Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
Why is Allah called Al-Salam and not As-Saleem? I do not question to criticize; I question to learn.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.
Allah has ninety-nine most beautiful names, which He informs us of. His names are part of the matters we only know about through Divine revelation, and there is practically no room for human reasoning except to observe, learn and submit, and Allah knows best.
Allah is al-Salam because that is the name He has selected. While we may discern its etymological, philological, and traditional meaning, we cannot say precisely why Allah chose one name over another, and Allah knows best.
Allah Most High says: “He is Allah—there is no god except Him: the King, the Most Holy, the All-Perfect, the Source of Serenity, the Watcher ˹of all˺, the Almighty, the Supreme in Might, the Majestic. Glorified is Allah far above what they associate with Him ˹in worship˺!” [Quran, 59:23]
Al-Salam means “The Perfect / Flawless” and comes from the same root as “peace”, as entities are at peace when flawless.
Salam is also derived from the same word as “Islam.” While Islam is often translated as “to submit”, this is not the best translation. Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad writes that Islam does not mean submission; rather, it entails letting go. This is because Islam is to have your heart let go of the flawed Dunya. Thus, we must get rid of the Dunya that our hearts are attached to so that we may return to Allah so that our hearts are clean on the day that “Children and wealth will not benefit, except whoever comes with a sound heart (qalbun salim).” [Quran, 26:88-89]
Salim also comes from the same root word as Al-Salam. When one has this soundness about them, they become a tranquil soul. Allah says to the contented souls, “Oh tranquil soul, return to your Lord pleased and well-pleased.” [Quran: 89:27-28]. Only through purging the heart of the Dunya will one be able to worship Allah and find tranquillity truly.
I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.