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How Should We Greet Each Other?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu Alaikum

I hope this mail will find you in good health. I would like to know as Muslim greeting which one is better? Salamun Alaikum or Assalamu Alaikum and why? What about verse 53:6.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits insha’Allah.

It suffices to say, “Salamun Alaikum”, however, it is better to attach the two letters, alif and lam, at the beginning in order to say, “Assalamu alaikum”. [al-Fatawa  al-Hindiyya/Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Qur’anic Usage of Salam

There are a number of verses in the Qur’an which contain the phrase “Salamun Alaikum”, amongst them:

[1] Surat al-An`am (6), verse 54;

[2] Surat al-A`raf (7), verse 46;

[3] Surat al-Zumar (39), verse 73;

The Sunna Form of saying the Salam

The Fatawa Hindiyya states that, “it is optimal for the person initiating the greeting to say ‘Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh’ and for the person replying to do so with the words, ‘Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh’”; Imam Nawawi mentions in his Gardens of the Righteous (Riyad al-Salihin) that this form is recommended.

The reason we use the form with the alif-lam is because it is the sunna as established from numerous prophetic narrations. Furthermore, even the Prophet Adam (Allah bless him and give him peace) used this form when told to greet the angels, as narrated by both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim in their respective books, on the authority of the noble Companion Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him).

And Allah knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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