Recalling this sacred exchange, the meanings of the words gain in brilliance and comprehensiveness.
One time while in a dark exile, on a dark night, and in a dark state of heedlessness, the mighty universe of the present appeared to my imagination as a lifeless, spiritless, dead, empty, desolate, ghastly corpse. The past, too, appeared to be dead, empty, deceased, and dreadful; that boundless space and limitless time took on the form of a dark wilderness. I had recourse to the prayers in order to be saved from my state of mind. When I said: “Salutations” in the tashahhud, the universe suddenly sprang to life. It was resurrected taking on a living, luminous form, and became a shining mirror of the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. I saw that with all its living parts, it was continuously offering the salutations of their lives and their vital gifts to the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One; I understood this with ‘the knowledge of certainty,’ even with ‘absolute certainty.’
Then, when I declared: “Peace be upon you, O Prophet!,” that limitless vacant time was transformed under the leadership of God’s Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) from being a desolate wilderness into a familiar place of recreation filled with living spirits.
S e c o n d Q u e s t i o n : The comparison at the end of the tashahhud: “O God! Grant blessings to Muhammad and to the Family of Muhammad, as You granted blessings to Abraham and to the Family of Abraham,”1 appears to be contrary to the rules of comparisons, for Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was greater than Abraham (Peace be upon him), and the recipient of greater mercy; so what is the reason for it? Since early times the same supplication has been repeated in all the ritual prayers; whereas if a prayer is accepted once, that is enough. If those for whom millions of prayers have been accepted are persistently prayed for, and especially if the thing sought has been promised by God... For example, Almighty God has promised: Soon will your Sustainer raise you to a station of praise and glory!,2 yet always after the call to prayer and iqama the narrated prayer: “And raise him up to the station of praise and glory that You have promised him”3 is repeated; the whole Umma pray for that promise to be fulfilled. What is the reason for this too?
Bukhari, Anbiya’, 10.
‘Station of Praise and Glory’ — al-Maqam al-Mahmud: Bukhari, Adhan, 8, 17; Tirmidhi, Mawaqit, 43; Salat, 42; Abu Da’ud, Salat, 37; Nasa’i, Adhan, 38; Ibn Maja, Adhan, 4; Iqama, 25; Musnad, iii, 354.