Salam means Peace

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Atefa Jamal

Contributor at Chronicles of Pirani
Atefa Jamal is a freelance writer and home-schooling mother.

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peaceDid you know that the greeting “As-Salam Alaikum” is as old as man himself?

After Adam (as) was created, he was instructed by Allah (swt) to approach a group of angels that sat there and greet them. He was told to listen to their reply as it would be the greeting to be used by him and his offspring. Adam (as) went to them and said: “‘As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).’ They replied: ‘As-Salamu-‘Alaika Wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah (swt)’s Mercy be on you).’ So they increased his greeting with ‘Wa Rahmatullah.’ (Bukhari)

Allah (swt) loves the greeting of Salam, which he has commanded all Muslims to share amongst themselves too. It’s a sincere prayer of peace, mercy and blessings from one Muslim to his other Muslim brother.

On the Day of Judgment, Allah (swt) will also address his faithful believers with the same salutation of peace as is mentioned in Quran: “(It will be said to them): Salam (peace be upon you) – a Word from the Lord (Allah (swt)). Most Merciful.” (Ya-sin 36:58)

Similarly, Allah (swt)’s innocent and pure Creations, the angels will also greet true believers with Salam: “Their greeting on the Day they shall meet Him will be ‘Salam: Peace (i.e., the angels will say to them: Salam Alaikum)!’ And He has prepared for them a generous reward (i.e., Paradise).” (Al-Ahzab 33:44)

Etiquettes of using the greeting of Salam, put forward by Muhammad (sa) are:

  • When a person approaches an assembly he should greet them, and then greet them again when he leaves them. (Abu Dawood)
  • It is enough if one from a group of people passing by gives the greeting on their behalf and it is enough for those who are sitting if one of them replies. (Abu Dawood)
  • A younger person should greet the older person first. (Bukhari)
  • A person who is walking should greet the person who is sitting. (Bukhari)
  • The smaller group should greet the larger group. (Bukhari)
  • One who is riding should greet the one who is walking. (Bukhari)
  • On entering one’s house one should greet those inside. (Nur 24:27)
  • On leaving one’s house, one should greet everyone within the house. (Baihaqi)

Furthermore we have been told: “When one of you meets his fellow brother, he should salute him: then if he meets him again after a tree, wall or stone has come between them, he should salute him.” (Abu Dawood) Greeting one another is a right Muslim brothers have upon each other, regardless of whether they are acquainted or not. Remember the first Salam is more meritorious than the second, so make it a point to greet all that you meet and do not forget to return the greetings you receive. As-Salam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu!

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