As-salamu alaykum

Arabic greeting meaning "Peace be upon you"
As-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] (listen)) is a greeting in Arabic that means 'Peace be upon you'. The salām (سَلَام, meaning 'peace') has become a religious salutation for Muslims[1] worldwide when greeting each other, though its use as a greeting pre-dates Islam, and is also common among Arabic speakers of other religions (such as Arab Christians and Mizrahi Jews[2]).

In colloquial speech, often only the first part of the phrase (so: salām, 'peace') is used to greet a person. The typical response to the greeting is wa ʿalaykumu s-salām (وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ, Arabic: [wa ʔa.laj.kumːm] (listen), 'and peace be upon you'). The complete phrase is 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'.

This greeting in its abbreviated form, salām [3](سَلَام), has come to be used as the general salutation in other languages as well. Among Christians, during Mass or other liturgical services, the priest or pastor and the congregation often use the salutation, "peace be with you", sometimes replying, "and also with you".

Cognate Semitic language parallels include the Aramaic/Classical Syriac shlama 'allāwkhon (ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܘܟ݂ܘܢ), and the Hebrew shalom aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shālôm ʻalêḵem).[4][5]


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

For example:

  • In Egypt: [sæˈlæːmu ʕæˈleːku], [we ʕæˈleːkom es.sæˈlæːm]
  • By native English-speaking Muslims: /sælɑːm ælkʊm/, /wælkʊm sælɑːm/

Grammatical variants

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.

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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” [6]

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.” [7]

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).[8]

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 جَآءَكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُۥ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوٓءًۢا بِجَهَالَةٍۢ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُۥ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ
“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.’”

وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌۭ ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌۭ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّۢا بِسِيمَاهُمْ ۚ وَنَادَوْا۟ أَصْحَابَ ٱلْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
“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.”

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

ٱلَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ ٱلْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
“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.’”

  • Surah Maryam (19), Ayah 47:

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّۭا
“He said, ‘Peace be to you! I shall plead with my Lord to forgive you. Indeed He is gracious to me.’”

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا۟ ٱللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا۟ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي ٱلْجَاهِلِينَ
“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.’”

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

  • Cognate Semitic language parallels include the Aramaic/Classical Syriac Shlama 'allāwkhon (ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܘܟ݂ܘܢ), and the Hebrew Shalom aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם shālôm ʻalêḵem).[9][10]
  • In Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, Salâm (سلام) is used alone more frequently, with occasional use of Salam-o aleykom. Goodbye is supplanted by a Khudâ hâfez (Persian: خدا حافظ), meaning "with the protection of God", with the occasional use of beh salâmat (به سلامت), meaning "[go] with peace".
  • 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.[11]
  • 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" 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 is preferred versus the shorter greeting, "salam". Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda Hafiz" or a variation, "Allah Hafiz", both of which mean "May God keep you safe".
  • In India, the greeting mostly among Muslims is a simple handshake or hug, As-salamu alaykum or the shorter greeting "Salam" is used in informal situations. Goodbye is supplanted by a "Khuda Hafiz" or an alternative form, "Allah Hafiz", both of which mean "May God keep you safe".
  • In Bangladesh, Assalamu alaikum (Bengali: আসসালামু আলাইকুম) is the most common Muslim greeting.[12] Some Muslims greet their elders with these words whilst raising their right hand to the forehead.[13] Assalamu alaikum is even used as to say goodbye, while many others say "Khoda Hafez" or "Allah Hafez" (may God protect you).
  • In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Assalomu aleykum is used as an informal greeting.
  • In Indonesia, the greeting is usually[citation needed] accompanied with a kind of two-handed "handshake", whereby the shaker's palms remain closed, and the fingers alone open to admit the other's proffered hand – which briefly touches the proffered's fingers or fingertips alone. In this way more adherent males and females may greet through touching – but remain true to the Islamic or cultural teachings forbidding physical contact between the genders. Occasionally, the right hand will touch the left breast or heart area after this.[citation needed] In Indonesia's Javanese/Sasak culture, a remnant of feudalism is retained, where an elder's proffered right hand is taken and pressed briefly against the forehead. Some may instead briefly kiss the hand or the main ring. This is very common for young children to greet older relatives (of their parents' age, though, on occasion, if very polite children, younger). In slang words, this greeting is sometimes referred as "samlekom".
  • 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, Salam Aleykum is used to say hi.
  • In Senegal which has a majority of Muslims with Sufi-orientation, it is a common greeting. Spelled and pronounced in Wolof: "(a)sala maaleykum", and the reply "maa lekum salaam."
  • In Xinjiang, China, "Essalam eleykum" is used as a greeting by Uyghurs, and the reply is "We'eleykum essalam".
  • In Portuguese, the expression "salamaleque" gained a totally distinct and curious meaning: because of the habit of Arabic cultures to bow down and wave the hand from the front ahead in greeting a person, the expression "salamaleque" is applied to exaggerated movements or acts in order to appear to be formal or entertaining or even fancy. "Os rapazes chegaram cheios de salamaleques". Salamelecco has the same meaning also in Italian, and salamalec in French.
  • 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.

See also



  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. ^ assalamu, alaikum. "Assalamu Alaikum सलाम करने के 38 सुन्नते और आदाब In HIndi". Irfani-Islam. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  4. ^ "shalom aleichem". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  6. ^ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5873, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2841
  7. ^ [Muslim (54), Aḥmad (2/391), and al-Tirmidhī (2513) narrated from Abū Hurairah]
  8. ^ "Surat An-Nur [24:61] - The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم". Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  9. ^ "shalom aleichem". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ "Introduction to the bangla language" (PDF). Peace Corps: 6. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  13. ^ Enamul Haq (2012). "Customs and Traditions". In Islam, Sirajul; 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. Retrieved 5 October 2022.

External links

  • A brief illustrated guide to understanding Islam
  • How to pronounce As salamu alaykum in Arabic
  • How To Pronounce Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh in Arabic
  • How to pronounce Walaikum Assalam in Arabic