As-salamu alaykum

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salamu alaykum written in the Thuluth style of Arabic calligraphy

As-salamu alaykum (Arabic: ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ, as-salāmu ʿalaykum, Arabic: [ː.mu ʕa.laj.kum] ), also written salamun alaykum and typically rendered in English as salam alaykum, is a greeting in Arabic that means 'Peace be upon you'. The salām (سَلَام, meaning 'peace') has become a religious salutation for Muslims[1][2] worldwide when greeting each other, though its use as a greeting predates Islam, and is also common among Arabic speakers of other religions (such as Arab Christians and Mizrahi Jews).[3]

In colloquial speech, often only salām, 'peace', is used to greet a person. This shorter greeting, salām[4] (سَلَام), has come to be used as the general salutation in other languages as well.

The typical response to the greeting is wa ʿalaykumu s-salām (وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ, Arabic: [wa ʕa.laj.kumːm] , 'and peace be upon you'). In the Quranic period one repeated as-salamu alaykum, but the inverted response is attested in Arabic not long after its appearance in Hebrew.[5] The phrase may also be expanded to as-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-raḥmatu -llāhi wa-barakātuhū (ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ, [ː.mu ʕa.laj.kum wa.raħ.ma.tu‿ɫ.ɫaː.hiː.tu.huː]), 'Peace be upon you, as well as the mercy of God and His blessings'.

The use of salaam as an Arabic greeting dates at least to Laqit bin Yamar al-Ayadi (6th century),[6] and cognates in older Semitic languages (Aramaic šlāmā ʿalḵōn (ܫܠܵܡܵܐ ܥܲܠܟ݂ܘܿܢ) and Hebrew shalom aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shālôm ʻalêḵem)) can be traced back to the Old Testament period.[7][8][5][9]


The phrase is normally pronounced according to local dialects of speakers and is very often shortened.

For example:

Grammatical variants[edit]

The expression commonly uses the second person plural masculine, even when used to address one person. It may be modified by choosing the appropriate enclitic pronoun to address a person in the masculine and feminine singular form, the dual form, or the feminine plural form. The conjugations are as follows (note: according to the standard pronunciation rules of Classical Arabic, the last short vowel in each word is not pronounced in pausa):

Gender Greeting Response
ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَيْكَ ٱلسَّلَامُ
[ː.mu ʕa.laj.ka] [wa.ʕa.laj.ka‿ː.mu]
as-salāmu ʿalayka wa ʿalayka s-salāmu
ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكِ وَعَلَيْكِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
[ː.mu ʕ] [wa.ʕ‿ː.mu]
as-salāmu ʿalayki wa ʿalayki s-salāmu
ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمَا وَعَلَيْكُمَا ٱلسَّلَامُ
[ː.mu ʕa.laj.ku.maː] [wa.ʕa.laj.ku.maː‿ː.mu]
as-salāmu ʿalaykumā wa ʿalaykumā s-salāmu
ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ
[ː.mu ʕa.laj.kum] [wa.ʕ‿ː.mu]
as-salāmu ʿalaykum wa ʿalaykumu s-salāmu
ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُنَّ وَعَلَيْكُنَّ ٱلسَّلَامُ
[ː.mu ʕ] [wa.ʕ‿ː.mu]
as-salāmu ʿalaykunna wa ʿalaykunna s-salāmu

A third-person variant, ʿalayhi as-salām, "peace be upon him", is often used by Muslims for prophets other than Muhammad and other holy personalities, such as angels.

In Islam[edit]

According to Islamic tradition, the origin of the greeting "Peace be upon you" dates back to the first human, Adam:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Allah said: Go and greet with peace these groups of assembled angels and listen to how they greet you, for this will be the greeting among your progeny. Adam said: Peace be upon you. The angels said: Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah. Thus, they added the mercy of Allah" [10]

The final Prophet said, "None of you will enter paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves."[11]

It is also stated that one should give the Salam greeting upon entering a house. This is based upon a verse of the Quran: "However, when you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting ˹of peace˺ from Allah, blessed and good. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so perhaps you will understand." (An-Nur 24:61).[12]

The phrase appears a total of 7 times in the Quran, each time as salamun ʿalaykum (Arabic: سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ). In Classical Arabic, used in the Qur'an and early Hadith manuscripts, the phrase is spelled as "ٱلسَّلَٰمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَٰتُهُ". In Rasm, it is written as "السلم علىکم ورحمٮ ال‍له وٮرکٮه".

وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِ .وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (54)
"When those who have faith in Our signs come to you, say, 'Peace to you! Your Lord has made mercy incumbent upon Himself: whoever of you commits an evil [deed] out of ignorance and then repents after that and reforms, then He is indeed All-Forgiving, All-Merciful (54).'"

وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ وَعَلَى الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّا بِسِيمَاهُمْ وَنَادَوْا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ.(46)
"And there will be a veil between them. And on the Elevations will be certain men who recognize each of them by their mark. They will call out to the inhabitants of paradise, 'Peace be to you!' They will not have entered it, though they would be eager to do so (46)."

سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُم بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ ۚ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى ٱلدَّارِ
"'Peace be to you, for your patience.' How excellent is the reward of the [ultimate] abode!"

الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (32)
"Those whom the angels take away while they are pure. They say [to them], 'Peace be to you! Enter paradise because of what you used to do (32).'"

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا (47)
"He said, 'Peace be to you! I shall plead with my Lord to forgive you. Indeed He is gracious to me(47).'"

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ (55)
"And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it and say, 'Our deeds belong to us, and your deeds belong to you. Peace be to you. We do not court the ignorant (55).'"

وَسِيقَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوْا۟ رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى ٱلْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَآءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَٱدْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ
"Those who are wary of their Lord will be led to paradise in throngs. When they reach it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, 'Peace be to you! You are welcome! Enter it to remain [forever].'"

Other variants, such as salamun ʿalā (سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ), or the term salam (سَلَام) alone is also mentioned in several other Ayahs of the Qur'an.

Usage by non-Arabic speakers[edit]

  • Cognate Semitic language parallels include the Aramaic/Classical Syriac šlāmā ʿalḵōn (ܫܠܵܡܵܐ ܥܲܠܟ݂ܘܿܢ), and the Hebrew Shalom aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shālôm ʻalêḵem).[7][13]
  • In Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, Salâm (سلام) is used alone more frequently, with occasional use of Salam-o aleykom and the more common beh salâmat (به سلامت), meaning "[go] with peace". Goodbye is supplanted by a Khudâ hâfez (Persian: خدا حافظ), meaning "with the protection of God".
  • In Albania and Kosovo, a diminutive form in the Albanian language, Selamun Alejkem or Selamun Alejqum is rarely used, the 'q' being a voiceless palatal stop typical of Balkan Turkish and Thracian Turkish phonology.[14] Similarly, Bosniaks and Macedonian Muslims use the phrase "selam alejkum" (Cyrillic: селам алејкум).
  • In Amharic, the native Amharic term Selam is used in place of Tadias, which is the equivalent of "What's up".
  • In Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, many religious people use Äs-sälamwaleykum or selamun aleyküm and shake hands and it is the same for saying "Hello"; more secular and non-religious people say Selam and in Kazakhstan say Sälem or Sälemetsız be as an equivalent to "Hello" or "Hi". However, many Turks pronounce it differently as Selamün aleyküm.
  • In Pakistan, the greeting is also associated with shaking right hands and is also often accompanied with a hug when meeting infrequently (only between the same gender). In some places, people put a hand on their heart as they shake your hand and greet. Also, the full greeting (As-salamu alaykum) is preferred versus the shorter greeting of "salam" or "salamu alaykum". Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda Hafiz" or the variation "Allah Hafiz", both of which mean "May God protect you".
  • In India, the greeting mostly among Muslims is a simple handshake or hug, As-salamu alaykum (Hindi: असलम अलैकुम) or the shorter greeting "Salam" is used in informal situations. Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda Hafiz" or the alternative form "Allah Hafiz" (Hindi: अल्लाह हफीज, romanizedAllāh Hāphêj), both of which mean "May God protect you".
  • In Bangladesh, Assalamu alaikum (Bengali: আসসালামু আলাইকুম) is the most common Muslim greeting.[15] Some Muslims greet their elders with these words whilst raising their right hand to the forehead.[16] Assalamu alaikum is even used as to say goodbye, while many others say "Khoda Hafez" or "Allah Hafez" (Bengali: আল্লাহ হাফেজ, romanizedĀllāha hāphêj) "May God protect you".
  • In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Assalomu aleykum is used as an informal greeting.
  • In Indonesia, the greeting is sometimes mixed with other greeting phrases of other religions.
  • Shortening the greeting to acronyms, such as A.S., As'kum (in Malaysia), or AsA is becoming common amongst Internet users in chat rooms and by people using SMS. This trend is similar to writing (S) or SAWS in place of ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam.
  • In Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus, Salamun Alaykum (Chechen: Саламун алайкум) is used to say hello, in Ossetia, a corrupted version of Salam is used (Ossetian: Салам).
  • In Senegal which has a majority of Muslims with Tasawwuf-orientation, it is a common greeting. Spelled and pronounced in Wolof: "a-sala māleykum", with the reply being "må-lekum salām."
  • In Xinjiang, China, "Essalam eleykum" is used as a greeting by Uyghurs, and the reply is "We-eleykum essalam".
  • In Portugal, the expression Salamaleque gained a totally distinct and curious meaning: due to the habit of Iberian Arabs to bow and wave their hand when greeting a person, the expression "Salamaleque" is applied to exaggerated movements or acts in order to appear to be formal, entertaining or fancy. For example: "Os rapazes chegaram cheios de salamaleques".
  • In Italy, Salamelecco has a similar meaning, referring to excessive courtesy and politeness.
  • In France, salamalec has similar meaning, referring to excessive flattery.
  • In Malta, Is-sliem għalikom is often used in Catholic Church masses as a way of greeting, often by the priest, as a way of saying "peace be upon you". As the Maltese language derives from Arabic, it inherited and still uses Arabic terms for religion amongst other things.
  • In the Maldives, "އައްސަލާމް ޢަލައިކުމް" (assalaam 'alaikum) is used as a common formal greeting, used similar to "hello".[17]
  • In Nigeria, the phrase assalamu alaikum is used as a formal greeting by Muslims.
  • In Kurdish, the phrase "selam eleykum" is used as a formal greeting among, often shortened to just "selam".
  • In Russia, Muslims use variations of the phrase, such as "салам алейкум" (Russian), "салам алейкум" or "ассаламу ӏалайкум" (Chechen), "әссәләмәғәләйкүм" (Bashkir), and "әссәламү галәйкүм" (Tatar).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sayings of the Messenger (s.a.w) – Sahih Al-Bukhari-". Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  2. ^ "'As-Salaamu-Alaikum' and 'Wa-Alaikum-as-Salaam'". Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  3. ^ Goldziher, Ignaz (1892). "Der Dîwân des Ǵarwal b. Aus Al-Ḥuṭej'a". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 46 (1): 22–23. ISSN 0341-0137. JSTOR 43362216.
  4. ^ assalamu, alaikum. "Assalamu Alaikum सलाम करने के 38 सुन्नते और आदाब In HIndi". Irfani-Islam. Archived from the original on March 1, 2022. Retrieved 2022-03-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ a b Arendonk, C. van; Gimaret, D. (2012-04-24), "Salām", Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Brill, retrieved 2024-02-05
  6. ^ Nöldeke, Theodor (1862). "Beitrage zur altarabischen litteratur und geschichte". Orient und Occident vol. I (in German). Dieterich. p. 708.
  7. ^ a b "shalom aleichem". Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Dalman, Gustaf (1905). Grammatik des Jüdisch-Palästinischen Aramäisch nach den Idiomen des palästinischen Talmud und Midrasch, des Onkelostargum (Cod. Socini 84) und der Jerusalemischen Targume zum Pentateuch. Robarts - University of Toronto. Leipzig, Hinrichs. p. 244.
  10. ^ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5873, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2841
  11. ^ [Muslim (54), Aḥmad (2/391), and al-Tirmidhī (2513) narrated from Abū Hurairah]
  12. ^ "Surat An-Nur [24:61] - The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم". Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  13. ^ "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Friedman, Victor A. "Balkan Turkish in Macedonia and Adjacent Areas" (PDF). University of Chicago: 12. Retrieved 18 December 2019. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ "Introduction to the bangla language" (PDF). Peace Corps: 6. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  16. ^ Enamul Haq (2012). "Customs and Traditions". In Sirajul Islam; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. OL 30677644M. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  17. ^ Common Phrases

External links[edit]