You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: 'spread salaam' (the greeting of peace) among you. [Sahih Muslim]
Assalaamu 'Alaikum. May peace be upon you.
How can such a simple phrase carry so much weight on our deeds? Let us truly appreciate the meaning of a sincere Salaam from a fellow Muslim.
The meaning of AsSalaamuAlaikum The term As-Salaam is one of the beloved names of our Creator. It means the source of peace and in some translations the source of blessings. When we greet people with the phrase AsSalaamu ‘Alaikum, we are essentially wishing peace and blessings upon them.
Benefits of giving the Salaam
- Giving proper Salaams in public identifies you as a Muslim, which can be especially meaningful for people who are not obviously Muslim. It is always a pleasant surprise when someone you wouldn’t expect gives you Salaams. This can build a sense of commodore and a stronger community, whether you are in a Muslim-majority country or one where Muslims are the minority.
- Saying AsSalaamu ‘Alaikum is an easy way to earn hasanaat. We should not underestimate the amount of blessings we get by just saying Salaam. Not only are we doing a good deed, but we are giving our fellow Muslims a chance to get hasanaat as well by allowing them to reply to our initiated Salaams.
- Spreading the Salaam literally can give people around you a feeling of peace, safety, and well-being. It implies that you mean no harm to the one(s) who you say it to, and when you say it, you state that you won't be giving any kind of harm to the receiver. It is a promise of safety, which can be important in many societies.
Etiquette of Giving Salaams
- It is something every Muslim should do to one another “The rights of a Muslim on another Muslim are six, one of them if you meet a Muslim say AsSalaamu ‘Alaikum.” [Sahih Muslim]
- If someone gives you Salaams, you should give him an equal or better response (Adding wa Rahmatu, wa Barakatahu, etc) “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things. [Quran 4: 86]
- The younger should give Salaam to the elder, but if two people are around the same age the person who says it first gets more blessings “If two people are the same age, the best amongst them should say salaam first.” [Sahih al Bukhari]
- The one who enters into a crowd, area, or group of people should be the first to give the Salaams
“Three men came to the messenger of Allah (saw), the messenger (saw) said to them ‘AsSalaamu ‘Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,’ and said ‘the one who enters should give salaam.’”[Kitaab ul Athkar, Imam Nawwawi]