Whether to Say Salām: Muslim Courtesy toward Non-Muslims

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Kazunori Hamamoto

Abstract

This article addresses the question of whether or not Muslims should say salām to non-Muslims. While various opinions on it have been presented since the first century of Islam, most medieval scholars did not approve of saying salām to non-Muslims. However, the traditional mainstream position has
been reconsidered by modern reformers, and the increase of Muslim population in the West has rendered this issue more important and controversial. This article does not intend to give a definitive answer to this controversy but to explore its long history from an objective point of view, paying attention to what Qur’anic verses and hadiths are related to the issue and how they can be interpreted without contradiction. Besides, the similarity as well as the difference between Ibn al-Qayyim’s view and Rashīd Riḍā’s is one of the important points of this article.

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