The Aadaab of Salaam (Greetings)
In a gathering where a talk or discussion is taking place, the person entering should not draw attention to himself by making salaam . He should not become an interference in the talk. He should lower his gaze and silently sit down. When later the opportunity arises, he may make salaam .
Adopt the practice of mutual salaam. Whenever meeting a Muslim, say: Assalaamu Alaykum . In reply say Wa Alaykumus salaam .
All other ways are baseless.
When a person conveys the salaam of another to you, reply Alayhim wa Alaykumus salaam. This is best. If someone replies: Wa Alaykumus salaam , it will also suffice.
One person of the group making salaam will be representative of the whole group. His salaam will be adequate on behalf of the group. Similarly, if from the gathering one person replied, it will suffice on behalf of the whole gathering.
The one who initiates the salaam obtains greater thawaab (reward).
When replying to the salaam of a person, the salaam should be made verbally, not by a sign of the hand or a nod of the head.
Better repayment for a favour will be when the repayment is somewhat more than the act of favour rendered. Thus, the reply should be more than the salaam . If Assalaamu Alaykum was said, the better reply will be Wa Alaykumus salaam wa rahmatullaah. If wa barakaa tuhu is also added it will be an added merit.
It is waajib (incumbent) to reply to the salaam which is written in a letter. This reply may be in writing or verbally.
The Fuqahaa (jurists) have said that in reply to the salaam which is written in a letter, one may say Alaykumus salaam or even Assalaamu Alaykum .
In a letter in which a du'aa is written, the salaam should be written first since this is the Sunnah method .
Instead of writing or saying the salaam , to say any other term or to adopt the greeting of any other community is Bid'ah (innovation). Such an alien greeting is in fact alteration of the Sharee'ah.
A person who is engrossed in a conversation or in some work should not be greeted. The new-comer should not intrude with his hand-shaking. Such an act is uncultured and causes distress to others.
It is Makrooh to greet a person involved in Deeni or natural activity. Thus, to make salaam to a person eating is Makrooh while it is not Makrooh to engage in conversation while eating.
Before entering a house or any place of privacy it is necessary to seek permission. Do not enter without permission.
Stand outside and proclaim the salaam , then ask permission in any language. Use such terms which convey the full meaning. However, as far as the salaam itself is concerned only the terms of the Sharee'ah should be used.
When answering the call of nature neither reply to anyone's salaam nor offer salaam .
On promising to convey a person's salaam , it becomes waajib to do so, otherwise not.
When making salaam to elders adopt a low voice. Do not express yourself such terms which convey arrogance or disrespect.