Wednesday, May 6, 2009

*!*Responding to the Salaams of the Jews & Christians *!*


Responding to the Salaams of the Jews & Christians
Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen Al-Albaanee
Source: Akhlaaqul-Islaam, Tape #1 of 9,
Translated exclusively for

[ In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, may His Salaah and Salaam be upon his final Messenger, to proceed... ]

In our last lesson we discussed the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who heard the Jews greeting the Messenger of Allaah saying, 'As-saamu 'alaykum' ('Death to you'). While the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) simply returned it saying, 'wa 'alaykum' (and to you also), 'Aa'ishah added to it, saying, "and to you also, and the Curse of Allaah and His Anger." [1]

There remains an important Sharee'ah ruling related to the hadeeth. After I mentioned that it is not permissible to deal harshly with a non-Muslim living under Islaamic rule, I mentioned that it is also not permissible to be overly leniently with them when they go against the Sharee'ah.

I also mentioned that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) prohibited us from initiating the greeting with them. So if the affair is like this, then this shows us that the Muslim is required to interact with the non-Muslim under Islaamic rule within the constraints of the Sharee'ah and not out of one's emotions of love or anger.

So if a man from among the Jews and Christians greets us with the Islaamic greeting, saying, "As-salaamu 'alaykum," some people understand from this hadeeth that we return the greeting with 'wa 'alaykum' and nothing more. So is this correct or are there other details to consider?

If we look to another hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) found in Saheeh Muslim:

"Verily if the Jews greet you, and one of them says,

'As-saamu 'alaykum,' then say, 'wa 'alaykum.'" [2]

Upon inspection of the hadeeth, we find that the ruling here is dependant on a certain action, that is their saying, 'As-saamu 'alaykum.' This proves that our response to them in this circumstance must be, 'wa 'alaykum,' and the proper time and place for this abridged reply is when they say, 'As-saamu 'alaykum.' Our response could be understood as the Islaamic greeting or a reply to the Jews' curse.
As for when their greeting is clear and explicit, as is the case with some of them who interact with the Muslims nicely, they clearly pronounce the greeting saying, 'As-salaamu 'alaykum,' should we say, 'wa 'alaykum' or 'wa 'alaykumus-salaam'? Let us look to the Qur'aanic text [3]:

( If you are greeted then return the greeting with a better phrase or (at least) return it (the same way) )

Combining this verse and the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, we say that if their greeting was crystal clear, then we reply to it with the same clarity. But if it is not clear and we feel they may have said something else, then we only say, 'wa 'alaykum.'

[ And Allaah knows best. ]

This article was taken from BAKKAHnSourceet (


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