DISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic on Friday, 15 January 2016. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translator and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from God.
All praise is due to Allah, we thank and praise Him, we rely upon Him and we seek forgiveness from Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our own selves and from the bad of our deeds. He whom Allah guides, nobody can misguide; and he whom Allah leaves to go astray, nobody can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah alone having no partners and I bear witness that Mohammad PBUH is His slave and messenger.
In the Qur’an Allah describes those of sound intellect who recognise the truth when He SWT says:
‘’and those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined, those who fear Allah, and those who are fearful of the harshness of retribution’’Quran - Al-Raad (13:22)
So the people of sound intellect who accept the truth are those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined.
Allah left the term ‘joining what Allah commanded to be joined’ a loose term. He SWT did not specify any particular relationships – the term encompasses the full spectrum of human relationships: between husband and wife, parent and child, relatives within an extended family, neighbours with one another, work colleagues… All lawful human relationships in society which hold people together and make society strong, regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity. Allah commanded that these ties be maintained and strengthened.
In a Qudsi hadith, Allah says:
‘’My love is deserved by those who love each other in My sake, and My love is deserved by those who keep in touch for My sake, and My love is deserved by those who advise each other for My sake, and My love is deserved by those who visit one another for My sake, and My love is deserved by those who give each other generously for My sake… And those who love each other for My sake are seated upon pulpits of light - the prophets, the righteous and the martyrs all long for a position like theirs’’. Prophet Muhammad Qudsi Hadith (SAAW)
Islam encourages and promotes a society that is built on selfless love and caring and concern for one another - a society that is built on courtesy and noble manners. Unfortunately, the aforementioned Islamic value of maintaining and strengthening human ties is eroding away...
One manifestation of this, that is worth spending some time to reflect on, is the rapidly disappearing act of saying ‘Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullLahi wa barakaatuhu’ to our brothers and sisters when we meet each other or see each other in the street. And sometimes when we greet each other, we do not use the greeting of Islam, using other greetings instead. The greeting is a serious topic in Islam, and we are encouraged to excel in the way we greet others. Allah says:
‘’and if you are greeted with a greeting then respond back with a better greeting, or match it’’. Quran - Al-Nisaa (4:89)
And exceeding on the greeting that was given to you encompasses the tone with which you reply, or adding to it a beautiful prayer or an extra few words which convey respect and appreciation…
And it is recommended that the one who begins the greeting says ‘‘assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatulLahi wa barakaatuhu’’ (May Allah’s peach, mercy and blessings be upon you) and the one who replies should say ‘’wa ‘alaykum ussalaam wa rahmatulLahi wa barakaatuhu’’
A man once came to our beloved prophet Mohammad PBUH and said:
‘Assaalaamu alaykum’. The prophet PBUH replied and the man sat down and the prophet PBUH said ‘’ten good deeds. Another man came and said ‘assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatulLlah’’ and sat down, the prophet PBUH replied and said ‘’twenty good deeds’’. A third man came and said ‘’assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatulLahi wa barakaatuhu’’ to which the prophet PBUH replied and he sat down, and the prophet PBUH said ‘’thirty good deeds’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
Our beloved prophet Mohammad PBUH was passing through the mosque and he walked by a group of women who were sat down, so he raised his hand to greet them. This indicates that the prophet PBUH greeted both verbally and with his hand.
From the manners of greeting one another that our beloved prophet PBUH taught us is that the one who is riding a vehicle should greet the one who is walking, and the one who is walking should greet the one who is sitting, and the few in number should greet the bigger group. And that the best of us in the sight of Allah are the ones who are proactive and begin with the greeting. The prophet PBUH used to greet everyone he walked past and if he walked past a group of children he would greet them too. Such were his noble manners, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, and may Allah make us from amongst those who emulate him. Ameen.
Anas ibn Malik was once asked if the companions used to shake hands, so he replied that the prophet PBUH said:
‘’there are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands except that Allah forgives them before they part’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
And Aa’ishah- may Allah be pleased with her narrated:
‘’when Zaid ibn Harithah emigrated to Madinah, the prophet PBUH was in my house. Zaid knocked on the door and the prophet PBUH rushed to the door, and he hugged Zaid and kissed him’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
Our beloved prophet PBUH was once asked: who is the best Muslim? The prophet PBUH replied: feed others and greet with peace those whom you know and those whom you do not know. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
Genuinely spreading the greeting of Islam with love and sincerity has a profound impact on society. It has the potential to wipe away the ill feelings and heal the wounds that have been sown by personal grudges, polarising opinions, and sectarian tensions which are being stoked and incited and which are being manipulated to spread further destruction in the ummah and whittle away its resources and reverse any progress that is made.
The greeting of Islam is not just a phrase that is uttered: it is a prayer, it is a feeling of brotherhood, a positive emotion, a genuine smile on your face, an expression of respect and love. So it is not just a phrase that is verbalised.
On being gentle, Allah SWT commanded:
‘’and lower your wing in tenderness for the believers’’ Quran - Al-Hijr (15:88)
i.e. be gentle and kind with the believers. And He SWT also says:
‘’and if you were tough and harsh of heart, the people would have dispersed from around you’’. Quran - Aal-Umran (3:159)
Our beloved prophet PBUH said:
‘’do not belittle any form of good, even if it is simply meeting your brother with a relaxed and pleasant face’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
He PBUH also said:
‘’smiling in your brother’s face is charity’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
‘’whenever you enter any house, greet one another with a greeting of blessing and goodness as enjoined by Allah’’. Quran - Al-Noor (24:61)
And who is more deserving of these good manners than your own family? The prophet PBUH once advised Anas ibn Malik when he was a child, saying:
‘’my son, whenever you enter upon your family, greet them with peace, there will be blessing upon you and upon your family’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
So let us go back to this important aspect of our faith and bring it back into our lives. Let us make it a reason for us to enter Jannah. And finally, our beloved prophet PBUH said:
‘’by The One in whose Hands is my soul, you will not enter Jannah unless you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I guide you to something which, if you do, you will love one another? Spread the greeting of salaam amongst yourselves. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
May Allah guide us to what pleases Him and may He forgive us all. Ameen.
With that I conclude, and assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatulLahi wa barakaatuhu!