Where is the ‘salam’ in Assalamu Alaykkum?

One of the biggest fears the Rasoolullah (SAW) had for his Ummah (a.k.a us) is that we would fight amongst ourselves based on differences of opinion. This is why he said that Islam has come to liberate the people from the ignorance of tribalism, nationalism, etc… Islam is about diversity, and tolerance.

assalamu alaykkum.” It’s something you hear from another Muslim (or from a savvy non-Muslim). But what does it mean actually? Are you parroting it just because it’s expected? Or do you actually mean it?

And what does it mean to actually mean it?

At the least, it means you don’t mean any harm to your brother/sister in Islam. At the most you are making dua that this person should be blessed with peace.

It a world filled with fear, mistrust, and hate, it is important to understand the hikmah (wisdom) behind this prayer to one another.

Why did the Rasoolullah (SAW) instruct his followers to use this instead of an Arabic equivalent of ‘Hello’ or ‘Greetings’?

When you actively train your heart to intend well to another person, you develop tolerance and unity, and, ultimately, brotherhood.

One of the biggest fears the Rasoolullah (SAW) had for his Ummah (a.k.a us) is that we would fight amongst ourselves based on differences of opinion. This is why he said that Islam has come to liberate the people from the ignorance of tribalism, nationalism, etc… Islam is about diversity, and tolerance.

But, wait.

Isn’t that exactly what we have fallen into, as an Ummah? Each group with one ideology is at each others’ throats. Islam doesn’t need enemies from the outside, Muslims themselves have become the enemy to each other. Even shaythan might feel envious of this state.

Please, for the sake of Allah (SWT), let go of any animosity you may have towards another point of view among Muslims. So long as they believe the Fard (compulsory) as Fard, and mustahab as mustahab, and nafl and nafl, then see them as someone who has said the same shahaadah (“la ilaha illallah muhammadur rasoolullah”) as you have, and belonging to your extended family. Don’t do shaythan’s work for him.

I speak from experience when I say, the day you intend salam on another person (Muslim or not) is the day you will begin to see salam in your own life.

We say salam to one another, but where’s the salam?

Don’t we want Allah SWT to judge us with Mercy? So, show mercy and compassion to one another in this life.

surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition; and when Allah intends evil to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector.” (13:11)

Are you better than the Best of Creators?

Do you feel that women can’t control their emotions? They talk too much? Seem irrational? Cry a lot? Take forever to say something? Can’t walk/run fast? Can’t do things men can? If so, do you also believe that you could have done a better job at their creation than Allah SWT?

Do you feel that women can’t control their emotions? They talk too much? Seem irrational? Cry a lot? Take forever to say something? Can’t walk/run fast? Can’t do things men can? If so, do you also believe that you could have done a better job at their creation than Allah SWT?

Do you feel that men don’t listen? Are stupid? One-track minded? Can’t control their ‘urges’? Quick to action? If so, do you believe that you could have done a better job at their creation than Allah SWT?

Do you feel cockroaches are hideous? Worms are nauseous? flies are a nuisance? rats are filthy? are some animals just plain ‘ugly’? Do you, then, feel that you could have done a better job than Allah SWT?

Do you feel that Chinese are ‘yellow’? and Indians are ‘brown’? If so, how would have created them better?

Do you feel you’re ‘fat’? or ‘skinny’? or your face looks ‘ugly’? If so, how would you have created yourself better than your Maker?

These feelings and thoughts are sometimes slipped in under the radar, but we must be very careful of such things. All of us, including the animals and the plants, have one fundamental commonality: we are all created by the same Maker. So, don’t fall into one of Shaythan’s traps.

The first racist was Shaythan. How? Shaythan felt superior to Adam AS because he was created with fire while, Adam AS was made from clay. There are many lessons from that incident, but I wanted to highlight just one in this article, insha Allah. To criticize anything based on naturally occurring characteristics is to question your Maker. Shaythan, was not only being proud and arrogant, he was questioning Allah SWT’s:

  1. Choice in His creation
  2. Wisdom in His creation

The next time Shaythan whispers such nonsense, ask yourself this, “Oh, so I could have done a better job than Allah SWT?”

“Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah , the best of creators.”

 (AL-MU’MINUN:14)

Forgive like Abu Bakr (RA)

Even after all this, if I couldn’t bring myself to forgive, then I need to ask myself: Is my grudge greater than entering Jannah (Paradise)? Greater than Allah’s (SWT) Mercy?

Who here knows how to actually forgive someone? to actually forgive ‘wholeheartedly’ , i.e., with no ill feelings or grudges afterwards, and be like nothing ever happened.

This was a question I was struggling with until recently. I wanted to forgive. Just didn’t know how to.

In Arabic, there are 2 sets of root letters that denote forgiveness. One of them is ʿafā (عَفَا). And one of Allah’s (SWT) names is Al Afuw. ‘Afûw is said to be like the desert wind completely obliterating footprints in the sand. This is an image of the wind blowing across the desert vastness and completely erasing all the tracks in the sand. It is as if no one had ever walked there. Such a fundamental image in the root of the word shows us that with al-‘Afuw, you do not even notice the fault.

So, ideally, if we are to forgive it must be like there’s no trace of any fault, whatsoever, left in our hearts.

How on earth are we to do that??

Well, this is what I discovered, by the Will of Allah, and pray that it helps you realize what I did, and help you move forward in life by letting go of all the baggage we’ve accumulated.

  1. Learn about Hellfire and how horrible it is. We may joke about it by saying things like, ‘Go to Hell!’ or ‘See you in Hell,’ but it’s no laughing matter. I, for one, would not like to even spend one second in it, let alone go anywhere near it. If there’s any goodness left in my heart I’d not wish such a horrible fate on anyone. Not even my sworn enemy.
  2. I would want Allah SWT to spare me from such a fate by seeking His forgiveness. By forgiving someone, as per the metaphor of  ‘Afûw, I am eligible to earn His Forgiveness and Mercy. Allah knows best, but what if that one instance of mercy on my part is my ticket into Paradise (Jannah)? And what is better than Allah’s (SWT) mercy?
  3. Also, the only being who’ll never want any Son of Adam to escape Hellfire is Shaitan. By holding onto grudges I am putting myself extremely close to his character (sunnah) of seeking vengeance, and wishing ill on others.
  4. Even after all this, if I couldn’t bring myself to forgive, then I need to ask myself: Is my grudge greater than entering Jannah (Paradise)? Greater than Allah’s (SWT) Mercy?

Mercy is a fundamental aspect of Islam. When Allah SWT suggested that it was better for Abu Bakr (RA) to forgive Mistah for the Al Ifk incident which involved his own daughter, A’isha (RA), it highlights the importance of mercy and forgiveness in Islam. Nothing is greater than Allah’s (SWT) Mercy.

Forgive others, wholeheartedly, and earn Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness for yourself.