Can I Greet My Non-Muslim Friends with the Salam (Saying: Assalamu ’Alaykum)?

Answered by Shaykh Khalid al-Kharsa


Can I greet my non-Muslim friends with the salam (saying: Assalamu ‘Alaykum)?


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

If there is a relationship between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, there is no objection to greeting them with the salam for a need. However, to do so as a form of reverence is not permissible.

In detail:

A believer is commanded to greet with the salam those Muslims they know and those they do not. As for greeting non-Muslims, Ibn Abidin stated in his commentary: “One may greet the People of the Book if there is a need to do so.”

It is mentioned in Tatarkhaniya: “The prohibition of initiating the salam is due to reverence, and there is no reverence if the salam is for a need.”
In Al-Shir’a, it states, “When greeting the People of the Book, one should say: السلام على من اتبع الهدى ‘Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.’”
Responding to Greetings from People of the Book
If the People of the Book greet a Muslim, they should respond with وعليك“Upon you as well,” as mentioned in the Hadith.

[Shaykh] Khalid al-Kharsa

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Khalid al-Kharsa is a distinguished scholar from Syria, born in Damascus in 1960. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Da‘wa Islamiyya in Tripoli, a higher diploma in Comparative Fiqh from the University of Omdurman in 1998, a master’s degree in Comparative Fiqh from the Faculty of Shari‘a and Law at the University of Omdurman in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Fiqh from the same institution in 2010.

He acquired knowledge and spiritual guidance from Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Farfur, Shaykh Abdul Razzaq al-Halabi, Shaykh Muhammad Adib al-Kallas, and Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, may Allah have mercy on them all.

He received Ijazas from several scholars, including Shaykh Muhammad Amin Siraj, Shaykh Abdul Ghani al-Daqar, Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Kahil, Shaykh Malik bin al-Arabi bin Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, Shaykh Muhammad Usman Bilal, the Mufti of Aleppo, and others.

Shaykh Khalid lived in Damascus for 52 years, where he engaged extensively in educational and social activities before being displaced from there. He moved to Istanbul at the end of 2015 and co-established “Markaz Jami‘at al-‘Ilm Wa al-Hidaya” within two months of his arrival. In Istanbul, he is active in educational roles. He serves as the director and teacher at the Sheikh Abdul Razzaq al-Halabi Institute, a lecturer at Dar al-Fuqaha, and a teacher at the Dar al-Funun Waqf.

His scholarly works and research include his tahqiq on “al-Rasa li al-Salihat min al-Nisa” by Hafiz Yusuf bin Abdul Hadi, “Adab al-Murta‘i in the Science of Dua (Supplication),” “al-Isti‘ana bi al-Fatiha,” “Rashat al-Aqlam – Explanation of Kifayat al-Ghulam” by Shaykh Abdul Ghani al-Nabulsi in Hanafi Fiqh, “al-Hada’iq al-Wardiyya fi Ajla al-Naqshbandiyya” by Khani, and “al-Arba‘in al-Tusiyya” by Muhammad bin Aslam. May Allah preserve him and make his contributions beneficial.