The ending of the Salat
Researched by: A. Mohamed

The traditional ending to the Salat among all Muslims is:

"Al-Salamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatu". These words translate into: "Peace and Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you". This phrase is uttered twice at the conclusion of the Salat, once with the head turned to the right and once with the head turned to the left.

Where did this ending come from? Is it in harmony with the teachings of the Quran? When we come to analyse this matter we are immediately faced with the following questions:

1- Who are we addressing when we utter these words? Who are we sending God's blessings and mercy to? Surely we are not addressing God because we cannot be saying to God, "may God's mercy and blessings be upon you"!!

Some will say that these words are addressed to the other fellow believers who would be praying alongside us. However, this explanation is also incorrect by the mere fact that the same words are uttered by people praying on their own, and with no one to their right or left to address these words to.

Some others will say that these words are addressed to the two angels who are recording all our deeds, one of whom is on our right and one is on our left (see 50:17). Indeed, God appointed angels to record all our deeds; however, we must inquire as to why should we address the angels during our Salat? Our Salat is not directed to them! The Quran gives us clear instructions to dedicate every word in our Salat, as well as all worship practices, to the name of God and no one else:

Say, "My Salat, my worship practises, my life and my death, are all devoted to God, the Lord of the worlds." 6:162 (also see 39:11 and 20:14)

To direct any words in our Salat to any other than God is indeed a violation of the law in 6:162 and thus must be rejected.

2- If these words are not devoted to God, and thus must not be spoken in our Salat, how should we end our Salat? We must never doubt the fact that the Quran contains all the details we need to practise our religion. God has indeed given us in the Quran the exact words that must be uttered to end the Salat. These are found in the following verses:

As for those who believe and do good deeds, their Lord guides them by virtue of their faith. Rivers will flow beneath them in the Gardens of Bliss. 10:9

Their prayer therein is: "Glory to You, O God," and their greeting therein is: "Peace," and the ending of their prayer is: "Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds."

This verse speaks of the model believers who will be rewarded in the 'Gardens of Bliss'. We are then told that the last words in their prayer are: 'Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds'. It makes perfect sense that this verse gives us a model to follow if we would like to be among those destined for Paradise. It makes perfect sense that we should end our Salat by praising God and not by bidding farewell to the angels!