Assalam Aleykum by Daria on Tuneful Tuesday

This beautiful song inspired by the traditional Muslim greeting is by new member Daria.

Assalam Aleykum Cover-to-spec

Assalam Aleykum/Peace Be Upon You

The idea for the song “Assalam Aleykum” began in 2006 when I was invited to perform at a language and peace camp in an Arabic village in the Middle East. My 11 year old daughter came along and we spent 3 weeks living, learning and sharing with some truly beautiful families, most of whom were practicing Muslims. And as we went through our daily activities, I loved to hear Muslims greet each other with the traditional phrase: Assalam Aleykum (also written as As-salamu alaykum or As salaamu aleykum) and the response: Wa-Alaikum-as-Salaam, meaning “And Upon You, Peace.” It seemed like a truly meaningful greeting and a powerful statement.

However, during our time there, several of the women shared ugly comments that had been made toward them, simply because they were wearing traditional Muslim garb. They included phrases like: “Do you have an automatic rifle under that burqa?” “You – you give birth and raise terrorists!”. And about a year later; while participating in Islam Awareness Week at Maryland State University, many of the young students shared similar experiences with me. Despite their good works at the college and in the community in general, they had heard a wide variety of hate-speech and one gentle young girl was even spit upon and cursed at when walking from her car to the grocery store.

DariaAlthough I am not a Muslim, it is clear to me that all world religions are precious to those who practice them and deserve dignity and respect. As the MLK quote goes, we can encourage children to not judge based on appearances such as skin color or traditional clothing but to look deeper into “the content of (other people’s) character.” So that is why I made sure the young woman in the video for “Assalam Aleykum” was dressed in a lovely colors and a beautiful hijab head scarf. I wanted people to see the beauty and kindness I had experienced while among Muslim people.

I truly hope the song can be used to start discussions about Islam, Muslim people, world religions, kindness, tolerance as well as peace, and peace-making in our communities and our world. Although it’s just a tiny song, songs can be seeds and these seeds can grow into bountiful harvest of new attitudes of tolerance and understanding of others who practice different faiths, such as Islam. And don’t we all want dignity, respect and peace?

Assalam Aleykum – May Peace Be Upon Us All!

13 comments

  1. Thank you for this beautiful timely song Daria. I know you wrote it years ago, but today it is sadly needed more than ever. Adding this one to my “must learn” songs. I have a song that I wrote for adults called Salaam U’Shalom, but yours is perfect for sharing with people of all ages and backgrounds.

    1. Joanie:

      I love yoru work and music for peace. Do you have a video of your song, Salaam U’Shalom ? I’d love to feature it on my Video channel…! I know my listeners would love to hear it!

  2. Oh Daria, thank you for sharing this. Please contact me at dcresswell@charter.net so that I can have permission to use this song next Tuesday on my next local tv children’s show. In solidarity I am wearing a head scarf when I go out, along with a large button that says “I support my Muslim friends.” The Imam gave his blessing.

    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Just sent you an e-mail with an mp3 and my gratitude. And thanks for spreading tolerance, respect and peace through music! There could not be a better time for songs that cultivate understanding!

  3. This is beautiful and oh so timely, as Joanie says. It’s a keeper, and should be spread wide and far.

    1. Thank you so much, Patricia!

  4. Thank you for sharing. This is a beautiful song and so good for me as I’m on my way to Belgium to visit my daughter. I’ll be happy to know this greeting.

    Val

    1. Safe journey – Val!

  5. Would you like me to notate this song? Or is it already available?

    Val Smalkin

    1. Yes! Can you please notate it. I’d like to have it available free for anyone who wants to use it – and thank you so much!

  6. Beautiful! I will have this ready for my classes next week. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Dear Jenny:

    I am so glad you can use it. It can be a great conversation-starter for kids (and grown-ups). Do keep in touch and keep spreading music and peace!

  8. I can’t wait to teach this to my K-3 classes this coming week. With a new tragedy here in California, I’m afraid the Yemenite and other Arabic speaking families in my school community here in Oakland will be especially affected. Even though they may not discuss the details of the awful events in San Bernadino with their children, kids pick up on family stress regardless of particulars. This beautiful and healing song has helped me immensely, and I know we will enjoy singing it this week. Thank you so much, Daria; and thanks to Alina for sharing this on CMN’s blog!

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