In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
Indeed, all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His aid, and we ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our actions and from the evil consequences of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, there is none to misguide, and whoever Allah misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and Messenger of Allah.
Dear brothers and sisters! My State, Zamfara, in the last seven days is reeling helplessly, practically soaked in its own blood. Over 100 people were reportedly slaughtered with as much number abducted.
The armed bandits, thieves and terrorists raped women, razed down houses, vehicles and everything in their way.
People always lost their earnings. They are always in desperation looking for resources to meet up required ransom payments within stipulated deadline.
Residents in the state who are familiar with the scale of ransom demands say that each of the captives will attract no less than one million Naira. Some with links to politically exposed individuals or families attract between ten million to twenty million Naira. Only the captives considered bare and under the poverty line are usually let off with five hundred thousands naira token.
My people! The attacks in Zamfara State are too many, too frequent for any reporter to keep pace with. The people in Zamfara State seem to have given up all hope of seeing any end to the bloodletting in the state. The villagers have become vulnerable to their political leaders as they are to the terrorists that kill, maim and abduct them, at will.
Many of the victims that voted in the last elections are too poor and distressed to even ask those they voted for questions, many just want handouts to survive the day. Several irresponsible politicians took advantage of this desperate situation.
O As-Salam, reveal your Mercy, Peace and Security to the people of Zamfara state and Nigeria, ameen.
Dear brothers and sisters! As-Salam (Peace) is one of Allah’s names. Allah the Almighty says:
“He is Allah, besides whom there is no god, the King, the Noble One, Peace, the Giver of Security…” [Qur’an, 59:23]
Allah is the bringer of peace who spreads peace throughout creation. Since life was first created, it has been predominated by long stretches of peacefulness, security, tranquility, and contentment. Allah is Peace and from Him emanates all peace. It is as the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“O Allah! You are Peace and from You is peace. Blessed be You, possessor of glory and honour.” [Sahih Muslim]
It is astonishing that some people who invoke Allah by this Noble name live their lives in contention and hostility towards the world. Every aspect of their lives is full of strife, from within themselves, to their outward behaviour, in their thinking, and with their families. How can such a person find peace with the Lord?
My respected people! The name As-Salam also connotes “soundness”, the idea of being free from blemish. It conveys the meaning that Allah is free from every shortcoming and deficiency; like fatigue, sleep, sickness, or death. Allah’s existence is one of absolute perfection. Allah the Most High says:
“Allah, there is no god but He, the living and self-subsisting. Neither slumber nor sleep overtake him.” [Qur’an, 59:255]
Allah is free from anything that would contradict with his absolute self-sufficiency. Nothing can fatigue Him or elude Him. Nothing is beyond His reach.
The People of the Scripture (Ahlul-Kitab) attribute such a deficiency to Him when they claim that He rested on the seventh day, after creating the heavens and the Earth. This is why Allah the Almighty says:
“Indeed We created the heavens and Earth and everything between them in six days, and We were not touched by any fatigue.” [Qur’an 50:38]
“If Allah wills anything to happen, He just says “Be!” and it is.” [Qur’an, 36:28]
This same connotation of the name As-Salam applies to Allah’s knowledge. Allah is free from ignorance, doubt, and indecision. Nothing is hidden from His knowledge. His knowledge is not acquired through learning. It is absolute, complete, and wholly accurate, comprehending everything in the past, present, and future without exception.
“Do you not see that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and on Earth? There is not a secret consultation between three, but He makes the fourth among them, – nor between five but He makes the sixth,- nor between fewer nor more, but He is in their midst, wheresoever they be.” [Qur’an, 58:7]
“It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly; whether he lurks by night or walks forth freely by day.” [Qur’an, 13:10]
Likewise, His speech is free from all falsehood and injustice. Allah the Most High says:
“Perfected is the Word of your Lord in truth and justice.” [Qur’an, 6:115]
His pronouncements are true and His decrees are just. His Law and every expression of His will are perfect. Allah’s Law is full of wisdom and knowledge, as is the Qur’an which He revealed to His Prophet (Peace be upon him). The Qur’an is rich in meaning, multilayered, guiding humanity in every way to what assures their welfare in this world and the next. It is unfortunate that so many people who read the Qur’an are content to neglect this richness and blindly follow traditions and rote knowledge. They have become incapable of creative thinking and renewal, and as a consequence wallow in the backwardness, ignorance, poverty and cultural decline that we witness today.
Allah is free from having any contender, rival, or partner in His dominion. He alone holds sovereignty over Creation, both in this world and the next.
His decree and His command are free from tyranny and injustice. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) relates to us that Allah the Almighty says:
“O my servants! I have forbidden Myself to act unjustly and have made it forbidden for you among yourselves, so do not oppress one another.” [Sahih Muslim]
From the perfection of Allah’s justice, He forbids Himself to ever act unjustly and makes it forbidden for us to oppress one another. He the Almighty says:
“And your Lord is not in the least unjust to His servants.” [Qur’an, 41:46]
Allah commands us to cultivate this quality within ourselves and never act unjustly towards one another. By acting justly, we are engaged in an act of devotion to our Lord, since Allah is not only just, but He loves justice and those who act justly. In the same way, He is All-Knowing, and He loves knowledge and those who possess knowledge. He is beautiful. He loves beauty and those who cultivate beauty within themselves. He is generous, and He loves generosity and charitable people. These are all among the attributes of our Lord.
This connotation of soundness, this freedom from blemish, extends to His actions: to what He gives and to what He withholds. When Allah keeps something from us, it is not due to stinginess or scarcity. Glory be to Allah above that! It is from His infinite wisdom that He withholds what He withholds from his servants. Some people are better off wealthy while others are better off poor.
“Allah enlarges the livelihood of whom He will, and straitens (it for whom He will); and they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of the world is but brief comfort as compared with the Hereafter.” [Qur’an, 13:26]
Likewise, some people benefit more by being healthy while others benefit more from experiencing illness. Allah knows what each of us needs and what is ultimately in our best interests.
All of Allah’s attributes share in this perfection, this freedom from deficiency. Allah’s attributes do not resemble to created things. He is incomparable. It is from Allah’s wisdom that we, as created beings, are subject to the limitations and shortcomings inherent to our nature and to the tribulations of living in the world. Allah on the other hand is As-Salam, the one who is free from all shortcomings.
Allah’s name As-Salam is truly great in its meaning in that it articulates the perfection that all of Allah’s names possess – that each and every one of Allah’s attributes is free from shortcomings.
When we greet each other with peace by saying: “As-Salam Alaikum”, we are invoking this name of Allah, and in doing so, we are communicating this connotation of Allah’s perfection as well as the idea of peace.
And indeed Allah has made “peace” the salutation of the believers:
“Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be ‘Peace!’” [Qur’an, 33:44]
He has commanded us to use this salutation:
“So when you enter houses, greet yourselves with a salutation from Allah.” [Qur’an, 24:61]
Therefore, a believer invokes peace upon himself and upon others with this salutation.
* Allah is the Bestower of Peace
Indeed, Allah greets his creatures in this world with the salutation of peace.
“Peace be upon Nuh (Noah) in all the worlds.” [Qur’an, 37:79]
“Peace be upon Ibrahim (Abraham).” [Qur’an, 37:109]
“Peace be upon Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron).” [Qur’an, 37:120]
“Peace be upon Iliyas (Elias).” [Qur’an, 37:130]
“Peace be upon the Messengers.” [Qur’an, 37:181]
“Say: Praise be to Allah, and peace be upon the servants He has chosen.” [Qur’an, 27:59]
“Peace be upon those who follow guidance.” [Qur’an, 20:47]
Allah’s salutation upon His servants is His decree that they will be safeguarded in this world and the next. Though they are subject to the trials and tribulations that others experience in the world, Allah bestows upon their hearts contentment and certainty of faith which transforms their difficulties into a boon and a rewarding experience. Theirs are contented hearts, at peace with whatever Allah decrees for them.
The eminent Companion Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas was blessed in that his prayers were always answered. When he became blind, people would ask him:
“Why don’t you beseech Allah to restore your sight?”
He would reply:
“By Allah! My being content with Allah’s decree is dearer to me than what else I desire.”
Dear brothers and sisters! As-Salam is the Name of Allah Almighty, The Giver and Provider of Peace and security.
There are two meanings of the Name As-Salam:
- The Perfection.
- The Giver and Provider of Peace and Security.
But linguistically, Salam and Salamah mean bara’ah: immunity, to be free of something and to be unblemished. According to Ibn Al-Arabi, Salamah means Afiyah: well being, to be safe and good. We see in the Qur’an that a quality of Ibadur-Rahman (Servants of The Most Merciful) is:
“…and when the ignorant (people) address them, they reply with words of peace.” [Qur’an, 25:63]
They say “Salamah” to the ignorant, meaning they don’t want anything to do with their conversation.
Also, Jannah (Paradise) is called Darus-Salam [Qur’an, 10:25], it is free of all grief, death, worries, tensions, fatigues, enmities, hatred, and it is a place of safety. Also when we say “Assalamu Alaikum”, it means, you are safe from me and you will not receive any shar (evil) from me.
To summarise the meanings of Salam:
- To be peaceful, to be friendly, to be in a good state.
- To be free from imperfections.
- To be safe and secure.
Other words from the same root include:
- Salim: A Qalbun salim is a heart that is sound, unblemished, in a state of Afiyah (well being).
- Islam: State of submission.
The root of sin-lam-mim appears 170 times in the Qur’an. The Name As-Salam in the Qur’an appears once at the end of suratul Hashr (verse 23). From the Sunnah we learn the Name As-Salam is mentioned in the Du’a after Salah (Prayer) ‘Allahummah anta As-Salam, wa minka As-Salam, tabarakta ya Zal Jalali wal Ikram.’
* What does it mean that Allah is As-Salam?
Imam Ibn Kathir states:
“As-Salam is the One who is Free from all imperfections and deficiencies, because of the Perfection of His Being, of His Attributes and His Actions. He is So Perfect, He does not have any imperfections. For example, He is Living and is free from the imperfection of death. His Knowledge is free from the imperfection of forgetfulness. His Attributes are free from the imperfection of being similar to any creation. His Actions are perfect, whatever He does there is Hikmah (wisdom) behind it.”
So to summarise the statement of Imam Ibn Kathir: As-Salam is the One who is Perfect, He has no deficiencies which is why As-Salam has been translated as The Perfection.
Imam Al-Qurtubi states:
“As-Salam is the One who is safe from all deficiencies.”
He explains as-Salam in three ways:
- The One free from every fault, and He is absolved of every deficiency.
- He gives Salam to His servants in Jannah (Paradise).
We learn from the Qur’an that the dwellers of Paradise will be greeted with salam, by Allah, by the angels and by each other. In surah Yasin verse 58, Allah Ta’ala says: “People in Jannah will be told, “Salam, a statement from their Rabb, the Most Merciful.”
- The One whose creation is free from His Zulm (injustice).
He keeps His creations safe from any injustice on His part and His creation is free from injustice from Him. What does this tell us? If Allah is As-Salam, there is no way He can be unjust. Many times we read in the Qur’an:
“Allah did not wrong them, rather they wronged themselves.”
In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah Ta’ala says:
“O My servants, I have made oppression haram upon Myself, and I have made it haram between yourselves, so do not wrong each other.” [Sahih Muslim]
So this teaches us that if we want Allah’s Protection, we cannot do Injustice (Zulm). Those who did not receive the protection of Allah, they did not receive His Salam, they committed Injustice (Zulm).
What is the lesson for us?
If you want Allah’s Peace, Security and Protection do not commit Injustice (Zulm) upon yourself, upon others and upon Allah.
What is Injustice (Zulm) upon yourself? Committing sins.
What is Injustice (Zulm) upon others? Transgressing their rights.
What is Injustice (Zulm) upon Allah? Shirk.
If we do Injustice (Zulm), we do not deserve Salam (Peace) from Allah Ta’ala.”
* Is there a connection between the words: Salam, Muslim, Islam?
Yes, there is a connection between these words. Who is Allah’s Salam (Peace) towards? The one who does not do Injustice (Zulm) upon Him, themselves and others. Also, Allah gives His Salam (Peace) to the people who get to Jannah, the people who are Allah’s Chosen servants. Allah Ta’ala says in Suratun Naml verse 59:
“Say Alhamdulillah, and there is Salam (Peace) upon Allah’s servants, those whom He has chosen.”
‘Istafa’ means to be chosen based on purity; so when you are pure and have purified yourself, and made yourself Salim for Allah, you receive Allah’s Salam (Peace). This shows us we need to work on ourselves, clean ourselves and be khalis (pure/sincere) for the sake of Allah. If we submit-we do Islam, and then we get Allah’s Salam (Peace). If we do not submit, we do not get His protection and security. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would offer Islam to others, he would say to them:
“Iza sallamta nafsaka lillah, salimta.”
“When you submit yourself to Allah, you will be safe.”
This shows us that when we do not submit to Allah, we will not be protected.
Submit to Allah so that you can be secure. Those people who receive Allah’s Salam (Peace), they will be in Darus-Salam (Abode of Peace, Jannah).
Who does Allah send Salam upon?
- “When you meet those who believe in Our signs, say salamun alaikum to them.” [Qur’an, 6:54]
When you sincerely believe, you receive Allah’s Security.
- “Peace and security be upon the one who follows the guidance.” [Qur’an, 20:49]
Guidance is not just believing, but it is to follow the guidance and do the actions.
- “Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.” [Qur’an, 25:75]
The Ibadur-Rahman will receive Gurfah (highest rooms in Jannah), because of their patience and they get salam from Allah. This is why we see people who are suffering so much but they are calm and patient, because they have this serenity and peace inside that Allah has given them.
- “Salam will be upon those people whom Allah has chosen.” [Qur’an, 29:59]
Salam upon Allah?
When we say Salam, upon the Prophet, upon the righteous people, say salam to each other, we should not say salam upon Allah. We do not say Jazakallah to Allah, Allah is the One who gives jaza’ (recompense)! We do not say Salam Alallah (Salam upon Allah), because He Himself is As-Salam!
There is a Hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’ud that the Companions used to say: ‘Assalamu Alallah’ (Salam be upon Allah) instead of ‘At-Tahiyatu lillahi’ (The Greetings are for Allah) in the tashahhud. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) told them: ‘do not say Assalamu Alallah because He is Al-Malik (The King) and He is Al-Mu’ti (The One who Gives), He is the Possessor of Salam and He gives Salam.’ He does not need security and safety, He Himself is Salam and Perfect.
Also we learn that once Angel Jibril came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said, Allah sends His Salam to Khadijah. Her reply was: ‘Innallaha Huwas Salam, indeed Allah, He is Salam, wa ala Jibril as-Salam, and upon Jibril be Salam, and upon you, O Prophet of Allah.’ She did not say, and salam upon Allah.
So we must be careful and not say Salam upon Allah.
* How to make Du’a by Allah’s Name as-Salam
- After Salah (Prayer) we should say:
“O Allah, You are As-Salam and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of majesty and honour.”
Why do we say this after Salah? What do you want protection, safety and security from? From the mistakes committed during the Salah. A Salah in which there is no khushu (humility), it is struck back on the person and not taken. So it is as if you are saying:
“O Allah, if my Salah was not proper, if there was anything You did not like, keep me safe from its consequence.”
This is the benefit of following the Sunnah, you are secure from things that you do not even imagine. Who would have imagined that you would suffer consequences after praying Salah?! But the sunnah teaches us, so we say Allahummah antas salam wa minkas salam, O Allah protect me from the shortcomings of my Salah.
- We can make Du’a by this Name when we want security, safety and peace. Sometimes we are very worried, very nervous, sad, anxious, say:
“O Allah antas Salam (You are as Salam), give me security and protect me from this.”
You can also say:
“O Salam, give me Your Salam in the hereafter, and guide me to subul as-Salam (ways of peace).”
Also when you want your heart to be salim (sound and free from shirk), ask As-Salam, and He will give you a Salim heart (Qalbun Salim).
- We should send salam upon each other and upon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and upon the Prophets alaihimus salam.
In Surah Saffat, Allah mentions salam after each Prophet, ‘Salamun ala Nuh, salamun ala Ibrahim, salamun ala Ilyasin’, so when we hear or write their name, we should say alaihis salam or sallalahu alaihi wa sallam. We should write taslim for the Prophets, if Allah sends salam upon them, we should as well.
O Allah, You are Peace and from You is peace. Blessed be You, possessor of glory and honour. Have mercy on us, bless Zamfara State and Nigeria with peace and security! Ameen.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Ever-Living, Who does not die, and Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and Companions.
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, writes from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.