Answering the greeting of a non-Muslim or an apostate
Is it permissible for a Muslim to return the greeting of a non-Muslim or a Murtad (apostate)
(Part No. 24; Page No. 141) if they extend it warmly?
If one of the
People of the Book, namely
the Jews or the Christians, extends greetings to a Muslim, the latter should return their greeting by saying, "The same to you," whether or not they extend it warmly. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
People of the Book greet you, say: Wa `alaykum (The same to you)."
Here, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has instructed us how to return their greeting and he has not made any exceptions. It is not permissible, however, for a Muslim to return the greeting of a Murtad or Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) since they are not included in the permission granted for returning the greeting. Also, it is not permissible to initiate Salam with non-Muslims, regardless of what their religions might be. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.