Sunday 7 August 2022

When greeted upon, greet back in a better worded greeting

Whenever two persons meet, they always greet each other with some form of verbal or bodily gestures. The act of greeting has been in vogue since ages, perhaps since the dawn of mankind in the world. The form of greeting differ from culture to culture both in form and social intimacy. Generally the gestural greetings include a handshake, a salutation by waving hands. The verbal greetings are normally restricted from saying a hello to good mornings (or to be replaced by the time of the day) or good bye when parting.

When it comes to Muslims, same-sex people do not greet each other the same as do opposite sex. While same-sex people (men or women) will shake hands, kiss on the cheek and even hug multiple times, a man and woman greeting each other in public will not go further than bowing a little with right hand on the chest or at best a handshake.  

As for the verbal greetings, the Arabic greetings: As-salamu alaykum ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ (peace be upon you) is more comprehensive form of salutation than a mere hello or good morning, whereby a Muslim prays for the peace of his Muslim brother or sister. This salutation is often returned with Wa ʿalaykumu s-salām وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ - that is'and peace be upon you'. 

This has been customer since the advent of Islam and Muslims even today, whether they know Arabic or not, use these salutations worldwide. This practice is in line with the verse 86 of Surah 4. An Nisa (The Women) as quoted herein under:

وَاِذَا حُيِّيۡتُمۡ بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوۡا بِاَحۡسَنَ مِنۡهَاۤ اَوۡ رُدُّوۡهَا​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ حَسِيۡبًا‏ 
(4:86) When you are greeted with a salutation then return it with a better one, or at least the same.114 Surely Allah takes good count of everything.

As mentioned before, the salutation came into being for Muslims to be courteous not only to each other but also to the non Muslims as well as a gesture of goodwill. The Muslims were specially exhorted to be very civil and polite to the non-Muslims because at that time their relations were strained on account of the conflict between them. In that state of tension, they were forewarned to be on their guard against incivility and impoliteness. They were, therefore, taught to be equally civil and polite to them when they greeted them respectfully. Nay, they should be even more civil and polite than their opponents.

Harsh behavior and harsh words do no good to anyone but they are specially unsuited to the work of those missionaries of Allah's Message, who have dedicated themselves to one day invite the world to the Truth and exerted themselves to reform the ways of the people. Such ill behavior may satisfy one's vanity, but it does great harm to one's mission.

However, readers may notice that while the believers are instructed to return the salutations in the same words as greeted upon, they are encouraged to use better words for a return greeting rather than a custom made reply. Generally the salutation is returned back with Wa ʿalaykumu s-salām wa-raḥmatu -llāhi wa-barakātuh  وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ - that is ' And peace be upon you, as well as the mercy of God and his blessings'.

The addition to the return greetings could be composed by the one being greeted in a manner to add more blessings for the one who initiated the greetings.
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, an eminent Muslim scholar of the timeexplains: The actual words are: وَاِذَا حُيِّيْتُمْ بِتَحِيَّةٍ. The real meaning of حَيَّاهُ تَحِيَّةٍ is to pray for someone’s life. The supplicative expression حَيَّاكَ اللّٰهُ originates from them. It means: “May God prolong your life.” Since the word salām and other supplicative words of similar meaning have this connotation or are close to it, they are included in the general meaning of تَحِيَّة. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 356)
Thus all Muslims must make it a habit to reciprocate a salutation of greeting with a better worded response so as to show one's willingness to be at peace with his greeter. In face such greetings should be more profusely be used when interacting with the non Muslims for it gives away the intrinsic message of peace to everyone. If such gestures are made to promote peace both within and without with a whole hearted approach, we may be able to add our share for promotion of peace and well being of the mankind.

Eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan explains the above quoted verses as under:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the  Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible to make you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, You will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages: Understanding Al Qur'an and Important DOs and DON'Ts from Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More