Forget the 'Matlab' and Spread the 'Salaam'
Since the Creation of Man right until the present era, the world has been witness to a plethora of peoples, events, traits and ideologies. In the millenia that have passed, nations have risen and fallen, great technological and architectural milestones have been celebrated and mankind has transcended new depths of progress and ingenuity, even as natural and man-made disasters have shaken us.124 000 Messengers were sent by Allah for our guidance and various sets of laws were revealed to regulate human behavior and interactions over the centuries.
Yet, despite the vastness of time, humanity is still held together by one single thread. All men and women are descendants of the first man, and all Prophets are connected like the links of a chain, each attached to those before and after them. We are all beings of Fitrah which naturally inclines us towards good deeds and Tawheed, the belief in One Creator. And regardless of the millions of languages and dialects we speak, we all share a common greeting, a greeting which has been uniting us since Day One.
Assalamu Alaykum – Peace Be Unto You. The salutation that has stood the test of time.
Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah PBUH said: “When Allah created Adam, He told him, ‘Go and greet those’ – a group of angels were sitting – ‘and listen to how they greet you, for it will be your greeting and that of your descendants. So he said: ‘as-salaamu ‘alaykum,’ and they responded, ‘wa ‘alayka as-salaamu was rahmatullah.’ They added ‘wa rahmatullah.’ “
Salaam is thus not just a social custom that can be changed or adapted according to the place or time. Rather, it is the greeting which Allah chose for His Creation since the time of Adam and whose etiquettes have been detailed by Almighty Allah as conveyed by His Messengers.
Muslims have been commanded by Allah in the Quraan to greet each other with Salaam, in clear, unambiguous terms: “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them…” (24:27). Likewise, we have been taught that it is obligatory to respond appropriately once we have been greeted: “When a [courteous] greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous or (at least) of equal courtesy..” (4:86)
Salaam is our beginning and ending. “Assalamu Qablal Kalaam,” – “make Salaam before initiating a conversation,” was the instruction of the Prophet of Allah SAW, to the Muslims, as recorded in Tirmidhi. The closest of people to Allah, according to Nabi SAW, are those who start with the greeting of Salaam, and according to yet another narration, the Messenger of Allah SAW gave glad tidings to those who initiated the greeting of salaam as being exempt from pride. Additionally, his instruction was to greet when coming to a gathering and to greet when wanting to leave.
Salaam is peace. It is the fertiliser that nurtures love, closeness and friendship between individuals and groups. It is also a Dua – something which the Messenger of Allah SAW had promised would lead to love, then to Imaan and ultimately to Paradise.
It is the greeting of the Universe, the greeting of the Ambiyaa, the greeting of the Sahaaba and all the pious that have ever lived. Aaishah RA narrates, as recorded in Tirmidhi, that the Messenger of Allah SAW once told her: ” ‘This is Jibreel who is saying Salaam to you.’ She said, ‘I said: ‘Wa alayhi as salaamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu (and upon him be peace and the mercy and blessings of Allah). ‘ ‘ “
Salaam is a gift to be shared by men, women and children alike. The young should greet the old; the ones on a conveyance should greet the those who are walking; those walking should greet the sitting and the smaller group should greet the larger one.
The illustrious generations of the past were exemplary in their dissemination of Salaam. Abdullah bin Umar RA, the great Companion of Nabi SAW, would go to the market each morning and not pass anybody without saying Salaam to him. One day he was asked, “What do you do in the market, when you do not sell anything, or ask about prices, or haggle, or join in any gatherings?” He said, “We go there in the morning for the purpose of saying Salaam to whoever we meet.”
Today we find feeble excuses to ignore and not greet each other, even going to the extent of accusing the next person of greeting out of matlab (some hidden agenda) or seeking some worldly benefit! These matters are not for us to judge. All that should matter is our adherence to the unequivocal Command of Allah and guidance of Mohammed SAW, who instructed, “when you meet him[a fellow Muslim], give him the greeting of peace.” Likewise, to reply can only be beneficial as the opposite party is quite simply offering a Dua. The point that we are missing is that all Muslims are brothers and sisters and every single one of us are connected like one body – and like one body we all need to function.
Allah commands us in Surah al Imraan, verse 103, to hold fast together to the rope which He stretches out for us and not to be divided amongst ourselves. All personal, political and emotional issues aside, we remain the Ummah of Muhammed SAW, the most special nation that Allah has selected and loved. We need to act the part and keep putting Allah and his Nabi SAW in front of us in all that we do, in the pursuit of His Pleasure and for the progress and protection of the Deen and its followers. The methodologies we may adopt in getting this done may be diverse and the paths we take will vary. But to get started, how about something simple, yet still a Sunnah which Nabi SAW himself has described as being among the best of Islam’s teachings.
Narrated Amr ibn al Aas RA: “A man asked the Prophet SAW, ‘Which type of Islam is the best?’ He said, ‘To feed people, and to say Salaam to those you know and those you do not know. ‘ ” (Bukhari and Muslim).
The greeting of peace. The greeting of Unity. The greeting of Paradise. Spread it, and witness unity becoming a reality in our lifetimes.
Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh