Now, did you reply “WALIKUMASSALAAM” after reading that first line?
How many of say you actually say Salaam and don’t get a reply back? Or worse, how many of you are the ones who don’t reply?
Saying Salaam to a fellow Muslim is Sunnah, and replying to it is Wajib (compulsory). Nowadays, we are so caught up with western culture, we say “Hey, what’s up? How are you?” upon meeting someone. And when we depart, we say, “Alright, take care! Bye!”
Have we forgotten our own culture? Have we forgotten our distinct identity as Muslims? Even when you enter someone’s house (or your own) you should enter by saying Salaam. Even if no one is in there, it increases barakah (blessing). Don’t hesitate to be the first to Salaam whenever you see a fellow Muslim; whether you know them or not.
This post is inspired by a lecture given by Shaikh Rafiq Sufi on this topic. He mentioned that some people wait for someone else to say. Even if someone is a “Chaudhry” or a “Khan” (or other common Muslim last names) they won’t say Salaam unless someone else has offered it to them. It perhaps make them feel subconsciously superior. Or they are ashamed to highlight their own religiosity by being the first to say it; for fear of being seen as un-Canadian and fresh-off-the-boat.
Apart from the issue of actually saying Salaam, there are some who mess it up when they do say it. Instead of “ASSALAAMOALAIKUM” they rush it and say, “slaamalaikum”. Or, they say “Allahfiz”, or “Khudafiz” instead of “Allah Hafiz” and “Khuda Hafiz” ALLAH/KHUDA means “God”, and HAFIZ means “the protector.” Therefore the complete phrase means, “Allah the Protector”. This is a very strong sentiment which should not be mispronounced.
Are we really that caught up with our lives that we can’t even spare a few extra seconds to say the name of GOD properly? We have the time to walk down the street or the halls of school between classes and say, “Yo what’s up, how’s it going”, but not say a proper Salaam? Or maybe it’s not a time issue at all. Are you embarrassed? And if so: of what? Think long and hard about what stops you from saying InshaAllah, or Salaam or MashaAllah in front of non-Muslims or other Muslims.
Yes, we reside, study and work in the west. Yes, our lives are here. But our culture and our faith is not something we should modernize completely. Or else there are no roots left to hold on to.
Please note that there are also some restrictions on saying Salaam. You need not say it when you are in the mosque, or when someone is eating. This is because we say Salaam to remember Allah. When in the masjid, you are already communicating with the Lord. Thus, by saying Salaam, we are interrupting that mental state of being. Secondly, we don’t want someone to choke and die; so there are practical reasons to avoid opening your mouth to say Salaam while eating.
It’s hard to get rid of habits we’ve developed for so long. But we have to be strong to re-build what’s been lost over the years. If you say it with your head held high, it becomes cool, not F.O.B-by. For example: due to the Algerian immigrant wave in France, barakah has become a French synonym for luck, used in non-Muslim vocabulary. In this way, the words we are sometimes embarrassed to say can become unique and special if only we dare to use them. Your language becomes your tag; and it stands as a method of communication with the rest of the Ummah; like a special tongue for an extraordinary club. Remember, we get only sawab for saying Salaam; so we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.