A woman, whom I’ve never met before, smiled at me and said, Assalamu’alaikum. I replied accordingly, Wa’Alaikumusalam. I walked away with a puzzled look on my face wondering how she knew me. Hmm… did she have me mixed up with someone else? Or perhaps she knows someone in my family? I was scratching my head asking myself why a complete stranger had greeted me, and I was not even considering the fact that she was following the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but it is the sad truth of life. We only greet those we know. So I thought I should delve deeper into the subject and see for myself why greeting your fellow Muslim, stranger or not, is virtuous. Here is what I discovered.
1. THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH (SWT)
As-Salaam is one of the 99 names of Allah, meaning the Bestower of Peace, One who is free from every imperfection. According to Hadith, Rasulullah (SAW) said:
“Salaam is from the attributes of Allah Ta’aala which he has placed on earth. Therefore make Salaam common amongst you.” [Al-Adab-ul-Mufrad]
- This beneficial attribute of Allah is found in:
- The greetings to Rasulullah (saw) at his blessed grave
- In the recitation of Tasha’hud in Salaah
- In the greeting to the Malaa’ikah (Angels) at the end of every Salaah
- In the greeting of the people of Jannah, Subhanallah
2. OBEYING THE COMMAND OF ALLAH TA’AALA
By greeting one another with السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ we are obeying the command of our Creator. Allah says in the Quraan,
“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better greeting or (at least) return it (in a like manner). Surely, Allah is the One who takes account of everything” [4:86]
3. AN EXPRESSION OF FRIENDSHIP FOR A MUSLIM
Have you noticed that whenever you greet another with السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ you feel an immediate sense of tranquility descend? I find that the mere act of making Salaam, cuts tension and calms me down. Not only is it an act of worship, it is also a means of showing another respect and affection. That’s sure to create a bond of sisterhood and friendship!
4. ASSURANCE TO A MUSLIM THAT THEY WILL NOT BE HARMED
Not by your hands nor by your tongue. We understand that the greeting السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ is a du’aa for a fellow Muslim. It translates as
“May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you.”
When greeting a Muslim we ask Allah to safeguard him/her from all calamities and to bless them with a prosperous life. Making such a prayer for another human being should create brotherhood (or sisterhood) and should remind us that we cannot harm or benefit one another without the will of Allah Ta’aala.
5. THE RIGHT OF A MUSLIM
Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
“The Muslim has six rights. When you meet him, you should greet him. When he invites you, you should accept his invitation. When he asks you for advice, you should advise him. When he sneezes and praises Allah, you should bless him. When he is ill, you should visit him. When he dies, you should follow him (i.e. his funeral procession).” [Sahih Muslim]
6. AN ANTIDOTE FOR ARROGANCE, A REMEDY FOR PRIDE
When engaging in salaam one would immediately humble oneself thus gaining closeness to Allah Ta’aala. It is narrated in Hadith that Rasullulah (saw) said:
“The one who initiates the salaam is free from pride.”
7. ABUNDANT REWARDS IN THE HEREAFTER
Imran bin Husain (ra) reported:
“A man came to the Prophet (saw) and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum’ (peace be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Ten’ (meaning the man had earned the merit of ten good deeds). Another one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah’ (peace and the mercy of Allah be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Twenty.’ A third one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’ (peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Thirty.’” [Tirmidhi]
Alhamdulilah, we have been given the opportunity to reap the benefits of a single Salaam. Starting today, we should teach our children to grab the chance, smile broadly and greet a fellow Muslim for the Pleasure of Allah swt. Who knows, your Salaam could go a long way to brighten up someone’s day and maybe… just maybe, there won’t be so many strangers left, Insha’allah.
Author Sister Fatima – Studying journalism and memorizing the Holy Qur’an. Eloquent and beautiful words have always captured my attention, and when I read the Glorious Qur’an, it captured my heart. I believe that there are mountains of knowledge, but we have yet to stumble upon it. Every day we should learn something about our Deen… something inspiring, something motivational, and something interesting. My aim is to inspire and warm the hearts of others while I journey on this path of knowledge, and through this, I hope to get closer to Almighty Allah (SWT)