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Greeting In Islam And Evils Of Prostration In Greeting by yazeedjay(m): 8:43pm On Jul 29, 2017
Alhamdulillaah, wassalaatu wassalaam ‘allaa nabiyyinaa Muhammad (salla llaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Human interaction is an important facet of any society. In Islam, proper relationships are stressed at all phases of interaction and the common greeting holds a special place in Islamic manners.

Allaah ( Tabaaraka wa ta’aalaa) says in the Qur’an (interpretation of meaning):

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, An-Nisaa 4:86)

“O you who believe! enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them, that is better for you, in order that you remember.” (Qur’an, An-Nuur 24:27)

“….But when you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and good….” (Qur’an, An-Nuur 24:61)

Too often, we take greetings for granted and attach minimal importance to them. In these verses, however, Allah reminds the Muslims that offering greetings and the manner of the greeting are of utmost importance. Similarly, in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) stressed the importance of greetings when he defined the rights of a Muslim:

“The rights of a Muslim upon another are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, following the funeral procession, responding to invitations and offering ‘Tashmeet’ for one who sneezes.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The recommended greeting of a Muslim is to say: “Assalaamu ‘alaykum” (peace be upon you)

According to a Hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim, this form of greeting was ordained by Allah from the time of Prophet Adam (peace be upon him).

Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Allah created Adam in his complete shape and form (directly), sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), “Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen to what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring.” Adam (went and) said, ‘As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).’ They replied, ‘AsSalamu-‘Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah’s Mercy be on you) So they increased ‘Wa Rahmatullah’ The Prophet added ‘So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and form of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam’s (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time.”


Exchanging salaam holds a high position in Islam. Not only is salaam equated with many other important deeds, but it is one of the defining criteria of belief. We observe many Hadiths pertaining to the position of exchanging salaam in Islam.

In one Hadith a man asked the Prophet about which aspect of Islam was best. The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: “Feeding the hungry and saying salaam to those you know and those you don’t know.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: May I tell you something, that if you practice it you will love one another? ‘spread salaam’ (the greeting of peace) among you.” (Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also explained another virtue of salaam in the following Hadith: “When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other).” (Abu Dawud)

Finally, reflect on another saying of the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), when he said: “O people! spread salaam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night) you shall enter paradise peacefully.” (Tirmithi)


There are several forms of exchanging salaam. Each has its grade which corresponds to the extent of the phrase.

There is a Hadith where Imran Ibn Hussayn (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that:
“A man came to the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said, ‘assalaamu ‘alaykum!’ The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) returned his greeting and when the man sat down, the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Ten.’ Another man came and said: ‘assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah.’ to which the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also responded, and when the man sat down, He said ‘Twenty.’ Another man came and said: ‘assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.’ The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) returned his greeting, and after the man sat down, he said: ‘Thirty.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmithi)

The Hadith has been interpreted to mean that the minimum form of the Islamic greeting which is acceptable is “assalaamu ‘alaykum” and one is rewarded ten good deeds for saying it. The second grade, adding “wa rahmatullah”, raises the reward to twenty good deeds. The best grade of salaam is “assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu”, and this is worth thirty good deeds.

The response to the greeting is similar in form and rewards. The least one could say is “Wa alaykum-us-salaam” and the best response is: “Wa ‘alaykum-us-salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatahu”.

In the time of the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet) would compete with one another, to see who could give salaams first.

The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The best of the two persons is the one who begins with salaam.” (Related by Nawawi in his book Al-Adhkaar)

“The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)! When two persons meet with each other, who should take the lead in greeting the other? He answered: ‘The one who is closest to Allah.” (Tirmithi)

The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The person closest to Allah is the one who precedes others in greeting.” (Abu Dawud).

The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: A mounted person should greet the one who is walking, and a person on foot should greet the one who is sitting; a smaller group should greet a larger group and the young should greet their elders. (Saheeh Bukhari).


Initiating salaams is considered ‘Sunnah’ or optional, returning the salaams after it is offered is considered ‘waajib’ or obligatory, based on the first Qur’anic ayah mentioned. Islam also encourages people to offer the first greeting as mentioned in the Hadiths mentioned previously.

The Prophet was asked about the most appropriate way to give salaams as shown in the following Hadith:

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) says that a man asked the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam):

“O Messenger of Allah (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)! When any one of us meets a Muslim brother or a friend then should he bow his head (as a sign of courtesy to him)?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man said: ‘Should he embrace him?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man then asked: ‘Should he clasp his hands?’ He said: ‘Yes.” (Tirmithi)

Unfortunately, now in our community, Muslims have adopted other methods of giving salutations, and as we can see in this Hadith, The Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was very precise about how salaams were to be given.

We as Muslims, should remember that Prophet Muhammad (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the best example for us to follow in all aspects of our life, and we should be careful not to add anything new to the Deen of Islam, for fear of implying that the Prophet Muhammad (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not complete his mission.

As Allah (Most Exalted is He) says in the Qur’an:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day.” (Qur’an, Al-Ahzaab 33:21).


Prostration is from the greatest of form of worship and is due only to Allaah alone, and after the Sharee’ah of Islam was revealed, what was permitted in previous nations (of prostration of respect and welcome greeting) was prohibited and declared unlawful, and the Scholars of Islam explain it to be major shirk when offered to other than Allaah.

We should also know that all the creatures do prostrate for Allaah (Tabaaraka wa ta’aalaa) alone as He says in this ayah (interpretation of meaning):

“See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawâbb [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate themselves to Allâh. But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allâh disgraces, none can honour him. Verily, Allâh does what He wills”. (Soorah al-Hajj, Q22V18).

Allaah ( Tabaaraka wa ta’aalaa) also says in the Qur’an (interpretation of meaning):

And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun or to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allâh Who created them, if you (really) worship Him. But if they are too proud (to do so), then there are those who are with your Lord (angels) glorify Him night and day, and never are they tired. ( Soorah Fussilat, Q41V37&38).

We should also know that Allaah (Subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) uses the word “sajdah” to mean bowing or bending which means bowing and bending are included in the meaning of sujood in Sharee’ah. Allaah (Subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) says (interpretation of meaning):

And (remember) when We said: “Enter this town (Jerusalem) and eat bountifully therein with pleasure and delight wherever you wish, and enter the gate in prostration (i.e. bowing with humility) and say: ‘Forgive us,’ and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers.” (Soorah al-Baqarah, Q2V58).

It is very clear to us in this verse that those people can not enter the gate in a form of sujood that we normally do in Salaat, so it simply means bowing or bending. So when Allaah (Subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) prohibits prostration to others, it includes bowing and bending as indicted in the verse.

Allaah ( Tabaaraka wa ta’aalaa) also says (interpretation of meaning):

And the masaajid are for Allâh (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allâh. (Soorah al-Jinn Q72V18).

The word “masaajid” stands for plural of masjid and can also mean places of prostration as we can see in the hadith below:

‘Abdullaah bn ‘Abass (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “We were ordered to prostrate with seven bones, namely forehead (he pointed his nose with his hand), two palms, two knees, the tip of both feet…. (Saheeh bukhari, Muslim, Abu ‘Uwaanah).

So we muslims should not use any part we use in prostration to Allaah (Subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) to other human beings or non living beings as indicated in this above verse.

The Messenger of Allah (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also forbids bowing or bending in greeting as we can see in this hadith:

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) says that a man asked the Prophet (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam):

“O Messenger of Allah (Salla llaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)! When any one of us meets a Muslim brother or a friend then should he bow his head (as a sign of courtesy to him)?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man said: ‘Should he embrace him?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man then asked: ‘Should he clasp his hands?’ He said: ‘Yes.” (Tirmithi).

It was also authentically reported that Abu Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If I were to order anyone to prostrate to a human, I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband, for the magnitude of the rights he has on her. (Irwaahul ghaleel of Sheikh al-Albaanee, 7/54-55). The Prophet even forbids the women to do it for their husbands because it can only be done for Allaah (Subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) alone.
Re: Greeting In Islam And Evils Of Prostration In Greeting by yazeedjay(m): 8:48pm On Jul 29, 2017

It should be noted here that all the salafee scholars condemned this act and called it Shirk Akbar which can put someone outside the fold of Islaam if the shuroot of Takfeer are fulfilled and there are absence of prohibition of Takfeer.

Below are statements of some of them:

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

With regard to bowing when greeting someone, it is forbidden as is narrated in al-Tirmidhi from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); they asked him about a man who meets his brother, can he bow to him? He said: “No.” And it is not permissible to bow or prostrate to anyone except Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, even though that may have been a form of greeting in other religions, as in the story of Yoosuf – “…and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: ‘O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime!’” [Yoosuf 12:100]. But in our religion it is not acceptable to bow or prostrate to anyone except Allah; in fact it is also forbidden to stand as the non-Arabs stand before one another, so how about bowing and prostrating? Similarly, a partial bow is also included in this prohibition.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 1/377

And he said:

With regard to lowering the head when meeting prominent figures such as shaykhs and so on, or kissing the ground and so on, these are things concerning which there is no difference of opinion among the imams that they are forbidden. In fact merely inclining the back to anyone other than Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is forbidden. In al-Musnad and elsewhere it is narrated that when Mu‘aadh bn Jabal came back from Syria, he prostrated to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who said: “What is this, O Mu‘aadh?” He said: O Messenger of Allah, I saw them in Syria prostrating to their bishops and patriarchs, and they narrated that from their Prophets. He said: “They are lying, O Mu‘aadh; if I were to instruct anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have instructed a woman to prostrate to her husband because of the greatness of his rights over her. O Mu‘aadh, do you think that if you were to pass my grave you would prostrate?” He said: No. He said: “Do not do that,” or words to that effect.

To sum up: standing, sitting, bowing and prostrating are due only to the only One Who is deserving of worship, the Creator of the heavens and the earth; with regard to that which is due only to Allah, no one should have any share in it; this also applies to swearing by anything other than Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 27/92, 93

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