Many people use the abbreviation “SAWS” or “PBUH” to fulfill this obligation in their writing. Is this something that fulfills the obligation of sending the salaah andsalaam on the Messenger?
Let us look now to some of the statements of the scholars regarding this practice:
The Committee of Major Scholars in Saudi Arabia headed by‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdillaah ibn Baaz issued the following verdict when asked about the validity of abbreviating the salaah on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam): “The Sunnah is to write the entire phrase “sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam,” since it is a kind of supplication, and supplication is worship, (in one’s writing) just as it is in one’s speech. So to abbreviate it using the letter SAAD or the word SAAD-LAAM-‘AYN-MEEM is not a supplication nor it is worship, whether it occurs in speech or writing. For this reason, this abbreviation was not used by the the first three generations, those that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) testified to their goodness.
(Fatwaawaa Al-Lajnatid-Daa’imah #18770 (12/208-209)
Al-Fayrooza-abaadee said, “It is not appropriate to use symbols or abbreviations to refer to salaah and salaam, as some of the lazy ones do, as well as some ignorant people and even some students of knowledge – they write ‘SAAD-LAAM-‘AYN-MEEM’ instead of writing ‘sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam.'”
(From his book As-Salaatu wal-Bushr, as quoted in Mu’jam Al-Manaahee Al-Laf-thiyyah (p.351))
Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir said, “It is the absurd tradition of some of the later generations that they abbreviate the writing of ‘sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam.'”
(Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (#5088, 9/105)
Shaykh Wasee Allaah ‘Abbaas said, “It is not permissible to abbreviate the salaams in general in one’s writing, just as it is not permissible to abbreviate the salaah and salaam on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). It is also not permissible to abbreviate either of these in one’s speech.”
(From a handwritten answer provided by the shaykh, file no. AAWA004, dated 1423/6/24)
And Allaah knows best.