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The Meaning Behind “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum”

The Meaning Behind “As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum”

Salaam alaikum meaning: The Islamic greeting “salaam alaikum” literally translates to “Peace be upon you,” written in Arabic as ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ‎ and pronounced [as-salāmu ʿalaykum]. Muslims use this greeting whenever first meeting with one another, upon entering a home, upon entering the mosque, and when leaving a gathering. The ending of the phrase being “‘alaykum” instead of “‘alayka/’alayki” indicates that the greeting is directed toward a group.


Salaam Alaikum Meaning

Salaam alaikum meaning in Arabic “السلام عليكم” greeting that literally translates to “peace be upon you”. It is a common way for Muslims to greet each other and express their desire for peace and blessings.

Wa Alaikum Salam In Arabic

“Alaikum al-salam” (وعليكم السلام) is the standard Arabic response to the greeting “as salaam alaikum” (peace be upon you). It literally translates to “Alaikum salaam” – Return good wishes of peace to the person who greeted you first.

How Do We Respond to “As-salaamu ‘Alaykum?” 

In the Quran, we are reminded to reply to someone’s greeting with one of equal or greater value:

وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَسِيبًا

“When you are greeted with a salutation then return it with a better one, or at least the same. Surely Allah takes good count of everything.” (Surah An-Nisaa’, 4:86)

There are two beautifully extended versions of “as-salaamu ‘alaykum” that would fall under the category of a greeting of greater value. The first one is “as salaam alaikum wa rahmatullah” which translates to “may the Peace and Mercy of Allah be with you.” The second one is “as-salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh” which translates to “may the Peace, Mercy, and Blessings of Allah be with you.” The appropriate response to the general greeting is “wa ‘alaykum as-salaam” which translates to “and upon you peace”, with the option of adding the extensions to the end of this as well, for example “wa ‘alaykum as-salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.”

Allah is “As-Salaam”

This greeting has origins in the Quran and is related to the Divine Name of Allah “As-Salaam” and means “The Source of Peace”.

Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “As-Salam (peace) is one of the Names of Allah Almighty which Allah has placed in the earth. Therefore give the greeting among yourselves.” – Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Book 42, Hadith 989.

In the Quran we also see the instruction from Allah to greet each other with words of peace:

وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ

“And when those who believe in Our signs come to you, say to them: ‘Peace be upon you.’” (Surah Al-An’aam, 6:54)

Another example we find in the Quran is:

وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ

And those who eschewed disobeying their Lord shall be driven in companies to Paradise so that when they arrive there its gates will have already been thrown open and its keepers shall say to them: “Peace be upon you; you have done well. So enter. Herein you shall abide.” (Surah Az-Zumar, 39:73)

Virtues of saying “salaam alaikum”

“assalam walekum” is the best greetings people can have for one another. Muslims who use this greeting while already knowing one another and have a bond of friendship, relationship, or affection between them, this wish for peace fully signifies the connection and gives the sentiment of joy, regard, well-wishing and love. If two strangers greet each other with “as salaam alaikum”, this becomes a beautiful introduction and statement of trust and sincerity, and also acknowledges a spiritual tie between them. The teaching of “asalamalakim” and “wa alaikum salam” as the greetings between Muslims is a favorable act and an instruction from the Quran and sunnah.

“Peace be upon you” is more than just a greeting; it is a powerful expression of peace, goodwill and togetherness within the Muslim community. By uttering these words, we not only wish peace to others, but also recognise the divine source of all peace – Allah. When you go out into the world, let “Assalamu alaykum” serve as a reminder to strive for peace and spread its message wherever you go.


  • What does “Assalamu alaikum” mean?

It is an Arabic greeting that literally translates to “Peace be upon you”.

  • How do you respond to “Assalamu Alaikum”?

The usual response is “Alaikum as-salam” which means “Peace be upon you”.

  • Who can say “Assalamu alaikum”?

Anyone can use this greeting, Muslim or non-Muslim. It is a respectful way of recognising someone.

  • Is there a specific time to say “Assalamu Alaikum”?

No, it can be used as a greeting at any time of the day.

  • What is the significance of “Assalamu Alaikum” in Islam?

This greeting embodies the Islamic emphasis on peace and the promotion of positive interactions within society.


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