You hear them recite SOLIALAMUHAMMAD many times in a day, during the call to prayers, during prayers, during the reading of the friday sermons, and at every opportunity when the name of the prophet is mentioned. There are even those who do the rosary and recite the salawat thousand of times, in the hope of getting the blessings of the almighty.
Is that what is expected from salawat? In the QURAN surah alahzab it is mentioned that GOD and his angels does SALAWAT to the messenger and commands that the believers do the same. Is it about reciting the salawat all the time? does GOD recite the salawat all the time?
It has also been translated to mean PRAISE BE TO THE MESSENGER. I categorize that to the idolization of the MAN. I do feel uncomfortable doing the salawat if that is the case.
BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE!!
SALAWAT is not praising, it is not reciting n number , or thousands of times in a day or after Azan or upon hearing the mention of the name of the prophet. Unfortunately that is the way it is understood among many Islamists in their taksub and over idolization of the prophet. That make their practice very simplistic at best and at worst it is bidaah as you suggested, quite similar to the ooooooom citation of the Buddhists in remembering Buddha.
Salawat is a concept. It is a concept of committing yourself to the cause of the prophet, to the message that he brought, to the search of light over darkness. It is beyond citations or recitals. SALAWAAT is not reading something for a certain number of times but practically doing something i.e. commending and supporting the mission of the Messenger [a.s.] by whatever means we can. (zakat, sadakah, volunteer, help, strategize, do good to the cause etc. )
When we say Salawat in solat, we are renewing that commitment to the cause, not idolizing the prophet. In my case I do Salawat to Ibrahim to the Messengers and to Muhammad, being his follower and the other prophets as they are indeed the bearers of the message of GOD.
Allah and his angles do Salawat . Does Allah Recite like Islamists do? NO!!!! God through his angels facilitates, supports, grants dua, gives barakah and Rahmat and blessings, and all these are practical Salawat.
I hereby give my comittment to the cause of the messengers!!!