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Initiating Salam (Greeting) to Kuffar is Not Allowed as per Qur’an

<Bismillah Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem>

All praise is due to Almighty Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the earth. We Praise Him and Seek His Aid. We ask Guidance from Him as to whomsoever He Guides, none can misguide him and Whomsoever He misguides there is none who can Guide him.

May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon all the Prophets especially to our beloved Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu alaihi wasallam.



To Proceed,

Few Muslims try to Prove that Salam can be initiated and returned to Kafirs  for whatsoever their intention may be. And to prove this they Quote the Ayah of Qur’an and they understand it using their own way without looking into the  classical tafsirs of those Ayah. InshaAllah we will see the Tafsir of those Ayah and will try to reflect whether those Ayah speaks of greeting to Muslims or Kafirs.



1.  “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally” [Quran – Surah al-Nisa’ 4:86]



Tafsir ibn Kathir:

[ meaning, if the Muslim greets you with the Salam, then return the greeting with a better Salam, or at least equal to the Salam that was given. Therefore, the better Salam is recommended, while returning it equally is an obligation.


Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Raja Al-Utaridi said that;

Imran bin Husayn said that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum”. The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Ten.”
Another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah, O Allah’s
Messenger.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Twenty.”
Then another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Thirty.”

This is the narration recorded by Abu Dawud. At- Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Al-Bazzar also recorded it. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib”.


There are several other Hadiths on this subject from Abu Sa`id, Ali, and Sahl bin Hanif. When the Muslim is greeted with the full form of Salam, he is obliged to return the greeting equally.



As for Ahl Adh-Dhimmah the Salam should not be initiated nor should the greeting be added to when returning their greeting.

Rather, as recorded in the Two Sahihs their greeting is returned to them equally.



Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

When the Jews greet you, one of them would say, `As-Samu `Alayka (death be unto you).’ Therefore, say, `Wa `Alayka (and the same to you).’)


In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

Do not initiate greeting the Jews and Christians with the Salam, and when you pass by them on a road, force them to its narrowest path.


Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Should I direct you (meaning Muslims, not kafirs) to an action that would direct you to love each other! Spread the Salam among yourselves (meaning Muslims, not kafirs. ]

End Quote


So, it is now proven from this Ayah that it  speaks of Greeting to Muslims as explained well by Authentic Hadiths.



2. “And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say,: Salaama !” [Al-Qur’an, Surah Furqan 25:63]


Tafsir ibn Kathir:

[ and when the foolish address them they say: “Salama.”

If the ignorant people insult them with bad words, they do not respond in kind, but they forgive and overlook, and say nothing but good words (meaning they do not give bad words in return rather they say words because of which they remain safe from the fitnah of those people) . This is what the Messenger of Allah did: the more ignorant the people, the more patient he would be. ]

End Quote


Tafsir as Saadee states:

” They say: ‘Salama’- meaning they respond to those people in such a way that they remain safe from the sin of what they are saying and from the Ignorance of the Ignorant”



Firstly, it is mentioned in the Ayah that when “Foolish address them”, so the point to support “Initiation of greeting to kuffar” is by itself Refuted.


Secondly, Nowhere in the tafsir is mentioned that “Say Salama” means to say the Greetings of Muslims. It is because in the Greeting are the words which are to be used Only for Muslims like “rahmatullah” i.e mercy of Allah. It can be understand by the hadith below.



Narrated that Abu Moosa said:

The Jews used to sneeze in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), hoping that he would say to them, “Yarhamakum Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you).” But he would say, “Yahdeekum Allaah wa yuslihu baalakum) (may Allaah guide you and reform you).”

Narrated by Imam Ahmad (19089), Abu Dawood (5038) and al-Tirmidhi (2739); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’ (1277).



It says in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood: i.e.,

he did not say to them “Yarhamakum Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you)” because mercy is only for the believers; rather he prayed for them as was appropriate, that they be guided and enabled to believe



So, if the Ignorants are kaafirs, then say them the word of Good as mentioned in the above Ayah and for kafirs the best words are what is mentioned in above hadith and also what we get from the incident of at-Taif i.e May Allah guide you (them) meaning to kafirs”



3. . “And when they hear vain talk, they turn away there from and say: ‘to us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we Seek not the ignorant.’ ” [Al-Qur’an, Surah Qasas 28:55]



Tafisr ibn Kathir:

[ And when they hear evil vain talk, they withdraw from it, meaning, they do not mix with the people who indulge in such talk, rather they do as Allah says: and if they pass by some evil vain talk, they pass by it with dignity. (25:72)and they say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.” meaning ,

if some foolish person speaks to them in a foolish manner and says something to which it does not befit them to respond, they turn away from him and do not respond in kind with ugly speech. They never say anything but good words. Allah says of them that they say:  (To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant), meaning, `we do not seek the way of the ignorant and we do not like it.’ ]

End Quote.



Here again the Ayah is nowhere talking about “Initiation of Greeting”. Instead it is speaking of Special circumstances that when you get Stuck in such situation then do not respond in way that will harm you.  Similar to what is mentioned in Surah Furqan Ayah 63. The details given above.



4. Ibrahim (Abraham) said to his Father:  “Peace be on you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily He is unto me Ever Most Gracious.[Quran – Surah Maryam 19:41-47]

Tafsir ibn kathir:
[ Ibrahim said to his father: (Peace be on you)!  This is as Allah said concerning the description of the believers, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they say, “Salaman (peace).” (25:63) And when they hear Al-Laghw (false speech), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.” (28:55)
The meaning of Ibrahim’s statement to his father,  (Peace be on you!),

“You will not receive any insult or harm from me.” This is due to the respect and honor of fatherhood ]

End Quote.
To get the exact background as to why Prophet Ibrahim Alaihissalam said Peace be on you to his father, we have to refer the previous ayah’s which inform us about the discussion between Ibrahim alaihissalam and his Mushrik father about worshipping the Idol.
I will mention here in short the reason of saying Peace be upon you by Ibrahim Alaihissalam to his father.
Ayah 46 says:
[His father] said to Ibrahim, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time (Maliyan).”
Now, what is “Maliyan”?
The best commentator of Islam Ibn Abbas radiAllahu anhu explains the meaning of Maliyan. Mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

[ Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-Awfi both reported that Ibn Abbas said,  So get away from me safely Maliyan),

“This means to go away in peace and safety before you are afflicted with a punishment from me.”

Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Atiyah Al-Jadali, Malik and others said the same. This is also the view preferred by Ibn Jarir. ] End Quote.
Again firstly,  the point that Greeting(salam) to kafirs can be initiated is refuted as Ibrahim Alaihissalam was responding to the threat posed by his father.
Secondly,  what Ibrahim Alaihissalam meant by greeting is not the greeting which we normally do with our Muslim brethren out of Love and mercy. It was as explained by Imam ibn kathir in his tafsir that He alaihissalam meant: “You(His father) will not receive any insult or harm from me.” This is due to the respect and honor of fatherhood.
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