Laila Abdel Ghany explores the history behind the Dala’il al-Khayrat, and why it had such a massive impact on Islamic history.
The Dala’il al Khayrat wa Shawariq al-Anwar fi Dhikr al-Salat ‘ala al-Nabi al-Mukhtar (The Index of Good Things and the Advent of Blazing Lights in the Remembrance to ask for Blessings upon the Chosen Prophet) is a compilation of salawat, or sending of blessings and peace upon the Prophet, combined with supplications for oneself, for the umma, and callings upon Allah Most High. It was authored by Imam Jazuli from Fez, Morocco, a North African center for knowledge.
The text can be read many different ways. In Fez, it is read in one sitting on Fridays. Later, text was divided into sections, in order to facilitate a weekly completion.
Who Was Imam Jazuli?
One day Imam Jazuli intended to perform his ablutions from a well, but failed to find something with which to draw water from the well. A young girl saw him and wondered how this well-praised man could be confounded by this matter. She merely spit into the well, and the water flooded up. After finishing his ablutions he asked her how she had attained this station. She answered, “through constantly invoking blessings upon the one, who if he walked on the dry lands, the beasts would cling to him.” Tihis encounter impacted him greatly, and he swore that he would write a book of invocations of blessings upon the Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace.
Imam Jazuli lived in 9th Hijri-century Morocco, a time of weakness in the Muslim umma, with weakening scholarship and corruption that lead to a normalization of major sins. He compiled this text for an umma that was increasingly in need of re-establishing its connection with the very foundation of the religion; the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. By understanding his centrality to our religion, it becomes even more important that we follow the command of our Lord Most High:
“Indeed Allah and His angels confer blessings upon the Prophet, O believers! Confer blessings upon him and salute him with a worthy salutation” [33:56]
The Chain of Transmission
The lesson by Sheikh Muhammad Ba-Dhib and Sheikh Faraz Rabbani also addresses the times of confusion that we live in, with ideologies springing up and bringing doubt to what have for centuries been established traditions. Texts like the Dala’il were taught continuously, its inheritors becoming scholars of the Dala’il al-Khayrat, who carried out gatherings of reading the text. The chain of transmission is a symbol that proves the longevity of the tradition. This teaches us, as inheritors of the religion and the next links in its chains, that such gatherings can be traced all the way back to Imam Jazuli’s life, and that each link in the chain is benefitting through this continuity.
To conclude, the benefits of invoking blessings upon the Messenger are plentiful and numerous. Among them is the chance to draw near to Allah through praising His Chosen and Beloved Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. And as it is impossible for anyone in a lesser rank to truly see the value that lies in the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, it is only through asking Allah that we are able to do so.
May we continue to benefit from the many blessings Allah Most High has continued to preserve for the umma of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.
Laila Abdel Ghany lives in Cairo, Egypt. She studied Comparative Literature, with minors in Anthropology and Education, and is interested in how these fields can be brought together and perfected through the Islamic tradition.