Tag Archives: meaning

The Significance of the Salām

Both Muslims and Jews greet each other with prayers of peace, yet we must ask, what is the significance of the salām and what does it mean?

“And if you are faithful and mindful ˹of Allah˺, you will receive a great reward.” – Qurʾān 3:279d (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

“Is there any reward for goodness except goodness?” – Qurʾān 55:60 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

These āyāt teach a profound lesson that many miss. When we give the Salām (i.e. when you greet with “as-salāmu ‘alaykum [may the peace of God be upon you], and reply with “wa ‘alaykumus salām/ wa ‘alaykum as-salām [the greeting of prayer is returned; meaning: and upon you the peace of God]) you’re doing several things at once:

1. Making a du‘a for someone (that Allāh, who is As-Salām from Qurʾān 59:23 grants them peace).

2. Fulfilling the command of Allāh to make du‘a:

“Your Lord has proclaimed, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you.” – Qurʾān 40:60 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

3. Obeying the command of Allāh to give the Salām:

“However, when you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting ˹of peace˺ from Allah, blessed and good. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so perhaps you will understand.” – Qurʾān 24:61 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

4. When you reply to the Salām you get the reward of also praying for the other person.

5. When you reply you fulfilll the command of Allāh:

“And when you are greeted, respond with a better greeting or at least similarly. Surely Allah is a ˹vigilant˺ Reckoner of all things.” – Qurʾān 4:86 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

6. You’re making dhikr (remembrance of God) of Allāh, reminding others to remember Allāh, and obeying the command to remember Allāh from the Qurʾān:

“˹Always˺ remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him wholeheartedly.” – Qurʾān 73:8 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

Imagine just by giving (or returning) something as simple as the Salām that you are fulfilling 7-8 commands of Allāh that are worthy of reward from Him.

Hence, Allāh declares:

“And We have certainly made the Quran easy to remember. So is there anyone who will be mindful?” – Qurʾān 54:17 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

And:

“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.” – Qurʾān 99:7 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran).

This is the beauty and depth of our Islām as found in something so simple as the Islamic greeting, yet it is so rewarding! Such a teaching can also be found in Judaism and Christianity. Jews traditionally greet each other with “shalom aleichem” (which means ‘peace unto you‘), even God in Judges 6:23 is said to have used a form of it as well. In Christianity it seems to have certainly been a greeting which Jesus the son of Mary is said to have used:

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” – Luke 24:36 (NIV).

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” – John 20:19 (NIV).

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  John 20:21 (NIV).

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” – John 20:26 (NIV).

There is even a command from Jesus to his disciples, which is very similar to the command the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave to his companions:

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ – Luke 10:5 (NIV).

While this practise is preserved by Muslims and Jews, most evangelical Christians do not keep this practise, though the Catholic Church keeps some form of this tradition in the rite of peace, but usually this specific phrase is not used and the rite involves shaking of the hands or hugging. The Salām then, is something beautiful, rewarding and meaningful, it is a simple practise but one which invokes the peace of God upon all of His creation.

And Allāh knows best.

Easter Message: Death has Dominion, Mastery and Power over the Christian God

It’s Easter, so today you’d be seeing a lot of celebrations over God’s “victory over death”. Slogans en masse such as, “He is Risen!” Perhaps though, one of the most popular verses of the Bible one would see is as follows:

  • For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. – Romans 6:9 (NIV).
  • We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. – Romans 6:9 (ESV).
  • knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. – Romans 6:9 (NASB).
  • because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. – Romans 6:9 (HCSB).

That last line is of great interest. If death no longer rules over God, does it mean that death at one point have power, dominion, mastery, rule over God? Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, says of this passage:

“death hath no more dominion over him: it once had dominion over him; it held him under its power for a time, according to the divine determination”

If God is all powerful, then how is it possible for death to be greater than God, to have power and mastery over God? Some Christians have tried to explain this by saying that God allowed Himself to “temporarily surrender” His own dominion over death, but this leads us to the inevitable problem of the Christian God losing one of its attributes, thus rendering God, powerless. What’s worse is, if God gave up His power over death, and then death overcame God – it would stand to reason that death would be more powerful than God and thus God could never “defeat” death.

In conclusion, this passage is vital for a Muslim’s da’wah to Christians. They quote it and share it, which makes it easier for us to reach out to them. This passage leads to unsettling beliefs for the Christians, God sets up rivals to Himself, God loses essential attributes, God is no longer all powerful, or at the least it can lead them to denying the hypostatic union (two natures in Christ, one divine, one human), by them arguing that death had power over one of the natures – the human or the divine, which is in itself blasphemy since the natures are unified and it is heresy to split them apart.

In contrast, in Islam, God is the master of life and death:

“How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.” – Qur’an 2:28.

and Allah knows best.

The Verse of the Sword

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

The following commentary was provided by SeekersGuidance:

The Verse of the Sword [9:5] and Abrogation

Imam Suyuti specifically discusses this verse in relation to other verses of peace, patience, and forgiving. He explains that, contrary to what some Imams believed, this is not a case of abrogation but rather of context. In certain situations, the verses of patience and forgiving apply, while in other situations the verse of the sword applies. No verse was completely abolished by another, but rather each has a specific context and applicability.

[Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]

This understanding is reinforced by the eminent jurist and legal theorist Imam Zarkashi in his masterful work on Qur’anic sciences, “Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an.” He explains that many commentators of the Qur’an were incorrect in their understanding that the Verse of the Sword abrogated the various verses of patience and forbearance. This is because “abrogation” entails a complete termination of a legal ruling, never again to be implemented. This is definitely not the case with these verses. Rather, each verse entails a particular ruling conjoined to a particular context and situation. As circumstances change, different verses are to applied instead of others. No ruling is permanently terminated though, which is what is entailed by true abrogation.

He concludes his discussion by saying, “The verse of the sword by no means abrogated the verses of peace – rather, each is to be implemented in its appropriate situation.”

[Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]

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