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Islamic Greetings

Salam (Islamic Greeting)

A way towards peace, love and brotherhood in the society

  • Introduction :

Islam introduced a system of greeting one another when they meet individually or collectively.  Greeting starts by saying “Assalamu Alaikum Warahamatullah”. The meaning of this is: “peace and blessing of Allah be upon you.” The person who is greeted in reply says “Walaikumus Salam Warahamatullah”, meaning of this is: “Peace and blessing of Allah be upon you too”.

  • Status of Salam (Islamic Greeting) in the religion of Islam:
    1. Exchange of Salam is an order from “Allah”.

This instruction is mentioned in verses 27, 61 of surah “Noor”, verses 86 of surah “Nisa” and verses 24 of surah “AZ – Zariat” of holy Quran.

2. It is highly recommended good deed. It is one of the best deeds in Islam.

Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported: A man asked prophet Mohammed (PBUH) “What in the Islam is best?” He (PBUH) answered “to feed hungry people and to say Salam to everyone whether you know them or not”.

3. Starting Salam is more rewarding than replying. (Ref Hadith no 858, Riadus salehin)

4. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) advised his followers to spread “Salam”.

(Ref. 847,848,849 Riadus salehin) Imam Abu Dawood narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Prophet (PBUH) said: one of you when meet his brother must exchange ‘Salam’. After that if you departed and separated by any tree, wall or stone and again come face to face, must exchange ‘Salam’ again (Riadus Salehin, Hadith no 860)

  • History of Islamic greeting:

Islamic greeting ‘Salam’ was introduced since the creation of human kind. Allah introduced this through first man on the earth ‘Adam’ (A.W).

Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Prophet (PBUH) said: when Allah created Adam (AW), he told him to go and say ‘Assalamu alaikum’ to a group of Angels and listen to their reply and told, this is your greeting and greeting of your descendents. Adam (A.W) went and said “Assalamu alaikum”. They replied “Assalamu alaika Rahamatullah” (Hadith no 846, Riadus salehin). Thus ‘Salam’ started on earth. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) continued this greeting in his religion.

  • Procedure of exchange of ‘Salam’:
    1. Salam can be exchanged by simply saying “Assalamu alaikum” and replying by saying “Walaikumus Salam” when one meet another person.
    2. When one enter his house, should exchange “Salam” with people in the house. (Verses 61 – surah noor)
    3. When one enters to the house of other people should say ‘Salam’. (Verses 27 – surah noor)
    4. Man can say Salam to woman. (Hadith no 855, Riadus salehin)
    5. Salam can be said to children. Prophet (PBUH) used to say ‘Salam’ to children. (Hadith no 862, Riadus salehin)
    6. Say ‘Salam’ while entering and leaving a meeting. (Hadith no 869 , Riadus Salehin)
    7. Rider should greet (Salam) the walker, the walker the sitter and few the many. (Hadith no 857, Riadus Salehin)
    8. ‘Salam’ should be exchanged with all people known and unknown. (Hadith no 845, Riadus Salehin)
    9. Handshake after ‘Salam’ is rewarding. Prophet (PBUH) said: “When two Muslims shake hands, their sins are forgiven before they depart”. ( Hadith no 887, Riadus Salehin)
    10. It is allowed to say ‘Salam’ to Non-Muslim. It should be in the same way as greeted by Non-Muslim, as an example: if they say ‘good morning’, in reply say ‘you too’.

(Ref. Hadith no 867, 868 – Riadus Salehin)

  • Salam is for all :

Saying ‘Salam’ is mandatory for all. No matter old, young, children, man, woman, rich, poor, servant, leader-follower and ruler-ruled.

‘Allah’(The Almighty) conveyed ‘Salam’ to Khadijah(RA), Gibrayeel(A.W) conveyed ‘Salam’ to Ayesha(RA), Prophet (PBUH) conveyed ‘Salam’ to children, woman, slaves, rich, poor and to all people.

Sometimes it is observed that leaders, seniors and rich people do not say Salam to juniors, poor, or servants etc. This is very unfortunate and clear violation of the great teaching of ‘Islam’.

  • Spread ‘Salam’ in the society:

Allah and His Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) encouraged spreading ‘Salam’ in the society. Quranic verses and Sahih Hadith of Prophet (PBUH) are plenty on the subject. All these encourage spreading ‘Salam’. It is so important that if a person says Salam to anybody and then separated by a tree, wall, or stone and after that become face to face again he should say ‘Salam’ again.

(Ref. Hadith no 860 – Riadus Salehin)

Imam Malek narrated in his “Muattah” that Abdullah-ibn-Omar (RA) used to go to a Bazaar to convey ‘Salam’ to the people. (Ref. Hadith no 850 Riadus Salehin)

  • ‘Salam’ is everywhere, every day, again and again

When we meet friends, guests, brothers, relatives and our family anywhere we say ‘Salam’. We say ‘Salam’ in the mosque, in our house, in bazaar, everywhere, day and night.

  • Why ‘Salam’ is so important :

Importance of ‘Salam’ is reflected in its meaning ‘peace’. ‘Salam’ is a message of ‘peace’, ‘mercy’ and ‘blessings’. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) wanted to spread message of peace by wide practice of ‘Salam’. Everyday repeated exchange of ‘Salam’ create love for one another.

  • Salam is for ‘Peace’, ‘Mercy’, ‘Blessings’, ‘Love’ and ‘Brotherhood’:

To get benefits from exchanging of ‘Salam’ it is required to understand purpose of ‘Salam’ from Quran and Hadith. It is required to go into very deep of this action ‘Salam’.

First let’s look into words chosen by Allah for greetings. These are as follows:

Salam – Peace, Security

Rahmat – Blessings

Barakat – Increase in all welfare deeds

By ‘Salam’ we are wishing the above three things for one another. We are praying to Allah to grant above three things for the person whom we are greetings by ‘Salam’. These are not just few words of ones mouth but a sincere desire from one’s inner heart. Unless we transform these desire into reality by our action ‘Salam’ cannot achieve its objective of peaceful and blessed life for all.

By regular exchanging ‘Salam’ the above values of welfare to mankind should be embedded in our mind set. Our thinking and interaction with people should always be directed for welfare of others.

In addition to the above, few more points also may be mentioned from verses of Quran and traditions of Prophet (PBUH). These are as follows:

  • Salam brings blessings ( Surah – Noor, Verses 61)
  • Salam brings purity (Surah – Noor, Verses 61)
  • Salam guarantees love for one another, bring perfection in “Iman” and open way to Paradise.

Imam Muslim reported: Prophet (PBUH) said: I swear by the one whose hand my soul is in that you will not enter paradise until you believe. And you would not be believed until you love one another, May I tell you something that if you practice it, you will love one another! Spread “Salam” among you.

(Riadus Salehin, Hadith no 848)

  • Conclusion

We should educate people to practices “Salam” with its real meaning. We should do this ‘worship’ with consciousness and direct it to establish peace in the society. Let us be focused to the objective of our deeds. By this way if we can spread “Salam” as wished by our Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), we will enjoy heavenly peace in this life of the world and also after life.                                                           

Written by: – SYED MD. JALAL UDDIN    Email: –

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