The Virtues of Spreading the Salams
Abū ʿUways (raḥimahullāh) gives a beautiful admonition concerning the importance and virtues of spreading the salāms amongst the believers.
From one of the greatest acts of obedience is the conveying of the salāms to the people. Allāh sent down legislative rulings and guidelines on how the believers should behave and interact with one another, guidelines on good character and manners, and from these guidelines is the importance of spreading the salāms. It is peace which protects one from all difficulty, and defects, and illnesses and all harm, and because of this Jannah is called Dār al-Salām, those who enter Jannah will be safe and in total bliss, ease and peace, and because of this Islām has stressed the importance of spreading the salāms and its virtues, and the legislative manners of giving the salāms, so that the Muslims may put this into practise. This issue of the salāms is one of the important issues which has become lost and totally abandoned amongst the Muslims today, a legislation regarding which, the Messenger of Allāh said the Muslims should convey greetings of salāms to those whom they know, and those whom they do not know. He also indicated that from the signs of the hour is that the people will only greet those whom they know.
You will witness a person enter the masjid and he will only rush to give the salāms to the one he knows, whilst passing others whom he does not know without extending the salāms. This is whilst knowing that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his Companions left us examples and guidelines regarding conveying the salāms to those whom we know and do not. So when we know this, why do we not put it into practise? This is not a small matter. Indeed, the Messenger of Allāh said, "You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Should I not guide you to something that if you do it you will love one another? Spread the salāms amongst you".
No one enters Jannah except those who have īmān and believe in Allāh and His Qualities and His Books and the Paradise and the Fire. If you were to swear that no kāfir would enter paradise you would not be lying, because the Messenger of Allāh said that a person without īmān would not enter Jannah. There is no doubt about it, none enters Jannah except the one that has īmān, and you will not have this īmān and belief until you truly love one another; so he who wants Jannah must love every believer, and the Messenger of Allāh informed us that this love we wish to achieve, then it cannot be obtained unless we have īmān, and we will not attain this unless we spread the salāms amongst one another.
Many Muslims maintain that it is not wājib to initiate the salāms rather it is wājib to respond. This is incorrect. Whenever one passes a Muslim or observes a Muslim in their presence, then one should convey the salāms.