Greeting is considered to be the main constituent which commences the conveyance of other human communication elements. Different types of greetings are exercised by different communities according to their culture, geographical positions, theological beliefs and weather. Islam, being a way of life, gives us a single greeting and salutation which can be used everywhere and anywhere, upon anyone.
The Islamic greeting is to say “اسلام عليكم ”. English transliteration : As-salaamu ‘Alaykum It means: May the peace of Allah be upon you.
Salam contributes to a Muslim’s faith and his entry to jannah.
Messenger of Allah said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, you love each other. Promote salam amongst you”. 1
Salam is declared as the root which can sprout love among Muslims. Therefore, as people who are given the privilege of saying salam, it’s our duty to give its due rights and protect its sacredness. We should know the do’s and don’ts of conveying the Islamic greeting.
Insha’Allah, in this article let’s analyze some of the etiquette to be followed when we give salam.
- Greet better or at least with the same greeting.
“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant.” (An Nisa,4:86)
According to the majority of scholars, if someone greets us by saying, “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum”; we should reply by saying, “Wa ‘Alaykumus-salaam Wa Rahmatullah”.
If we are greeted with “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” ; we should reply by saying , “Wa ‘Alaykumus-salaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh”.
If someone says, “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh” ; we should say , “Wa ‘Alaykumus-salaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.” with a higher and happy tone.
The hadeeth below demonstrates how salam reaches its higher levels in terms of merits.
Narrated ‘Imran bin Husain :
“A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum (Peace be upon you).'” [He said:] “So the Prophet said: ‘Ten.’ Then another came and he said: ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah (Peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah).’ So the Prophet said: ‘Twenty.’ Then another came and said: ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh (Peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah, and His Blessings).’ So the Prophet said: ‘Thirty.'” 2
- Pronounce the salam correctly
Since the readership of this article is mainly for non-Arab people, this is considered to be a crucial etiquette. Pronouncing the salam in a way it should be pronounced is very much important.
The salam is written in Arabic as “اسلام عليكم”
The correct transliteration of it is “Assalaamu ‘Alaykum”
Here “ ‘A ” represents the Arabic letter “ع”.
When we verbally pronounce the salam, we should give extra care to pronounce the “ع” in “ ‘Alaykum”. Many of us mispronounce and even shorten the salam. The correct way of writing the salam has a huge contribution towards its pronunciation as well. For example, the following are some incorrect syllables of salam which have lead many of us to pronounce the salam incorrectly.
- Assalam o alykum
- Salam walaykum
- Don’t just say it; mean it
Islamic greeting is uttered in Arabic language by Muslims around the globe, regardless of their mother tongue. Salam is a Du’a. We pray for the one whom we greet, with peace from Allah . But sadly, the cohesion between the utterance and the heartfelt meaning of salam is mostly dropped off because of the fact most of us don’t take the meaning in. Salam has turned out to be another cultural utterance to the extent that some of us consider it to be a replacement for saying “Hello” or “Hi”.
‘As-salaamu ‘Alaykum’ means May the peace of Allah be upon you.
‘As-salaamu ‘Alaykum Warahmatullah’ means May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.
‘As-salaamu ‘Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh’ means May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
Next time you tell salam, you should take the meaning into your heart and try to mean what you say.
- Say salam to both known and unknown people
Salam is not only the best of greetings, rather, it is declared as one of the best things about our deen.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:
A man asked the Prophet, “What Islamic traits are the best?” The Prophet said, “Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.”3
We do not have to know the people to greet them with salam; rather we should give salam to know people whom we do not know. There’s nothing to be reluctant about in initiating salam to unknown people.
- Shaking hands while giving salam
It was narrated from Bara bin Azib:
The Messenger of Allah said: “There are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands, but they will be forgiven before they part.” 4
With reference to the above hadeeth, the scholars say that it’s a very good moral and a Sunnah to shake hands with fellow Muslims while giving salam.
- General etiquette.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger said, “The riding one should greet the walking one, and the walking one should greet the sitting one, and the small number of persons should greet the large number of persons.”5
Above all, saying salam to our fellow Muslim brothers is a duty whereas getting replied for salaam is every Muslim’s right.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Every Muslim has five rights over another Muslim (i.e., he has to perform five duties for another Muslim): to return the greetings, to visit the sick, to accompany funeral processions, to accept an invitation, to respond to the sneezer ” 6
All in all, saying salam and replying to the salam is one of the obligations which connects the peers of Islam and strengthens the brotherhood of faith. Let’s reap the maximum benefit of this blessing by adhering to its etiquette.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 🙂