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Is Giving the Greeting (Salam) Obligatory or Recommended?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is giving salam fard or sunna according to Qur’an and Hadith?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Giving the greeting (salam) is a sunna. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha fi al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha]

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As reported that a man asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Which aspect of Islam is best?” He said, “Feeding people and greeting those you know and those you do not know.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

The Fiqh of giving the Greeting (salam)

It is a sunna to give the greeting (salam). It is necessary (wajib) to respond, if alone and a communal obligation (fard kifaya) to respond, if given to a group.

The reason why it is necessary to respond is because the greeting (salam) means peace, safety. Hence if a person gives the greeting and one does not respond, the person may feel uneasy and wrongfully suspect something, consequently, it is obligatory to do away with such potential suspicion. [Khadimi, al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

Moreover, it is necessary (wajib) to respond aloud such that the other person hears the response. If this is not done, it is as if one did not in fact respond.

It is also an immediate duty to respond to the greeting (salam) and prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to delay it without an excuse.

How to give the Greeting (salam)

One optimally gives the greeting (salam) with the complete form: ‘Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings’ (Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh). And one optimally returns the greeting (salam) with the complete form, too: ‘And upon you be peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings’ (Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh)

`Imran ibn al-Husayn said, “A man came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and said, ‘Peace be upon you.’ He responded to him and then the man sat down. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, ‘Ten.’ Then another man came and said, ‘Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah,’ and he responded to him and the man sat down. He said, ‘Twenty.’ Then yet another man came and said, ‘Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings,’ and he responded to him and that man sat down. He said, ‘Thirty.’” [Abu Dawud; al-Tirmidhi]

And Allah knows best and He alone gives success.

Wassalam,

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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