Salam (Arabic: سلام, salām), sometimes spelled salaam, is an Arabic word that literally means "peace", but is also used as a general greeting, above all in Arabian countries and by the Muslims and Persian language countries, but also in other countries where Islam is important.
As-salamu ʿalaykum (ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ) is a greeting in Arabic that means "peace be upon you". The greeting is a standard salutation among Muslims, whether socially or within worship and other contexts. The typical response to the greeting is wa-ʿalaykumu as-salām (وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ; "and upon you be peace"). The full version of the greeting is as-salamu ʿalaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh (ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُم وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ, "peace be upon you, as well as the mercy of God and His blessings"), with the full response being wa-ʿalaykum as-salam wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh (وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ). It is also preferred to use the greeting when arriving and also while leaving. It was reported that Abu Hurairah said "When one of you joins a gathering, let him say 'Peace'. When he wants to get up and leave, let him say 'Peace'. The former is not more important than the latter" (Hasan hadith reported in Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhi).
- According to hadith, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was asked who should begin the greeting and he said, "The one who is riding should greet the one who is walking and the one who is walking should greet the one who is sitting and the smaller group should greet the larger group" (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 6234; Muslim, 2160).
- It is also stated that one should give the Salam greeting upon entering a house. This is based upon a verse of the Quran: "But when you enter the houses, greet one another with a greeting from God blessed and good" (An-Nur24:61).
- Shortening the greeting to acronyms, such as A.S., As'kum (in Malaysia), or AsA is becoming common amongst Internet users in chat rooms and by people using SMS. This trend is similar to writing (S) or SAWS in place of ṣallá l-Lāhi ʿalayhi wa s-salām.
In addition, As-Salam is one of the 99 Names of God.