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Dala'il al-Khayrat or Dalaail u'l Khayraat Wa Shawaariq u'l Anwaar Fee Zikri's Salaat Alan Nabiyyi'l Mukhtaar (meaning the Waymarks of Benefits and the Brilliant Burst of Sunshine in the Remembrance of Blessings on the Chosen Prophet) is a famous collection of prayers for Islamic prophet Muhammad, which was written by the Moroccan Sunni Sufi and Islamic Scholar Muhammad al-Jazuli (died 1465). It is popular in parts of the Islamic world amongst traditional Muslims - specifically North Africa, the Levant, Turkey, the Caucasus and the South Asia and is divided into sections for daily recitation.

A fifteenth century manuscript of Dalail Khayrat

Moroccan hadith scholar ‘Abdullah al-Talidi wrote of the Dala’il al-Khayrat: “Millions of Muslims from East to West tried it and found its good, its blessing, and its benefit for centuries and over generations, and witnessed its unbelievable spiritual blessings and light. Muslims avidly recited it, alone and in groups, in homes and mosques, utterly spending themselves in the Blessings on the Most Beloved and praising him[1]."

The Dala’il al-Khayrat is the first major book in Islamic history which compiled litanies of peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. It is also the most popular and most universally acclaimed collection of litanies asking God to bless the Prophet. Among some Sunni religious orders, most notably the Shadhili-Jazuli order, its recitation is a daily practice. In others however, its recitation is a purely voluntary daily practice. The work begins with the ninety nine names of God, and then the a collection of over one hundred names of the Prophet Muhammad[2].

The legend behind the origin of the Dala’il al-Khayrat are that Imam al-Jazuli once awoke late for his morning prayers and began to look in vain for pure water to perform ritual ablutions. In the midst of his search al-Jazuli encountered a young girl who was aware of al-Jazuli's famed religiosity and was bewildered on why al-Jazuli could not find pure water. The girl then spit into a well which miraculously overflowed with pure sweet water for al-Jazuli to perform ablutions.

Consequent to performing prayer, al-Jazuli inquired to the means by which the girl achieved such a high spiritual station. The girl replied it was simply by "Making constant prayer for God to bless the best of creation by the number of breaths and heartbeats." Al-Jazuli then resolved to write a work collecting litanies of prayers asking God to bless and show mercy and kindness to the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Jazuli's work also collected numerous encouragements from Islamic scripture concerned with the importance of asking God to bless the Prophet Muhammad.

Imam al-Jazuli then moved East to Medina where he would recite the whole of the Dala’il al-Khayrat twice daily at the Prophet's grave in al-Masjid al-Nabawi. The Dala'il Khayrat has since been seen as a testament of love and passionate longing for the Prophet Muhammad, with such eloquent and beautiful passages as the following:

O God, I believed in Muhammad but did not see him; do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision. Bestow his company upon me and cause me to die in his religion. Let me drink from his pool a quenching, pleasant, delightful drink after which we shall never thirst again. You are powerful over everything. O God, convey to the soul of Muhammad my greetings and peace. O God, as I believed in Muhammad but did not see him, do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision.

Adam Larson writes:

Each section contains diverse praises, invocations, and poetic references seamlessly bound into a flowing unity. Its melodic, rhythmic language aids the devotee in memorization and attaining presence of heart. Its phrases of exquisite beauty express love and devotion to the Chosen One (God bless him and give him peace)...

In one case, a Turkish calligrapher was commanded by the Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) in a dream to dedicate his life to copying Dala’il al-Khayrat, continually blessing the Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) through the loving strokes of his pen.

Beautifully illustrated manuscripts, lithographs, and print copies, from all over the Islamic world indicate Dala’il al-Khayrat’s renown. Manuscript artists produced detailed illustrations of Mecca and Medina. These illustrations were not merely decorations; rather they were “attempts to create an ideal symmetry,” indicating “the feeling of a divinely ordered universe, as if the artists were reflecting the perfection of the Almighty’s plan as revealed within the sacred scriptures.” Manuscript copies of Dala’il al-Khayrat were often pocket-sized and could be carried in pouches as amulets. These small books both facilitated daily recitation and distinguished the “Companions of the Dala’il ”from others. When in need, people could turn to Dala’il al-Khayrat[3].".

Great works of exegesis were written on the Dala'il Khayrat - most notably by the scholar Yusuf an-Nabhani in his work "Afdal al-Salawat," and Sheikh 'Abd al-Majid al-Sharnubi al-Azhari's "Sharh Dala'il Khayrat." Al-Sharnubi's spiritual poem in his introduction to Dala'il Khayrat testifies to the importance of the book amongst many Muslims:

"If you hold fast to blessing the one who God has blessed in his verses And you made it a sure daily practice of yours You will find this manifested in Dala'il Khayrat

If you find that your lower self has taken hold of you And is commanding you by your sensual desires Then cast away such caprice with blessings (on Muhammad) Thus you have none other than Dala'il Khayrat

Latch on strongly to Dala'il Khayrat And be constant in its recitation you will receive what you wish For the brilliant bursts of sunshine are apparent in it Thus it should not ever be left[4]"

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