Etiquette of Salaam (Greeting)

(1) In a gathering where a talk or discussion is taking place, the person entering should not draw attention to himself by making salaam. He should not become an interference in the talk. He should lower his gaze and silently sit down. When later the opportunity arises, he may make Salaam.

(2) Adopt the practice of mutual Salaam. Whenever meeting a Muslim, say: ASSALAMU ALAIKUM. In reply say: WA ALAIKUMUS SALAAM. All other ways are baseless.

(3) When a person conveys the Salaams of another to you, reply: ALAYHIM WA ALAIKUMS SALAAM. This is best. If someone replies: WA ALAIKUMUS SALAAM, it will also suffice.

(4) One person of the group making Salaam will be representative of the group. His Salaam will be adequate for the group. Similarly, if from the gathering one person replied, it will suffice on behalf of the gathering.

(5) The one who initiates the Salaam obtains greater tawbah.

(6) When replying to the Salaam of a person, the Salaam should be made verbally, not by a sign of the hand or a nod of the head.

(7) Better repayment for a favour will be when the repayment is somewhat more than the act of favour rendered. Thus, the reply should be more than the Salaam (greeting). If ASSALAMU ALAIKUM was said, the better reply will be WA ALAIKUMUS SALAAM WARAHMATULLAAH. If WA BARAKAA TUHU is also added it will be an added merit.

(8) It is waajib (obligatory) to reply to the Salaam which is written in a letter. This reply may be in writing or verbally.

(9) The Fuqaha have said that in reply to the Salaam which is written in a letter, one may say ALAIK-UMUS SALAAM or even ASSALAMU ALAIKUM.

(10) In a letter in which a dua is written, the Salaam should be written first since this is the Sunnat method.

(11) Instead of writing or saying the Salaam, to say any other term or to adopt the greeting of any other community is bid’ah. Such an alien greeting is in fact alteration of the Shariah.

(12) A person who is engrossed in a conversation or in some work should not be greeted. The new-comer should not intrude with his hand-shaking. Such an act is uncultured and causes distress to others.

(13) Stand outside and proclaim the Salaam, then ask permission in any language. Use such terms which convey the full meaning. However, as far as the Salaam itself is concerned only the terms of the Shariah should be used.

(14) It is Makrooh to greet a person involved in Deeni or natural activity. Thus, to make Salaam to a person eating is Makrooh while it is not Makrooh to engage in conversation while eating.

(15) It is not permissible to bow and make Salaam.

(16) Before entering a house or any place of privacy it is necessary to seek permission. Do not enter without permission.

(17) When answering the call of nature neither reply to anyone’s Salaam nor offer Salaam.

(18) On promising to convey a person’s Salaam, it becomes waajib to do so, otherwise not.

(19) When giving salams  to the  elders adopt a low voice. Do not express yourself in such terms which convey arrogance or disrespect


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Boricua Muslimah

Graduate from Rutgers Newark. Journalist, photographer and videographer.

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