I remember when I was young, my dad would always encourage me to say “Assalamu Alaikum” and reminded me how important it was.
He’d remind me to say salam when I picked up the phone or whenever I met any of my Muslim family and friends.
But when I was young, I was naive and I didn’t know any better.
Living in a Muslim-majority country, I always took that for granted. Giving salam to others isn't just like saying hello. It's more than that.
It was not until I left home and lived abroad that I understood what “Assalamu Alaikum” really meant.
1. IT MAKES YOU CLOSER AS A COMMUNITY
Al-Bara' bin 'Azib (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to do seven things: to visit the sick, to follow the funeral (of a dead believer), to invoke the Mercy of Allah upon one who sneezes (i.e., by saying to him: Yarhamuk- Allah), to support the weak, to help the oppressed, to promote the greeting of 'As-Salamu 'Alaikum', and to help those who swear to do something to keep their oaths.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
I remember feeling rather alone when I was furthering my studies in the States. Living in a predominantly non-Muslim country, I felt foreign. I felt like I didn’t belong, especially for the first few months I was there.
I was familiar with American culture as I had been there before, when I was a kid. But I hadn’t experienced American culture post 9/11 as an adult, as a visible woman donning the hijab.
Whenever someone passed by me on the street and said salaam, I automatically felt warm and safe inside. I felt welcomed and not a stranger any more.
2. A FORM OF SADAQAH OR CHARITY
Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
A man asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): "Which act in Islam is the best?" He (ﷺ) replied, "To give food, and to greet everyone, whether you know or you do not."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Conveying salam to someone is also a form of charity. It is as important as giving food to your neighbours or to anyone who needs it. Amazing, right?
3. IT CAN BRIGHTEN UP SOMEONE’S DAY
Just imagine how saying hello could brighten up someone’s day!
Giving salam can open up conversations. Someone who is sad or depressed may be happier after having a conversation with another person. I've tried giving salam to people before and you can see that their face lights up! Life can be very different especially where Muslims are a minority.
Even though living in the States was a fun opportunity and definitely an amazing adventure, there were times when my days were blue. Don’t get me wrong, I had many friends and I got along well with Muslims and non-Muslims alike but it’s definitely different as compared to when you’re staying at home.
Loneliness is real and many of our friends and families may suffer from loneliness or depression. So don’t forget to say salam to anyone that you see!
'Abdullah bin Salam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, "O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu 'Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace."
This is just a short post on why we should remember to say salam to everyone that we come across, whether or not we know them personally.
Start giving salam to one another and tell us how it makes you feel! The world definitely needs more peace, love and tolerance <3
Have you checked out our video "Assalamu alaikum"?