Concerning The Meaning And The Secret Of The Salām And Its Disciplines

It is stated in Misbāh ash-Sharī'ah that Imām as-Sādiq ('a) said: “The meaning of the salām at the end of each salāt is 'security,' that is, whoever obeys the command of Allah and the tradition of His Prophet (s), with a submissive heart, will be secured from the trials of this world and exempted from the tortures of the Hereafter. 'Salām' is one of the names of Allah, the Exalted. He trusted it to His creatures so that they may use its concept in their transactions, trusts and annexations, exemplifying reciprocal companionship among themselves and the correctness of their association.

If you wish to use the salām in its proper place and according to its meaning, you must fear Allah, and your religion, heart and mind should be secured on your part. So, do not make them filthy by the darkness of sinning, and do not cause your protectors (angels) to be vexed, tired and disgusted with your maltreating them.

Both your friend and, your enemy should be secured from you, as the one whose close friends are not secured from him, the strangers are certainly more expected not to be so. And whoever does not put the salām in those proper places, his will be no salām and no taslīm, and his salām will be a false one, even if he shows it off before the people.12

Being secured from the trials of this world means to be secured from satanic intrusions, because obeying the commands of Allah secures one against the intrusion of Satan:

Surely prayer forbids indecency and dishonor.”3

Then, he refers to one of the secrets of the “salām” and says: “salām”' is one of the Names of Allah. He trusted it to His creatures.” This is a hint at the appearance of beings from the Divine Names. The sālik servant should declare this divine grace, which has been trusted in the inside of his essence and nature, and use it in all of his dealings, associations, trusts and relationships, and spread it throughout his inside and outside domains.

He should use it in his dealings with Allah and His religion so as not to betray the divine trust. Thus, he is to spread the truth of ”salām” in all his worldly and heavenly powers as well as in his customs, beliefs, morals, and actions, so that he may be secured from all intrusions.

The way to this security is, thus, said to be taqwā. It should be realized that taqwā is of many degrees and stages:

The external taqwā: It means protecting the outside against the pollution and the darkness of formal sinning. This is the taqwā of the common people.

The internal taqwā: This means protecting the inside and purifying it from extravagance and shortcoming and exceeding the limit of moderateness in morality and spiritual instincts. This is the taqwā of the elite.

The taqwā of the mind: It is protecting and purifying the mind from being spent on the non-divine sciences. The divine sciences are those that deal with the divine laws and religion. Other natural sciences and the like which are required for knowing the manifestations of Allah, are also divine. But if they are not for that, they are not divine, even if they are discussions about the Beginning and the Resurrection. This is the taqwā of “the choice of the elite” [akhass-i khawass].
The taqwā of the heart: It is protecting the heart against seeing or discussing other than Allah. This is the taqwā of the walīs [awliyā']. The noble hadīth in which Allah, the Exalted, says: “I am the co-sitter to the one who sits with Me,”4 refers to this hearty privacy, which is the best privacy, and the other ones are preliminaries to this one.

So, the one who acquires all these degrees of taqwā, his religion, intellect, spirit, heart and all his internal and external powers will remain sound and safe, and the angels in charge of protecting him will not be vexed, tired or disgusted with him.

The dealings and the company of such a person with both the friend and the enemy will be done in peace, or, actually, enmity will be uprooted from his heart, no matter how much his enemies are hostile to him. But the one who has not acquired all the degrees of taqwā, would proportionally be deprived of the emanation of Salam, and would be nearer to the horizon of hypocrisy, from which we take refuge in Allah. With peace! [was-salām].

  • 1. Misbāh ash-Sharī'ah, ch. 18, “On Salām”; Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 82, p. 307.
  • 2.
  • 3. Sūrah al-Ankabūt 29:45.
  • 4. Al-Mawāhib as-Saniyyah, p. 77; Al-Mahajjat al-Baydā', vol. 8, p. 58 (with a slight difference).