Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
I GREET YOU WITH asalaamu alaikum
‘Asalaamu alaikum’ literally means ‘peace be upon you’. It is a unique greeting that should be given freely between all Muslims. To return the greeting Muslims reply “walaikumu salaam…” (and unto you be peace).
As-Salaam is one of the beautiful names of Allah swt and comes from the root letters ‘seen’, ‘laam’ and ‘meem’. It means the Giver or Source of Peace. So when you give the salaam, you are asking Allah swt to bring the receiver peace.
THE EVOLUTION OF asalaamu alaikum?
Giving the salaams properly is a form of dua and every dua is an act of ibaadah.
‘Slamaykum’, ‘salaam’, ‘salaams’, and ‘Aslamlaykum’ are just some of the example of giving the salaam that I’ve heard.
When you make a dua for your Muslim brother or sister, the angels will say “and to you”. So if you make a dua for peace, the angels will also make the same dua for you, subhanAllah! And we could all do with some peace in this duniya!
but I don’t know them
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (saw): “What is the best thing in Islam?” He said, “Feeding others and giving the greeting of salaam to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” Muslim (39)
Hadith like this show the importance of giving salaams even to those you don’t know. Even I fall victim to this and I pray Allah swt forgives me.
Picture this. You’re walking down the road and you see a Muslim sister. You want to say salaam but you’re worried she won’t say it back. So you either end up staring or giving the world’s most awkward smile.
Even when someone doesn’t return the salaams, we’ve done our best to give them their rights over us.
Al-Sanoosi said in Ikmaal al-Mu’allim (1/244): “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.”
Just by giving a simple salaam, you may meet a new friend or strengthen someone’s heart inshaAllah. Spreading the salaams is a means of expressing the love that we should have for one another as did our Beloved Prophet (saw). Our means of entering jannah is via the Qur’an and Sunnah, so following them as much as we can, can only increase our chances inshaAllah.
Abu Hurairah narrates, that the Prophet (saw) 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 yourselves.” – Muslim (54)
RETURNING THE SALAAM
“If someone says ‘asalaamu alaikum’, do I return with the same or do I increase upon it?”
I know what it’s like. You see a sister in passing and she gives you salaams, you return the salaam and add “wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu (and mercy and blessings upon you)” and by the time you’re finished she’s gone subhanAllah! So after this happening a few times you just give back a simple “walaikumu salaam”.
But remember, this greeting is a dua and we should not be stingy with our duas. Let’s take a look at the ahadith inshaAllah to discover the importance of adding to the salaam.
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that “a man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (saw) whilst he was sitting with some others, and said “Salaam ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).” The Prophet (saw) said, “[He will have] ten hasanaat (rewards).” Another man passed by and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah).” The Prophet (saw) said, “[He will have] twenty hasanaat.” Another man passed by and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings).” The Prophet (saw) said, “[He will have] thirty hasanaat.”
Don’t you want to earn 30 hasanat (good deed) inshaAllah? If you’re lucky enough to live in a city like Birmingham or another multicultural centre, the possibilities are endless to the amount of hasanat you can earn in just one day. Even in a smaller place, it’s such an uplifting feeling getting salaams from another Muslim when you’re not used to seeing many around.
asalaamu alaikum: IT’S A RIGHT
Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Prophet (saw) said: “The Muslim has five rights over his fellow-Muslim: he should return his salaams, visit him when he is sick, attend his funeral, accept his invitation, and pray for mercy for him [say “Yarhamuk Allaah”] when he sneezes.”
It is a right that we convey the salaams upon each other and we do it properly. If you give someone their rights in the duniya, Allah swt will give you your rights in the akhirah. Don’t deprive your brothers and sisters of a simple dua that benefits both you and them.
The next word we’ll be discussing is ‘JazakAllahu khayrun/khairun.’