Rules of Meeting Each Other

IN ALL CIVILISED SOCIETIES, there have always been some particular forms of greetings, as an expression of respect, affection or formal recognition, upon meeting a person. The Hindus say 'Namaste' or 'Raam Raam’, whilst among the Christians, it is customary to salute with words like 'Good morning' and ‘Good evening’.

Among the Arabs too, before the advent of Islaam, similar forms of salutations were in existence. It is stated in Sunan Aboo Daawood, on the authority of Imraan Ibne Hussein radhiyallahu anhu that he said:
"Before Islaam, we used to say, 'God grant coolness to your eyes' and 'May your morning be happy' while greeting one another. When from the darkness of ignorance we emerged into the light of Islaam, these formulas of salutation were forbidden and, in their place, we were taught to say, Assalaamu' Alaykum (Peace be with you)."
As a little reflection will show, no better form of salutation is possible as an expression of love, regard and goodwill. It makes excellent and most comprehensive prayer for the occasion, denoting: May Allah bestow peace and security on you. For those who are younger to us in age, it is an expression of kindness and affection, and for the elders, of regard and attention. Moreover, salaam is one of the Excellent Names of Allah. In the Qur'aan, the phrase, Assalaamu' Alayk, has been used, on behalf of Allah, as a mark of favour and esteem for the Divine Apostles. Thus, we read:

Peace be unto Nooh among the people, (37:79);
Peace be unto Ibraheem, (37:109);
Peace be unto Moosaa and Haaroon, (37:120);
Peace be unto Ilyaas, (37:130);
Peace be unto the Messengers, (37:181);
and, Peace be on His Slaves whom He hath chosen, (27:59).

The believers too, are commanded in the Qur'aan to make salutation to the Prophet in these words: Assalaamu' Alayka Ayyuhan Nabiyyu (Peace be unto you, O Prophet), and, the Prophet is told that when those who believed in the Divine Revelations came to him, he should say to them:

Peace be unto you! Your Lord has prescribed for Himself mercy. (6:54)

Similarly, in the Hereafter, at the time of entry into Heaven, Believers will be received with these words:

Enter here in peace and security, (15:46);

and peace be unto you because you preserved in patience. Now how excellent is the final home. (13:24)

Anyway, there can be no better greeting than Assalaamu' Alaykum.

If the two Muslims who meet are already acquainted with each other and there exists a bond of friendship, relationship or affection between them, this form of salutation fully signifies the connection, and, on the basis of it, gives an eloquent expression to the sentiments of joy, regard, love and well-wishing.

On the other hand, if they are strangers, it becomes a means of introduction and a declaration of trust and sincerity; or, in other words, one assures the other, through it, that he is a well-wisher and there obtains a spiritual tie between them.

Be that as it may, the teachings of Assalaamu Alaykum and Wa' Alaykum Assalaam as the forms of greeting among the Muslims is a most propitious instruction of the sacred Prophet and a distinctive practice of Islaam.