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.

Shaitan’s Beef With Adam (AS) & Co.

The disgrace and humiliation he experienced is still strong to this day. And he made it his life’s mission to make us humans experience what he did, and send each and every one of Adam’s (AS) children to Hellfire. It’s his way of proving Allah wrong, nauzubillah.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim

We all know about the story of creation (of Adam Alayhissalam), or at least the gist of it, in many cases. Allah (SWT) creates Adam (AS), commands the angels to prostrate (and Iblees, not an angel). All except Iblees prostrate, and we all know what happened thereafter. Question is, why did he refuse to? After all the hard work and effort to be raised to the ranks of the angels, why go and shoot your own foot?

Well, it goes way before that.

So, most of the backstory that the Islamic scholars have got on Iblees are from Israelite narrations that don’t contradict with the teachings of Islam. I.e., stuff we can use, but with a pinch of salt to go.

A long time ago….

Anyways, there were creations of Allah (SWT) way before Adam & Co (i.e, humans). There were the Jinn (and certain mufassireen comment there were other creations as well). Allah knows best. The Jinn were mischief makers, in general, and caused much bloodshed and corruption on earth (now we know where the Angels got the idea that humans would repeat the cycle). Straying into Israelite narrations: So much so, that  Allah sent down an army of angels to deal with them. There was this Jinn fellow, however, whom some say was called Azazeel. Back then, this chap was a pious bro. So pious, that the angelic army sent to deal with the mayhem causing Jinn took notice of this solitary Jinn, worshiping Allah as He out to be.

Long story short, he (a Jinn) got to be among the ranks of Angels, while no space in the seven heavens were left except Azazeel had worshiped almighty Allah there. Being in the presence of Allah is no small feat. So take note of this bro’s piety. Imagine his Imaan levels! To be in the presence of ALLAH and His Angels!

Now that the rebellious Jinn were dealt with, Azazeel felt like going back to earth and set up shop and call other Jinn to the faith and feel all good about himself, etc… And he hoped that being the only creation with free will with such high rank and status, he’d be the most qualified, experienced and natural candidate for the post of Khalifah.

Getting back to the Quran and Sunnah, when Allah SWT announced to the angels that He’s going to make a Khalifah on earth, old azazeel (a.k.a. Iblees) felt so happy, but fell from his horse when he learnt that Allah was going to literally make one! In comes Adam (AS) and boom! rivalry and jealousy! & Mankind get sent to Earth.

Being passed over

We all can relate to this phenomenon of what Iblees experienced about being passed over for ‘promotion’. When you feel you’re next in line and out of the blue walks in this new guy and takes the place ‘meant’ for you! A good lesson to be learnt here about questioning the decree of Allah.

Bear in mind, however, the magnitude of the situation. This is no ordinary corporate office or school or some organization. This is no ordinary boss/leader you’re dealing with. This is Allah SWT. THE All Knowing, Creator of time, and The Most Wise. If Allah says Adam is fit for the job, then end of story. But Iblees, oh Iblees. Pride got the better of him. And from pride crept out jealousy, entitlement, resentment, hatred, and vengeful-ness. If you feel you know better than Allah, then watch out son. And that’s what Ibless got. He became Shaitan the most distanced from mercy (ar rajeem).

The Ultimate Revenge

Now, I hope, dear reader, you can understand the why of Shaitan’s animosity for Adam & Co. Animosity of such degree that he fails to see, after so many millennia, the error of his own logic. The disgrace and humiliation he experienced is still strong to this day. And he made it his life’s mission to make us humans experience what he did, and send each and every one of Adam’s (AS) children to Hellfire. It’s his way of proving Allah wrong, nauzubillah.

We see the signs of his vengeance even today. The trend of where we throw away our own dignity and morality; the prevalence of shamelessness and immorality; the widespread nature of war and insignificance of life on earth. We’re doing his job for him, and so gaily.

This is a reminder to me first and foremost, if we are to not play into his vision for humanity, then we must be aware of his traps and steer clear of them. And that’s a lesson for another time.

Assalamu alaykkum, warahmatullahi, wabarakathuhu