As-salāmu ʿalaykum ( Peace be upon you ) is a greeting often used by muslims in response the other muslim says,Walaikum Salam (“And unto you peace”)
Islam has professed the use of the Islamic greeting when encountering another Muslim or leaving the company of another Muslim because it unifies the hearts and strengthens bonds between Muslims.
Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, “I swear by the one whose hand my soul is in that you will not enter paradise until you believe. And you won’t be believed until you love one another. May I tell you something, that if you practice it you will love another, spread the (salam) Islamic greeting among you.” This makes it clear to us, that spreading salam among Muslims is the first step towards paradise. This is because spreading salam leads to increasing the love between our hearts. And the increase of love between our hearts will increase the Iman, (faith).
An authentic hadith reported by Imams At-Termithi and Ibn Majah that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: “Oh you people, spread salam among you, serve the food, behave kindly with your blood relations, and offer prayer at night when others are asleep, and you will enter paradise safely.”And Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the prophet (S.A.W.), “what in Islam is the best?” He (S.A.W.) answered, “To feed people and to say salam to everyone whether you know them or not.”
What is the history of the Islamic greeting, when did it start, and who was the one who chose it?
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, “When Allah created Adam he told him to go and say Assalamu Alikum to a group of Angels and listen to their reply. It is your greeting and the greeting of your descendants. Adam went and said: Assalamu Alikum they said Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatulah.”
The complete form for the Islamic greeting is Assalamu Alilkum Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh meaning peace, mercy, and blessings be upon from Allah (S.W.T.). This is because Imams Abu-Dawood and At-Termithi reported in a good hadith that a man came to the prophet (S.A.W.) and said, “Assalamu Alikum.” The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, “Ten rewards.” Another man came and said, “Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatullh.” The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, “twenty rewards.”
Then another man came and said: Assalamu Alakum Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh. The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, “thirty rewards.”
The Scholars have agreed that starting with salam is highly recommended. And responding is obligatory because Allah (S.W.T.) said in suratAn-Nesa’, (verse 86), what can be translated as, “When a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy.”
It is enough for one to say the Islamic greeting to a group and it is enough for one of the group to return it. This is the meaning of the two ahadith that were reported by Imams Abu Dawood and Malik.
The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to “making peace, being in a mutually peaceful environment, greetings, rescue, safety, being secure, finding peace, reaching salvation and well being or being far from danger, attaining goodness, comfort and favor, keeping away from troubles and disasters, submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong.” The “submitting the self and obeying” here means “submitting to justice and righteousness in order to reach peace and safety and being in a peaceful environment by one’s free will.” In fact, salaam and salaamat, mean “to reach salvation,” and their rubai form (with four radical letters) aslama means “submitted, became Muslim, and made peace.” “Islam” as either a noun or a verb with these meanings is mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an.1
From this perspective, Islam is “submission to God, accepting His authority as well as obeying His orders”; “one’s total submission to God and serving only Him”; “embracing the messages of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and abiding by them.” In this sense, a Muslim is one who is under the peaceful and safe shade of Islam. God wants a Muslim to live in a safe and peaceful environment and to make efforts for the spread and continuity of peace.
In Islam, the right to life is an absolute value: He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind (Qur’an 5:32).
When the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) explained Islam’s potential to contribute to safety and peace in society, he specified one goal in his time as the following: “A rider will travel from Sana’a (a city in Yemen) to Hadhramaut (a region in the southwest of the Arabian peninsula) fearing none but God, or a wolf as regards his sheep.”
If we consider the troubles due to the extreme violence Muslims were exposed to both in the Medinan and Meccan periods, we can understand how meaningful was this message expressed by the Prophet. It does not include any desire for revenge against any person or any group; instead, it only expresses an ardent desire for a violence-free world for all.
The Prophet commanded us to maintain social solidarity and cooperation, to open our hearts to our fellows, and to help one another at all times. He said, “Do not cut relations between each other! Do not turn your backs on each other! Do not grow hatred between each otherPeace, reform, and virtuous deeds.
The Arabic terms islah (reform) and sulh (peace) are from the same root. Islah means one’s reach of peace and serenity while leaving conflicts and deviations; in other words, it refers to leaving confusion by settling a dispute between two people or two sides.
Good deeds are actions that are beneficial for people and society, as well as actions that are taken to establish peace and serenity. This concept not only includes offering worship and spending in a good cause but also smiling, behaving warmly to others, establishing friendships, pleasing people by kind words, exchanging greetings, having warm conversation, and controlling bad feelings such as pride, arrogance, anger, envy, animosity, hypocrisy, rancor, and burning ambition. Thus, essentially, virtuous deeds are acts that purify humankind of aggression and bring them to peace.
In the Qur’an, it is recommended to cease disagreements by peace and not to commence further disputes, fights, confusion, and discord; in addition, people are asked to take a balanced approach and seek justice (Qur’an, 8:1; 49:9–10). It is forbidden to spoil peace and tranquility by corruption; there are penalties for those who do. It is possible to apply the verse, Peace is better (Qur’an, 4:128) which was specifically revealed to eradicate disagreements between couples, to all kinds of human relations. Islam recommends a united and mutually helpful society, and this vision does not only refer to the level of nation, but includes international relations, too. In this sense, from an Islamic perspective, international law should take the establishment of peace as a foundation.
The Qur’an emphasizes peace and reconciliation as basic to all social and even international relations. As mentioned in the Qur’an, Paradise, which is the reward for the pious, is a place of serenity. One of the ninety-nine names of God is Salaam, which means peace. Throughout history, Muslims have made every effort to establish peace and serenity everywhere in all divergent fields, only taking military measures when their enemies tried to hinder these efforts for humankind. Over the course of history, the general approach of Muslims has been supportive of maintaining peace, spreading an environment of serenity and trust, and constructing a civilization of love, compassion, and mercy to share with other people in peace.
! O God’s servants! Become brothers and sisters!”