I just wanted know whether it is permissible to make salaam to somebody when they are eating. I entered my grandparents house and said “assalaamu alaikum”, I was then scolded by my grandfather who said it is not permissible to greet somebody when they are eating. I have never heard of such a thing before and just wanted to confirm whether it is true or not.
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu
Alhamdulilah we are very pleased to see your great enthusiasm in learning the Aadaabs and ethics of Deen. There are five constitutional branches of Islam namely Aaqaaid (beliefs), Ibaadaat (worship),Muamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions), Akhlaaq (moral character) and lastly Aadabul Muasharaat (social etiquette).
In reference to your question, it is Makrooh (Abominable – disliked) to make Salaam to a person who is partaking one’s meals. However, if you could determine that the morsel of food is not in the person’s mouth, it will not be Makrooh.
Hakimul Ummat Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullahi Allayhi in his book Aadabul Muaasharaat has mentioned the following etiquettes of Salaam.
1. In a gathering where a talk or discussion is taking place, the person entering should not draw attention to himself by making Salaam. He should not interfere in the talk. He should lower his gaze and silently sit down. When later the opportunity arises, he should make Salaam.
2. Adopt the practice of mutual salaam. Whenever meeting a Muslim, say: Assalamualaikum. In reply say Walaikumus Salaam.
All other ways are baseless.
3. When a person conveys the Salaams of another to you, reply: Alayhim Wa Alaikumus Salaam. This is best. If someone replies: Walaikumus Salaam, It will also suffice.
4. One person of the group making Salaam will be representative of the whole group. His Salaam will be adequate on behalf of the group. Similarly, if from the gathering one person replied, it will suffice on behalf of the whole gathering.
5. The one initiates the Salaam obtains greater thawaab (reward).
6. When replying to the Salaam of a person, the Salaam should be made verbally, not by a sign of the hand or a nod of the head.
7. Better repayment for a favour will be when the repayment is somewhat more than the act of favour rendered. Thus, the reply should be more than the Salaam (greeting). If Assalamualaikum was said, the better reply will be Walaikumus Salaam Warahmatullah. If Wa Barakaatuhu is also added it will be an added merit.
8. It is Wajib (obligatory) to reply to the Salaam which is written in a letter. This reply may be in writing or verbally.
9. The Fuqaha have said that in a reply to the Salaam which is written in a letter, one may say Alaikumus Salaam or even Assalamu Alaikum.
10. In a letter in which a dua is written, the Salaam should be written first since this is the sunnahmethod.
11. Instead of writing or saying the Salaam, to say any other term or to adopt the greeting of any other community is bidah. Such an alien greeting is in fact alteration of the Shariah.
12. A person who is engrossed in a conversation or in some work should not be greeted. The new-comer should not intrude with his hand-shaking. Such an act is uncultured and causes distress to others.
13. It is Makrooh (Abominable – disliked) to greet a person involved in deeni or natural activity.Thus, to make Salaam to a person eating is Makrooh while it is not Makrooh (Abominable – disliked) to engage in conversation while eating.
14. It is not permissible to bow and make salaam.
15. Before entering a house or any place of privacy it is necessary to seek permission. Do not enter without permission.
16. Stand outside and proclaim the Salaam, then ask permission in any language. Use such terms which convey the full meaning. However, as far as the Salaam itself is concerned only the terms ofShariah should be used.
17. When answering the call of nature neither reply to anyone’s Salaam nor offer Salaam.
18. On promising to convey a person’s Salaam it becomes wajib to do so, otherwise not.
19. When making Salaam to elders adopt a low voice. Do not express your self in such terms which convey arrogance or disrespect.
And Allah Ta‘ala knows best
Mufti Luqman Hansrot
يكره السلام على العاجز عن الجواب حقيقة كالمشغول بالأكل أو الاستتفراغ..1
(رد المحتار ،سعيد، ص617،ج1)
( قوله كآكل ) ظاهره أن ذلك مخصوص بحال وضع اللقمة في الفم والمضغ وأما قبل وبعد فلا يكره لعدم العجز وبه صرح الشافعي.
(رد المحتار،سعيد، ص415،ج6)
(فتاوى محموديه،جامعه فاروقيه ، ص81،ج19)
2.(Aadabul Muaasharat -etiquettes of social life-, publisher YMMA, Pg 12)