Giving the greeting of salaam to a mixed group: ibn Hajar

In Riyad al-Saaleheen, Imam al-Nawawi brings the following abbreviated narration from Usama ibn Zaid:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَرَّ عَلَى مَجْلِسٍ فِيهِ أَخْلاَطٌ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ – عَبْدَةِ الأَوْثَانِ وَالْيَهُودِ – فَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ

The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by a mixed company of people which included Muslims, and Mushrikoon -both idol-worshippers and Jews – and he gave them the greeting of al-salaam ‘alaikum.

[Reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim in extended forms]

Imam al-Bukhari mentioned a longer form of this hadeeth in a chapter of his Saheeh entitled, “Chapter of giving the salaam to a group in which there is a mix of Muslims and mushrikoon.Al-Haafidh ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani wrote the following in his commentary on Saheeh al-Bukhari:

 قال النووي : السنة إذا مر بمجلس فيه مسلم وكافر أن يسلم بلفظ التعميم ويقصد به المسلم  .

Al-Nawawi said, “The sunnah when you come across a gathering in which there is both a Muslim and a kaafir is to give them the greeting of al-salaam ‘alaikum with general wording, and intend it for the Muslim.”

قال ابن العربي : ومثله إذا مر بمجلس يجمع أهل السنة والبدعة وبمجلس فيه عدول وظلمة وبمجلس فيه محب ومبغض واستدل النووي على ذلك بحديث الباب وهو مفرع على منع ابتداء الكافر بالسلام وقد ورد النهي عنه صريحا فيما أخرجه مسلم والبخاري في ” الأدب المفرد ” من طريق سهل بن أبي صالح عن أبيه عن أبي هريرة رفعه لا تبدءوا اليهود والنصارى بالسلام واضطروهم إلى أضيق الطريق وللبخاري في ” الأدب المفرد ” والنسائي من حديث أبي بصرة – وهو بفتح الموحدة وسكون المهملة – الغفاري : أن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قال إني راكب غدا إلى اليهود فلا تبدءوهم بالسلام

Ibn al-‘Arabi said, “And this is like when one comes across a gathering which combines the people of the sunnah and the people of bid’ah, and a gathering in which there are just ones and unjust ones, and a gathering in which there are beloved and hated” And al-Nawawi showed that with a hadeeth which emphasized the prohibition of initiating the salaam with the kaafir, and he narrated the prohibition of that clearly from what Muslim brought and what al-Bukhari brought in al-Adab al-Mufrad via Sahl ibn Abi Saalih from his father from Abu Hurayrah, as a marfoo’ hadeeth, “Do not initate the salaam to the Jews or the Christians, and when you meet any one of them on the roads, force him to go to the narrowest part of it.” And also from al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad and from al-Nasaa’i, from the hadeeth of Abu Basrah al-Ghifaari that the Prophet said, “I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not initiate the salaam to them.”

وقالت طائفة يجوز ابتداؤهم بالسلام فأخرج الطبري من طريق ابن عيينة قال يجوز ابتداء الكافر بالسلام لقوله – تعالى – : لا ينهاكم الله عن الذين لم يقاتلوكم في الدين وقول إبراهيم لأبيه سلام عليك .  .

And a group says that it is permissible to initiate the greeting of al-salaam ‘alaikum. Al-Tabari recorded that ibn ‘Uyaynah said, “It is allowed to initiate the salaam to the kuffaar according to Allah’s statement, ‘Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion‘ [60:8], and the statement of Ibrahim to his father, ‘salaam ‘alaik‘ [19:47].”

وأخرج ابن أبي شيبة من طريق عون بن عبد الله عن محمد بن كعب أنه سأل عمر بن عبد العزيز عن ابتداء أهل الذمة بالسلام فقال نرد عليهم ولا نبدؤهم . قال عون فقلت له فكيف تقول أنت ؟ قال ما أرى بأسا أن نبدأهم . قلت لم ؟ قال لقوله – تعالى – : فاصفح عنهم وقل سلام

And Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded from ‘Awn ibn ‘Abdullah from Muhammad ibn Ka’b that he asked ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez about initiating the salaam to the ahl al-dhimmah, so he said, “We reply to them and we do not initiate the greeting to them.” ‘Awn said, “So I said to him, ‘How can you say that?!’ He said, ‘I do not see any harm in initiating the greeting to them.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, ‘Because of Allah’s statement: So turn aside from them and say, “salaam”. [43:89]'”

وقال البيهقي بعد أن ساق حديث أبي أمامة إنه كان يسلم على كل من لقيه فسئل عن ذلك فقال : إن الله جعل السلام تحية لأمتنا وأمانا لأهل ذمتنا . هذا رأي أبي أمامة ، وحديث أبي هريرة في النهي عن ابتدائهم أولى .

And al-Bayhaqi said after quoting the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah, “Verily he [Abu Umaamah] gave the greetings of al-salaam ‘alaikum to all those whom he met, so he was asked about that, so he said, ‘Verily Allah made the salaam a greeting for our ummah and a trust to our ahl al-dhimmah.'” This was the opinion of Abu Umaamah, and the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah about the prohibition of initiating the greeting takes precedence.

وأجاب عياض عن الآية وكذا عن قول إبراهيم عليه السلام لأبيه بأن القصد بذلك المتاركة والمباعدة وليس القصد فيهما التحية  .

And ‘Iyaadh responded to the ayah and other reports of the statement of Ibrahim (‘alaihis salaam) to his father by explaining the the purpose of that was taking leave [of his father] and distancing [himself from him], and the purpose of that was not to greet him.

وقد صرح بعض السلف بأن قوله – تعالى – : وقل سلام فسوف يعلمون نسخت بآية القتال

And some of the salaf have clarified that Allah’s statement, “And say, ‘salaam.’ But they are going to know” was abrogated by the ayah of fighting [see 22:39].

وقال الطبري : لا مخالفة بين حديث أسامة في سلام النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – على الكفار حيث كانوا مع المسلمين وبين حديث أبي هريرة في النهي عن السلام على الكفار ; لأن حديث أبي هريرة عام وحديث أسامة خاص فيختص من حديث أبي هريرة ما إذا كان الابتداء لغير سبب ولا حاجة من حق صحبة أو مجاورة أو مكافأة أو نحو ذلك والمراد منع ابتدائهم بالسلام المشروع فأما لو سلم عليهم بلفظ يقتضي خروجهم عنه كأن يقول السلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين فهو جائز كما كتب النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – إلى هرقل وغيره : سلام على من اتبع الهدى

And al-Tabari said: There is no contradiction between the hadeeth of Usaamah about the Prophet’s  greeting of salaam to the kuffaar when they were with the Muslims and the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah about the prohibition of giving the greeting of salaam to the kuffaar. This is because the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah is general and the hadeeth of Usaamah is specific, so it specificies the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah that there is no initiation of the greeting without any reason or need from the rights of companions, neighbors, recompense, etc. And the intended meaning of the prohibition of initiating the legislated greeting of the salaam. And as for if one were to greet them with the greeting of alsalaam  with a wording that did not included them, such as saying, ‘peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah‘, then that is allowed, just as the Prophet (ﷺ) wrote to Heraclius and others with ‘Peace be upon those who follow the guidance‘.

وأخرج عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن قتادة قال السلام على أهل الكتاب إذا دخلت عليهم بيوتهم السلام على من اتبع الهدى

And ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported via Ma’mar that Qataadah said the greetings of al-salaam to the ahl al-Kitaab when he entered their homes by saying ‘Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.”

وأخرج ابن أبي شيبة عن محمد بن سيرين مثله ومن طريق أبي مالك : إذا سلمت على المشركين فقل : السلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين فيحسبون أنك سلمت عليهم وقد صرفت السلام عنهم

And Ibn Abi Shaybah reported something similar from Muhammad ibn Seereen and from the Abu Maalik that, “If you use the greeting of salaam with the mushrikoon, then say, ‘Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah‘ so they will think that you have invoked peace upon them and given them the greeting of salaam to them.”

قال القرطبي في قوله وإذا لقيتموهم في طريق فاضطروهم إلى أضيقه معناه لا تتنحوا لهم عن الطريق الضيق إكراما لهم واحتراما وعلى هذا فتكون هذه الجملة مناسبة للجملة الأولى في المعنى وليس المعنى إذا لقيتموهم في طريق واسع فألجئوهم إلى حرفه حتى يضيق عليهم لأن ذلك أذى لهم وقد نهينا عن أذاهم بغير سبب

Al-Qurtubi said about the statement of the Prophet, “when you meet any one of them on the roads, force him to go to the narrowest part of it” – it means, do not yield any space on the road to them in a narrow road as an honor to them. And concerning this there is an appropriate situation in this first [aforementioned] situation, and the meaning is not that if you meet them on a wide road that you should then force them to its edge until it constricts them, for that is harming them and we have been prohibited from harming them without reason.

[Fath al-Bari #9342]

See also: The Jews used to hope for the supplication of the Prophet

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One thought on “Giving the greeting of salaam to a mixed group: ibn Hajar

  1. Pingback: The Jews used to hope for the supplication of the Prophet | Tulayhah

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