Did you wake up this morning and say As-Salaamu Alaikum" to your spouse or your child? Or did you greet them with a "Good Morning" or even a casual "Hi" ? Have we been teaching our children the importance of greeting each other with salaam ? Or when we see them off to school, do we send them off with a bye, instead of As- Salaamu Alaikum", the duo for peace and blessings? For some of us, this may seem a minor issue. Or it may even be a progressive issue.
But, in our haste to adapt, we forget that saying As- Salaamu Alaikum" is the best greeting there could ever be. This was the practice and teaching of Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu Alayhi wa sallam), the best example for mankind. And it was Allaah Himself that prescribed the manner of greeting among Muslims as As-Salaamu Alaikum" [not salaams or good morning or hey or hi or whatever] "When those who believe in Our Ayaat (proofs, verses, signs, etc.) come to you, say: "Salaamun Alaikum" (peace be on you) ..... " (Q6[al-Anaam]:54)
Ibn al-Qayyim says: "Allaah, the Sovereign, the Most Holy, the Peace, prescribed that the greeting among the people of Islam should be As-Salaamu Alaikum, which is better than all the greetings of other nations which include impossible ideas or lies, such as saying, May you live for a thousand years,or things that are not accurate, such as Anim sabaahan (Good morning),or actions that are not right, such as bowing in greeting. Thus the greeting of salaam is better than all of these, because it has the meaning of safety which is life, without which nothing else can be achieved ... ." (Badaai al- Fawaaid)
As-Salaamu Alaikum" is the best Dua The word salaam comes from the root salema, which implies to disassociate oneself from evil and harm. Thus, when we greet other Muslims, the greeting means: "No harm shall come to you from me (may no evil come to you, may no harm come to you). And since As-Salaam is also one of the Beautiful Names of Allaah, the greeting of salaam also means, "May the blessing of His Name descend upon you, may Allah be with you, may Allah guide and protect you." Subhaan Allaah! What a beautiful greeting.
Yet, it is utterly tragic to see that some of us have exchanged something so beautiful for something ugly, when we stopped saying As-salaamu Alaikum and started with Good Morningor Hi. It is especially sad to see some of our youth, who dont even know how to say the words clearly and properly. Some say Saakum", some just mumble something incomprehensible under their breath and some dont even bother to say anything at all! And if they are being really nice to you, they just might throw you a heyfrom afar.
And even those of us who do say salaam, some of us are so stingy or hesitant in doing so. Although, at the time of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) the Sahaabah would compete with each other to see who could give salaams first. They would go to the market just to say salaam to people they knew and to the people they did not know. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "The best of the two persons is the one who begins with salaam." (Related by an-Nawawi)
Benefits of As-Salaam Alaykum
1. As-Salaamu Alaikum" is a means of imnense reward: A man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) while he was sitting with others, and said :As-salaamu alaykum." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "[He will have] ten hasanaat." Another man passed by and said :As-salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullaah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah).The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "[He will have] twenty hasanaat. Another man passed by and said "As - Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings)." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "[He will have] thirty hasanaat."
2."As-Salaamu Alaikum" is an aspect of Imaan: "Once a man asked the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallamam) about which aspect of Islam was best. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied: "Feeding the hungry and saying salaam to those you know and those you dont know." (Bukhaari and Muslim)
3. As-Salaamu Alaikum" is a means of entering Jannah: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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 (the greeting of peace) among you."(Muslim)
4. As-Salaamu Alaikum" gets rid of sins: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said, "When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other)." (Abu Dawud)
5. As-Salaamu Alaikum" is the greeting of the people of Jannah: "Then, those that feared their Lord shall be driven in companies into Paradise . When they draw near its gates will be opened, and its keepers will say to them: "Salaamun Alaikum" (Peace be upon you), you have done well. Enter and live in it for ever." (Q39[Zumar] :73)
6. Even Allaah says As-Salaamu Alaikum": Allaah sends His Salaam upon the people who believe in Him, especially the prophets such as Nuh, Ibraheem, Ismaeel, Musa, etc.(Surah as- Saaffaat) as well as other pious people. Jibreel came to house of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and Khadeeja was there. Jibreel said: Allah sends his salaam to Khadeeja." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "O Khadeeja, Allah is sending His salaams to you." She said, "Allah is As-Salaam. And upon you O Jibreel, be as-salaam and upon you Rasulullah be as-salaam." (Bukhaari)
It is obligatory to return the greeting of "As-Salaamu Alaikum": "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 "Yar hamu kallaah "] when he sneezes." (Bukhaari, Muslim) We should say As-Salaamu Alaikum" when we enter our homes: "When you enter houses, greet (with peace) one another with a salutation from Allah, blessed and good. As such Allah makes clear to you His verses so that you understand:(Q24[an-Nur]: 61)
As-Salaamu Alaikum" is also to be said at time of leaving: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "When one of you joins a gathering,he should greet those present; and when he leaves them he should salute them, because the first salutation is not better than the last one." (Abu Dawud and Tirmithi)
Why would you want to give up something beautiful for something ugly? It is sad to see that when it comes to the matters of Dunya, we strive our utmost to give our families and friends the best. Yet when it comes to greetings, we forget the most beautiful and comprehensive greeting :As-Salaamu Alaikum", which is also a prayer a prayer of peace and blessing of security and protection from all harm and all evil. .... a blessing that Allaah Himself sends down to His beloved slaves a greeting of the people of Jannah itself.
Important note: The head should NEVER be bent or bowed as a sign of greeting. We bend our heads only to Allaah. It must also be emphasized that other body gestures in any form or shape (for example, raising eyebrows, extending the arms, smiling, winking, etc.) cannot replace the beautiful greeting of :As-Salaamu Alaikum".
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited