Q: What is the ruling on using the term of siyada (mastery/lordship) for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the prayer and outside of it?
A: My master Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “In the usage of the term of mastery there is a secret that will appear to whoever keeps this devotion.”
Shaykh Mahmud Khattab al-Subki (may Allah have mercy on him) was teaching. One of those attending said, “Sayyidna Muhammad.” The students got angry with him. Next time he came to the lesson, he said “O Mahmud Khattab!” The students got angry with him for not showing proper etiquette with the shaykh. He said to them, “How is it then with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?”
Shaykh al-Shinqiti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The hadith of ‘Do not call me a master in the prayer’ is fabricated and is also incorrect from the point of view of the Arabic language, because the correct form would have been ‘la tusawwiduni’ and not ‘la tusayyiduni’. But it did not come from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
A poet said in describing the Ahlul Bayt (may Allah be pleased with them):
You became masters over all people by your piety, while others
were made masters (sawwadathu) by the yellow and the red.
Note: Al-Sakhawi and Ibn Hajar al-Haytami both said: ‘There is no known textual origin for the hadith ‘Do not call me a master in the prayer.’ Al-Suyuti said: ‘There is no such hadith.’ Al-Ajluni said: ‘It is a fabrication and a lie.’
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris (may Allah be pleased with him), however, preferred not to say it inside the prayer.
For a full discussion on the different views of the scholars on this matter, see Sa’adat al-Darayn by al-qadi Yusuf al-Nabahani (may Allah be pleased with him).