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The Greeting of Salaam

two old men on the street firmly shaking hands
Kashgar China - two local uighur men warmly shaking hands © Giuseppe Sparta | Dreamstime.com

Giving the greeting of Salaam to each other is very significant for us. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“The person closest to Allah is the one who precedes others with greetings.” (Abu Dawud)

It is clear from the above hadith how vital it is for us to remember to greet each other with Salaam. We strive in this life to please Allah, worship Him, and be close to him. We learn from the hadith that greeting one another in this way will bring us closer to our Lord, so we should take advantage of this simple action.

Our religion also teaches us that greeting each other with Salaam is actually a duty that we have in regards to our fellow Muslims. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:

“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 when he sneezes.” (Bukhari)

The greeting itself is something very special in Islam. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“And those who believed (in the Oneness of God and His Messengers and whatever they brought) and did righteous deeds, will be made to enter Gardens under which rivers flow, – to dwell therein forever (i.e. in Paradise), with the Permission of their Lord. Their greeting therein will be, salaam.” (Qur’an 14:23)

When we realise and understand that the same greeting that we use today will be the greeting of Jannah, we will feel in our hearts how special it is. We will become more mindful about remembering to say it.

The greeting of Salaam is also an opportunity that Allah has blessed us with for some of our sins to be removed. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other).” (Abu Dawud)

Islam teaches us that saying Salaam to each other will help us on our journey to seeking Jannah. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (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 (the greeting of peace) among you.” (Muslim)

We read in the Qur’an that those who will be granted Jannah by Allah will be greeted with Salaam before they enter. As those people go towards the gates of Jannah and as the gates open, the keepers will greet them with Salaam. The people will then be told to enter Jannah and reside there eternally. Allah says:

“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: “Assalaamu alaykum”, you have done well. Enter and live in it forever.” (Qur’an 39:73)

We should ponder on this verse and realise how special the greeting of Salaam actually is, even though we may overlook the significance of it in our daily lives.

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