Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peace Be Upon You

As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم) is an Arabic greeting meaning "Peace be upon you". The traditional response is wa `Alaykum As-Salaam, meaning "and upon you be peace." I came across this while reading Peace Be Upon You by Zachary Karabell, a study into fourteen centuries of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish conflict and cooperation. In it he states that each of these three traditions has a core of peace.

In churches throughout the world, worshipers turn to one another and say, "Peace be upon you." Walk into any store, home, or mosque anywhere in the Muslim world, and you will be greeted with salaam alaykum, Peace be upon you." And the response is always the same: "And upon you, peace." Jews in Israel will begin and end a conversation with the simple salutation shalom, "peace." Each of the faiths teaches its followers to greet friends and strangers with the warm open arms of acceptance. Peace comes first and last. [Peace Be Upon You, p.5]
I use this greeting in my closing valediction whenever I dialog with others on religious blogs and forums through emails and comments. It can get pretty frightening whenever navigating the Internet as religious dialog devolves into disagreements, heated battles, and fierce digital wars that may end up in legal disputes. Try and visit a forum, chat room, even a Youtube video and I guarantee you that after the first few comments colorful language will appear out of nowhere. People like to argue and Religion is rich with topics to bicker and peck at each other over. This is why I close with "Peace Be Upon You", meaning that if any of my statements offend you or that you disagree with I hope that we may part ways and return in peace. Arguing and debate is still fair game because this allows us to explore new areas of thought and expression, as long as we leave each other peacefully.

May peace and blessing be upon you,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and upon you, peace

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