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Muslim Youth Perform Qiyam al Layl

By Hasan Mostofo Muslim Voice   The monthly qiyam al layl at Arizona...

The Importance of giving and returning the Salaams
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Muslim Voice

Fathiyyah Bashshar


How many times have you been at the mall and passed by your fellow Muslim brother or sister, whom you don’t know, without greeting them? Or better yet, you greet them and they do not return the greeting. For most of us this happens all the time. Why don’t we greet our Muslim brothers or sisters with the Salaams? Maybe it’s because we don’t know enough about the Islamic greeting and how important it is. 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.” The recommended greeting of a Muslim is to say:”As-Salaamu Alaykum” (Peace be upon you).


“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also explained the reward earned by the one who says salaam, as was reported by Buhkari.


Human interaction is an important facet of any society. In Islam, proper relationships are stressed at all phases of interaction and the common greeting holds a special place in Islamic manners. Too often, we take greetings for granted and attach minimal importance to them. In these verses, however, Allah reminds the Muslims that offering greetings and the manner of the greeting are of upmost importance. Similarly, in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stressed the importance of greetings when he defined the rights of a Muslim: “The rights of a Muslim upon another are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, following the funeral procession, responding to invitations and offering ‘Tashmeet’ for one who sneezes.” (Bukhari and Muslim)




Exchanging Salaams holds a high position in Islam. Not only is the Salaam equated with many other important deeds, but it is one of the defining criteria of belief. We observe many Hadiths pertaining to the position of exchanging salaam in Islam. 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.” (Muslim) Here the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was urging the believers to soften their hearts. The best Islamic attitude is to love one another and greet one another, and this is achieved by words and deeds. So with these wonderful actions set and ordained; why is it that Muslims still disregard this act that holds so many blessings? Initiating salaams is considered ‘Sunnah’ or optional, returning the salaams after it is offered is considered ‘wagib’ or obligatory, based on the first Qur’anic ayah mentioned. Islam also encourages people to offer the first greeting as mentioned in the Hadiths mentioned previously.


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about the most appropriate way to give salaams as shown in the following Hadiths: Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) says that a man asked the Prophet:”O Messenger of Allah , when any one of us meets a Muslim brother or a friend then should he bow his head (as a sign of courtesy to him)?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man said: ‘Should he embrace him?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man then asked: ‘Should he clasp his hands?’ He said: ‘Yes.” (Tirmithi)


Love is one of the duties of Islam and one of the pillars of the Islamic system. One should give Salaams to those whom one knows and those whom one does not know, out of sincerity towards Allah; one should not try to impress other people by giving Salaams only to those whom one knows and no-one else. This also entails an attitude of humility and spreading the symbols of this Ummah through the word of the Salaam.” You can see how important saying salaam is from all the evidence I have given. Allah is so, so merciful to us, and gives us many chances for rewards, yet we don’t go for those chances. Salaam increases love amongst Muslims. It bonds us together. No matter what nationality we are, we still have the same greeting. Go out there and greet those whom you don’t know. Say “As-Salaamu-Alaykum” to your friends at school. Be proud of who you are.


It is clear that it is obligatory to say salaam and return salaams, because by doing so a Muslim is giving you safety and you have to give him safety in return. It is as if he is saying to you, I am giving you safety and security, so you have to give him the same, so that he does not get suspicious or think that the one to whom he has given salaam is betraying him or ignoring him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that if Muslims are ignoring or forsaking one another, this will be put to an end when one of them gives salaam. Al-Bukhari (May Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: It is not permissible for a Muslim to forsake his brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other if they meet. The better of them is the first one to say salaam.


In conclusion:


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”(Sahih Muslim 96).


As Salaamu Alaykum



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