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Do Muslims directly pray to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in their prayers?

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Missionary Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam, the website’s main author in terms of writing polemics against Islam, has come out with a very astounding claim, that Muslims in their daily prayers, actually pray directly to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/serve_besides_allah2.htm

He writes:

Praying Directly to Muhammad

In the five daily Islamic prayers Muslims perform what is commonly referred to as the tashahhud, the part of the prayer where a Muslim testifies concerning his belief in Allah and Muhammad. What makes this rather interesting is that this practice involves praying to Muhammad!

Narrated Shaqiq bin Salama:
'Abdullah said, "Whenever we prayed behind the Prophet we used to recite (in sitting) 'Peace be on Gabriel, Michael, peace be on so and so. Once Allah's Apostle looked back at us and said, 'Allah Himself is As-Salam (Peace), and if anyone of you prays then he should say, At-Tahiyatu lil-lahi wassalawatu wat-taiyibatu. As-Salamu 'ALAIKA aiyuha-n-Nabiyu wa rahmatu-l-lahi wa barakatuhu. As-Salam alaina wa ala ibadil-lah is-salihin. (All the compliments, prayers and good things are due to Allah: peace be on YOU, O Prophet and Allah's mercy and blessings be on you. Peace be on us and on the true pious slaves of Allah). (If you say that, it will be for all the slaves in the heaven and the earth). Ash-hadu an la-ilaha illa-l-lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluhu. (I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I also testify that Muhammad is His slave and His Apostle)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 794)

Ibn 'Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah used to teach us tashahhud just as he used to teach us a Sura of the Qur'an, and he would say: All services rendered by words, acts of worship, and all good things are due to Allah. Peace be upon YOU, O Prophet, and Allah's mercy and blessings. Peace be upon us and upon Allah's upright servants. I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. In the narration of Ibn Rumb (the words are): "As he would teach us the Qur'an." (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0798)

In the above reports Muhammad made himself a part of the Islamic worship, commanding Muslims to mention and even speak to him directly in prayer!

RESPONSE

So Shamoun claims that Muslims pray to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in fact he says we directly pray to the prophet of Islam. So let’s quote the tashahhud piece by piece, which will show how Shamoun’s assertions are just plain wrong. The text of the tashahhud:

The Messenger of Allah used to teach us tashahhud just as he used to teach us a Sura of the Qur'an, and he would say: ALL services rendered by words, ACTS OF WORSHIP, and all good things are due to Allah

The very first part of the tashahhud conclusively refutes Shamoun. Notice what we are commanded to say, we are commanded to say that ALL ACTS OF WORSHIP belong to Allah. No where does the text say that acts of worship belong to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

So the Tashahhud makes it clear that all worship is for Allah, not for Allah and Muhammad (pbuh), so from where did Shamoun get the idea that we pray or that our worship is directly aimed at the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?

Now to the next part of the Tashahhud:

Peace be upon YOU, O Prophet, and Allah's mercy and blessings.

So sending peace upon the prophet, and invoking Allah's mercy and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) means we are praying to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? This is what Shamoun is asserting.

Shamoun has to show how sending peace upon the prophet is praying to Muhammad (pbuh), the fact we invoke Allah to send the mercy and blessings to the prophet also refutes Shamoun's assertion. In fact it gets even worse for Shamoun when we continue to read the Tashahhud which reads:

Peace be upon us and upon Allah's upright servants

So by Shamoun’s logic, we Muslims worship ourselves, and all other Muslims because we say peace be upon us and to other Muslims, so therefore Muslims are also worshipping themselves and all other Muslims.

The ending of the Tashahhud says:

I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

There you have it. That is the Tashahhud, where in any of that are Muslims directly worshiping and praying to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?

The fact is that no where in the Tashahhud is a direct prayer or act of worship made to the prophet. Just as we send our peace upon the prophet, we send our peace to ourselves and the Muslim Ummah.

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