بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
…or “Wa Alaikum Assalam” (depending on whether you initiated the salaam or returned it).
1) Why should we say it?
Well, here are some reasons.
2) To whom should we say it?
Well, to every Muslim as it is their right. However, if a man is greeting a woman whom he is not a mahram to, or vice-versa, then that has a special ruling.
A reminder: It doesn’t matter whether you know the person or not. One of the signs of the Last Day is that people will greet only those whom they know:
إن من أشراط الساعة إذا كانت التحية على المعرفة
The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Verily, from the signs of the Hour is that the greetings will (only) be extended to acquaintances.” [As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, No. 648. Shaikhs Al-Albani, Ahmad Shakir and Muqbil Al-Wadiee (rahimahumullah) all authenticated it. You may check the Dorar results here.]
Subhan Allah, how many of us are guilty of this?
Tip: Try and initiate the salaam to a Muslim stranger (man to a man and woman to a woman) and see the response. You’ll see why the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) suggested spreading the salaam as a way of loving one another.
Also, read this short article on why initiating the greeting is more rewarding than reply to it.
3) Don’t be stingy.
Huh, you say?
What I mean by that is: Please use this greeting liberally. Use it to start your emails, your SMS messages, your phone conversations (can we get rid of “hello”?), etc. Oh and please remember to reply to it (in emails, SMS messages, comments on any of my posts, etc).
What I also mean by that is: Please type the whole thing and not “ASAK” or “As”. I’m sorry but that is not “Assalamu Alaikum”.
I have one question to the people who abbreviate this greeting: Do you think that you will get the same reward for typing “Asak” or “As” as someone who took the time and effort to type out the whole greeting? Just a thought…