Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (RA): A man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “What Islamic traits are the best?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.”
Muslims have the best greeting ever. Our greeting is a prayer. When said from the heart, our greetings are expressions of good wishes for our Muslim brothers and sisters. Asalamu Alaikum (May Peace be unto you!) is the shortest form of the greeting and Wa Alaikum salam (And May Peace be unto you too!) is the equivalent response. However, the greeting can be extended to “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” (May the peace and mercy of Allah be with you) or further with the complete salutation “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh” (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you).
Regarding greetings, Allaah says in the Quran:
“When a courteous greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things” (4:86).
According to the scholars, responding to a greeting is compulsory while offering a greeting is recommended. A man get rewarded for offering the greeting and the one who respond to it is also rewarded as per his response. If his response is equal to the original greeting, then he get a reward like it, but if he extends the response, then he get rewarded more.
The Quran further discussed greetings in the following light:
“But if you enter houses, salute each other – a greeting of blessing and purity from Allah. Thus does Allah make clear the signs to you, that you may understand” (24:61).
“When those come to you who believe in Our signs, say: ‘Peace be upon you.’ Your Lord has inscribed for Himself the rule of mercy” (6:54).
“And those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups. When they reach it, the gates will be opened and the keepers will say, ‘Salaam Alaikum, you have done well, so enter here to abide therein’” (Quran 39:73).
Do we Take Greetings Seriously?
How many of us are forthcoming with our greetings? Yet still, how many take time to respond when we are greeted with the like thereof or even better?
Shaitan has successfully lured many Muslims away from the greeting. Go to any Muslim community, listen to them greet each other with ‘good mornings’ and ‘good afternoons’. Why have we substituted the greeting? Do we think that the greeting prescribed by Allaah is out-dated? I seek refuge in Allaah for our mistakes.
Your ‘good mornings’ and your ‘good afternoons’ will not fetch you any rewards. These are nothing but baseless greetings of the Kuffar. However, you will be rewarded by Allaah, the owner of endless bounty, for your greeting your Muslim brother/sister with “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”.
Will you exchange your gold for zinc? No you wouldn’t! But then why would you exchange “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”, more precious than gold, with a tasteless, meaningless ‘good anythging’?