Excerpts from the commentary of Dua al-Iftitah
Dua al-Iftitah is a well-known supplication and is generally recited during each night of the month of Ramadan.
The second theme which is repeated in this du'a regards salutations being offered to the Noble Prophet (s) and His Household (a) and when such salutations are mentioned, then several qualities of the Noble Prophet (s) are described. Some of the qualities of the Prophet's Household in general are also briefly mentioned but when the 12th Imam (a) is described, several of his qualities are referred to. The du'a continues in this spirit of remembrance of the 12th Imam (a) with various requests being made to Allah (swt) regarding the last Imam right up until the end of the du'a where the emphasis then shifts to asking Allah (swt), because of the Imam (a), to grant us our requests concerning what we need for our community.
Regarding the Prophet (s), we read:
اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِكَ وَرَسُولِكَ
وَامِينِكَ وَصَفِيِّكَ وَحَبِيبِكَ
وَخِيَرَتِكَ مِنْ خَلْقِكَ
It is interesting to see that the very first quality which has been mentioned here for the Noble Prophet (s) is that he is a servant of Allah (swt)...
...According to this part of the du'a, salutations can increase and expand. When we send salawat (salutations) or salaam (peace) to the Noble Prophet (s) and our Imams (a), we do not send our salutations or peace directly but instead we ask Allah (swt) Himself to send them these salutations and peace. Indeed salaam is a prayer and so we are asking Allah (swt) to send peace to that person.
Thus we say:
'O Allah! Send salutations to Muhammad (s) and his Household.'
And so when we ask Allah (swt) Himself to send salutations, such salutations are not limited to the time when we say them: rather, we can ask Allah (swt) to send salutations all the time. Therefore, we read in one of the Ziyaaraat for Imam Husayn (a):
عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعاً سَلاَمُ ٱللَّهِ ابَداً
مَا بَقيتُ وَبَقِيَ ٱللَّيْلُ وَٱلنَّهَارُ
'Be with you, from me, the peace of Allah (swt) as long as I live and (even if I am not alive) as long as there is day and night.'
[Tusi, Misbaah al-Mutahajjid, p. 776]
So this means that we request Allah (swt) to send His peace to Imam Husayn (a) until the end of time. So, again we have this beautiful concept that the salaam does not remain in the same state but grows and becomes better and better.