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I learned this phrase from the autobiography of Malcolm X. If I said this as warm greeting in place of hello, would it be received as a gesture of goodwill?

If so, I'd like to use this as a simultaneous gesture of welcoming to Muslims and protest against those who are unwelcoming.

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As-Salam Alaikom is a greeting that literally means: "Peace be upon you".

This type of greeting didn't originate with Islam, as it can be traced to the Christian bible, and Hebrew scriptures. It is exactly the same as "Shalom aleikhem!" in Hebrew.

This is the way Jesus greeted people.

In the New Testament, in John 20:19-21, in the Hebrew Bible (Complete Jewish Bible):

19 In the evening that same day, the first day of the week, when the talmidim were gathered together behind locked doors out of fear of the Judeans, Yeshua came, stood in the middle and said, "Shalom aleikhem!" 20 Having greeted them, he showed them his hands and his side. The talmidim were overjoyed to see the Lord. 21 "Shalom aleikhem!" Yeshua repeated. "Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you."

and in 1 Peter 5:14,

Greet each other with a kiss of love. “Shalom aleikhem!” to all who belong to the Messiah.

If you look at this last example 1 Peter 5:14, it is similar to a way Prophet Muhammad greeted Heraclius the Chief of Byzantines in a letter sent do him.

When the letter was read, its contents were as follows: 'In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Muhammad, Allah's slave and His Apostle to Heraclius, the Chief of Byzantines: Peace be upon him who follows the right path (guidance)!

Sahih al-Bukhari 6260

This in Arabic is written as

السلام على من إتّبع الهدى

which translates to: "Peace to whoever follow guidance", and the transliterattion is: "As-Salamu Ala Man Ittaba Al Huda"

Muslims are not supposed to greet each other with this, as it can be offensive since it assumes doubt over someone's faith. So, I am not sure how a Muslim would feel if a non-Muslim greet them like that.

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Basically there are two aspects of saying greetings.

  1. You want to greet or wish someone ethically (as cultural practice where we live)
  2. You live in religious society where you greet the other person accordingly.

First, peace is the key element to prevail in a society. Ethically we usually need to wish or greet to different people, in order to have good relationships or sometime a kind of pre-gesture is good, before starting any business talk. Which makes discussion environment a friendly. This is a general understanding about greeting to someone.

Now how should you greet? To have a good social relation we need to greet someone in his way, but being in our religious boundaries (because we can not do something which is prohibited in our religion). In Islam, Allah has mentioned in Quran that when you see other Muslim you should say "salam or Asalam-o-Alaikum" which is an exact Arabic grammer. This in English means "peace be on to you". So what does this means in Islam? This a kind of short wish we pray to Allah that: May Allah keep you in peace and safe.

Muslims always say their prayers and wishes to Allah so this is the whole concept and background.

In religion context the Islam is the most final and complete religion human follow or should follow, as other religions that people follow, have actually stopped learning and study of religion; hence they even did not read and put thought on last order/instructions sent from Allah for its mankind. So they are actually denying the last and final order from Allah (until they read and understand).

What are Muslims and today's extremism subject, does not relate to any religion. Its an individual deeds that he commits and follows for his own desires.

Let's make it short here as this answer should be precise and relevant only.

Muslims can not say " Salam" to non-muslims because the non-muslim is not accepting Allah's last order so he is no more following Allah. So in a cultural society we should greet other person accordingly, that he feels nice about.

Lastly, Allah is not our Servant or employee ( may Allah forgive me of using these words, but for others understanding) that he is bounded to do-what we wish him to do.

Allah says in Quran, I created this universe and life, so I can see who does the good deeds and do good practices among you. [Surah Mulk, Chapter 29]

I have tried to answer, being in possible right way. May Allah forgive us and show right path to us.

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The greeting you refer to means simply "Peace be unto you". We are judged by Allah according to what is in our hearts, that is to say what our true intentions are. If you find it within yourself to use this greeting as a gesture of kindness and good will, there is no harm.

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