Question: Is it true that you cannot you say يا نبي سلام عليك (ya nabiy salam alayka)?
In Salaah, we say السلام عليك أيها النبي (assalamu alaika ayyuhan nabiyyu). So why is the first not allowed, when the second is allowed.
Answer: Saying ya nabiy salam alayka, which is a way of sending salaams to the Prophet (Saw) is allowed as long as you leave it at that.
In contrast, some people believe that when they send salaams to the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam with these words, the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam comes to the gathering to take the salaam. That is why many stand up thinking he Sallallahu alayhi wasallam is present.
They believe that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is present and watching wherever the salaams are given
We say that this is not right, for 2 reasons:
1) only Allah is omnipresent – only Allah can be everywhere and be watching everything at all times. This is mentioned in many verses of the Qur’an.
2) we see the idea of the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam coming to take salaams as disrespectful. If you want to give a gift to someone you respect, then you should be going to them, or at least having it delivered to them, not expecting them to come and take it.
Thus, if you say Ya nabiyy salam alayk and you believe that the prophet (saw) comes to take that salaam, then that is wrong.
If you don’t have that belief, and instead you go to madinah munawwara and stand in front of the rawdhah mubarakah and say ya nabi Salam alayka or you believe that these words are delivered to the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam, then it is fine.
There is a hadith which says that salaams are taken by angels who have been appointed for this task. “
إن لله في الأرض ملائكة سياحين يبلغوني عن أمتي السلام
“Surely Allah has appointed some angles who deliver to me the salams of my ummah”
Please bear in mind that many people do not differentiate between the two, that is why the mashaaikh used to say it is better to stick to the attahiyyat and Durood Ibraheemi – which we read in salah.
Allah knows best.