An excellent article by one of the great masters of recent times Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi of the Shadhili tariqa from Algeria. It answers a question that I have often wondered about namely the true meaning of darood sharif, the prayer of blessings on the Prophet (saws). An extract:

It was requested from the great master of the Path, famous for the transmission of the invocation of the Supreme Divine Name, Mawlānā Abu’l Abbās Shaykh Sīdī Ahmad ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī al-Mustaghānimī, may Allah grant us and the Muslims his good-pleasure and extend his life, that he compose some words dealing with the prayer of benediction (salawāt) upon the Prophet [sallallahu `alahyi wa sallam], explicating its profound meanings. So he responded to this request – may Allah be ever-pleased with him – saying:

The full text is here.