The People of the Book

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

XDIII. The People of the Book

512. When a dhimmi writes and gives the greeting, he is answered

1101. Abu 'Uthman an-Nahdi said, "Abu Musa wrote to a Persian grandee and greeted him in his letter. He was asked, 'Do you greet him when he is an unbeliever?' He replied, 'He wrote to me and greeted me, so I have answered him.'"

1102. Abu Basra l-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not give them the greeting first. If they greet you, then say, 'and on you.'"

1103. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. Force them to the narrowest part of the road."

513. A person greeting a dhimmi with a gesture

1104. 'Alqama said, "'Abdullah used to greet the Persian grandees with a gesture."

1105. Anas said, "A Jew passed by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, 'Peace be upon you.' His Companions returned the salam.' The Prophet said, 'The Jew said, 'Poison (sam) be upon you.' He caught hold of the Jew who admitted it.' The Prophet said, 'Answer him with what he said.'"

515. How to answer dhimmis

1106. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When one of the Jews greets you and says, 'Poison be upon you (as-samu 'alaykum),' say, 'And on you.'"

1107. Ibn 'Abbas said, "Return the greeting to whomever it is, Jew, Christian, or Magian. That is because Allah says, 'When you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it or return it.' (4:86)"

516. The greeting to the gathering which includes both Muslims and idolaters

1108. Usama ibn Zayd related that one day the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was riding on a donkey on a straw saddle covered by a blanket from Fadak. Usama ibn Zayd was riding behind him. He was on his way to visit Sa'd ibn 'Ubada. He passed by a meeting which included 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul ­ before the enemy of Allah had become Muslim. The gathering contained a mixture of Muslims, associaters and idolaters. He greeted them.

517. How does one write to the People of the Book?

1109. 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas related that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb sent him to Heraclius, the Byzantine Emperor, and he called for the letter of the Messenger of Allah which Dihya had brought to the governor of Busra, who in turn passed it on to Heraclius. He read it out, saying, 'In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, from Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger, to Heraclius, ruler of the Byzantines. Peace be upon the one who follows guidance. I call you to Islam. If you become Muslim, you will be safe and Allah will double your reward. If you turn away, then you incur the wrong action of your subjects. "O People of the Book! Come to a proposition which is the same for us and you É (to His words) Bear witness that we are Muslims." (3:54)'"

518. When the People of the Book say, "Poison be upon you"

1110. Jabir said, "Some of the Jews greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by saying, 'Poison be upon you (as-Samu 'alaykum)' and the Prophet replied, 'And on you.' 'A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said angrily, 'Didn't you hear what they said?' The Prophet replied, 'Yes, and I answered them. What I said about them will be accepted and what they said about me will not be accepted.'"

519. The People of the Book are forced to the narrowest part of the road

1111. See 1103.

520. How to make supplication for a dhimmi

1112. 'Uqba ibn 'Amir al-Juhani passed by a man who looked like a Muslim who greeted him. 'Uqba answered him, saying, "And on you and the mercy of Allah and his blessings." His slave said to him, "He is a Christian." 'Uqba got up and followed him until he caught up to him. He said, "The mercy of Allah and His blessings are for the believers, but may Allah make your life long and give you much wealth and many children."

1113. Ibn 'Abbas said, "If Pharaoh had said to me, 'May Allah bless you,' I would have said, 'And you.' But Pharaoh is dead."

1114. Abu Musa said, "The Jews used to sneeze in the presence in the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, hoping that he would say to them, 'May Allah have mercy on you,' but he used to say, 'May Allah guide you and out your affairs in order.'"

521. When someone greets a Christian whom he does not recognise

1115. 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "Ibn 'Umar passed by a Christian who greeted him and Ibn 'Umar returned the greeting He was told that the man was a Christian. When he learned that, he went back to him and said, 'Give me back my greeting.'"

522. When someone says, "So-and-so sends you his greetings"

1116. 'A'isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Jibril sends you the greeting." She replied, "And peace be upon him and the mercy of Allah."