Greeting Strangers on a Sunny Day

A few days ago the temperature was spring-like, so the girls and I decided to go biking. Well, that is not totally truthful. They rode their bikes while I hiked behind them. We chose a challenging route that required lots of energy and a positive attitude.

Along the way, as our smiles began to turn into tears, a red minivan gave us a friendly honk, and the driver waved at us and kept on going. I waved back, wondering who the driver may be. Could he or she be someone I know or could they be a friendly stranger? I may never find out in this lifetime, but nevertheless, the effect was there. Smiley Face, as I like to call our friendly honker, had lightened our trip and given us some joy and encouragement.

Did it matter whether we knew the mysterious honker? I actually prefer thinking that is was a complete stranger giving some encouragement and love for no personal benefit to themselves. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling, how when a stranger greets you warmly, it brightens your day?

The next day, my daughter was reading me her daily page of Qur’an, and we came across Ayah 86 from Surat An-Nisaa (The Women): “And if you are greeted with a greeting, reply with a better one, or by a similar greeting.”

My daughter said, “Mama, that is like saying ‘wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,’ to the person who greets us with ‘Assalamu Alaikum’.” I asked her how we would reply to “hi”. She suggested with, “How are you?” I asked, “How do you reply to a honk if you are walking?” “By waving and smiling, of course!” she said confidently.

I have to side track a bit to reflect on the amazing reality of how the Qur’an always touches us in the place and at the time that we need most. An ayah that I’ve read a multitude of times can swoop up on me and surprise me with new meanings and new applications, but that’s a topic for a whole other blog so I’ll leave it at that.

What I’m trying to say today is that we shouldn’t underestimate the power of a friendly, heartfelt greeting. Isn’t that the key to loving one another, and that in turn our key to Jannah?

Khadeejah Akyurt

Khadeejah Akyurt lives in Virginia and spends her days trying to spark the love of learning in herself and in her two girls. She also teaches Tajweed at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and is active with the Muslim American Society.

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  • Um Lubayah

    I love it! That warmed my heart. Jazaki Allahu khairan for sharing, Sr. K!

  • fatima

    This brightened my day! Lovely mashaAllah.

  • Maha

    A beautiful reflection, Khadeejah. Jazakumullah khairan!

  • Sumayah

    A lovely reminder to us all to never underestimate the power and effect of even the smallest gesture. Al-Humdulillah. JAK.

  • laura

    This is such a sweet reminder!

  • kellytaira

    i love a heartfelt welcome. it really effects me. yes, never underestimate the power of Allah’s Love. Jazakallahu khair for sharing this! something it just reminded me of all the times i think peole are waving hello to me so i wave back eagerly, smiling. then i realize that they were waving to someone behind me. LOL! it’s a little embarressing for me, but i recover. however, i’ve managed to one-up myself . . .

    recently, i was waving goodbye to a sister. you have to know that i hardly ever see this sister, as i don’t really have contact with her, but every once in a while when i do, she has always been kind and thoughtful. anyhow, she said something, but i couldn’t hear her, as i was some distance away from her. i asked her to repeat herself and she did, but i still couldn’t hear her. so, i called out, “I love you too!” i have no idea if she said to me, i love you, but maybe she did? i like to think she did. and plus, she’s a sweet girl. it’s just a little embaressing if i was wrong. = )