As-salamu alaykum

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As-salamu alaykum (اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ), Arabic for "peace be upon you", is a quotidian greeting given to Arabic-speaking people or to non-Arabic-speaking Muslims. The response is "wa alaykum as-salam" (وَعَلَيْكُم السَّلَام), that is, "and upon you be peace".[1][2] In reality, this greeting is using "you" in the masculine plural, which is always an acceptable way to say it. Here is a full list of the four other optional second-person variants:

  • As-salamu alayka or اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ (masc. sing.)
  • As-salamu alayki or اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكِ (fem. sing.)
  • As-salamu alaykuma or اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمَا (dual)
  • As-salamu alaykunna or اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُنَّ (fem. pl.)[3]

When one wants to go further than just saying "peace be upon you", one can say, "May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you", which is English for, "as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah" (السلام عليكم ورحمة الله). The corresponding response is, "And the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you", that is, "wa alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah" (وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله). One could go even further and say, "May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you", which is English for, "as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh" (السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته). The corresponding response is, "And upon you be the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah", "wa alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh" (وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته). The Qur'an (4:86) recommends that one greet with an equal or better greeting than the one given.[1][4]

Conversely, it is also perfectly normal for people to simply greet each other saying "salam" (سلام), which means "peace" and which could be considered the very shortest version of this greeting.[5] This is a cognate of the Hebrew greeting "shalom" (שלום).[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته. arabicway.tumblr.com. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. السلام عليكم. wiktionary.org. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  3. على. wiktionary.org. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  4. Huda (16 October 2015). "Islamic Phrases: Assalamu alaikum". about.com. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. سلام. wiktionary.org. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  6. שלום. wiktionary.org. Retrieved 10 February 2017.