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Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabaraktahu
ALLAH the Exalted says:
“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” (4:86)
It is recommended for the one offering greetings to say: `As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’. The reply is `Wa `Alaikum us-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.’
1. Rewards for Greeting Salaam:
`Imran bin Husain (May ALLAH be pleased with them) reported: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “As-Salamu `Alaikum (may you be safe from evil). Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Ten (meaning the man had earned the merit of ten good acts).” Another one came and said: “As-Salamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah (may you be safe from evil, and Mercy of ALLAH be upon you).” Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) said, “Twenty.” A third one came and said: “As-Salamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu (may you be safe from evil, and the Mercy of ALLAH and His Blessings be upon you).” Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) said, “Thirty.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: Ten, Twenty and Thirty is the reward of saying the Islamic greeting, according to its words.
2) Greeting each other with salaam while leaving/departing too:
- Abu Hurayrah(ra) narrated that a man passed by the Prophet(pbuh) when he was in a gathering and said, “Salaamun ‘alaykum.” He (the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Ten hasanahs.”
Another man passed by and said,”Salaamun ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaahi (Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah) .” He(pbuh) said, “Twenty hasanahs.”
Then another man passed by and said, “Salaamun ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu (Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings).” He(pbuh) said: “Thirty hasanahs.”
A man got up and left the gathering and did not say salaam. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “How soon your companion has forgotten.When one of you comes to a gathering and says salaam, if he wants to sit down then let him do so. Then when he wants to leave, let him say salaam, for the one is not more important than the other.”Ibn Hibbaan narrated in his Saheeh (493), Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 2712.
- Abu Hurairah (ra) reported: Prophet(pbuh) said, “When one of you arrives in a gathering, he should offer Salam to those who are already there, and he should also do so when he intends to depart. The first act of greeting is not more meritorious than the last.”[Abu Dawud].
Commentary: We should offer As-Salam to those sitting in a gathering, on our arrival as well as departure. Both the greetings are essential. “The first act of greeting is not more meritorious than the last” means that we should utter it on both occasions. (Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen) http://abdurrahman.org/seerah/riyad/05/chap139.htm
3) Maximum greeting extent limit
Yahya related to me from Malik from Wahb ibn Kaysan that Muhammad ibn Amr ibn Ata said, ‘I was sitting with Abdullah ibn Abbas when a Yemeni man came in. He said, ‘Peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessing'(as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu), and then he added something more to that. Ibn Abbas said (and at that time his eyesight had gone), ‘Who is this?’ People said, ‘This is a Yemeni who has come to see you,’ and they introduced him. Ibn Abbas said, ‘The greeting ends with the word blessing (wabarkatahu)”(Malik: Book 53 : Hadith 53.1.2)
4) Weak ahadiths adding ‘wa maghfiratahu etc..’ to the greeting:
Adding the words “wa maghfiratuhu (and His forgiveness)” or “wa ridwaanuhu (and His pleasure)”, these are not mentioned in any saheeh report from our Prophet (pbuh), (Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 2/381, and by al-Albaani in Da’eef Abi Dawood, 5196).
5) Greetings after Short Intervals:
- Abu Hurairah (ra) reported in the Hadith in respect of the person who was at fault in performing his Salat (prayer): He came to the Prophet(pbuh) and greeted him. The Prophet(pbuh) responded to the greeting and said, “Go back and repeat your Salat because you have not performed the Salat (properly).” He again performed Salat as he had prayed before and came to the Prophet(pbuh) and greeted him. The Prophet(pbuh) responded to the greetings (and repeated his words to him). This act of repeating (the Salat and the Salam) was done thrice.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith tells us that one can greet others after short intervals.
- Abu Hurairah (ra) reported: Prophet(pbuh) said, “When one of you meets a brother (in Faith) he should greet him. Then if a tree or a wall or a stone intervenes between them and then he meets him again, he should greet him.”[Abu Dawud].
Commentary: This Hadith convincingly bears out the subject matter of the chapter.Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen Chapter 134 Excellence of Greeting the Acquaintance Repeatedly http://abdurrahman.org/seerah/riyad/05/chap134.htm
5. Replying of Greeting to Third Person
`Aishah (May ALLAH be pleased with her) reported: Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) said to me, “This is Jibril (Gabriel) who is conveying you greetings of peace.” I responded: “Wa `Alaihis-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu (may he be safe from evil, and the Mercy of ALLAH and His Blessings be upon him).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith affirms the excellence of `Aishah (May ALLAH be pleased with him). It also tells us how to respond to the Salam of a third person, that is, we should say, “Wa `Alaihis-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.’
6. Repeating Greeting Thrice
Anas (May ALLAH be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (PBUH) used to repeat his words thrice so that the meaning thereof would be fully understood, and whenever he came upon a gathering of people, he would greet them. He would repeat Salam thrice. [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: This Hadith tells us about one aspect of the Prophet’s excellent manners that he would take due care of showing regard for the sentiments of people. The whole of a gathering is not supposed to hear the Salam of somebody and respond to him. A single person can represent the gathering in this regard. Yet, it was characteristic benevolence of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) which prompted him to repeat his saying “As-Salamu `Alaikum” thrice so that everybody would hear it and may not have a feeling of being neglected.
7. Greeting in Low Voice While Others are Asleep
. Al-Miqdad (May ALLAH be pleased with him) reported in course of a long Hadith: We used to reserve for the Prophet (PBUH) his share of the milk, and he would come at night and offer greetings in such a manner as did not disturb those asleep and was heard only by those who were awake. In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) came and offered greetings as usual. [Muslim].
Commentary: Herein, we are told how to offer Salam to people when some of them are asleep while others are awake. Our voice should be so low so as not to disturb those who are asleep and to give a chance to those who are awake to respond to it.
8. Greeting While Raising Hands
. Asma’ bint Yazid (May ALLAH be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) passed through the mosque one day and there was a group of women (about ten of them) sitting in the mosque. He raised his hand to offer greetings. [At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: To offer As-Salam by the gesture of hand from a distance is forbidden in Islam because it is the way of non-Muslims. However, it is allowed if words are also uttered along with it. Secondly, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) could greet women because he was sinless and permanently stood under Allah’s Protection. Yet, it is not permissible to other men for the fear of provoking temptation. But this Hadith can be carried into effect in case one feels that no temptation and evil will be involved in it. For example, a man can greet aged and respectable women. However, Salam to young women is not allowed as it can give birth to wickedness.
9. Greeting of Salam is alike to the living and the dead.
Abu Juraiy Jabir bin Sulaim (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I noticed a man whose opinion was followed by every body, and no one acted contrary to what he said. I asked who he was, and I was informed that he was Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I said to him twice: “Alaikas-salam ya Rasul-Allah (may Allah render you safe).” He said, “Do not say: `Alaikas-salamu.’ This is the salutation to the dead (in Jahiliyyah times). Say, instead: `As-salamu `alaika (may Allah render you safe).”’ I asked: “Are you Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “(Yes) I am the Messenger of Allah, Who will remove your affliction when you are in trouble and call to Him, Who will cause food to grow for you when you are famine-stricken and call to Him, and Who will restore to you your lost riding beast in the desert when you call upon Him.” I said to him: “Give me instructions (to act upon).” He ((PBUH) said, “Do not abuse anyone.” (Since then I have never abused anyone, neither a freeman, nor a slave, nor a camel, nor a sheep). He (PBUH) continued, “Do not hold in contempt even an insignificant act of goodness, because even talking to your brother with a cheerful countenance is an act of goodness. Hold up your lower garment half way to the leg, and at least above the ankles; for trailing it is arrogance, and Allah dislikes pride. And if a man imputes to you of bad things he knows you possess, do not impute to him bad things that you know he has for he will assume the evil consequences of his abuse.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: Herein, we are informed that the Companions of Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would lend a ready ear to the Prophet’s advice and put it into practice resolutely. Besides, in Islam the greeting of peace or Salam is alike to the living as well as the dead.
The Hadith also tells us about the desirable length of Izar or lower garment. Shari`ah allows it up to the ankles, but if it goes below, the wearer will be involved in a serious transgression incurring Hell-fire as mentioned earlier. Second, any good act, however small it may be, must not be underestimated and ignored. At no cost should it be given up. Third, nobody should be reproached for his fault or mistake, that is, he should not be put to humiliation in public for it. However, in private conversation he may be advised to improve his behaviour and desist from repeating his mistake.
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barkatahu