Allahumma anta as-Salaam, wa minka as-Salaam!
As Salaam – The Perfection and Giver of Peace
There are two meanings of the Name As Salaam:
a) The Perfection.
b) The Giver of Peace and Security.
Linguistically, salaam and salaamah mean baraa’ah: immunity, to be free of something and to be unblemished. According to ibn Al Arabi, salaamah means ‘aafiyah: well being, to be safe and good. We see in the Qur’an that a quality of ebaadur Rahmaan (slaves of The Most Merciful) is: وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا “and when the ignorant address them, they reply with words of peace” (25:63). They say “salaama” to the ignorant, meaning they don’t want anything to do with their conversation. Also, Jannah is called Dar us Salaam (10:25), it is free of all grief, death, worries, tensions, fatigues, enmities, hatred, and it is a place of safety. Also when we say “assalaamu alaykum”, it means, you are safe from me and you will not receive any sharr (evil) from me.
To summarize the meanings of Salaam:
a) to be peaceful, to be friendly , to be in a good state
b) to be free from imperfections
c) to be safe and secure
Other words from the same root include:
a) Saleem: a qalbun saleem is a heart that is sound, unblemished, in a state of ‘aafiyah (well being).
b) Islaam: state of submission.
Proof of this Name
The root of seen-laam-meem appears 170 times in the Qur’an. The Name As Salaam in the Qur’an appears once at the end of suratul Hashr (verse 23). From the sunnah we learn the Name As Salaam is mentioned in the duaa after salaah (Allahumma anta Salaam, wa minkas Salaam, tabarakta ya dhal Jalaali wal Ikraam)
What does it mean that Allah is As Salaam?
The Scholars say:
Ibn Katheer states: As Salaam is the One who is Free from all imperfections and deficiencies, because of the Perfection of His Being, of His Attributes and His Actions. He is So Perfect, He does not have any imperfections. For example, He is Living and is free from the imperfection of death. His Knowledge is free from the imperfection of forgetfulness. His Attributes are free from the imperfection of being similar to any creation. His Actions are perfect, whatever He does there is Hikmah (wisdom) behind it. So to summarize the statement of ibn Katheer: As Salaam is the One who is Perfect, He has no deficiencies which is why As Salaam has been translated as The Perfection.
Al Qurtubi states: As Salaam is the One who is safe from all deficiencies. He explains as Salaam in three ways:
1) The One free from every fault, and He is absolved of every deficiency.
2) He gives Salaam to His ebaad (slaves) in Jannah. We learn from the Qur’an that the dwellers of paradise will be greeted with salaam, by Allah, by the angels and by each other. In surah Yaseen verse 58, Allah ta’ala says: سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِن رَّبٍّ رَّحِيمٍ People in Jannah will be told “Salaam, a statement from their Rabb, the Most Merciful.”
3) The One whose creation is free from His dhulm (injustice). He keeps His creations safe from any injustice on His part and His creation is free from injustice from Him. What does this tell us? If Allah is As Salaam, there is no way He can be unjust. Many times we read in the Qur’an: وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ اللّهُ وَلَكِنْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ, ‘Allah did not wrong them, rather they wronged themselves’.
In a hadeeth Qudsi, Allah ta’ala says: ‘O My slaves, I have made oppression haraam upon Myself, and I have made it haraam between yourselves, so do not wrong each other’ (Muslim). So this teaches us that if we want Allah’s Protection, we cannot do dhulm. Those who did not receive the protection of Allah, they did not receive His Salaam , they committed dhulm. What is the lesson for us? If you want Allah’s Security and Protection do not commit dhulm upon yourself, upon others and upon Allah. What is dhulm upon yourself? Committing sins. What is dhulm upon others? Transgressing their rights. What is dhulm upon Allah? Shirk. If we do dhulm, we do not deserve Salaam from Allah ta’ala.
Is there a connection between the words: Salaam, Muslim, Islaam?
There is a connection between these words. Who is Allah’s Salaam towards? The one who does not do dhulm upon Him, themselves and others. Also, Allah gives Salaam to the people who get to Jannah, the people who are Allah’s Chosen servants. Allah ta’ala says in Suratun Naml verse 59: قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَسَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَىٰ. ‘Say Alhamdulillah, and there is salaam upon Allah’s servants, those whom He has chosen.’ Istafaa’ means to be chosen based on purity; so when you are pure and have purified yourself, and made yourself saleem for Allah, you receive Allah’s Salaam. This shows us we need to work on ourselves, clean ourselves and be khaalis (pure/sincere) for the sake of Allah. If we submit-we do Islam, and then we get Allah’s Salaam. If we do not submit, we do not get His protection. When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would offer Islaam to others, he would say to them: itha sallamta nafsaka lillah, salimta, ‘when you submit yourself to Allah, you will be safe’. This shows us that when we do not submit to Allah, we will not be protected. Lesson: submit to Allah so that you can be secure. Those people who receive Allah’s Salaam, they will be in Dar us Salaam (Abode of Peace, Jannah).
Who does Allah send Salaam upon?
a) وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ: when you meet those who believe in Our signs, say salaamun alaykum to them (6:54). When you believe, you receive Allah’s Security.
b) وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَىٰ : peace and security be upon the one who follows the guidance (20:49). Guidance is not just believing, but it is to follow the guidance and do the actions.
c) أُولَـٰئِكَ يُجْزَوْنَ الْغُرْفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيُلَقَّوْنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَامًا: ‘Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.’ (25:75) The ebaadur Rahman will receive gurfah (highest rooms in Jannah), because of their patience and they get salaam from Allah. This is why we see people who are suffering so much but they are calm and patient, because they have this serenity and peace inside that Allah has given them.
d) وَسَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَىٰ Salaam will be upon those people whom Allah has chosen (29:59).
Salaam upon Allah?
When we say Salaam, upon the Prophet, upon the righteous people, say salaam to each other, we should not say salaam upon Allah. We do not say jazak Allah to Allah, Allah is the One who gives jazaa’ (recompense)! We do not say salaamu ‘al Allah (Salaam upon Allah), because He Himself is As Salaam!
There is a hadeeth narrated by ibn Mas’ood radi Allahu anhu that the companions used to say: ‘assalaamu ‘al Allah’ (Salaam be upon Allah) instead of ‘at-Tahyaatu lillahi’ (The Greetings are for Allah) in the tashahhud. The Prophet sal allahu alayhi wa sallam told them: ‘do not say assalaamu ‘alal Allah because is He is Al Maalik (The King) and He is Al Mu’tee (The One who Gives), He is the Possessor of Salaam and He gives Salaam.’ He does not need security and safety, He Himself is Salaam and Perfect. Also we learn that once Angel Jibreel came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and said, Allah sends His Salaam to Khadijah radi Allahu anha. Her reply was: ‘innAllaha huwas Salaam, indeed Allah, He is Salaam, wa ‘alaa Jibreelas Salaam, and upon Jibreel be Salaam, and upon you, O Prophet of Allah’. She did not say, and salaam upon Allah.
So we must be careful and not say Salaam upon Allah.
How to make duaa by Allah’s Name as Salaam
1) After salaah we should say:
‘O Allah, You are As-Salaam and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of majesty and honour.’ Why do we say this after salaah? What do you want protection, safety and security from? From the mistakes committed during the salaah. A salaah in which there is no khushoo’ (humility), it is struck back on the person and not taken. So it is as if you are saying “O Allah, if my salaah was not proper, if there was anything You did not like, keep me safe from its consequence.” This is the benefit of following the sunnah, you are secure from things that you do not even imagine. Who would have imagined that you would suffer consequences after praying salaah?! But the sunnah teaches us, so we say Allahumma antas salaam wa minkas salaam, O Allah protect me from the shortcomings of my salaah.
2) We can make duaa by this Name when we want security, safety and peace. Sometimes we are very worried, very nervous, sad, anxious, say: O Allah antas Salaam (You are as Salaam), give me security and protect me from this. You can also say: ‘O Salaam, give me Your Salaam in the hereafter, and guide me to subul as Salaam (ways of peace)’. Also when you want your heart to be saleem (sound and free from shirk), ask As Salaam, and He will give you a saleem heart.
3) We should send salaam upon each other and upon the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and upon the Prophets alayhim assalam. In surah Saffaat, Allah mentions salaam after each prophet (salaamun alaa nuh, salaamun alaa ibraheem, salaamun alaa ilyaaseen), so when we hear or write their name, we should say alayhi salaam or sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. We should write tasleem for the Prophets, if Allah sends salaam upon them, we should as well.
Allah, as Salaam, knows best