Is it bad to not reply to someone saying Salaams?

Is it bad to not reply to someone saying Salaams?


Asalam Alaykum! I just wanted to ask if it is bad not to answer someone’s salam when you know their intention is to chat you up after you have said salam back? Because some guys tend to use this to chat girls up and I really don’t feel like holding a conversation that I know might lead to sin… :/

Wa alykum as-salaam!

The Qur’an underlines that in this matter, we must adhere to the following:

“But when you are greeted with a greeting [of peace], answer with an even better greeting, or [at least] with the like thereof.” [4:86]

In Muhammad Asad’s Tafseer of this ayah, he writes that while this ayah refers to greeting people, and but also that “this obviously refers to an offer of peace by people with whom the believers are at war as well as to individual persons who, while possibly belonging to the enemy, have, to all outward appearances, peaceful intentions.”

In a Hadith, found in Bukhari and Muslim, The Prophet was asked which aspect of Islam was best, to which The Prophet replied: “Feeding the hungry, and saying salaam to those you know and those you don’t know.”

Therefore we can establish that responding to a person’s Salaams is obligatory onto a Muslim.

If these men are harassing you, there is no wayno how, that you should tolerate this, accept it, or anything close to that. I want to be quite clear on this, because our duty to respond does not indicate that you must also tolerate or even listen to things that are insulting or harmful to you. Full stop.

However, if you are saying that it is wrong or haram (impermissible) to speak to someone of the opposite gender, I would council you to not look at this as an Islamic position. It is not wrong to speak to someone of the opposite gender, at all, the issue is what is your intention and what is theirs. If you fear that by speaking to these men you will be liable to make mistakes, then respond to their greeting and move on, and again, if they speak to you in a demeaning way, you do not need to tolerate that or anything, ever.

I want to emphasize, though, that simply speaking to someone of the opposite gender, in itself, is not sinful. If someone, of either gender, wants to speak to you, it might not be for bad reasons. Perhaps they need help, some guidance, and therefore we should be open and friendly to our fellow Muslims.

Obviously if you know these people and they have made you feel uncomfortable, you do not need to give them that opportunity, and if they are strangers who strike you as suspicious, again, protect yourself, and do not enter into conversations, Salaams or no Salaams, that you are not comfortable with.

That being said, you should respond to their greeting, and while I am unsure of the situation or who you are speaking of, I hope I have been clear in that you should not tolerate inappropriate speech, but you should not dismiss the greeting of a Muslim because they are of the opposite gender.

In the Hadith collection of Abu Dawud, The Prophet is reported to have said:

“Two Muslims will not meet and shake hands having their sins forgiven them before they separate.”

Therefore, do not judge another Muslim’s actions without evidence of their behavior, do not feel obligated to hold a conversation with those who make you uncomfortable, but responding to Salaams is incumbent upon us as Muslims, conversation–if inappropriate, threatening, etc–however, is most certainly not.

I hope that this helps, insha Allah.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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