“O Allāh, Bestow Your blessings upon our liege-lord Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, and upon his household and companions, and greetings of peace, according to the number of things You have knowledge of, and the weight of things You have knowledge of, and the amount of things You have knowledge of”
Below is the beautiful story of the origin of this beautiful invocation shared by our friend, many thanks to Shaik Abdul Khafid.
From the Tabāqat al-Kubrā of Imām ‘Abd al-Wahhāb ash-Sha’rānī:
Ash-Sharīf an-Nu’mānī, one of the murids of Sīdī Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī, narrated that he had a dream:
“I saw my grandfather, the Messenger of Allāh (SAW) in a great, wide tent, and the Saints (awliyā’) were coming to him and greeting him one after another, while someone next to the Messenger (SAW) would introduce them and say, ‘This is so-and-so,’ and they would sit next to the Messenger (SAW).
Then I saw a large group of people, and the person (next to the Prophet) called out, ‘This is Muhammad al-Hanafī,’ and when he reached the Messenger (SAW), he (the Prophet) sat him down next to him and turned to Sayyidinā Abū Bakr (RA) and said, ‘I love this man, except for his turban (’imāmah),’ and Sayyidinā Abū Bakr (RA) replied, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, do you give me permission to dress him with a turban?’, after which the Messenger (SAW) gave him permission. So Sayyidinā Abū Bakr (RA) took off his own turban and placed it on the head of Sīdī Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī, and let loose from it an extension which hung on his left shoulder.”
After ash-Sharīf an-Nu’mānī told this dream to Sīdī Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī, he cried, and so did the people in the group. Sīdī Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī then said to him, “If you see your grandfather (SAW) again in a dream, ask him by what specific action of mine did he come to know me and how I became connected to him.” After a few days ash-Sharīf an-Nu’mānī saw the Prophet (SAW) again in his dream, and he asked him that question, and the Prophet (SAW) said, “It is because of his Salawāt which he sends to me every day before maghrib in his cell/room of devotion (khalwāh), which is:
“Allāhummā sallī ‘alā Sayyidinā Muhammadin an-Nabīy al-Ummīy wa ‘alā ālihī wa sahbihī wa sallim, ‘adada mā ‘alimta wa zinata mā ‘alimta wa mil’ā ma ‘alimta”
(O Allāh, Bestow Your blessings upon our liege-lord Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, and upon his household and companions, and greetings of peace, according to the number of things You have knowledge of, and the weight of things You have knowledge of, and the amount of things You have knowledge of).
After hearing this Sīdī Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī said, “The Messenger of Allāh (SAW) spoke the truth,” and he re-adjusted his turban and hung down a tassel/extension on his left shoulder, and so did everyone else in the group, and he continued to wear his turban in such a manner until his passing – may Allah be pleased with him!
Imām ‘Abd al-Wahhāb ash-Sha’rānī also wrote that Imām Abū al-Hasan ash-Shādhilī said:
“There will appear in Egypt a man by the name of Muhammad al-Hanafī, who will ‘open this door’ (of the Shādhilī tarīqa) wide, be renowned in his time, and he will have an immense rank”
And in another narration:
“There will appear in Egypt a youth who will be known as ‘the repentant youth’ (this refers to one of the 7 categories of people shaded in Allah’s Throne on the Day of Rising), who will follow the Hanafī madhhāb (while Egypt is mostly Shāfi’ī), whose name will be Muhammad Ibn Hasan, and he will have a mark on his right cheek, he will have white skin with a touch of red in it, and he will be raised as a poor orphan.”
And Imam Abū al-Hasan ash-Shādhilī also used to say that: “Al-Hanafī is the fifth successor after me.”
Shaykh Shāms ad-Dīn Muhammad al-Hanafī, was the successor of Shaykh Nāsir ad-Dīn al-Mablaq, who succeeded Shaykh Shihāb ad-Dīn al-Mablaq, who succeeded Shaykh Yāqūt al-’Arshī al-Habashī, who succeeded Shaykh Abū al-‘Abbās l-Mursī, the khalīfa of Imām Abū al-Hasan ash-Shādhilī (may Allah sanctify all their secrets!).
The esteemed Shāfi’ī ‘ālim, Imām Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī was a student of Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī. Al-Battanunī in al-Sirr al-Sāfī describes Ibn Hajar as sitting on his knees before al-Hanafī, taking care not to raise his eyes at him, then kissing his hand before walking backwards to exit the room.
The esteemed Hanafī ālim, Imām Badr al-Dīn al-‘Ayni was also a student of Shaykh Muhammad al-Hanafī.
May Allah bring us benefit through this invocation. Amiin.