muslims are a funny bunch. because we speak in all sorts of strange languages and dialects, our way of greeting each other is affected.
take south asians, for example. the typical pakistani girl wearing a dupatta over her shoulders will greet with "sla lekoom". the typical punjabi merchant in lahore will greet with "ass-slaam-laekoom".
then, across to turkiye, you might hear "selamunaleykooom". or if you manage to make it through to the Miniyeh (a village just outside of tripoli in lebanon where people are allegedly more inbred than in the rest of the country), you will hear "salem '3aleyqum".
here in australia (where i come from), young mossies (as we call ourselves) have combined all sorts of accents. and to make things worse, we have also managed to abbreviate the salam to 2 or even 1 syllables.
i have a south african friend in melbourne who greets me with something resembling "sai-km". a lebbo (as we call them) mate greets me with "shla' laykm".
these abbreviations spread like wildfire. eventually, mossies got sick of the spare 2nd syllable and settled for super-abbreviated salams.
residents of mosques in sydney would feel so good seeing a bunch of trendily-dressed youngsters (and in my case, a shabbily-dressed overweight oldster) enter Allah's house with smiles beaming from their faces. What nur al-huda (light of guidance) had brought za yooss (arabic for "the youth") to za mazjid (or gid for masri folk)?
but the good feelings would quickly be replaced by demons of bidah as these youngsters would address each other with "slang" and "schleh". Followed by responses of "wang" and "weh" respectively.
then one day, this noblest of all greetings was dealt a savage blow. a student of a famous american shaykh living in brisbane (the student. as if american shaykhs would live in brisbane!) joined forces with the writer to invent a new language based upon a famous pakistani uncle who often acted as master of ceremonies at community functions. this uncle spoke in a combination of urdu, punjabi and broad australian accents. "Ladoos and gentlemoon, plooz taak your soots".
the accent became known as "punjaboriginal", sounding like a combination of punjabi and indigenous aboriginal dialects. punjaboriginal even contained its own translation/abbreviation of salam. and what was this beautiful greeting? how did the practitioners of punjaboriginal greet each other?
and so, dear readers, i greet you with the noble universal greeting translated into punjaboriginal.
and how should you respond? walaykum what? forget the walaykums. just respond with ... wait for it ...
everytime this brisbane murid rings me, the first thing i hear is "e". a few moments later, i hear the "e" in a higher pitched voice.
"who was that?", i ask him.
"just my wife", he responds proudly.
hopefully my next contribution to this magnificent blog will prove much more beneficial.
ma salama (or should that be ma e?)