How Are You?

Salam,

Please find below some advice regarding a matter which we may regard as insignificant but was identified by the scholars of the past as in need of rectifying.  Shaykh Abd al-Wahab al-Sharani said in his work Tanbih al-Mughtarrin p.128:

And from the Salaf’s character traits – Allah the Exalted be pleased with them – was their regularly asking about the condition of their friends, this was in order to be able to assist them regarding their needs such as food, clothing, money, paying of debts…and the possessors of this character trait in this age are rare.  People in this time practice the opposite of this, a person may say to his friend, “how are you?” To which his friend will respond, “I am fine” but in fact hiding his true state of affairs because of his knowing of the emptiness of heart of his friend…rather many a time a person will pass by his brother and say, “How are you” but not wait for an answer, thus the one asking does not wait for an answer nor does the person being asked trouble himself to utter a response.
It was due to this that Sayyidi Ali al-Khawwas – Allah the Exalted have mercy on him – would say: If you do not have a firm resolve to help your brother or share in his worries or supplicate for him – then do not ask him “How are you” for this will become a case of hypocrisy.
Hatim al-Asam – Allah the Exalted have mercy on him – said: if you say to your friend: How are you this morning? and he replies: “I am in need of a particular thing”, however you do not deal with it seriously and do not fulfil his need, then your saying “How are you this morning” is a mockery of him, and this is predominant amongst the folk of this age.

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