All muslims are aware that sending salawat on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is a noble deed in Islam. However, there are prescribed times for it and times that this act is not recommended or allowed. Furthermore, for specific supplications that the Prophet (SAW) taught us, we must only say what he narrated without any modifications.
Salawat is an invocation which Muslims make by saying specific phrases to compliment prophet Muhammad(SAW):
“Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala ali Muhammadin kama sallaita `ala Ibrahima wa `ala ali Ibrahima Innaka hameedun Majid Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala ali Muhammadin kama barakta `ala Ibrahima wa `ala ali Ibrahima Innaka hamidun Majeed”.
“O Allah, let Your Peace come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have brought peace to Ibrahim and his family. Truly, you are Praiseworthy and Glorious. Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, you are Praiseworthy and Glorious”.
The obligatory and recommended times are as follows:
#1.While in tashahhud (kneeling on the ground facing the North East) during salat.
#2.After the Adhan. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying, “When you hear the Adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says. Then ask Allah to exalt my mention because everyone who does so will receive in return ten rewards from Allah. Then implore Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, which is a high rank in Jannah, fitting for only one of Allah’s slaves; and I hope that I will be that man. If any one asks Al-Wasilah for me, it becomes incumbent upon me to intercede for him.” [Muslim]
#3.When entering and leaving the Masjid mostly on Fridays: Aus bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Among the best of your days is Friday; so supplicate Allah more often for me in it, for your supplications will be displayed to me.”
He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah! How will our blessings be displayed to you when your decayed body will have mixed with the earth?” the prophet replied, “Allah has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
#4.Daily Adhkar (remembrances) of the morning and evening. Abu Dardaa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “whoever sends blessings on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will receive my intercession.” [Al-Tabarani]
#5.When his name is mentioned in a gathering/written form etc. The Prophet (SAW) said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
It is important to note though that it is established among the scholars that it is not obligatory to send salawat on the Prophet (SAW) every time his name is mentioned. Besides the most common salawat when Muhammed is mentioned is “sallalahu alaiyhi wasallam” – peace be upon him. May Allah give us the zeal to always remember to make dua upon the prophet and his family amin.