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Nuseyba bintkab
04-03-2007, 02:59 PM
If a non-Muslim extends the 'Salaam' to a believer, should he return the 'Salaam'?


Yes, if a non-Muslims extends the greeting then [the believer] should return it. The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم , said:

"If a non-Muslim extends the 'Salaam' to you, say: 'Wa 'Alaykum'"

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, also said:

"Do not initiate the 'Salaam' with Jews and Christians."

This indicates that we respond to them if they initiate it. It is initiating it that is prohibited. As for responding, it is compulsory.

Fataawa Nur 'ala ad Darb: Ibn Baaz

Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim to return the greeting [of 'Salaam'] to someone who doesn't pray or to the 'People of the Book'?

Answer: Yes, it is permissible for a Muslim to respond with 'Salaam' if he was greeted by the 'People of the Book' or others because the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, ordered this. Rather, Allaah the Elevated said:

{When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.}

He did not say: "And if you were greeted by 'Muslims'." Rather it is general:

{When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.}

The Messenger of Allaah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said:

"If the 'People of the Book' extend the 'Salaam' to you say: 'Wa 'Alaykum'"

Based on this, if a non-Muslim greets us, we respond in the same manner that he/she greets us with. So if one says: 'As salaamu 'Alaykum' clearly when greeting us, we respond by saying 'Alaykum as Salaam'. If one says 'Ahlan wa Sahlan' we respond with 'Ahlan wa Sahlan', and if they say good morning we respond by saying good morning. We greet them in the same way that they greet us acting on the order of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic.

However, a person should be eager on calling non-Muslims to the religion of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, as much as possible, how many people were once disbelievers or atheists and were then blessed by Allaah with guidance through someone who returned the 'Salaam' to them. Meaning he responded by returning the 'Salaam' and made himself available and opened his heart to them until Allaah the Majestic guided them and they believed.
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