The ettiquettes of Salaam


We should form a habit of making Salaam. It is mentioned in the Hadith, “Spread Salaam amongst you.” The Arabic word used in the Hadith for spreading Salaam is “Afshus Salaam.” The same word is used to spread a secret. We are taught not to expose the secret of another person which is quite easy nowadays through the social media, wattsup, etc. If anyone wants a secret to be spread faster than TV, internet and social media, simply tele woman that I am informing you of a secret but don’t inform anyone. Since we have understood how a secret spreads, in this manner we were supposed to spread Salaam.


There are 3 stages of Salaam. One is a verbal Salaam where we utter the words ‘Assalamualaikum.’ The reply should be in accordance to the greeting. In other words, if the greeter had greeted by saying Assalamualaikum then one is permitted to reply by saying “Walaikum-us-Salaam Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.” If the greeter added the words “Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu” then these words must be added in the reply as well.


The second stage of Salaam is Musafaha which is shaking of hands. The 3rd level of Salaam is Mu’aanaqah (embracing the other). We meet one another on a daily basis if we are living in one house, then we should make Salaam when we come from the bedroom to the kitchen, etc. The verbal Salaam should be made common. There isn’t any need to shake hands.


When two individuals are having a conversation and we are passing by then Salaam shouldn’t be made to them. If you make Salaam to them it becomes Waajib upon them to reply. You will upset their conversation. Similarly, if a person is reading the notice board and you make Salaam then you will be distracting him. Also, we shouldn’t greet a person that is busy in conversation on the phone. Always, see the occasion and then greet. 


Mufti Rafi Uthmani Saheb D.B. had delivered a lecture in Pakistan on the occasion of an Islaahi Jalsa. He mentioned that people want to shake hands without looking whether it is the appropriate time to do so or not. A person carrying parcels is getting on the bus or getting off a bus and you want to shake hands with such a person. Another person was busy pouring tea with the jug in one hand and the cup and saucer in the other hand. Just then a person comes along makes Salaam and wants to shake hands. These are not occasions to make Salaam by shaking hands. These Aadaab are very important.   


We shouldn’t shake hands with people that we meet on a daily basis. Yes, if we meet somebody after some time then we should make Musafaha and shake hands. Once Hadrat Mufti Mahmood Saheb R.A. had visited us and gave us a talk at the Darul Uloom. After the talk I asked Hadrat the method of making Musafaha. He asked for my hands and practically demonstrated it. The word Musafaha is from the Arabic word Safhatun which means that the two palms must meet. Some people press the thumb. The Ulema have written that Khidr n does not have a thumb bone and he is Mustajabut Daawaat (one who’s Duas are readily accepted). This is actually a test for Buzurgs, the people are checking whether there is a thumb bone or not. If not, it means that it is Khidr and and we will request him for Duas.


The word Mu’aanaqa comes from the Arabic word Unuq which means the neck. In reality the necks must meet but we make the stomachs meet or the chests meet. Lately, one person wanted to make Mu’aanaqah and he done it so wildly that my specs flew out. He was just not interested, as long as he made his Mu’aanaqah. Our Sheikh R.A used to say that Mu’aanaqah must be made on the right side as Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam used to like doing everything on the right. Embracing a person should only be done once and not thrice as done by certain people. Some people let the cheeks meet and just kiss on the cheeks. The people of Peshawar normally make Mu’aanaqah in the correct manner where they bent forward slightly and embrace each other. There is nerve that runs there which conveys love. If the nerves of the two brothers meet, then love between two brothers will be created.


These matters should be corrected. Many people make mistakes in these matters. We should see the occasion and do things according to the Aadaab. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq.