as-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah wa barakatuh,
My question deals with the correct methods of greeting a Muslim brother or sister and what is the standard set by the Sunnah. When greeting, aside from giving [i]salaam[/i]s, what role does hugging and even kissing on the cheek play? I have seen many (especially from among the Arabs) who will kiss a person of the cheeks three times upon greeting. Does this have a basis in the Sunnah? Also what is the correct manner that an unrelated man and woman should greet each other?
May Allaah reward you Shaykh Adam,
Wa alaikum as-Salaam
There are three methods of greeting islaamically.
1. Whenever two muslims meet we should exchange Salaams in the manner that the replier should reply equally or better. If someone greets us with assalaamu alaykum then we should reply with wa alaykumus salaam or add to it wa rahmatullaah. If greeted with assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah then reply wa alaykumus salaam wa rahmatullaah or add to it wa barakaatuhu. Likewise with assalaaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu , we should reply wa alaykumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu and not add anything to it as there is no addition thaabit for it in Saheeh ahaadeth.This is the method of greeting whenever two muslim meets regularly.
2. When two muslims meet after awhile of absence then they should greet in the above mentioned manner but with “MUSAAFAHAA”..(shaking of the hands). This is done in the manner that two hands are used with the right inner palm of each individual touching each other.
3.When two people meet after one returns from a journey or when there has been a long absence then they should greet with “mu3aanaqah” (Hugging). The method of it is to hug in such a maner that the two necks touch each other and this is to be done once .The habit of kissing the cheek is but a custom and not the Sunnah of Rasululaah :SAAWS: .
Concerning greetings between Male and Female then there are two conditions.
1.If the female is a mahram to the male then the Greeting will be permissable.
2. If the female is a non mahram to the male then for any to initiate the greeting is wrong. If one initiates the greeting then reply should be given but in a manner that will prevent further friendly discussion.
And Allah knows best