But how can there be anything more than what Salaam already is?
We say it is a greeting. It is the beginning of interaction, of a conversation. It is the gateway to further discourse and visiting.
What else is there to say after you have said it all in that one word – Salaam? What more can we say?
Does it occur to you that having said it, there isn’t much more anyone can say to anyone?
That Salaam is the real meat and the real substance of all conversation and interaction among human beings – that it is the be-all and end-all of everything – and that anything anyone can say thereafter is all by way of condiments and side dishes and small potatoes?
It is all by way of being mere fillers and embellishments and garnish?
The Beginning, the End
So, Salaam is the beginning and the end – the Alpha and the Omega – and all that is in between.
For one thing, it is what God Almighty gives you and sends you away with when you go to visit with him, every time you visit with him, no less than five times a day .
Actually a minimum of 11 times a day by my count, if you count the five Fard and the associated Sunnah with those five Fard. Did I get that right?
And in case you missed the point, Salaam is not just what he gives away. It is he – himself!
As-Salaam! That is him! It is God Almighty! None other!
Let us read up what Surah Al-Hashr has to say on this subject (59:22-24):
Huwallaahul-Ladhee Laa Ilaaha Illa Hoo!
‘Aalimul Ghaibi Wash-Shahaadah.
Huwallaahul-Ladhee Laa Ilaaha Illa Hoo!
Al-Malikul Quddoosus-Salaamul Mu’minul
Muhaiminul ‘Azizul Jabbaarul Mutakabbir!
Subhaanallahi ‘Ammaa Yushrikoon!
Huwallaahul Khaaliqul Baari-ul Musawwiru
Lahul Asmaa-ul Husnaa!
Yusabbihu Lahoo Maa Fis-Samaawaati wal-Ard,
Wa Huwal ‘Azeezul Hakeem!
How do you know it is not – Salaam is not – the key to the cosmic cascade of glory that this Aayat unfolds? Just like every other most beautiful name and attribute in this most wondrous divine combination of names, attributes, words and statements?
Noorun ‘Alaa Noor
Miracle upon miracle!
Aayat upon Aayah, each one of them!
Noorun ‘Alaa Noor, as the Qur’an puts it.
So, how can we even pretend to know what it means? Or think that we have done justice to it in the past or can do justice to it in the future?
And how dare we reduce it all to a mindless, thoughtless, careless utterance that we throw around so lightly and cavalierly?
And then on top of it run around telling any non-Muslim who would stop to listen: Don’t you know it means “Peace be to you!”?
Reductionism, you never had a better parentage!
So, how many more repetitions would it take before we get some sense of what this business of Salaam really is and what we need to do with it?
And don’t you think there should be some voice, somewhere, no matter how small, that should rise to explore and share with the rest of the world the glory of this culture of Salaam that Islam built?
A most wonderful and profound culture and way of life that God himself created, of which Assalaamu ‘Alaikum! is the outwardly manifest flag and address – the URL for the computer-savvy among us?
So, that is what this is: An attempt to let Salaam break out – once again – all over the world, so that a bereaved, battered and bruised humanity can find shelter – once again – under its big, broad and beautiful tent.
Share it with the World
This way, we would share with the world a fuller awareness of the wonderful things God Almighty has designed for them – including this most amazing of all greetings – Assalaamu Alaikum!
A greeting that is not just for morning, or just for evening, or just for night, or just for day, or just for coming, or just for going. But a greeting that is serviceable in all times of day and night, in all situations and occasions, in any part or climate of the world.
It is all part of the Rahmah of the Rahmaan and Raheem that he sent down through the Prophet that he sent as Rahmat to the worlds (plural!).
So, let us from today on not only repeat the greetings of Assalaamu Alaikum, as we normally do, but also make each other aware of how profound, how thorough, how complete, how comprehensive, how timely, how perfect and how wonderful that greeting is, and how it is better than anything else that is out there in this world.
We must do so not to boast and brag but to simply let everyone know that Islam is the most wonderful gift from Allah – for all human beings; for all time; and for all places and environments.
Let’s Redefine Our Identity
And in doing this, let us redefine our identity in the world. And let us go down in history as the relentless, indefatigable makers, movers and marketers of Salaam!
Let the world know us as those who are obsessed with the wording and meaning and implications of this wonderful notion of Salaam.
For, if we do not take effective steps to define ourselves, we will end up being defined by others. And that is what has happened to us. Muslims have been defined – and Muslims are being continually defined and re-defined – by others.
By people who are moved either by their own reasons and agendas or by their ignorance and naïvete!
One way in which others have defined us is by associating the words terror and terrorism with Islam and Muslims.
Did you ever wonder how often and in how many different ways this association gets repeated and reinforced in a given day by how many different sources in how many different channels of communication?
Well, do some math. Count up the numbers. Then you will know that what I am doing is a one-man counter-Crusade, pardon the expression, to redefine Muslim identity – along more factual terms – as the Salaam people.
And, in the process, to repoint – a bit of satellite imagery, would you say? – the Muslims themselves in the right direction – the direction of Salaam. So that they will become a Rahmat for this world, even as their Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, was a Rahmat for all the worlds!
And what could be a more appropriate key to that world of Rahmat than the key of Salaam?
Therefore, what I am doing is trying to show the organic and unbreakable connection that exists between Islam and Muslims on the one hand and this most amazing concept of Salaam on the other hand.
Thus, incidentally, I am also trying to show the spuriousness of the connection others have created between Islam and Muslims on the one hand and terror and terrorism on the other hand.
Here is what you can do to help: Be a Partner in Promoting Salaam
So, do you think you can be a partner and helper in this great nation-building, world-changing enterprise?
If you do, then buttonhole everyone everywhere and give them Salaam and proceed to flood their consciousness with all the beautiful things that this little word Salaam stands for.
Do what the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, asked you to do: “Go forth and spread Salaam!”
Go, change the world – using the little divine expression Salaam and all the blessings and Barakaat Allah Almighty has packed in it.
Ask yourself what You Can Do
Ask yourself: How much effort will you make to actually open this e-mail and read through it?
Ask yourself: How many people can you and will you share this e-mail with?
Ask yourself: How many new e-mail addresses can you provide us?
Ask yourself: How many people can you persuade to write to us so that we will have their e-mail address on file and can send them our E-Letters?
Ask yourself: How many people will you discuss this e-mail with?
Ask yourself: How much will the points raised in this e-mail become a part of your own personal consciousness and preoccupation in life?
Ask yourself: How much will the content of this e-mail become a part of your conversations and interactions with others?
Ask yourself: What practical steps will you take to Afshu some Salaam wherever you are and however you can?
Ask yourself: Are you a Salaamist, and if you are, in what way are you a Salaamist?
Be a Salaamist!
Go fill the world with Salaam!
Become a Salaamist!
Because, that is who you are: A Salaamist!
You were given that name by God Almighty – and by Prophet Abraham, Allah bless him.
Huwa Sammaakumul Muslimeen.
Tell the world you are a Salaamist.
Invite everyone to be a Salaamist.
Be a Salaamist.
And pack the world with Salaam: a supreme gift from someone who himself is As-Salaam.
And who is the most loving, kind, sweet, caring, doting, merciful master of all of us!
Tell the world that this Salaam is from him! Just like the Qur’an says:
Salaamun Qowlam Mir-Rabbir Rahim!
Tahiyyatan Min ‘Indillahi, Mubaarakatan, Tayyibatan!
Greetings from Allah, blessed and beautiful!
Salaam, Salaam Everywhere
That means Salaam here, there and everywhere.
That means Salaam now, then and forever.
That means Salaam for one and Salaam for all.
That means Salaam in this world and Salaam in the next world.
That means Salaam in body, mind and spirit.
That means Salaam at home, at work and at play.
That means Salaam in our culture, education and civilization.
That means Salaam in our society and its institutions.
That means Salaam in our commerce, politics and sports.
That means Salaam in our industry, health and entertainment.
That means Salaam in our justice and law enforcement systems.
That means Salaam in our defense forces and in our bureaucracy.
That means Salaam within and Salaam without each one of us.
That means Salaam with oneself, with one’s surroundings, with one’s neighbors and with one’s world.
And of course, above all else, that means Salaam with one’s maker and owner and master: Rabbul ‘Aalameen!
Salaaman Salaamaa! Working to Create a Piece of Paradise, Right Here on Earth
The Qur’an captures this most marvelous phenomenon of the breaking out of Salaam in every way and from every direction in the most beautiful words: Salaaman Salaamaa!
That is in Paradise – Jannat – of course. But let us get some practice right here on earth, by trying to turn this world into a paradise – for all of Allah’s creation.
Not the least for us, for our neighbors and for those we love.
You make sure to get this done, and there shall be no more repetition of the meaning of Salaam from me.
Then there won’t be a need for it really. For, then you will be doing – or you will have already done – all the repetition yourself.
And there shall be peace on earth!
And you will be the one who did it!
And there shall be nothing more to do except to repeat – endlessly: Salaaman Salaamaa!
As the Qur’an says:
Illaa Queelan Salaaman Salaamaa!
Nothing but Rough Drafts
Please do not forget me, my parents, teachers and my ancestors in your Du’as.
And do please find within you the generosity and compassion to forgive me if I have in any way offended you; or said something I should not have said; or said it in a way I should not have.
And do bear in mind that our manuscripts are mostly drafts in need of further research and revision, which we are often unable to undertake or complete due to time and resource constraints.
May Allah be with you!
Where and in the way you want him to be!
To Write Back, Please Use the E-Mail: DrSyedPasha [at] AOL [dot] com
Wassalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.