The Beauty of ‘Salaam’

by Zainab Farooq 

We all can relate to the daily struggle of feeling disconnected from and lacking a soulful connection with our Creator as well as the people around us, whether they be our parents, friends or mere acquaintances. We look around and see the community disintegrated, characterized by moral ailments such as hate, jealousy and deceit. Does this ever make you wonder how and when did we let such hatred and intolerance break through the walls of peace and communal love? Wonder what really happened?

When I think about it, I wander aimlessly looking for a way to build back the wall; the wall that automatically blocks away all the moral ailments, creating for us an ideal world to live in. As I venture into this quest, I am struck by how unrealistic my goals are, how I wish to eradicate the evil, the ‘shaytan’ completely from the society when I know how it is bound to exist there, and not only exist without any consequences but exist in a way that it strives to drive us away from God, and to prevent us from building the Wall of protection against evil.

I feel helpless again. And I begin to wander, this time however, not aimlessly. This time I know that there are no magic solutions. I know that I cannot shun the evil out completely. I know that evil is bound to exist. I know that I cannot purify people’s hearts of hatred. But there is one thing I know, I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If the humankind is as fragmented as it is today, God has established for us ways to help us unite it back, to build mutual love.

I start looking for ways. And this is when I come across the beauty of Islam, by the way it has manifested great rewards not only in the Hereafter but also in this dunya for deeds as minute as saying “Assalamu ?Alaikum”. I am struck by how these few words, if inculcated into our daily lives with full realization of the power they hold, could turn this world of ours into a better place.

‘‘Assalamu ?Alaikum” literally translates as ‘May peace be upon you’. Imagine passing by an acquaintance you have barely talked to, and that person greets you with Salam accompanied by a smile etched on their face. This minute gesture builds around an aura of warmth and friendliness, hopefully translating into the way you greet other people. The Prophet S.A.W himself said that, “…shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will foster love amongst you? Spread Salam between yourselves.” (Sahih Muslim: 54).

As you start saying Salam frequently, you find yourself greeting people whom you knew but wouldn’t have talked to otherwise. In this way, you witness your shield of arrogance wither away, revealing your kindliness to the people around you, and more surprisingly, even to yourself. You watch yourself becoming more considerate, being mindful of your actions while you are constantly reminded of God’s ultimate presence in your mundane life. As you dwell deeper and deeper into this act, you realize your sins being washed away. You never knew how this seemingly insignificant act could lighten the weight of your countless sins off your shoulders. The Prophet S.A.W said, “When two Muslims meet (give Salam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other).” (Sunan Abi Dawud: 5212). So now after saying Salam, you feel light. You feel relieved. And when you think about all these strange feelings in solitude, you are moved to tears, as long after feeling distant from your Mighty Creator, you finally begin to feel His blessings upon you. You finally begin to feel the kind of solace that your soul had yearned for since a long time. And even if you find it hard to maintain that, your habit of sending and receiving blessings to and from other people by the virtue of this act of Salam keeps your faith intact and your heart at peace.

You then wonder how this act, if adopted by every Muslim, could help build back the destroyed wall that would keep all the moral ailments away. You wonder how people would be more kind and less boastful and at the same time, make this world a better place for all of us to live in. That, my readers, is the Beauty of Salam.