Hi… then… Bye!!! This is the meaningless greeting of the West. One wonders what really does it mean? Is he asking you whether you are on a high? Whatever it may mean, no greeting is as comprehensive and perfect as the greeting which is derived from one of the attributes of Allah Ta’ala, which is the greeting of the angels and will be the greeting of the Believers in Jannah — the beautiful greeting of “As salaamu ‘alaikum”.
As salaamu ‘alaikum means “Peace be upon you”. It is a prayer of peace, which encompasses every good for the one being greeted. It is also a declaration of safety and security towards the person being greeted, as if to say that the one being greeted is being told that his life, family and property are all safe from yourself. Thus you will not harm him, his family or property in any way.
Love One Another
The perfect greeting of Muslims, besides being a wonderful du‘aa for the person being greeted, also generates love between them. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you cannot be (true) Believers until you love one another (i.e. you harbour no enmity and malice for others). Should I not show you something which, if you adopt, you will love one another? Make salaam common among you.” (Saheeh Muslim #194) It is obvious that this benefit will be realized if the salaam is made with sincerity and not just uttered as a custom and formality.
Salaam to All
Salaam should be made to every Muslim. Once Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was asked as to which was a more superior act among the practices of Islam. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “Feed people and make salaam to those who you know as well as those who you do not know.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #12)
One should also endeavour to be the first to make salaam as it earns a greater reward and is also a means of eliminating pride.
Among the etiquettes of salaam is that “the younger person should greet the elder person, the one passing should greet the one who is sitting and the smaller group should greet the larger group”. (Saheeh Bukhaari #6231) Special note should be taken of the importance of children greeting elders. Previously parents would embed this etiquette in children. This is sadly diminishing. Hence nowadays many youngsters would pass their parents, family elders, their teachers or other seniors without greeting them. Repeated reminders and admonition is necessary until making salaam to others becomes the first nature of the child.
When Entering Home
One should also make salaam aloud and cheerfully upon entering the home. This is a means of attaining barakah (blessings) and is also a means of protection from Shaitaan.
Salaam is simple, costs nothing and takes a second or two. Yet the rewards are great and the blessings are gigantic. It would be a great tragedy if we deprive ourselves of such tremendous blessings. Let us therefore make salaam common among ourselves.