Monday, June 6, 2011


As-salaam-ulaykum my dear brothers & sisters,

Salam by Peter Fuss
I’m sure that most of you as Muslims would have naturally responded my salaam with “wa-alaykum-salaam”, right? Hehe. Not surprising, this habit of replying is almost a natural response amongst us Muslims, regardless of whether we really know what it means. When I was younger, about 9 years old I used to think as-salaam-ualaykum meant “Hello, how are you?” in Arabic…Haha I was young. Until not so long ago, I actually found out that it meant “peace be upon you”. I thought to myself, why was ‘peace’ used as the greeting of the Muslim society, there should be a greater meaning to this.

If we observe carefully, greetings in general represent the values and morals of a society and where it stands. As we know, an important feature of Islamic faith and practice is “peace inside and out”, the ‘salaam’ has, therefore, been made a watchword or motto amongst the Muslim society to circulate and embed the essence of peace in our minds, bodies, hearts and souls when two Muslims meet. This is such, because if you think about it, a constant greeting of peace does not only reach a surface value, but a person who has an understanding of the phrase would have a spiritual effect within them. Nothing magical, but generally a peaceful spiritual bond of brotherhood within the Muslims, and knowing that in the reality a Muslim lives in this world as a messenger of peace for mankind, peace amongst individuals and nations.

I personally believe that the ‘salaam’ crosses barriers within races, when there are many Muslims with different races all around the world, but at the end of the day we’re still brothers & sisters; eliminating all racial, cultural and classes’ differentiation between us.

Allah SWT has commanded us to spread the greeting of salaam (peace), and ordered us to return the salaam of a Muslim.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “When you are greeted with a greeting (salaam), greet in return with what is better than it or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever Careful Account Taker of all things” [al-Nisa’ 4:86]
Furthermore, it has been narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourself." [Muslim (54), Ahmad (2/391), and al-Tirmidhi (2513)]
So it is clear to us that not only is salaam an action of peace, but also a medium of spreading love among us Muslims; and as said by Al-Sanoosi in his book Ikmaal al-Mu’allim:
“What is meant by salaam is the greeting between people, which sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts, as does giving food. There may be some weakness in the heart of one of them, which is dispelled when he is greeted, or there may be some hostility, which is turned to friendship by the greeting.” [1/244]
There is definitely a spiritual essence in the greeting that Allah SWT has enjoined us. This is the important part that Muslims should take note of. And whether the salaam is said to a person whom we know or do not know, like or do not like; the spiritual essence of love and brotherhood will naturally grow stronger in their hearts if practiced. Insyallah. And this is the meaning of Islam. If we think about it, the salaam is by far one of the littlest acts of righteousness that a Muslim can practice.

Besides being a medium of peace and love, as I mentioned before the salaam is also a form of ibadah (good deed). This is reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man passed by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) whilst he was sitting with some others, and said “Salaam ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “[He will have] ten hasanaat (rewards). “Another man passed by and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah). “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “[He will have] twenty hasanaat.” Another man passed by and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakaatuhu (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings).” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “[He will have] thirty hasanaat.” [586]
Now that we know the advantages and blessings of the salaam, we should make the effort to keep up with our responsibilities as Muslims and greeting one another spreading peace and love within ourselves, and to uphold the values of the Islamic practices that Allah has bestowed upon us with the hope that we will be better persons. Insyallah. So, As-salaam ‘alaykum!

And Allah knows best.

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Trying To Be said...

Waalaikumussalam! Very nice post! Keep it up! It's great to see more young brothers and sisters give salam to each other. Even better yet to the "stranger" Muslim. My concern however is how most of us choose instead to use 'salam' instead of the full 'assalamualaikum', especially in text msgs/facebook/twitter. It may seem petty but because of the frequency, maybe those with influence may want to highlight that it's not from the sunnah to shorten the salam. Maybe even contradictory to the sunnah? Allah knows best. Jazakllahu khairan for the post! ^_^

Anonymous said...

I believe the meaning of السلام عليكم is more of an affirmation of one's intact belief in Allah سبحانه وتعالى that's why some scholars forbade giving salam to non believers without a necessity. Rather they just allowed replying with Alaykom only not even the whole 9 yards

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