What is Salaat
Salaat means supplication in Arabic.
Khateeb Sharbeeni (May Allah shower His Mercy on him) writes:
Translation: It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be well pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: The angels send Salaat as long as you keep sitting on the place where you have offered Salaat, until you invalidate your ablution. They say: O Allah! Forgive him (or her); O Allah! Have Mercy on him (or her).
Thus, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) explained Salaat as supplication. However, as this meaning doesn’t apply to Allah Most High, there are differences of opinion in the meaning of Salaat.
Some have said that it means mercy…
Thus the same is written in Al Mawahib Al Ladunniya and in its commentary.
Imam Suyuti (May Allah shower His Mercy on him) relates in Al Durr Al Manthoor:
Translation: It is mentioned in the exegesis of Huwalladhee Yusalli ‘Alaikum that the nation of Israil asked Prophet Moosa (May peace be upon him): Does your Lord send Salaat. It is mentioned in the Tradition of Shahr bin Houshab that they requested Prophet Moosa (May peace be upon him) to ask the Lord Almighty about this. Thus, Prophet Moosa (May peace be upon him) was aggrieved. Then Allah Most High Himself asked him: What does your nation ask? He related the question of his nation. It was said: Yes. My Salaat is Mercy which dominates My Wrath. If this Salaat were not there, they would have been destroyed.
The reason Prophet Moosa (May peace be upon him) was aggrieved seems to be that the meaning of Salaat was understood as supplication which is not possible for Allah Most High. Then Allah Most High Himself clarified that His Salaat means Mercy.
[Excerpted from Anwaare Ahmadi]