Saying “Assalamu Alaikum” when you greet a fellow Muslim was a command of Nabi ﷺ. He also told us that it will grow love in our hearts for each other and our sins will be forgiven. Therefore, it is an act of worship. For any form of worship, sincerity is required. In Salam, sincerity can be defined as saying Salam to everyone you come across. To limit it to just the people you know is to resort this act of worship to a social, rather than a religious greeting.
This happens when we lose focus of our ultimate goal – to please Allah. Thus, we pick and choose, opting to say Salam to greet friends but not the local musalli (brother at the Masjid) or other Muslims in our area. Or we walk right past other Muslims without saying a word. This is a sign of insincerity. Even if they are strangers to us, they are still our brothers and sisters in Islam. Thus, sincerity is to spread Salam to all and sundry, not just those we are familiar with.
May Allah make us sincere, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 02/10/17 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.