Is It Permissible to Salute People?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Is it permissible to salute people?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

A salute is considered a type of greeting (Tahiyya) meant to show reverence to a superior.  It is not a greeting that originated within Islam, but it is permissible if the following are upheld:

  1. That any other greeting does not replace the greeting of Islam. (I.e., in the case that the one being greeted is a Muslim);
  2. That the greeting of the hands (whether a wave or a salute or the like) is coupled with a verbal greeting (if the person being greeted is near enough to hear);
  3. It is not the one with the intention to emulate the non-muslims;
  4. That such a greeting is not a symbol of another religion. [al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

In the military, it may be an obligation, the non-fulfillment of which brings penalties. In such a case, the above conditions must be met.

However, in the case where it is not mandated, one should abstain from such things giving preference to the greeting of the believers.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever emulates other than us is not from us. Do not emulate the Jews and Christians. This greeting of the Jews is to gesture with fingers, and the greeting of the Christians is to gesture with the palms.” [Tirmidhi]

The Greeting of the Believers

The best greeting is the greeting of the Believers: As-salamu ‘Alaikum, and it is an act of worship for which one is greatly rewarded.

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a man passed by the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace), who was then sitting and said, “As-Salamu ‘Alaikum.” The Messenger said, “Ten rewards.” Another person passed by and said, “As-salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.” He (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Twenty rewards.” Another person passed and said, “As-salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu.” He (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Thirty rewards.”

Then another person stood up from the gathering and did not give the greeting of As-salam. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “How quickly does your companion forget! If any of you approaches a gathering, let him say the greeting of As-Salam. Then if he wishes to sit, let him sit. If any of you stands up (from the gathering), let them give the greeting of As-Salamu. The former is no superior than the latter.” [Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad]


The scholars have not prohibited using hand gestures at the time of greeting. However, one should make a verbal greeting along with the gesture. If a person is far away and cannot hear a verbal greeting, then there is nothing wrong with sufficing with the gesture. [al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

If, however, one is obligated to salute a superior, such as in the military or police force, then one may, as explained above.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.