Is any special formula of prayer upon the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that we should read during Rabi` al-Awwal?
He said that there is no doubt that this is the month of bestowing prayers upon the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Many of the pious of the Ummah are united with the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in this month. Any formula that we read is beneficial. You benefit according to the degree to which your heart is filled with the intention of obeying the command (to bestow prayers upon him) and love, longing and veneration for him. Read whatever formula you know and while doing so ask Allah to relieve the suffering of the Muslims.
Habib `Ali bin Salim al-Ada`j bin Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) at the blessed shubbak (the grille in front of his grave) and asked him to teach him a formula to read. He told him to read:
“O Allah, bestow Your prayers upon our Master Muhammad,
the Beloved of the Most Compassionate to the number of things that will be and that were.”
What is the most beautiful gift that someone can give to the Messenger of Allah in the month of Rabi` al-Awwal?
In reality we are unable to benefit him in any way but what pleases him is for us to understand his speech and his teachings and through that to attain high stations. He is thus content with that which benefits us.
One of the greatest of those things (as we understand from the Book and the Sunnah) is for us to be a means of guidance for someone. That person may be a non-Muslim who accepts Islam or a disobedient or heedless Muslim who repents and becomes upright.
Another thing is giving life to his Sunnah and establishing it. If we establish the Sunnah in our homes and teach it to our children this makes him happy because it us that benefit from this. He said in the hadith: “Whoever brings life to my Sunnah during the time of corruption of my Ummah will have the reward of a martyr” (or in one narration “one hundred martyrs”).
Another thing is to do good to the creation in general, to the believers specifically, and the elite of the believers more specifically.
A further thing is to strengthen our love for the believers, for the people of the Prophetic Household and for the Companions.
Finally, we should make big intentions in Rabi’ al-Awwal, such as gathering together with our brothers and attending or arranging lessons or courses.
How can we inspire people to long for the Messenger of Allah?
By mentioning his virtues, qualities and his life.
By embodying his character and his dealing.
By deepening our love, longing and veneration for him.
If such a person speaks he will have such an effect on those listening such that they begin to long for the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).