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Greetings to non-Muslims


Is it possible - under Islamic rules - to say " salam alikom " to non-Muslims ? Could a Muslim say " salam" before a Christian speaks to him ? Is it possible to say " good morning," or any non-Islamic salams? Gazakom Allaho khayran salam


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is not permissible to greet a non-Muslim by saying “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum” (peace be upon you) as this form of greetings is for Muslims only, and a Muslim should not initiate a greeting with the Christians or Jews. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , said: "Do not initiate greeting them (i.e. the Jews and Christians)." [At-Tirmithi] However, if they (the Christians and Jews) initiate greeting the Muslims with any kind of greeting, then the Muslims are permitted to respond to them with the same greeting and not add to that. Allaah Says (what means): {When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.}[Quran 4:86] Qataadah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him when interpreting the above verse, said, "{…greet in return with what is better…} is for Muslims, and, {…return it equally…} is for a free non-Muslims under Muslim rule."

As regards saying, "Good morning" and the like, then one should not initiate with it either. Abu-Daawood  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "I said to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him ‘Do you dislike that a man says to a free non-Muslim under Muslim rule, 'How are you?', 'How are you doing?', 'How do you feel', and the like?’ He replied: 'Yes, for me, this is more than just saying Salaam.’" However, if the Christian or Jew greets you in this way or the like, respond to him in the same way.

But if there is a Muslim among non-Muslims, one should greet them by saying Salaam while intending the Muslim brother as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did so when he passed by a group of Muslims and non-Muslims and he greeted them by saying Assalaamu 'Alaykum.

This is the principle. But if there is a dire need to initiate them with the greeting, then it is permissible to do so, Allaah willing, but one should not be too lax in this; rather, he should do so only in case of dire necessity or need.

Allaah Knows best.

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