʿālā (Arabic: سبحانه وتعالىٰ)
    • Translation: glorified and exalted be He; or: may He be glorified and exalted
    • abbreviation: "swt"[1]
  • Azza wa Jall (Arabic: عزّ وجلّ)
    • Translation: Mighty and the Majestic; or: Glorified and Sublime be He.
    • abbreviation: "awj"[1]

Applied to Muhammad and his family

These are also called Darood Shareef.

  • ′Alayhiṣ-Ṣalātu was-Salām (Arabic:عليه الصلاة والسلام)
    • Translation: "Upon him be prayers and peace"
    • Example: "The Messenger of Allāh (′Alayhiṣ-Ṣalātu was-Salām) ..."
  • ′Alayhe wa ′alā Ālehiṣ-Ṣalātu was-Salām (Arabic:عليه وعلى آله الصلاة والسلام)
    • Translation:"Upon him and on his family be prayers and peace"[8]
    • Example: "The Messenger of Allāh (′Alayhe wa ′alā Ālehiṣ-Ṣalāt was-Salām) ..."
  • Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe waa all-a-hi wassallam (Arabic: صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ واٰله وسلّم)
    • Translation:"May Allāh send blessings and peace upon him"[8]
    • Example: "The Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe wa sallam) ..."
    • Abbreviations: "SAW" or "PBUH" (some believe these should not be used).
  • Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe wa ′ālehe wa Ṣaḥbehe wa sallam (Arabic: "صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم")
    • Translation: May Allāh send blessings and peace upon him, his family, and his companions.
    • Example: "The Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe wa ′ālehe wa Ṣaḥbehe wa sallam) ..."
  • Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe wa ālehe wa sallam (Arabic: "صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم")
    • Translation: May Allāh send blessings and peace upon him and his family
    • Example: "The Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallallāhu ′alayhe wa ālehe wa sallam) ..."

Applied to angels and prophets

Applies to the Archangels (Gibraeel, Mikaeel, etc ) as well as any other Islamic prophets preceding Muhammad (Isa as, Musa a.s, Ibrahim as etc).

  • Alayhis Salam (Arabic: عليه السلام)
    • Peace be upon him.
    • abbreviation: "as"[1]
  • Alaihissalatu Wassalam
    • Translation: On Him are the blessings and the peace of Allah.
    • abbreviation: "asw"

Applied to companions of Muhammad

Used after companions ("Aṣ-Ṣaẖābah") of the Islamic Prophet Muḥammad

  • Radeyallāhu ′Anhu (Arabic: "رضي الله عنه")
    • Translation: "May Allāh be pleased with him."
    • abbreviation: "ra"
    • Example: "Al-‘Abbās (Radeyallāhu ′Anhu) ..."
  • Radeyallāhu ′Anhā (Arabic: "رضي الله عنها")
    • Translation: "May Allāh be pleased with her."
    • Example: "Khadīejah (Radeyallāhu ′Anhā) ..."
  • Radeyallāhu ′Anhum (Arabic: "رضي الله عنهم")
    • Translation: May Allāh be pleased with them.
    • Example: "Aṣ-Ṣaẖābah (Radeyallāhu ′Anhum) ..."

Applied to scholars

Applies to highly revered scholars

  • Rahmatullahi Alaih/ Rahimullah Alaih
    • Translation: May Allah's mercy/blessing be upon him
    • example: Abū Hanīfah (rahmtuallahi alayh)[1]
  • Rahmatullahi alaihum
    • Translation: May Allah's mercy/blessing be upon them

See also


  1. "Islamic Terminology". islamic-dictionary. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  2. example: "History of Islamic Civilization/The Formative Period of Islam". wikibooks. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. example: "Ettiquettes of writing Allah, prophet, scholars". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  4. example: b. Ibrahim (iMuslim), Mehzabeen (January 12, 2012). "Add Images of Islamic Phrases to Your WordPress Posts using Shortcodes". muslim matters. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  5. Haroon, Anwar. SAMAA’ "Glorifying God Almighty Allah And His Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace ... Xlibris.
  6. Saahib, Hazrat Moulana Manzoor Nu’maani. What is Islam ? for Non Muslim. The Way of Islam. pp. 60–61. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  7. Estes, Yusuf. "SWT? SAWS? PBUH? 786? (OK?)". Just ask Islam. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  8. - Etiquette, Morals and Heart-Softeners » The Heart Softeners » Supplications prescribed in Shareeah. 47976: Ruling on writing (S) or (SAWS) etc| Islam Question and Answer|21 September 2004
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