You had me at Hello, but you’ll keep me with a Salaam (Wait, don’t freak out. I know that sounds suspiciously like a Muslim pick-up line, but I like it too much to remove it).
Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.”
The Prophet (S.A.W) explained that Salaam spreads love and brotherhood. Which is why you can’t go greeting every Tahir, Dawood and Haroon. Spreading Salaam is restricted to folks of the same gender, excluding close family members (and by close, I mean brothers and the like, not 2nd cousins and their best friends).
Abdur Rahmaan ibn Shayba (R.A) narrated that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said, “A rider should give salaam to a walking person, a walking person should give salaam to a seated person, a small group should give salaam to a larger group, whoever then responds to salaam, it is for his benefit, and he who does not respond to salaam, is not from amongst us.”
This isn’t Tennis. We don’t wait for someone to be the first to open their mouth because ‘the ball is in their court’. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Literally. If we want Jannah (and we do), we have to rack up those rewards. The nobler person is the one that introduces Salaam.
Salaam is plainly one of the easiest and cheapest (I feel like such an Indian typing that, but whatever. It’s true) ways of dispersing love and gaining the closeness of Allah. As Muslims, Love is one of the duties of Islam. It’s part of our Islamic System. WE, as an Ummah, are part of the Islamic System. We’ve got things in common (allow me to clarify: that isn’t a pick-up line either). We share a Shahadah. We share a Nabi (S.A.W). We share a devotion to Allah. ALL MUSLIMS do. You can’t nitpick who to bestow your carefully-guarded-for-no-valid-reason Salaam onto.
Bequeath peace onto those that you know, and those that you don’t know. It shows our sincerity to Allah. This isn’t just a form of catching up with that Aunty you lived next to five years ago in the middle of Checkers (none of you can say you haven’t been in this situation before). We’re united. You don’t discriminate, I don’t discriminate.
“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, An-Nisa 4:86)
Ah, there’s the other end of the stick. If someone greets you, you’d better answer back. Initiating Salaam is considered Sunnah, but returning the Salaam after it is offered, is Waajib. In the unlikely case that you didn’t hear them (teachers won’t understand this considering they hear everything), that won’t be such a big deal since you’re supposed to be greeting them as well anyways. Ultimately, you have no excuse not to greet every Muslimah that crosses your path. Case closed (I’ve got my Lawyer clothes on. Don’t mess with me).
The Prophet (S.A.W) said: “Do not greet the Jews and the Christians with Salaam.” “However, if they make Salaam first, we may reply by saying “Wa Alaikum” (and upon you).” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Remember, you take one step towards Allah, Allah takes ten steps towards you.
May Allah protect us all and grant us the ability to overcome our Nafs.
Love and Duas,