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What is “Assalamu Alaykum” For?

Little Things We Do, Big Meanings They Have

Dear brothers and sisters,

Assalamu Alaykum.

I would like to invite you to contemplate on important things, but first I will give you a simple question.

If you see someone crossing the wooden bridge, and in your heart you wish them to arrive easily without any harm, and you pray to Allah to save this man from falling into that bridge. Will you at the same time pick up an axe and start to chop that bridge?

If your answer is no, you can go on to the next line of my article. But if the answer is you will chop down the bridge with an heavy axe while you are hoping the person to arrive safely across the bridge, then I ask you stop reading this article at once until you realize you are hoping for an absurd things.

For those who say no for an answer, here is another question: If you say to someone “Assalamu Alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh”; meaning you wish, and pray for a person that may Allah grant him peace, and mercy, and blessing, will you then steal this person? Will you insult him with your tongue?

Will you manipulate him? Backbite and slander him behind his back? Humiliating him in public? If your answer is yes, isn’t it like you chopping the bridge at the same time you hope for this man to arrive safely!

You know, I will tell you a funny fact, we often find ourselves hoping the best for ourselves and others while our hand working for the opposite results. This lacks of self-awareness and disorientation behavior, are eating the civilization in general. As a Muslim, “Assalamu Alaykum” is one clear example. Let’s start there!

Not Only Words, But Actions Too…

Assalamu Alaykum is not a light word; people sometime treat it as a total substitution for the words “hi” “good evening” or “hello”. It is indeed how we, Muslims, greet one and another, yet, it doesn’t mean just plainly a common greeting.

In this greeting there is the Name of Allah which is As-Salam. That is one of His attribute whom He frees his servants from all danger and obstruction. So when we said Assalamu Alaykum, we hope that As-Salam will free persons we greet from dangers and obstruction.

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, highlighted the value of this greetings, by saying:

“You will never enter Paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, I shall guide you to something that, if you do it, you will love one another: Spread the greetings (of peace) among yourselves.” (Recorded in Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad wants us to spread Salam, and make a clear spoken declaration that we do hope the As-Salam (peace) will protect everybody from any mischief, exploitation, humiliation, injustice and calamity.

So let’s see, is it possible if we want our brothers been protect from any humiliation and exploitation, while at the very same time after we say salam, we insults them and humiliated them in front of other? Sound absurd for me, and I hope you feel the same as I do my dear brother and sister.

We should  be aware of whatever comes out from our mouth, and say it with sincere manner. If we are aware of the greeting we spread as it’s not a synonym of just “hi” or “hello”, the words of Salam/peace in our greeting will charge us some action. Simply we will not be the one who slander our brothers and sisters.

First published: June 2010