Does the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم benefit from Salawāt?
The Sultan of the Scholars, ‘Izz al-Din b. ‘Abd al-Salam wrote,
Our prayers upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم are not an intercession from the likes of us for him, as the likes of us cannot intercede for the likes of him صلى الله عليه وسلم! However, Allah commands us to send prayers upon him so that they may act as a recompense for the goodness and favours he has done for us, as there is not goodness greater than his صلى الله عليه وسلم!
One should never think one is benefiting the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by sending Salawāt upon him. Rather, one is praying for himself as the benefits and virtues associated with reciting ṣalawāt are numerous.
Is Salawāt always accepted?
The Pole of his time, the sea of gnosis, Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Dabbagh stated,
‘Prayers upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم are definitely accepted from all. Without doubt reading Salawāt is from the greatest of actions, it is the remembrance of Angels. From the unique specialities of Salawāt is that whenever ṣalawāt is recited, Paradise increases in size.’
Imam al-Shatibī and Imam al-Sanusī both confirm that the person [the invoker] will still benefit and attain rewards even if his intention was to show-off, meaning that this is an action which is always accepted due to the honour of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Someone who is negligent when reciting ṣalawāt will still benefit. Imam Abul Mawahib al-Shadhili saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in his dream who informed him, ‘The rewards of sending prayers is for everyone who sends prayers upon me, even if done absentmindedly.‘