Where i live there are lots of Christians,Hindus and Sikhs. They also understand my language and we have good social relations.I was just wondering whether, as Muslims, we are allowed to say AssalamoAlaikum to them?
Muslims, wherever in the world they are, must be a source of peace and blessing for their surroundings.This exhibition of peace should begin with the greetings of ‘AssalamoAlaikum'(ie ‘peace be on you’ )with everyone irrespective of their religious associations.Our answer is based on the following arguments;
-Firstly, the Quran says;”When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally”[al-Nisa’ 4:86].The holy book has not restricted this greeting to muslims only.So,If Allah has encouraged you to return the greetings with better or at least with equal words why would He object to initiating the greetings?
-Secondly, in the Ahadith where prophet Muhammad(pbuh) has advised muslims to respond to the greetings of Jewish people with the words “Wa Alaikum” is because the jews of prophet’s era, out of their animosity towards the Prophet(pbuh) and the muslims, used to say”AssamoAlaikum”(leaving out’la’from “AssalamoAlaikum”). This “AssamoAlaikum” meant “death be upon you”.In response to this cursing of the Jews, there were incidents where Muslims had started cursing back at them. The Prophet actually discouraged the Muslims from cursing the Jews.The Prophet advised the Muslims to use such words in response to the greetings of the Jews that would only return their own greetings/cursings upon them. Thus, the words “Wa Alaikum”, which literally meant “the same (blessing/curse) be upon you too”.
-Thirdly,a hadith by Usama ibn Zaid says that The Messenger of Allah , passed by a company of Muslims, Mushriks(polytheists) and Jews and he gave them a salutation(Bukhari&Muslim).No where in the hadith prophet(pbuh) said that these salutations are for muslims only.
-Finally, the reason Prophet (pbuh), at the end of his ministry, opted to avoid saying “AssalamoAlaikum” to polytheists,Jews and Christians(as mentioned in narratives)was because they were rejectors of the true divine message of God in the presence of a messenger(Rasul) of God.These addressees were subjected to a divine punishment and this step by the prophet(pbuh) was an indication that they, due to their attitude, do not deserve to be blessed by the messenger of God. The commandment has nothing to do with the present day people of other faiths as none of us can say with any degree of authority that we have conveyed the message of Islam to the rest of humanity and that they have understood the message of Islam completely.
Keeping all the above in perspective Muslims must not have any inhibition greeting anyone with the established greetings of Islam.
Allah knows the best