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As-salamu alaykum (Arabic: ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ, as-salāmu ʿalaykum, [as.sa.laː.mu ʕa.laj.kum]) is a greeting in Arabic that means "Peace be upon you". The salam is a religious salutation among Muslims when greeting, though it is also used by Arabic speakers of other religions, such as Arab Christians, as well as by Pakistanis who speak Hindi-Urdu (they only use the word salám as a greeting rather than the full Arabic phrase). The typical response to the greeting is wa ʿalaykumu s-salām (وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ, [wa.ʕa.laj.ku.mu‿s.sa.laː.mu]), "And peace be upon you, too." The complete phrase is as-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-raḥmatu -llāhi wa-barakātuhū (ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ, [as.sa.laː.mu ʕa.laj.kum wa.raħ.ma.tu‿ɫ.ɫaː.hi wa.ba.ra.kaː.tu.huː]), "Peace be upon you, as well as the mercy of God and his blessings."
This greeting appears in greatly abbreviated forms in many languages as some variant of salām (سَلَام, cf. Persian [sæ.lɒːm]). Among Christians, during Mass, the priest and the congregation often use the salutation, "peace be with you."
The phrase is normally pronounced according to local dialects of speakers and is very often shortened.
The expression commonly uses the second person plural masculine, even when used to address one person. It may be modified by choosing the appropriate enclitic pronoun to address a person in the masculine and feminine singular form, the dual form, or the feminine plural form. The conjugations are as follows (note: according to the standard pronunciation rules of Classical Arabic, the last short vowel in each word is not pronounced in pausa):
|ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ||وَعَلَيْكَ ٱلسَّلَامُ|
|as-salāmu ʿalayka||wa ʿalayka s-salāmu|
|ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكِ||وَعَلَيْكِ ٱلسَّلَامُ|
|as-salāmu ʿalayki||wa ʿalayki s-salāmu|
|ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمَا||وَعَلَيْكُمَا ٱلسَّلَامُ|
|as-salāmu ʿalaykumā||wa ʿalaykumā s-salāmu|
|ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ||وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ|
|as-salāmu ʿalaykum||wa ʿalaykumu s-salāmu|
|ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُنَّ||وَعَلَيْكُنَّ ٱلسَّلَامُ|
|as-salāmu ʿalaykunna||wa ʿalaykunna s-salāmu|
A third-person variant, ʿalayhi as-salām, "peace be upon him", is often used by Muslims for prophets other than Muhammad and other holy personalities, such as angels.
It is also preferred to use the greeting when arriving and also while leaving. It was reported that Abu Hurairah said "When one of you joins a gathering, let him say 'Peace'. When he wants to get up and leave, let him say 'Peace'. The former is not more important than the latter" (Hasan hadith reported in Jami' at-Tirmidhi).
- According to several hadiths, Prophet Muhammad was asked who should begin the greeting and he said, "The one who is riding should greet the one who is walking and the one who is walking should greet the one who is sitting and the smaller group should greet the larger group" (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6234; Muslim, 2160).
- It is also stated that one should give the Salam greeting upon entering a house. This is based upon a verse of the Quran: "However, when you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting ˹of peace˺ from Allah, blessed and good. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so perhaps you will understand." (An-Nur 24:61).
The phrase appears a total of 7 times in the Quran, each time as salamun ʿalaykum (Arabic: سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ). In Classical Arabic, used in the Qur'an and early Hadith manuscripts, the phrase is spelled as ٱلسَّلَٰمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَٰتُهُ. In Rasm, it is written as السلم علىکم ورحمٮ الله وٮرکٮه.
وَإِذَا جَآءَكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُۥ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوٓءًۢا بِجَهَالَةٍۢ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُۥ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ
“When those who have faith in Our signs come to you, say, ‘Peace to you! Your Lord has made mercy incumbent upon Himself: whoever of you commits an evil [deed] out of ignorance and then repents after that and reforms, then He is indeed All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.’”
- Surah Al-A'raf (7), Ayah 46:
وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌۭ ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌۭ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّۢا بِسِيمَاهُمْ ۚ وَنَادَوْا۟ أَصْحَابَ ٱلْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
“And there will be a veil between them. And on the Elevations will be certain men who recognize each of them by their mark. They will call out to the inhabitants of paradise, ‘Peace be to you!’ They will not have entered it, though they would be eager to do so.”
- Surah Ar-Ra'd (13), Ayah 24:
سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُم بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ ۚ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى ٱلدَّارِ
“‘Peace be to you, for your patience.’ How excellent is the reward of the [ultimate] abode!”
- Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 32:
ٱلَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ ٱلْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
“Those whom the angels take away while they are pure. They say [to them], ‘Peace be to you! Enter paradise because of what you used to do.’”
- Surah Maryam (19), Ayah 47:
قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّۭا
“He said, ‘Peace be to you! I shall plead with my Lord to forgive you. Indeed He is gracious to me.’”
- Surah Al-Qasas (28), Ayah 55:
وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا۟ ٱللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا۟ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي ٱلْجَاهِلِينَ
“And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it and say, ‘Our deeds belong to us, and your deeds belong to you. Peace be to you. We do not court the ignorant.’”
- Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 73:
وَسِيقَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوْا۟ رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى ٱلْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَآءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَٱدْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ
“Those who are wary of their Lord will be led to paradise in throngs. When they reach it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, ‘Peace be to you! You are welcome! Enter it to remain [forever].’”
Other variants, such as salamun ʿalā (سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ), or the term salam (سَلَام) alone is also mentioned in several other Ayahs of the Qur'an.
Usage by non-Arabic speakersEdit
- In Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, Salâm (سلام) is used alone more frequently, with occasional use of Salam-o aleykom. Goodbye is supplanted by a Khudâ hâfez (Persian: خدا حافظ), meaning "with the protection of God", with the occasional use of beh salâmat (به سلامت), meaning "[go] with peace".
- In Albania and Kosovo, a diminutive form in the Albanian language, Selamun Alejkem or Selamun Alejqum is rarely used, the 'q' being a voiceless palatal stop typical of Balkan Turkish and Thracian Turkish phonology.
- In Amharic, the native Amharic term Selam is used in place of Tadias, which is the equivalent of "What's up".
- In Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, many religious people use this statement and shake hands and it is the same for saying "goodbye"; more secular and non-religious people say Selam as an equivalent to "Hello" or "Hi". However, many Turks pronounce it differently as "Selamün aleyküm".
- In Pakistan, the greeting is also associated with shaking right hands and is also often accompanied with a hug when meeting infrequently (only between the same gender). In some places, people put a hand on their heart as they shake your hand and greet. Also, the full greeting is preferred versus the shorter greeting, "salam". Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda Hafiz" (secular/less formal or to an acquaintance) or "Allah Hafiz" (less secular/generally to strangers, formal), both of which mean "May God keep you safe".
- In India, the greeting mostly among Muslims is a simple handshake or hug, As-salamu alaykum or the shorter greeting "Salam" is used in informal situations. Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda hafiz" (secular/less formal or to an acquaintance) or "Allah hafiz" (less secular/generally to strangers, formal), both of which mean "May God keep you safe".
- In Bangladesh, Assalamu alaikum (Bengali: আসসালামু আলাইকুম) is the most common Muslim greeting. Some Muslims greet their elders with these words whilst raising their right hand to the forehead.
- In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Assalomu aleykum is used as an informal greeting.
- In Indonesia, the greeting is usually accompanied with a kind of two-handed "handshake", whereby the shaker's palms remain closed, and the fingers alone open to admit the other's proffered hand – which briefly touches the proffered's fingers or fingertips alone. In this way more adherent males and females may greet through touching – but remain true to the Islamic or cultural teachings forbidding physical contact between the genders. Occasionally, the right hand will touch the left breast or heart area after this. In Indonesia's Javanese/Sasak culture, a remnant of feudalism is retained, where an elder's proffered right hand is taken and pressed briefly against the forehead. Some may instead briefly kiss the hand or the main ring. This is very common for young children to greet older relatives (of their parents' age, though, on occasion, if very polite children, younger). In slang words, this greeting is sometimes referred as "samlekom".
- Shortening the greeting to acronyms, such as A.S., As'kum (in Malaysia), or AsA is becoming common amongst Internet users in chat rooms and by people using SMS. This trend is similar to writing (S) or SAWS in place of ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam.
- In Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus, Salam Aleykum is used to say hi.
- In Senegal which has a majority of Muslims with Sufi-orientation, it is a common greeting. Spelled and pronounced in Wolof: "(a)sala maaleykum", and the reply "maa lekum salaam."
- In Xinjiang, China, "Essalam eleykum" is used as a greeting by Uyghurs, and the reply is "We'eleykum essalam".
- In Portuguese, the expression "salamaleque" gained a totally distinct and curious meaning: because of the habit of Arabic cultures to bow down and wave the hand from the front ahead in greeting a person, the expression "salamaleque" is applied to exaggerated movements or acts in order to appear to be formal or entertaining or even fancy. "Os rapazes chegaram cheios de salamaleques". "Salamelecco" has the same meaning also in Italian.
- In Israel or among Hebrew speakers, Shalom aleichem Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shālôm ʻalêḵem) is a greeting in meaning "peace be upon you." The response is aleichem shalom ("unto you peace") (Hebrew: עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם).
- "Sayings of the Messenger (s.a.w) - Sahih Al-Bukhari- www.Ahadith.net". www.ahadith.net. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
- ""As-Salaamu-Alaikum" and "Wa-Alaikum-as-Salaam"". Ccnmtl.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- Duerksen, Darren Todd (2015). Ecclesial Identities in a Multi-Faith Context: Jesus Truth-Gatherings (Yeshu Satsangs) among Hindus and Sikhs in Northwest India. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-62564-655-2.
But they prefer “jai masih ki.” Or older people prefer “salaam.” ... In the northwest, as elsewhere in India, people's form of greeting often identifies the community from which a person comes. Because of this, Christians are often taught to say "Jai Masih ki" as a distinct form of greeting.
- Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid. "Is it mustahabb for one who gets up to leave a gathering to say salaam to those who are still sitting?". IslamQA.info.
- "As Salaamu Alaikom?". Archived from the original on 2010-11-20.[unreliable source?]
- "Surat An-Nur [24:61] - The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم". Quran.com. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- Friedman, Victor A. "Balkan Turkish in Macedonia and Adjacent Areas" (PDF). University of Chicago: 12. Retrieved 18 December 2019. Cite journal requires
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- Enamul Haq (2012). "Customs and Traditions". In Islam, Sirajul; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "shalom aleichem". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- "shalom aleichem". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
- Dovid Zaklikowski. "The Jewish Hello". Chabad.org. Retrieved July 28, 2016.