If you think only "Hello!" is a popular greetings in the world,
you must know only half of the world. There is the other major greetings.
"As-Salaam Aleykum" is the one.
It means "Give a peace on you." in exact meanings. The "As-Salaam
Aleykum" is Arabic. The words got around all over the world with Islam.
So surprisingly, the words which is spoken in West Africa also can be used
in Muslim community in China. I feel strong power of the religion.
Next time, when you meet Muslim people, why don't you greet with the words
"As-Salaam Aleykum". They must be surprised at first. But then,
they respond to you without exception at any place on the globe. "Wa
'Aleykum Alaam. (Give a peace on you too)"
For some reason, I have fateful connection to Muslim culture. My first room mate was Moroccan. So Arabic and West African friends were
always came by my apartment. My first culture shock experience was also Muslim town in Morocco, Tanger. However from certain point, I couldn't call it as a fateful connection
any more. 'Cos I visit Muslim town spontaneously later on.
I'm so relaxed when I'm dipped into the Muslim circumstances. A voice of
Adhan from Mosque, smell of mutton, structure of city, rhythm of daily
life which is punctuated by the prayer, the way of thinking or moral, maybe
all of these universality of Muslim culture make me feel relief.
The reliance comes from the fact that the society is guarantied by Muslim
standard. If you forgive me picking the snobbish example, it's quite similar
to this situation. When you are walking down the street in strange country
with starving, because you don't have any idea to having local meal, you
see the sign of the McDonald.
I also chose a Muslim town in this travel. It's named Linxia, Gansu province
in China. Actually, It's my first visiting the town. But I felt some deja-vu
feeling for it. I have been this maze like structured city somewhere in the world. Excellent hospitality, affectionate and friendly people ... Linxia was
another wonderful town which cleared the quality of Muslim standard.
" Smiling man " Linxia, Gansu province, China 2008