As related by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (pbuh) said the following:
“I swear to Allah that you will not go to heaven unless you have faith. You will not be deemed to have believed unless you love one another. Should you do so, shall I tell you a way to love one another? Spread greetings among yourselves!”
(Muslim, Iman 93-94)
Faith, as it is described in the Holy Quran, is a concept that has roots penetrating into the depths of the earth, while its trunk and branches reach to the sky. It serves as the stairs that bring human beings to the awareness of the consciousness, allowing us to reach divinity as we climb, but bringing us down as we descend.
Faith is the answer to the question put to Muhammad, “what is the most beneficial act?” In this hadith (saying of the Prophet), the ever-transforming aspect of faith is presented in such a way that it resembles the links of a chain: Faith-heaven-love-greetings.
Prophet Muhammad states that the measure of love found within the heart depends on the affection given to those who are faithful. In a striking manner he put forward the connection between love and faith. By swearing on the name of Allah, Prophet Muhammad emphasized the importance of this issue.
Since faith is indispensable for achieving heaven, loving others with faith is the most important condition for possessing a perfect faith. A faithful person is obliged to love and feel responsibility for every person who possesses the same faith, regardless of their race, color, country or language, because they are giving their faith to Allah. Any apparent differences are not a hindrance to this love, but add to its depths. As a result, the faith that contains the key to heaven creates love.
Love is not, nor should it be, an empty term. No seed of love can grow without being watered. Sharing the joy and sadness of our fellow believers means opening a space for them in our hearts, and perhaps this is the innermost part of the seed. Our faith acquires maturity as long as we nourish love in our hearts without prejudice or expectations.
The hadith quoted above provides us with a means that does not distance us from this shelter; greetings. Greeting others, turning the greeting into a tradition, turning the tradition of “Assalamu alaikum” into an act of prayer. The act of greeting others is like a letter of good will and trust to the recipient. It is the initial indication of friendship and peace, the readiness for dialogue and agreement. It forms bridges from the tongue to the heart. Spreading the greeting among all is the purpose of love, and love itself is the essence of the maturity of faith.
Allâhumma ente’s-salâm, ve minke’s-salâm. Tabârakta yâ ze’l-jalâli ve’l-ikram
“My Lord, greeting comes from You and well being comes from You. You are the possessor of divinity that contains glory and honoring.”