Often after remembering the name of a Prophet we say “Alayhi as-Salam” (عليه اسلام), However, the Imam (as) has given us a recommendation on how we should send our blessings upon them.
Mu’awiyah bin Ammaar said: “I brought up some of the names of the Prophets while I was with Abi Abdillah (al-Sadiq), so I sent blessings upon them. So he (as) said: “If you bring up the names of any of the Prophets, so start with sending blessings upon Muhammad, then upon them [Oh Allah, send blessings upon Muhammad and his progeny, and upon the all Prophets – Allahumma Sali Ala Muhammad Wa Ale Muhammad, Wa Ala Jamee` al-Anbiyaa’].”
Sanad: Muhammad bin Musa bin al-Mutawakkil, from Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attaar, from Muhammad bin Ahmed bin Yahya bin `Imran al-Ash`ari, from Muhammad bin Eassa bin `Ubaid, from Sulaymaan bin Rasheed, from his Father, from Mu`awiyah bin Ammaar who narrated the above hadith.
Source: al-Amaali al-Sadooq, Assembly 60, Hadith #9 (See Image below)
نعم إذا أراد أن يصلي على الأنبياء أولا يصلي على النبي وآله صلى الله عليه وآله ثم عليهم إلا في ذكر إبراهيم (2) (عليه السلام): ففي الخبر عن معاوية بن عمار قال: ذكرت عند أبي عبد الله الصادق (عليه السلام) بعض الأنبياء فصليت عليه، فقال (عليه السلام): إذا ذكر أحد من الأنبياء فابدأ بالصلاة على محمد وآله ثم عليه.
(It is recommended) if you want to send blessings upon the Prophets first you send blessings upon the Prophet and his Progeny (sawa), then after upon them (the Prophets) – except upon the recalling of the name of Ibrahim (as). (This is based upon) the hadith of Mu’awiyah bin Ammaar who said: “I brought up some of the names of the Prophets while i was with Abi Abdillah (al-Sadiq), so I sent blessings upon them. So he (as) said: “If you bring up the names of any of the Prophets, so start with sending blessings upon Muhammad, then upon them.
Source: `Urwat al-Wuthqa, Volume 2, Page 620, Number 7 (link)
This was backed up by the commentary on `Urwat al-Wuthqa from the likes of Sayed al-Sistani (link) – amongst others – who accepted this as a recommendation.
Interestingly, al-Yazdi mentioned the only Prophet who is exempt from this is Prophet Ibrahim (as). In the commentary by al-Fayroozabadi, he relates the following hadith to support this:
في الخبر إذا ذكرتم الأنبياء الأولين فصلوا علي ثم صلوا عليهم وإذا ذكرتم أبي إبراهيم فصلوا عليه ثم صلوا علي قالوا: يا رسول الله بما نال إبراهيم ذلك؟
قال (صلى الله عليه وآله): اعلموا أن ليلة عرج بي السماء فرقيت السماء الثالثة، نصب لي منبر من نور فجلست على رأس المنبر، وجلس إبراهيم تحتي بدرجة، وجلس جميع الأنبياء الأولين حول المنبر، فإذا بعلي قد أقبل وهو راكب ناقة من نور، ووجهه كالقمر وأصحابه حوله كالنجوم، فقال إبراهيم: يا محمد هذا أي نبي معظم وأي ملك مقرب، قلت: لا نبي معظم ولا ملك مقرب، هذا أخي وابن عمي وصهري ووارث علمي علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلام) قال: وما هؤلاء الذين حوله كالنجوم؟ قلت: شيعته. فقال إبراهيم: اللهم اجعلني من شيعة علي، فأتى جبرائيل بهذه وإن من شيعته لإبراهيم.
(The Prophet (sawa)) said: If you recall the name of the earlier Prophets so send blessings upon me then send blessings upon them – and If you recall the name of our Father Ibrahim so pray upon him him them pray upon me.
So his companions asked: “Oh Messenger of Allah, for which reason did Ibrahim gain this honour?”
He (sawa) said: “Know that on the night of my ascension to the skies, I reached the third heaven, there was a pulpit constructed from Light so I sat on the top of the pulpit, and Ibrahim sat one step lower than me, and the remainder of earlier Prophets sat around the pulpit.
When Ali (as) came in he was riding on a camel made from Light, and his face was like the moon and his companions around him like the stars. Ibrahim said: “Oh Muhammad, who is this great Prophet and grand King?”, so He (sawa) replied: “He is not a great Prophet, nor a grand King, he (as) is my brother, and my cousin, and my son-in-law, and inheritor of my knowledge, Ali bin abi Taleb (as). So he (Ibrahim) said: “And who are those around him that are like stars?”, He (sawa) replied: “His Shia.” So Ibrahim said: “Oh Allah, make me from the Shia of Ali.” So Ibrahim came with (the ayah) “And from among his Shia was Ibrahim” (37:84)
Source: `Urwat al-Wuthqa, Volume 2, Page 620, Commentary on Number 7 by al-Fayroozabadi, Footnote 2 (link)
However, we must point out we have not been able to find this hadith in our primary hadith books – nor locate any chain to this narration. There is a similar hadith we have posted earlier here (link) which does not mention the order of sending blessings.
Conclusion: Although not obligatory, the recommended way to send blessings when recalling the name of a Prophet is to first send blessings upon the Prophet (sawa) and his Progeny (as), then upon the Prophet recalled. The only exception may be Prophet Ibrahim (as) where first we send blessings upon him, then upon the Prophet (sawa) and his Progeny (as).