I am grateful for the word, 'Assalamalaikum'.
The most beautiful word in the Arabic language is 'Assalamalaikum'.
'Assalamalaikum' or 'Salaam' for short means 'may peace be with you'. It's the universal greeting for Muslims. Salaam's sister, 'Shalom', is the Hebrew word for peace and similarly, it's the universal greeting for Jews.
When I was growing up, my mom always stressed the importance of saying 'Salaam' to aunties and uncles at parties, even to people I didn't know or I wasn't fond of. I did it because I was told to and it became one of those autopilot habits. I never paid close attention to the meaning of the word or to my own state of being as I uttered 'Salaam'.
I've begun to reflect on the meaning of 'Assalamalaikum'. I'm beginning to understand its deeper layers. When you say 'Assalamalaikum' you're entering into a sanctified state, into a no conflict zone of emotions where all grievances are set aside and you're in a complete state of compassionate presence.
When you say this greeting, you cross over a threshold to a new beginning. It's like walking into a fresh start with a person, where you first come clean with your own heart and only then, you can wish peace on to the other person. Every time we say the word, it's like we're doing 'wudhu' and a cleansing of our hearts is taking place.
Islam is a religion of peace. I wish more of us paid attention to this beautiful word. I wish more of us went through the motions of cleansing our hearts. Maybe we wouldn't be facing the crisis of today.