Adab from Arabic word Aadaab (آداب) meaning respect and politeness, is a hand gesture used as a secular greeting. It is associated with the culture of south Asian Muslims, especially of Urdu-speaking communities of Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabadi Muslims.
Since the normal greeting of Muslims i.e. "Assalamu Alaikum" was meant for Muslims only, and Muslims in India lived in a multi-faith society, this alternative form of greeting was coined. After the creation of Pakistan, it was carried there with the immigrants from India Muhajir people. Fundamentalist elements in the society oppose the use of "Adab" in an all-Muslim society.
The gesture involves raising the right hand towards the face with palm inwards such that it is in front of the eyes and the finger tips are almost touching the forehead, as the upper torso is bent forward. It is typical for the person to say "adab arz hai", or just "adab".
In popular culture today, the adab is often associated with the courtly culture of the Muslim Nawabs.
- Gambhir, Vijay (1996). The Teaching and Acquisition of South Asian Languages. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8122-3328-X.