Masha Allah a Knowledge Seekers class has been started every Tuesday morning from 10am to 11:30am at The Algester Masjid, with talks delivered by our most Highly respected, Mowlana Aslam Al Qadri.
For the benefit of those who unfortunately cannot attend the class because of other commitments, I am attempting to write down the points from the talk this week, which was about the actual practice of the Sunnah in eating, drinking water, sleeping etc, in the hope that it will benefit everyone. In this way you can also refer back to these notes in your own time Insha’Allah. If you wish to clarify anything or ask any questions please feel free to contact Mowlana Aslam.
All praise is due to Allah (Subhanuwataala) The Creator and Cherisher of all that is in the heavens and the earth. I begin with Bismillahir Rhamanir Raheem, and ask Allah (Subhanuwataala) to help me and guide me with this task InshaAllah.
Mowlana started the talk with a dua and thanked Allah Subhanuwataala for giving us the opportunity to learn the religion of Islam and to obtain the knowledge of this great religion. He then gave us a short synopsis of the previous week’s talk in which he had discussed about the importance and significance of following the Sunnah of our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) in the light of the Holy Quran and Hadith of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam). The most important point that was highlighted was that our Salvation, our Bakshish, our Magfirat, our protection and our real success both in this world and the hereafter depends on us implementing and following the teachings of the Holy Quran and to practice the traditions, (Sunnats) of our Beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammed (Sallalahualaihiwasalam). He had also given us examples and described how the Sahabatul Ikraam achieved and gained their great honour and status through following and practising the Sunnats of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and stressed how important it is to implement this practice into our daily lives, as this is what was done by the Sahaba Ikraam, the Salf-e-Saliheen, the great Awliya Allah, Tabe-een and Sufia Ikram.
Without following the Sunnats of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) we cannot achieve the sweetness of success or taste the sweetness of Iman.
Before going onto the details of specific Sunnat acts that we can implement into our lives, Mowlana told us some Waqiat’s (gave us examples/stories) explaining how some of the Sahaba Ikram put into practice the various Sunnats of our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam).
Once the great Sahabi, The third Caliph of Islam and son in law of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam), Hazrat Uthman Ghani (RadiAllahu-anhu) made Wudu and upon completion of his Wudu he stood up and started smiling….. The other Sahabi that were present saw he was smiling for no apparent reason, so they asked “Hazrat we cannot see any reason why you are smiling can you tell us why it is that you are doing so?” Hazrat Uthman Ghani (RadiAllahu-anhu) replied. Once my beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) made Wudu at this very place and after he finished he stood up and was smiling. I am remembering that Sunnat of my beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and doing the same.
Once Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (RadiAllahu-anhuma) the son of Hazrat Umar (RadiAllahu-anhu) was travelling with some other Sahaba Ikram and his foot became numb so one of them said to him “you should remember the one who is most beloved to you” so straight away Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (RadiAllahu-anhuma) said Ya Habibi Ya Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and as soon as he had mentioned the name of our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) his foot was cured and the numbness left him. As they travelled further, riding on their camels, they passed a tree and although the branches were high, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (RadiAllahu-anhuma) lowered his head as he passed under them and when his companions asked him what the reason was for lowering his head, though the branches were not in the way, he replied: “ I was once travelling with my beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) under this very tree and when we came under these branches Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) lowered his head Mubarak so I am doing the same just because I remembered this Sunnah (act) of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam). SubhanAllah!!….
Hazrat Junaide Bagdadhi (Rhematullahi taala-alai) who we all know was a very famous and great Walli-Allah, once wanted to eat a watermelon. As he was just about to cut it, he stopped and said I don’t know how or which way my beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) would have cut this watermelon. Although in Islam it is allowed to cut it in any way one wishes and eat it, just consider and look at the immense Love that he had for our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and wanting to follow his Sunnah!!… but because he was not sure how the beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) cut it and ate it, he did not eat the watermelon. Allahu Akbar…..
At this point Mowlana stressed that giving Lectures and imparting knowledge and listening to lectures is not a big deal, but the most important thing is to implement the knowledge gained and to bring the religion and the Islamic teachings and traditions (Sunnats of the Prophet Sallalahualaihiwasalam) into practice. He reminded us that our forefathers, or people of the past generations may not have been Aalims, and they may have had less knowledge, but they had more Amal and were practical Muslims, whereas in today’s times we may have more knowledge but we are way behind and significantly lacking compared to them, in our Amal’s and practice as Muslims.
He also reminded us that our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) has taught us everything we need to know to be successful in this life and the hereafter, and said that if we follow and practice everything according to the Sunnat of our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam), we will be able to utilise the full 24 hours in the day, to make every action in our daily lives into a form of ibadaat …. from our eating, drinking water, wearing shoes and clothing, walking, talking, lying down, sitting, standing, dealing with the neighbours, dealing with other people, how to behave in our work environments, Fulfilling the rights of the parents and the rights of the children etc. All these acts can and will become a means of sawaab and reward for us.
He gave an example of what the Sufi point of view is regarding eating:
It is true that, no matter how one eats he will fill his stomach, but the Sufia Ikram said that if one eats food with the intention of getting strength to do more ibadaat of Allah Subhanuwataala and eats in accordance to the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) then his eating will also become ibadaat.
We all know that eating is a basic fundamental need for all forms of life. Without eating we cannot survive, nor would we live a long healthy life. Our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) has left perfect instructions for us to follow regarding what we should do before eating, during eating and after eating. The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said that the Niyat (intention) of the believer is even more important than his action. Allah Subhanuwataala looks at the intention in our heart, and at our sincerity, Mohabat and Takwa towards His bargah.
To stress this point of Intention and its rewards, Mowlana spoke about a certain Sahabi who had built his house during the time of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and in it he built a window in one of the rooms. The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) visited him and asked “Oh my Sahabi why have you built this window where you have?” the Sahabi answered “Ya Rasuloolah I have built this window so as to get a good breeze into my house”. Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) then said to the Sahabi “O my Sahabi if you would have built the window with the intention of listening to the Azaan through it, you would have not only got a good breeze but you would have also been rewarded for your intention of listening to the Azaan as well and your putting in the window would have also become a form of Ibadaat.
One of the Sunnats before eating is to wash our hands. Keep in mind that this as well as other instructions or etiquettes regarding eating were taught to us by the greatest teacher of human health and hygiene, our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam).
Scientists and Doctors are only realising today by constantly researching, using the latest technology and telling us about hygiene and health issues and its importance in implementing cleanliness etc, in our eating habits and yet our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) gave us clear instructions regarding this matter of cleanliness and other things over 1400 years ago when there were no great scientists or any of the technologies that are present today.
Point one: Start by washing the hands.
- Note various Ullema Ikram have said that after washing our hands it is better not to dry our hands with a towel but to commence eating with wet hands.
Point Two: We should start eating by mentioning the name of Allah SubhanuwataAllah. We should say Bismillah Hir Rahmanir Raheem. Or Bismillahi wa ala Barkatillah.
- The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said that Whenever Allah SubhanuwataAllah’s name is mentioned the Shaytan runs away from there and there is no portion in that meal for him. Also by mentioning Allah Subhanuwataala’s name we get more Sawaab and Barkat in the food.
- If anyone forgets to say Bismillah Hir Rahmanir Raheem before he starts his meal and then remembers later he should say Bismillahi Awwalihi wa Arkirihi. Meaning In the name of Allah Subhanuwataala in the beginning and the end and then continue eating.
Point Three: It is not recommended to eat very hot food (in other words it is so hot that it may burn your mouth)
Point Four: Always eat with the right hand.
- One should always try to do everything good with the right hand, like eating, drinking water, greeting, giving charity etc. etc.
- The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) ate with three fingers of his right hand. The three fingers include the thumb, index, and the middle finger.
- Food which cannot be eaten with the fingers such as soup etc. can be eaten with a spoon. However we should try and eat with our fingers and follow our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) in any foods that can be eaten with the fingers.
Point Five: Sitting on the floor.
- Although it is permissible to sit in a chair and eat from the table, keep in mind that it is a Sunnat to eat sitting on the floor. So if you can manage to put this into practice it would be a great thing.
Point Six: If you happen to be sharing a plate with others then you should eat from that that which is directly in front of you and not from different parts of the plate.
Point Seven: Our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: Don’t fill the stomach (It can be mentioned here that today Doctors, be they Muslim or non-Muslim also recommend that it is detrimental to your health to eat too much) The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) advised us to fill only one third of the stomach with food, one third with water and one third is to be left empty.
Point Eight: After eating it is Sunnat to lick ones fingers.
- Note this Sunnat until recently was scorned upon by people and sometimes still is, due to the fact that people may not understand its meaning or the philosophy behind it. But it is very important that we remember that if we do not understand something because of our lack of knowledge (our knowledge is very limited) we should still accept it as it is given to us by our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and anything that Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) says we should always know and remember that there is some benefit or Hikmah (wisdom) behind it. Allah SubhanuwataAllah says in the Holy Quran that “Whatever Rasuloolah gives you Take it and whatever he forbids, you should avoid it.”..
- In another Hadith, Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) says: When one of you eats his food, he should not wash his hands, unless he has licked his fingers, as you don’t know in which portion or part of the food there is Barkat for you.
(On this note I would just like to share with you all that I have personally read that it has recently been discovered by scientists that the tips of our fingers produce a certain enzyme that when ingested actually helps with the digestion of our food. Therefore by licking your fingers you are actually ingesting this “Newly found” enzyme. Allahu Akbar. Please note this is my own observation and not what Mowlana said.)
Point Nine: Never ever complain or find fault in the food you are eating.
- In a Sahih hadith in Muslim Shareef it is stated that: Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) never searched for any fault in the food. Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) would eat the food if he liked, otherwise would leave what he did not want but would never complain about any of the food openly or verbally.
- Today we need to teach our children especially, as it has become normal to hear them complaining that the food is Yucky and we also complain many times if the food is not to our liking ourselves, this is actually an insult to the food… Never Ever search for any fault in the food, but instead make Shukar that you have more than the millions of people that are suffering and are under the poverty line in many countries all over the world and do not even have enough food to nourish themselves.
Point Ten: Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) also said that if any piece of food ie: bread, rice, roti etc. falls on the floor you should pick it up, dust it, or clean it and then eat it if it is edible. Don’t leave it for the Shaytan.
- Regarding wastage: My Respected brothers and sisters in Islam! Today we see in weddings and in other functions that we take more food than we require and end up leaving food in our plates, which will inevitably be thrown away. This is a sinful act and we will have to answer for it on the Day of Resurrection. We should rather take only small amounts of food and if we require more, we can always take more later. Always ensure you finish the food in your plate and save yourselves from sin, and fulfil the Sunnah of Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam)
Point Eleven: After completing your meal one should make the following dua to thank Allah Subhanuwataala:
- Alhamdullilah hil lathee at amana wasakana wa ja alana minal muslimeen
- Remember whenever we make dua, Allah Subhanuwataala sends more blessings and Barkat
- Allah Subhanuwataala says in the Holy Quran that: If you thank Him, He will give you more and increase your Nehmat and bounties and if you are ungrateful to Allah Subhanuwataala (by not thanking him) then Allah Subhanuwataala says: My Azaab and punishment is very severe.
- It is also recommended that we try our best whenever possible to have our meals with the family all together as there is more Barkat in doing this, and also take this opportunity to teach the children to recite the dua loudly after eating so that they can learn the etiquettes and manners of eating.
Point Twelve: Remove your shoes when eating. This may be difficult for us to do in this day and in certain circumstances like when we attend a Walima or Wedding function or if we are invited to someone’s house to eat etc. However we should still do our utmost to uphold the Sunnah as Allah (Subhanuwataala) says in the Holy Quran: “Fatt-Takullaha Mastatatum” Fear Allah (Subhanuwataala) as much as you can.
Point Thirteen: Wash hands after eating.
Water is also one of Allah’s Nehmat’s and no doubt a fundamental need for survival for all living things.
Our Beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said:
- Always sit and drink water. The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) forbade us to stand and drink water, to the extent that it is narrated in a Hadith that if you forgot to sit down and drink the water then it should be vomited out!!… Allahu Akbar, from this you can understand how important it is to sit and drink. (There are some reports of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) standing and drinking water, however it must be remembered that the command and order and Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) is to always sit when drinking anything. These occasions of standing could have been due to certain circumstances like nowhere to sit at the time or something of this nature. If we were in such circumstances and had no other option then only does it become permissible to stand and drink, otherwise we should make every effort to sit down and drink the water. It can be noted here that to stand and drink Zam Zam water is a Sunnah. It was out of respect that the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) always stood when he drank Zam Zam water.
- Drink water in 3 (three) sips. The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) forbade us to drink or gulp it down in one sip. The method of drinking is to sit down and to first say Bismillah, then drinking using the right hand, one should take three small sips by sucking the water without making any noise and moving the glass away from the mouth each time and praising Allah (Subhanuwataala) each time by saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ and at the end the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) would say ‘Ash-shukru-Lillahi.’
- Never blow into the drinking cup. (not even to try and cool a hot drink.)
- One Hadith narrates that our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: There is a lot of Barkat in drinking water before you start eating and there is Shifa (cure) in drinking water during your meal, but it is not good to drink water after you finish your meal as there is actually harm in doing that.
There are also other duas that the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) used to invoke when drinking Zam Zam water and also when drinking Milk.
- When drinking Zam Zam water, one should say:
Allahumma Innee Asaluka ‘Ilman naafiaw Wa Rizqaw Wasi ‘Aw-Wa ‘Amalan Mutaqabbalaw Wa Shifa ammin Kulli Daa’
‘O Allah! I ask You for beneficial knowledge, increase in wealth, accepted deeds and cure from illness’
**whatever supplication you make after drinking this blessed water it will Insha’Allah be accepted. We should make good supplications for ourselves, our family and the entire Ummah.
- When drinking Milk one should say:
Allahuma Barik Lana Feeh, Wazidna Minhu
“Oh Allah grant us Barkat and increase our blessings from it.
Visiting the Sick:
It must be remembered that Islam is the religion of Peace, Mohabat (Love) and it promotes kindness and sympathy towards others. When someone is sick, he is in a state of distress and Islam encourages us to visit the sick in order that it may help to reduce the persons stress. This is our Islamic and Moral duty towards our fellow brothers and sisters. There is great Sawaab and Reward for us when we carry out this Sunnah. Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said in a hadith of Muslim Shareef: “Whoever goes to visit the sick, he is in the Garden of Jannah until he leaves.” There is also another hadith that Narrates: Allah (Subhanuwataala) will ask “Oh my servant I was sick and you did not come and visit me”… the Banda will say “Ya Allah, you are our Lord, you are our creator how can you get sick?” and Allah (Subhanuwataala) will say “Oh my servant, My servant so and so was sick, but you did not go to visit him. If you would have gone to visit him, you would have found my Mercy there.”
In another authentic Hadith in Bukhari Shareef it is reported on the authority of Hazrat Ibn Aazib that Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) ordered us to do these things:
a) If somebody passes away. We should attend the Funeral
b) If someone is sick. We should go and visit him.
c) If someone invites you for a meal. We should accept his invitation.
d) We should help the oppressed and needy person.
e) We must always fulfil our promises.
f) We must always reply to the Islamic greeting.
g) We must make dua for the one who sneezes.
Once Hazrat Jaaber bin Abdullah became sick and he said that Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RadiAllahu-anhu) came to visit me, and Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) made dua for me.
On the authority of Hazrat Ali (RadiAllahu-anhu) it was reported that if a person goes to visit the sick at night, 70000 (seventy thousand) Angels keep making Istigfaar for him till Fajr (morning) and if a person goes to visit the sick during the day, 70000 (seventy thousand) Angels keep making dua and Istigfaar, Magfirat and Bakshish for him till evening.
When Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) used to visit the sick he would make this dua and say:
Itha dakhalla alaa mareed and would say to the sick person “Don’t worry, Insha’Allah Allah (Subhanuwataala) will give you cure from this sickness and through the struggle of this sickness or illness Allah (Subhanuwataala) will grant you forgiveness from your sins. He also used to place his blessed hand on the forehead of the sick and make dua for him to be cured.
- It is also recommended that we do not stay too long when visiting the sick as it may cause inconvenience to the patient, unless he is in specific need for our assistance with something.
Sneezing and Yawning:
It is human nature to Sneeze and Yawn. We have no way of stopping these reactions from our body. In a hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari it is reported that Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: Allah likes the sneezing of His banda but does not like the banda’s Yawning and when one sneezes he should praise Allah (Subhanuwataala) and say Allhamdullilah!.. and in reply one who hears someone sneeze should say: Yar Hamukallah. Then the one who sneezed should further say Ya Hadeekumullah wa yusli huballak .
- Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: Yawning is from the Shaytan. When one of you yawns the Shaytan becomes happy and starts laughing, so one should say Lahowla walla Kuwata illa billa.
- You should always cover your nose and mouth with your hand and turn your face when sneezing and try to be as quiet as possible for the benefit of those around you.
In the time of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) some of the Yahudi (Jews) used to come and sit where the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) was and would sneeze purposely and say Alhamdulillah, as they felt that upon hearing them sneeze, the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) would make dua by saying Yar Hamukallah . (May Allah Subhanuwataala shower his Mercy upon you) But Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) did not reply to them by saying Yar Hamukallah instead he used to say Ya Hadeekumullah (May Allah Subhanuwataala give you Hidayat).
Entering and leaving the House:
Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: Whenever you enter the house, the first thing one should do is to greet your family members. This is an order from the Holy Quran as well, where Allah Subhanuwataala says “When you enter your houses you must greet”.
If there is nobody else at home, one should still greet loudly by saying: Assalamu-Alaikum, Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu. This is because when one utters this Islamic greeting, the Shaytan hears this and tells all the smaller Shaytans as well as himself to go away from there as there is no place in that house for him. (This has been related to us in an Authentic Hadith).
Dua when entering the House:
Bismillaahi walajnaa, wa bismillaahi kharajnaa, wa a’laa rab-binaa tawak-kalnaa.
In the name of Allah we enter, and in the name of Allah we leave, and upon
our Lord we place our trust.
Dua when Leaving the house:
Bismillaahi tawakkaltu ‘a-lal-laahi walaa hawla walaa quwwata illaa billaah.
In the name of Allah, I place my trust in Allah, and there is neither might nor power
except with Allah.
Before Going to Bed:
Our Beloved Rasuloolah gave us clear instructions as to what we should do before going to bed.
- Firstly cover all food utensils
- Switch off lights (candles in the time of the Prophet Sallalahualaihiwasalam)
- Make sure doors are all locked.
- Dust off the bed (In case of any harmful insects etc. that may be in there)
In one Hadith Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) also has said that: one should close all doors and windows at sunset (Magrib time) so that the Shaytan cannot enter the home. Do not let the children out or play under trees at this time as it is at this time that the Jinnats are present in these places. It is said that during the day the Jinnats rest while the humans work and at night they come out while humans rest.
Sometimes people say “I trust Allah Subhanuwataala, and he will look after my things so there is no need for me to lock my doors or anything. There is no doubt that we should always place our trust in Allah Subhanuwataala and definitely Allah Subhanuwataala is the best of Protectors, but there is something that we call Asbaab….. This is to use the means of the world as well.
An interesting Waqia was related to explain this point. At the time of the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam), when people would gather they would tie their camels then sit together. Once a Sahabi did not tie his camel so the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) asked him “Oh my Sahabi why did you not tie your camel”. The Sahabi answered “Ya Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) Allah (Subhanuwataala) is the best protector so he will protect my camel, so I have no need to tie the camel. Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said to him, “Oh my Sahabi you should first tie your camel and then put your trust in Allah (Subhanuwataala).
We learn from this that we should also first do our best and then leave the rest to Allah (Subhanuwataala) and he will Insha’Allah protect us.
- The beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said: One should always make Wudu before sleeping.
The Ullema Ikram explain the philosophy behind this is that one will be resurrected in the way he died and sleep as you all know is something of a minor death or similar to death in a way as we don’t know where we are at this time. By practicing this Sunnah we will find we will be more at peace and gain more Barkat and our sleep will also be considered as an ibadaat.
- Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) always used to sleep on his right side and place his hand Mubarak under his right cheek at the time of going to bed.
If one changes position during the night then that is ok as long as one assumes this position initially then you will be following the Sunnah of our Beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam).
- Make dua.
There are many different duas that our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) has taught us to make. One Hadith relates that we should read the last two Surah’s of the Holy Quran ie, Suratul Falaq and Suratul Nas. Another Hadith relates that we should read Ayatal Kursi and blow over the hands and rub on the face and chest. These duas are very powerful and will Insha’Allah protect you, your family and your house through the night.
Another very easy but Powerful Dua before sleeping is:
Bismika Allahumma amootu wa-ahyaa.
In Your name Ya Allah, I live and die
Upon waking up, it has been mentioned that our beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) used to say 3 (three) times Alhamdulillah.
One could also read:
Alhamdu lillaahil-lathee ahyaanaa ba’da maa amaatanaa wa ilayhin-nushoor.
All praise is for Allah, who gave us life after having taken it from
us, and unto Him is the Resurrection.
The Islamic greeting is one of the fundamental teachings of Islam. We must strive to put into practice this code of greeting whenever we meet with another Muslim brother. There is great reward and Sawaab in it.
The Holy Quran tells us: When you are greeted, replying the greeting becomes compulsory (wajib) on you.
The Ullema Iqram say that we should always try and reply with something better when we are greeted. For example if someone greets you by saying Assalamu-Alaikum we should reply Wahlaikum Salaam Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuhu.
The Holy Quran says that: “If you can’t reply with better words then one should at least reply with the same”. For example if someone says Assalamu-Alaikum you should at least reply Walaikum-Salaam.
In a Hadith of Abu Dawood and Tirmizi Shareef it is related that: When Allah Subhanuwataala created Hazrat Adam (Alayhisalaam) he commanded him to go to a group of Angels and to listen to how they greet one another. When Hazrat Adam (Alayisalaam) went amongst the group of angels they greeted him with Assalamu-Alaikum, Hazrat Adam (Alayhisalaam) replied them with Wahlaikum Salaam. Allah (Subhanuwataala) informed Hazrat Adam Alayhissalaam that this will be the greeting of your offspring and this is how he was taught. This greeting actually started from that time, so this is the greeting of the Angels as well.
Another Hadith relates that: Once one Sahabi came to the beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) and greeted with Assalamu-Alaikum so the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said Ashra (Ten). The second Sahabi came and greeted Assalamu-Alaiku Warahmatulla so the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said I’shroon (Twenty) and when the third Sahabi came, he greeted with Assalamu-Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu, so the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) said Thalathoon (Thirty) So the Sahaba inquired Ya Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) what does it mean when you replied us in this way, Ten, Twenty and Thirty? Our Beloved Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) replied that when someone says only Assalamu-Alaikum he gets ten Hasanat (rewards) when one says Assalamu-Alaikum Warahmatulla he receives twenty Hasanat and when he says Assalamu-Alaikum Warahmatullahi-Wabarakatuhu, for him is thirty Hasanat. The more one adds for example by saying: Assalamu-Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu Wamagfirahu he will receive forty hasanats. SubhanAllah.
We must strive to promote and practice this Islamic greeting. The Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) was once asked what is the best deed in Islam? He replied :“It is to feed the poor and needy and greet one another and promote the Islamic greeting. It is said that it is possible that the questioner was someone who was lacking in performing these particular acts so this is how our beloved Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) used Hikmah to encourage the followers. We see this in other Hadith as well, where the same question was asked but a different answer was given for example one person was told the best deed was not to get angry as this particular person used to do everything good but his downfall was his anger, so this was the Prophet (Sallalahualaihiwasalams) way of encouraging him to perform that specific deed better.
It was also pointed out here that sometimes we have non-Muslims who come up to us and greet by saying Assalamu-Alaikum. (This could be a genuine greeting from them or also could be in mockery) but Rasuloolah (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) has also given us the answer as to how to respond to the greeting. One should say in reply only Walaikum or another Hadith states that when the Jews or Christians greet you with Assalamualaikum you should say HadaakAllah (May Allah (Subhanuwataala) give you guidance).
To end the talk, Mowlana gave a beautiful example by using a glass, he said, “If we wanted to collect rainwater in a glass and we put it outside in the rain but left it upside down then no matter how much it rained we would not collect anything at all, whereas if we left it the right way up then within minutes it would be overflowing with water.” In other words, this is exactly what we should do when listening to talks by our learned Ullema, keep our mind and heart open and absorb whatever we can and most importantly, genuinely put all our effort in implementing all these practices into our daily lives, so that we can achieve success both in this world and the hereafter.
May Allah (Subhanuwataala) forgive me for any errors in the above attempt of mine to relate this beautiful talk of Mowlana’s.
May Allah (Subhanuwataala) guide us all to the straight path and give us the strength and Hidayat to fulfil all our duties in Islam and to follow the Sunnats (Traditions) of our Beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammed (Sallalahualaihiwasalam).
Wamma Taufiki Illah Billah.
Your brother in Islam and servant of Allah