Greetings in Islam have profound meaning than it seems. Islam exchanges greeting with big reward in life as well as hereafter. Islamic greetings ‘As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa rahhmatullahi wa barakatuh’ literary means may the peace of Allah be upon you and His mercy and His blessing. However, the importance of greetings in Islam is way beyond the literal meaning as explained below.
1. It is the best Dua
The roof of the word Salaam is ‘salema’ which means to disassociate with harm and evil. In general greetings or salaam means no harm shall come to you from me. Further, As-Salaam is also one of beautiful names of Allah. It also means may the blessing of Allah descend upon you, may Allah guide you, protect you, and be with you. As it is also another form of Dua, it is best to recite salaam with the right pronunciation. Some people use greetings in mumbling while some other replaces it with only hey or good morning.
2. Immense reward
We never know that our daily activity gives us immense reward. However, immense reward is given to those who greet and reply to greetings. Once told by the prophet, when a man came to him and said As-Salamu ‘Alaikum. The prophet responded to the greeting and the man sat down. The prophet said ten. Another man came and greeted As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah. After the prophet responded to his greeting, he said twenty. The third man came and greeted As-Salamu A’laikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu. The prophet responded to the greetings and said thirty.
3. Aspect of Imaan
Acts of obedience can be found in many forms and one of them is greetings. Greetings keep arrogance away from the heart.
Once a man asked the prophet about what is the best aspect of Imaan in Islam. “Feeding the hungry and saying salaam to those you know and those you do not know.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
4. Entering the jannah
Salaam is one of the ways to enter jannah or heaven. Greetings each other ignites love and friendly ambiance. A Muslim is forbidden to forsake his brother for over three days. If they meet, they turn away from each other. The better among them is the first one to greetings or say salaam.
The prophet (peace be upon him) once said that “you will not enter the heaven until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I tell you about something which, when you do it you will love another? Spread salaam or the greetings of peace among you.” (Muslim)
5. Get rid of sins
We all make sins everyday conscious and unconsciously. Fortunately, Islam also provides loads of way to get our sins removed. One of the ways to get rid of sins is through greetings as mentioned in surah for forgiveness of major sins.
The prophet (peace be upon him) once said that “when two Muslims meet (give salaams) and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other). (Abu Dawud)
Greeting increases the fellowship among people because it involves shaking hands and smile. Nothing is better than meet someone who responds to the greetings, smile, shake hands, and also remove sins.
6. Protect from envy
Hatred and envy are very easy to grow especially when seeing other people’s success and happiness. But greetings when meet other people keep the heart from envy. When a person gives salaam, he, from the bottom of his heart, only wants for your security and well being. There will be no space for a person who truly mean for your security and well being to develop envy and hatred.
7. One of the best obedience acts
Salaam or greeting is a simple act to worship to God. The prophet advised people to spread greetings between them to spread love and also acquire high ranks in heaven. Greeting is also a kind of invocation as you make Dua to Allah for a person’s security and well being.
8. Get close to Allah
Making dua is one of many acts to get close to Allah. Among many dua to make, greeting is one of the ways for being close to Allah. The prophet once said that “Those who are nearest to Allah are they who are first to give a salutation.” Read more about Quran verses about love of Allah.
9. Increase fellowship
People with shallow understanding of Islam may think greeting one another as humiliating especially for people they do not know. The fact is greeting is a form of worship and it has huge impact on the humanity. It increases the relationship among the people, get rid of sins, and many more. Greeting is a sign of superior morality as it displays good and friendly attitude especially without receiving from others. Besides greetings, there is also dua to make friends in Islam.
10. Creates loving and healthy atmosphere
Greeting creates loving and healthy atmosphere in many ways. Both greeter and respondent, whether they are young or old, men or women, they know each other or not, are aim to pray for goodness and bless for other person. Salaam ignites loves, brotherhood and unity among people and it creates loving and healthy atmosphere.
11. To pray for good
As small as it seems, greeting in Islam also means to pray for Allah towards the greeter and when you respond to the greetings, you also get one pray. Greeting in Islam means to pray that you always prosperous. Ibnu Al-Arabi in Ahkamul Qur’an once said:
“Do you know the meaning of greeting? The greeter said salaam or greetings means that he claims that ‘you are completely safe from me, including my speech and hands”.
12. Keeps negative impression away
Negative feeling is very easy to develop. But when we pray for one’s goodness and security, there is no chance for negative feeling to grow. This is because salaam means that the greeter will not harm the respondent at least from his acts.
13. As reminder that we all depend on Allah
People who never send greeting or salaam are arrogant. They have no intention to improve a relationship let alone wish for good things to others. Greeting indirectly is also a reminder that we all depend on Allah. All the good things we receive only happen when Allah permits.
14. The greetings of people in Jannah
The salaam we say to each other today is also the greetings of people in Jannah/heaven. No wonder if the prophet always advised people to greet each other in proper way before start any conversation. He also stated not to respond to other people until they say salaam.
15. Greeting is easy
One of good deeds promising huge reward is greeting each other. It gets rid of sins, increase relationship, get close to Allah, and even make dua to others. The best thing of greeting is it does not cost you anything to send Salaam. Yet, it gives huge reward for making salaam in the first place.
Islam is a peace religion which appreciates any good deeds with reward including greetings. Even though greeting is simple, but it actually has very profound meaning for it is a form of dua. Greeting and return the greeting is obligatory because it is the form of dua for other’s safety and security.