The word ‘islam’ and its cousins of a similar root such ‘salam’ and ‘muslim’ appear many times in Quran. It is the name of ‘deenillah’ (the power relation of Allah himself) , meaning whoever takes Allah alone as his God/Lord/Master, he will be in aslama or peaceful state (3/83). Islam literally means the acquirement of salaam or peace. Therefore, the end result of the project of islam is peace in the definition set forth in the Quranic verses.
For this essay, we hope to analyse the end result of islam, one of which is described by the phrase ‘salaamun ‘alaikum’. We understand this phrase to be indicative of the state of peace descending upon those who have met the criteria of the process of islam.
The first verse containing this phrase is 6/54:
And when those who believe in Our signs come to you so say ‘peace be upon you’, your Lord has ordained the womb-like state on Himself, if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful.
Here we can see that we ourselves are to take the attitude of giving peace upon those who continuously believe with Allah’s signs. It should be noted that this is not a religious act – it is for anyone who adopts a good attitude. In doing so, Allah writes upon Himself a state of wombness, as if we are achieving development under His care.
The second verse is 7/46: And between the two there is a veil, and on the most elevated places there shall be independent people who know all by their marks, and they shall call out to the dwellers of the garden: Peace be on you; they shall not have yet entered it, though they hope.
This verse is the end point of the children of adam, the movement which aims towards the garden on earth. At this point, the people who are outside that state recognise that the people of the garden have achieved it. They themselves are hoping to achieve it.
The third occurrence of this phrase is 13/24: Peace be on you because you were enduring, how excellent, is then, the issue of the abode.
13/24 is best read from 13/22 which also ends with the phrase ‘eventual abode’ and talks about endurance (sabr). Those who seek the expression of Allah with endurance, establish the connection and spend will attain this state. This will earn them the afterworldly abode due to their endurance. Durability is the focus here in order to attain salam upon us.
The fourth verse is 16/32: Those whom the angels cause to die in a good state, saying: Peace be on you: enter the garden for what you did.
Once again, those who are on the verge of death are given this state of peace upon them due to their wholesomeness in living (thayyibeen). This is also due to what is said in 16/30 which is their self-preservation with regards to what is sent to them. Therefore, when we follow what is personally sent down to us, we would able to achieve a peaceful end as well.
The fifth verse is 28/55: And when they hear idle talk they turn aside from it and say: We shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds; peace be on you, we do not desire the ignorant.
Here we can deduce that even when we disagree with the philosophy and attitude of the superficial folks, we still wish them peace. This shows there is great room for diversity in Islam.
The final verse is quite appropriately 39/73: And those who were preservant their Lord shall be conveyed to the garden in companies; until when they come to it, and its doors shall be opened, and the keepers of it shall say to them: Peace be on you, you shall be happy; therefore enter it to abide.
Once again we can see a formula here. For those who were preservant to their lord (meaning they took care of themselves not to transgress his universal laws), they would then attain the state of peace upon them.
The term ‘islam’ denotes a system of acquiring peace in all aspects of our existence. When we consider the phrase ‘salaamun alaikum’ (peace upon you), we come to understand the end result of the islamic project, as these verses show us. This is the end for which we should all be aiming.