Praise be to Allaah.
It is prescribed for everyone who hears the adhaan and call to prayer to repeat after the muezzin, and when he has finished repeating the entire adhaan, he should send prayers and blessings on the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), then recite the words narrated in the saheeh hadeeth from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah, who reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever says when he hears the call to prayer, ‘Allaahummah Rabba haadhihi’l-da’wat il-taammah wa’l-salaat il-qaa’imah, aati Muhammadan al-waseelata wa’l-fadeelah, wab’athhu maqaaman mahmoodan alladhi wa’adtahu (O Allaah, Lord of this perfect Call and the Prayer to be offered, grant Muhammad the privilege and also the eminence, and resurrect him to the praised position that You have promised), will be granted my intercession on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 579). There is no phrase in this du’aa’ like “al-darajah al-‘aaliyah al-rafee’ah (the high and elevated status),” so this should not be said. The conjunction “wa” in the phrase “al-waseelata wa’l-fadeelah (the privilege and also the eminence) is by way of explanation; waseelah is the status higher than the rest of creation. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained it in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, who said that he heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “When you hear the muezzin and say something like he says, then send blessings on me, whoever sends blessings on me, Allaah will send blessings tenfold on him. Then ask Allaah to grant me al-waseelah, for it is a status in Paradise that only one of the slaves of Allaah will reach, and I hope that I will be the one. Whoever asks for al-waseelah for me will be granted intercession.” (Reported by Muslim, 577).
The “praised position”(maqaam mahmood) is intercession before Allaah so that He will start to judge between His slaves, and no one will be granted this except Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This is mentioned in the words of Allaah addressed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning):
“Perform al-salaah from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e., the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayers), and recite the Qur’aan in the early dawn (i.e., the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’aan in the early dawn is ever witnessed (aatended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).
And in some parts of the night (also) offer the salaah (prayer) with it (i.e., recite the Qur’aan in the prayer), as an additional prayer (tahajjud – optional prayer) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to maqaaman mahmoodah (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the highest degree in Paradise).” [al-Isra’ 17:78-79]
It is called al-maqaam al-mahmood because all of creation will praise Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for that status, because his intercession will ease their distress on that terrible day by setting the process of judgement in motion. And Allaah knows best.