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Fridays Freaky Fatwa--A Parrot says to a Muslim...

A Muslim asks a scholar;

When the presenter of a program on television or radio says salaam (peace), are we sinning if we do not respond to the salaam in this case?

And the scholar replies

Praise be to Allah.

If the broadcast is live, then it is prescribed to return the salaam, because of the general meaning of the evidence which shows that it is obligatory to return the greeting of salaam.
What evidence?

But it is a communal obligation, so if some people do it, it is waived for the rest.  But if it is recorded, it is not obligatory to return the greeting in this case.

Imam Abu Sa’d al-Mutawalli and others said: If someone calls out to someone else from behind a screen or a wall and says, Peace be upon you, O So and so, or he writes a letter in which he says: Peace be upon you, O So and so, or he sends a messenger and says: Give greetings of salaam to So and so, and the letter or messenger conveys that, it is obligatory for him to return the greeting.

Similarly others stated that it is obligatory for the one to whom the letter was written to return the salaam when it reaches him. End quote.
I was expecting the scholar to post a Hadith to prove that Muslims are forbidden to look at images that they can’t recreate.  Instead I got, O So and so saying such and such.

Technology seems to have created new questions for the scholars.

A Muslim asks a scholar

If the broadcaster on television says salaam (peace), is it obligatory to return the greeting in this case?

And the scholar replies

Yes. It is obligatory to return the salaam if one hears it directly or even indirectly by reading the message, because of the general meaning of the evidence that returning the salaam is obligatory. End quote.
And what is the evidence behind this ruling?

Ibn ‘Uthman (may Allah have mercy on him) did not go so far as to say that it is obligatory to return the salaam because the greeter cannot hear the response, but he said: The greeting should be returned so as to be on the safe side.
So, whatever scared Uthman should scare you.
I’ll bet Uthman didn’t even have a parrot. ….and he’d ban the tv and newspaper.
As Uthman knows best

A Muslim asks a scholar

What is the ruling if the Muslim hears the broadcaster or Shaykh saying salaam (peace) on the television? Does he have to return the salaam?

And the scholar asked questions

Is it a live broadcast?

Questioner: Yes, he is listening to the Shaykh or broadcaster on the radio.

Shaykh: Sometimes it is recorded; they put it on a tape and broadcast it. If it is recorded, then you do not have to return the greeting, because this is just transmission of sound.

But if it is live, then I may or may not say that it is obligatory. If I say that it is obligatory, the basic principle is that this is a greeting to everyone who hears his words, so they have to respond to it.

But if I say that it is not obligatory, that is because the one who gives the greeting cannot hear the response and does not expect it either.

The one who says salaam in a broadcast does not expect the people to respond to him. But to be on the safe side, we should return the greeting and say, Wa ‘alayka al-salaam (and upon you be peace).

Questioner: Is that more on the safe side?

Shaykh: That is more on the safe side, but it is not obligatory.
To be really safe, I want to ask…what if you just say it in your head, does that still count, are you still safe?

A Muslim asks a scholar

In my grandfather's house there is a real live parrot, and when I pass by it, it greets me and says ‘al-salaamu ‘alaykum”. In this case do I have to return the greeting of this bird?

And the scholar replies

Praise be to Allaah. Firstly: Some of the scholars have stated that it is not prescribed to prostrate if one hears a verse from a parrot.

The listener need not do the prostration of recitation if he hears it from a source that is not human, such as a trained bird like a parrot or hearing it from an echo. End quote.
From an echo?

Secondly: It is not prescribed to return the greeting of a parrot which has learnt how to say salaam
..still laughing.

Because saying salaam is an act of worship and a supplication which requires intention on the part of the one who said it, and there is no such intention on the part of this trained creature. So one should not return its greeting.
Not even to be safe?

The ruling is the same as that on a tape on which the greeting is recorded and can be heard. It is transmission of sound and does not come under the ruling on greeting when it is broadcast live, in which case returning the greeting is prescribed and is a communal obligation.
And Allah knows best.
Gotta wonder what would happen if the parrot learned how to say the call of prayer.

So to be clear, a Muslim does not have to say peace (salaam) to a bird because birds do not need to be reminded. But to be safe, a Muslim should return the greeting of peace to a tv, letter or newspaper. This is not a law but Muslims should remind themselves often that peace is important.

9-11 may peace be upon us all.
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