Many of us have abandoned saying salam to one another, sometimes out of embarrassment or sometimes out of fear as calling attention to ourselves. We greet each other with hey and hi, and say goodbye with see you later and Ciao.
We have forgotten the reward that comes from saying salam first. We have forgotten what salam even means.
Assalamu alaikum means peace be upon you. And the return reply Walaikum asalam means and peace be upon you too. What could be more kind and heart-warming than a greeting like that?
By simply saying hello in Arabic, you are showering your Muslim brothers and sisters with Allah’s blessings. Imagine if we began every conversation, every new relationship, by sending blessings and peace upon one another. How wonderful that would be!
I know it can be tricky, especially living and working in the West. You are surrounded by non-Muslims who might look at you funny if you suddenly start saying Arabic phrases. I am guilty of this too. Sometimes it’s just easier to start with hey.
But remember the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet, remember the meaning of the words you are forgetting, and remember the reward that Allah has placed in that simply greeting.
So next time you see your friends, your family, or even a Muslim stranger on the street, smile, wave hello, and say salam.