Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Islamic Greeting- Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatulah.

Salaam - The Islamic Greeting
Islam has professed the use of the Islamic greeting when encountering another Muslim or leaving the company of another Muslim because it unifies the hearts and strengthens bonds between Muslims.
What is the history of the Islamic greeting, when did it start, and who was the one who chose it?

Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "When Allah created Adam he told him to go and say Assalamu Alikum to a group of Angels and listen to their reply. It is your greeting and the greeting of your descendants. Adam went and said: Assalamu Alikum they said Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatulah."

The complete form for the Islamic greeting is Assalamu Alilkum Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh meaning peace, mercy, and blessings be upon from Allah (S.W.T.). This is because Imams Abu-Dawood and At-Termithi reported in a good hadith that a man came to the prophet (S.A.W.) and said, "Assalamu Alikum." The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, "Ten rewards." Another man came and said, "Assalamu Alikum Wa Rahmatullh." The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, "twenty rewards."

Then another man came and said: Assalamu Alakum Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh. The prophet responded and the man sat down. The prophet said, "thirty rewards."

The Scholars have agreed that starting with salam is highly recommended. And responding is obligatory because Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat An-Nesa’, (verse 86), what can be translated as, "When a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy."

It is enough for one to say the Islamic greeting to a group and it is enough for one of the group to return it. This is the meaning of the two ahadith that were reported by Imams Abu Dawood and Malik.

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "I swear by the one whose hand my soul is in that you will not enter paradise until you believe. And you won’t be believed until you love one another. May I tell you something, that if you practice it you will love another, spread the (salam) Islamic greeting among you." This makes it clear to us, that spreading salam among Muslims is the first step towards paradise. This is because spreading salam leads to increasing the love between our hearts. And the increase of love between our hearts will increase the Iman, (faith).

An authentic hadith reported by Imams At-Termithi and Ibn Majah that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Oh you people, spread salam among you, serve the food, behave kindly with your blood relations, and offer prayer at night when others are asleep, and you will enter paradise safely." And Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the prophet (S.A.W.), "what in Islam is the best?" He (S.A.W.) answered, "To feed people and to say salam to everyone whether you know them or not."
 Islamic form of greeting
Muslims all over the world use the Islamic form of greeting, "Assalamu alaikum", which means peace be to you.
    “When you salute a single individual, you must say: as-salaamu ‘alaikum [using the pronoun -kum], for the angels are with him.”

It should be interesting to note that our greeting, seemingly of a simple nature, holds many keys within it. And like other keys or secrets, there are protocols upon their use. For example a hadith, tradition of the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), reported in the Sahih of Muslim as narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allah be well pleased with him) says that according to God’s Messenger (may Peace and Blessings be upon him),

    “The rider should salute the walker, the walker the sitter, and the few the many.”
Another custom of the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) is shaking hands while offering salaams. This custom in particular, you will find upon meeting me that I have a fondness for, perhaps to a fault. Today, we must ask ourselves, how much of this, seemingly simple custom are we following? And if we are not what have we adopted in its place? Especially when there is blessing and reward for us in these simple customs. For instance concerning the shaking of hands, the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) says,

    “When two Muslims shake hands, their sins fall to the ground, as leaves of the tree fall to the ground.”

MashaAllah! And we pass the opportunity to rid ourselves of sins on a daily basis. Yes, mashaAllah to us! There are so many customs for greetings that are lost. But those that we have we should try our best to apply and to raise our children with, to train our children to exercise so that they can benefit from them for generations and not lose these gems, these salutations of the Prophet in later generations. Some of these customs I had never seen in regular life until I attended regular association with a shaykh. Some of which have happened more recently, these customs include:

    * When entering an empty house, you must offer the salutation of peace.
          o You are saluting yourself on Allah’s behalf.
          o You are saluting the believing jinn who occupy the house.
          o Through the blessings of peace, you are seeking safety from the devils and harmful influences present in the house.
    * Custom requires the person who initiates the salutation to be in a state of ritual purity (wudu’) as well as the respondent.
    * When two people meet, custom requires them to try and forestall each other in offering the salutation, as a demonstration of humility.

So clearly it is preferred to return a greeting by adding to it. But there have been so many times where I have greeted a Muslim and received no greeting at all! And perhaps times where a Muslim has greeted me and received only an equal greeting in return, or worse. These days we greet people we know, and only people we know. When we receive a greeting from someone we don’t know we are silent looking oddly as if someone has violated an unwritten code of ethics. But this unwritten code of ethics is un-Islamic by nature and egoistic at best.

I have on occasion come across Muslims who are sincere but ignorant of some of the finer points of Islamic lifestyle according to the traditions of the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). This however, is easy to do in this day and age where there are so many forgotten traditions of the Holy Prophet which if we saw today we may think they are some strange bidat! One of these forgotten traditions is one of the most basic and fundamental elements of our dear religion, the Islamic greeting. The Islamic greeting, as-salaamu ‘alaikum; God’s Peace be upon you, is an element of good Islamic manners. In the proper conduct of greetings one may find keys to good social behavior and the proprieties of friendship and exchanges in Islamic framings.

The very wording helps generate a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. It is also common in its shorter and longer forms to all Muslim communities wherever they happen to be. Thus, when two Muslims meet who are total strangers to each other, the moment they use this greeting, they immediately feel that they have common grounds, even when they do not speak each other's languages.

The Islamic greeting has different versions, the shortest of which is the one we have already mentioned. The rule in Islam is that when we are offered a greeting, we return it with a better one, or with its equal at least. God orders in the Qur'an:

"When a greeting is offered you, answer it with an even better greeting, or (at least) with its like. God keeps count of all things."
[Surah an-Nur; 4: 86]

The better greeting and reply are illustrated in the following Hadith. Umar (radiAllahu anhu) reports that he was riding with Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu) on one mount. When they passed by people, Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu) greeted them saying: 'Assalamu alaikum' and they replied: 'Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah.' Or he may greet them saying: 'Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah,' for which their reply was: 'Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh.' Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu) commented: "Today, people have gained much more than us." [Sahih al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

We note that every time Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu) offered a greeting, its reply was the same with an addition. The first one was the short form of the greeting of peace. The reply stated: 'Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah.' This means: 'And to you be peace together with God's mercy.' Thus, the reply adds a prayer that the person who offered us a greeting should be blessed with God's mercy, both in this life and in the life to come.
When the person who starts the greeting includes in it this same prayer for mercy to the one being accosted, the latter replies with yet another addition, 'wa barakatuh,' which adds a wish for Allah's blessing to the one who took advantage and offered us a friendly greeting. Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu's) comment at the end of the Hadith shows that he was pleased with the fact that people always replied to his greeting with a better one.


These are the normal form of greetings mostly used in Muslim communities. Rarely does a greeting go beyond these. It is reported that a man from the Yemen visited Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiAllahu anhu) and greeted him with the full greeting 'Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh,' but added something extra. Ibn Abbas told him: 'A greeting of peace ends with the wish for God's blessings.' This means that Ibn Abbas thought that such addition is unnecessary.


However, Kharijah ibn Zaid, a scholar of very high standing who belonged to the generation that followed the Prophet's companions, i.e. the tabieen, used to write when he addressed the caliph: 'Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh wa maghfiratuh wa tayyib salawatih.'


The added last phrases express a prayer that the addressee will also have Allah's forgiveness and special blessings. Kharijah would not have added these phrases if he had the slightest doubt about such addition being appropriate. His father was distinguished among the Prophet's companions for his scholarship. When we have two reputable scholars expressing opposite views, we say that one of them was aware of something the other did not know. Perhaps Kharijah was aware that when addressing a person of eminence, the use of additional phrases would be in order.


Another Hadith that speaks of the importance of the wording of the Islamic greeting quotes the Prophet  as saying: 'The Jews do not envy you for anything more than they do for the greeting of peace and saying Aameen.' This Hadith stresses the special distinction given to the Islamic greeting.


The Jews the Prophet  refers to here are the ones with profound knowledge, such as the well- versed rabbis. They are the ones to appreciate the significance of the Islamic greeting, assalamu alaikum.


Aameen is a word which we say when someone addresses a prayer to God. It signifies a request made to God to answer his prayer. This makes the prayer a collective one, with all those who are present joining their fellow Muslim in an appeal to God on behalf of the one who is saying that prayer. But why would the Jews be envious of our greeting?


The word 'Salam', which means peace, is also a name of Allah. Using it in our greeting is a constant reminder of the special relation between a believer and Allah.


We have already mentioned that the Prophet has encouraged us to use the Islamic greeting often, and with all people. But how important is it to greet others?


To answer this question we mention a Hadith reported by Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) who quotes the Prophet  as saying: 'A Muslim has a right against his fellow Muslim in six ways.' Asked what were these, the Prophet  said:

'(1)When you meet him, greet him;
(2) if he invites you, accept his invitation;
(3) if he seeks your advice, give him an honest and sincere advice;
(4) if he sneezes and praises God, bless him;
(5) if he falls ill, visit him; and
(6) if he dies, attend his funeral.'
[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]


The Hadith is clear in making it a duty of a Muslim to offer a greeting to his fellow-Muslim when they meet. The one who takes the initiative is in a better position. Although offering a greeting is a sunnah, which means that it is highly recommended, returning a greeting is obligatory. The other five aspects also help to cement relations within the Muslim community. All of them fall within the category of Sunnah, except for giving an honest advice, which is obligatory. A person who is asked for advice commits a sin if he deliberately and knowingly gives the wrong advice. To do so is dishonest, and dishonesty is forbidden in Islam.

Ibn Abbas said: Whoever greeted you from the creation of Allah then return it back even if he was a Magian, for Allah said: When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it or return it. Muhammad bin Bashar, said that Salim bin Nooh said that Saeed bin Abi Arooba said that Qatada said: That part of Allah’s statement “When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it” is for the Muslims and that part of Allah’s statement “or return it” is for the People of the Book. Bashr Ibn Muath said that Yazid said that Sa’eed said that Qatada said: That part of Allah’s statement “When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it” is for the Muslims and that part of Allah’s statement “or return it” is for the People of the Book. Bashr Ibn Muath said that Yazid said that Sa’eed said that Qatada said: That part of Allah’s statement “When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it” you should greet better than you were greeted and this is only for the Muslims and that part of Allah’s statement “or return it” is for the People of the Book. Yunus told me that Ibn Wahab told him that Ibn Zayd said: That part of Allah’s statement “When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it” my father said: It is a duty on every Muslim who is greeted (by a Muslim) to greet him back with a better greeting, and if he is greeted by other than a Muslim then he should greet back just like what was said to him.

According to the commentary Muslims are to reply back a better greeting if greeted by a Muslim and an equal greeting if greeted by a non-Muslim.

 Some Hadith in which the Prophet states how to reply back to the greetings of Christians and Jews…

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 275:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

The Prophet said, "If the people of the Scripture greet you, then you should say (in reply), 'Wa'alaikum (And on you).' "

Saheeh Muslim

Book 026, Number 5380:

Anas b. Malik reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When the People of the Book offer you salutations, you should say: The same to you.


Book 026, Number 5381:

Anas reported that the Companions of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said to him: The People of the Book offer us salutations (by saying as-Salamu- 'Alaikum). How should we reciprocate them? Thereupon he said: Say: Wa 'Alaikum (and upon you too).

 So here from the Hadith we see how we should reply back to the People of the Book. But why did this command come about in the first place?

 The reason could be made clear by reading the following Hadith…

 Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 274:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "When the Jews greet you, they usually say, 'As-Samu 'alaikum (Death be on you),' so you should say (in reply to them), 'Wa'alaikum (And on you)."

 Volume 8, Book 75, Number 404:

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Jews used to greet the Prophet by saying, "As-Samu 'Alaika (i.e., death be upon you), so I understood what they said, and I said to them, "As-Samu 'alaikum wal-la'na (i.e. Death and Allah's Curse be upon you)." The Prophet said, "Be gentle and calm, O 'Aisha, as Allah likes gentleness in all affairs." I said, "O Allah's Prophet! Didn't you hear what they said?" He said, "Didn't you hear me answering them back by saying, 'Alaikum (i.e., the same be upon you)?"

 Volume 9, Book 84, Number 62:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "When the Jews greet anyone of you they say: 'Sam'Alaika (death be upon you); so you should say; 'Wa 'Alaika (and upon you).'"

Volume 9, Book 84, Number 60:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

A Jew passed by Allah's Apostle and said, "As-Samu 'Alaika." Allah's Apostle said in reply, "We 'Alaika." Allah's Apostle then said to his companions, "Do you know what he (the Jew) has said? He said, 'As-Samu 'Alaika.'" They said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we kill him?" The Prophet, said, "No. When the people of the Book greet you, say: 'Wa 'Alaikum.'"

Saheeh Muslim

Book 026, Number 5382:

Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When the Jews offer you salutations, tome of them say as-Sam-u-'Alaikum (death be upon you). You should say (in response to it): Let it be upon you.

 Book 026, Number 5384:

'A'isha reported that a group of Jews came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and sought his audience and said: As-Sam-u-'Alaikum. A'isha said in response: As-Sim-u-'Alaikum (death be upon you) and curse also, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 'A'isha, verily Allah loes kindness in every matter. She said: Did you bear what they said? Thereupon he said: Did you not hear that I said (to them): Wa 'Alaikum.

 Book 026, Number 5386:

'A'isha reported that some Jews came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and they said: Abu'l-Qasim (the Kunya of the Holy Prophet), as-Sam-u-'Alaikum, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Wa 'Alaikum. A'isha reported: In response to these words of theirs, I said: But let there be death upon you and disgrace also, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 'A'isha, do not use harsh words. She said: Did you hear what they said? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Did I not respond to them when they said that; I said to them: Wa'Alaikum (let it be upon you).

 Book 026, Number 5388:

Jabir b. Abdullah reported that some people from amongst the Jews said to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) Abu'l-Qasim. as-Sam-u-'Alaikum, whereupon he said: Wa 'Alaikum, A'isha was enraged and asked him (Allah's Apostle) whether he had not heard what they had said. He said, I did hear and I retorted to them (and the curse that I invoked upon them would receive response from Allah), but (the curse that they invoked upon us) would not be responded.

Abu Dawud

Book 41, Number 5187:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: When one of the Jews greets you saying: Death may come upon you, reply: The same to you.

 If all the texts of this Hadith are collected and analyzed, what comes to light is the fact that the People of the Book used to mischievously twist their tongue in a swift manner and instead of saying the proper words of the salutation would say Assamu ‘alaykum (Death be to you all), which when quickly pronounced sounded very near to the original words of Assalamu ‘alaykum. It was to counter this devilish prank that the Muslims were directed to say: Wa ‘alaykum (To you too). It must be borne in mind that the Muslims were asked to give this particular reply only after the truth had been revealed in its ultimate form by the Prophet (sws) to the People of the Book after many years of propagation, and in spite of that they were not willing to submit to it. Had this ultimate stage not come, one can safely conclude that Muslims would never have been asked to reply with equally harsh words and would have continued to say the words: Assalamu ‘alaykum, the best of prayers and the best of wishes.

 It also comes in Hadith that Muslims should greet every body they see…

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 104:

Narrated Al-Bara' bin 'Azib:

The Prophet ordered us to do seven (things) and forbade us from seven. He ordered us to visit the patients, to follow the funeral procession, to reply to the sneezer (i.e., say to him, 'Yarhamuka-l-lah (May Allah bestow His Mercy upon you), if he says 'Al-hamdulillah' (Praise be to Allah), to help others to fulfill their oaths, to help the oppressed, to greet (whomever one should meet), and to accept the invitation (to a wedding banquet). He forbade us to wear golden rings, to use silver utensils, to use Mayathir (cushions of silk stuffed with cotton and placed under the rider on the saddle), the Qasiyya (linen clothes containing silk brought from an Egyptian town), the Istibraq (thick silk) and the Dibaj (another kind of silk). (See Hadith No. 539 and 753).

 Volume 7, Book 69, Number 539:

Narrated Al-Bara' bin 'Azib:

Allah's Apostle ordered us to do seven things and forbade us from seven. He ordered us to visit the sick, to follow funeral processions, (to say) to a sneezer, (May Allah bestow His Mercy on you, if he says, Praise be to Allah), to accept invitations, to greet (everybody), to help the oppressed and to help others to fulfill their oaths. He forbade us to wear gold rings, to drink in silver (utensils), to use Mayathir (silken carpets placed on saddles), to wear Al-Qissi (a kind of silken cloth), to wear silk, Dibaj or Istabraq (two kinds of silk).

 Volume 7, Book 70, Number 553:

Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:

Allah's Apostle ordered us to do seven things and forbade us to do seven other things. He forbade us to wear gold rings, silk, Dibaj, Istabriq, Qissy, and Maithara; and ordered us to accompany funeral processions, visit the sick and greet everybody. (See Hadith No. 104)

 Volume 8, Book 74, Number 253k:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:

A man asked the Prophet, "What Islamic traits are the best?" The Prophet said, "Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know."

 We see in these Hadith that the Prophet ordered us to greet people. He did not specify a limit as to whom we should greet. However, when we look at other Hadith we see that Muslims are not to initiate greetings with the People of the Book…

 Saheeh Muslim

Book 026, Number 5389:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.

 Book 026, Number 5390:

This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Suhail with the same chain of transmitters but with a slight variation of wording. The hadith transmitted on the authority of Waki', the words are 'When you meet the Jews." And in the hadith transmitted on the authority of Shu'ba, the words are: 'When you meet the People of the Book." And in the hadith transmitted on the authority of Jarir the words are:" When you meet them," but none amongst the polytheists has been mentioned explicitly by name.

Abu Dawud

Book 41, Number 5186:

Narrated AbuHurayrah:

Suhayl ibn AbuSalih said: I went out with my father to Syria. The people passed by the cloisters in which there were Christians and began to salute them. My father said: Do not give them salutation first, for Abu Hurayrah reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not salute them (Jews and Christians) first, and when you meet them on the road, force them to go to the narrowest part of it.

It is possible that the Prophet only meant it for the Jews as we can see in the Hadith above because the Jews were known to have said ‘death be upon you and therefore it was a way for Muslims to show their disapproval of them.

 The Prophet most likely gave the commands to greet everybody at first and then when the problem of Jews coming along saying ‘death upon you’, the Prophet would have had to reverse his judgment.

 It is unknown why the Prophet issued the order as to why Muslims shouldn’t greet nonbelievers first.  The Prophet also gave other orders as to whom who should greet who first…

 Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 250:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "The young should greet the old, the passer by should greet the sitting one, and the small group of persons should greet the large group of persons. "

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 252:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The riding person should greet the walking one, and the walking one should greet the sitting one, and the small number of persons should greet the large number of persons."

 Volume 8, Book 74, Number 252e:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The younger person should greet the older one, and the walking person should greet the sitting one, and the small number of persons should greet the large number of persons."

 Saheeh Muslim

Book 026, Number 5374:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The rider should first greet the pedestrian, and the pedestrian the one who is seated and a small group should greet a larger group (with as-Salam-u-'Alaikum).

 As there is some wisdom to the why the Prophet had ordered why certain individuals greet others first there must be some wisdom as well behind why non-Muslims should greet Muslims first.

 Imam Malik R.A.  was of the opinion that it’s not that big of a problem if a Muslim did greet a non-Muslim first….

 MALIK MUWATTA

Book 53, Number 53.2.3:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Dinar that Abdullah ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a jew greets you, and says 'Death to you' (as-samu alaykum) say, 'And to you.' "

Yahya said, "Malik was asked whether a person who greeted a jew or christian, should apologise for it. He said, 'No'."

Lets take a look at the opinions of scholars about all the issues discussed…

A group of the early generation of Muslims said that you should reply back saying ‘Alaykum Assalam’ just like how you would reply back to a Muslim, and others using God’s statement stating that you should greet and Al Maroudi said that the opinion of some of the Shafi’s is that you should not say ‘Rahamatullah’ (and mercy of Allah be upon you), and should be done at all times, and on the authority of Ibn Abbas and A’lqama that it should be done only at a time of necessity, and on Awzaa’ee: If you greet then the righteous have greeted, and if you left then they left and a group of scholars said: Their greetings should not even be replied back to, and some of them said it is a differentiation between the Dhimmis and enemies of war.

Imam Nawawi has in his commentaries…

The scholars have agreed that a response should be given if the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) give greetings, but it should not be said to them: “Wa Alaykum Assalam”, and only say: “Wa Alaykum”

 Another group said that we are obliged to begin greetings with them.

 And some of our companions said: It is disliked to greet them first, but not forbidden, and this is weak as well because the Prophet had forbidden it. So it is forbidden to greet them first, and Al Qadi said that you should only greet them first if there is a need or reason to, and this is the opinion of Alqama and Nakha’ee.

 And some of our companions said: You should reply back saying ‘Wa Alaykum Assalam”, but not “Wa Rahamatullah”, says Maaroodi and this is weak because it contradicts the Hadith and God knows best.

 Our companions said: The Dhimmi is not left to walk in the middle of the pathway, he should be forced to walk on its sides if the Muslims are walking through, if the pathway is not crowded then it is okay (for them to walk in the middle of the pathway), and the forcing them to the sides should not be done as to let him be in a congested and uncomfortable position, and that he should not hit a wall, and God knows best.

 Imam Malik has in his commentary…

And it is narrated on Al Sha’bi that he said to a Jew: “Wa Alaykum Assalam Wa Rahmatullah” so it was said to him: You told a Jew “Wa Rahamatulla” (and mercy of Allah be upon you)? So he replied back saying: Isn’t he living under the mercy of Allah? And some other people said that you should say “Wa Alaykh Assalam” (and on you be peace) by saying “Siilam”

 Awn Ma’bood has in his commentary…

 And Ibn Maalik said: meaning don’t leave them walking the main pathway if it is in a situation of crowdedness but if the pathway was empty and not crowded then it is okay.

 Conclusion.
             To sum it all up, there are different opinions. Some may think that the Prophet only ordered the rules of greeting the non-Muslims for that particular time because of the tension between them and the majority believes that it is still applied to this day.  Muslims could greet non-Muslims first but not with the Islamic greeting. He could say eg. Hello, good morning etc.

 Even if a non-Muslim tells a Muslim the Islamic greeting, the Muslim is still returning the peace of God upon him. So there is nothing offensive in the reply anyway. The Prophet probably stated that Muslims should return the greeting to other Muslims in a better way to increase the love and brotherhood within the Muslim community. This could be a special greeting that only Muslims should do for each other just like how both Paul and Peter urged first-century Christians to greet each other with holy kisses (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14) and God knows best.

 "Have fun praying and getting ready for the Day of Judgment coz that day will NOT be fun :) P.S.: don’t forget to make dua  for me.

 (a reminder, a reminder for you and for me to give salaams to our fellow Believers  as a means to attain purity.)