What is the proper greeting for a non Muslim when greeting a Muslim friend? Please answer in European characters since I have no way to translate.
A non-Muslim may greet his/her Muslim friend and associates in any way, which is considered acceptable and decent in the society. Islam would obviously not give any directives or even recommendations for the non-Muslims of the society, as they are not bound to follow these directives.
However, the Prophet (pbuh) has prescribed that a Muslim should greet another with the words ‘Assalaam Alaikum’ (lit: peace be on you/may you live in peace), which should be followed by a response in the words ‘Wa Alaikum Assalaam’ (lit: And on you too be peace/may you too live in peace). These words entail a prayer for the addressees, which serve as a reminder that we are all well wishers for the others and that we do not intend any harm for anyone, on the one hand, and a declaration to the effect that the other is at peace with us and does not fear any harm from us.
If a non-Muslim does not have any objection in greeting Muslims with these words, he may do so. The Muslims are, however, directed by the Shari`ah that when someone greets them with these words, they should respond to this greeting in a like or an even better manner.
I hope this helps.
October 19, 2001