Category: Virtues and Manners .
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عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا:
أَنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَيُّ الإِسْلاَمِ خَيْرٌ؟ قَالَ: «تُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ، وَتَقْرَأُ السَّلاَمَ عَلَى مَنْ عَرَفْتَ وَمَنْ لَمْ تَعْرِفْ».

[صحيح] - [متفق عليه]
المزيــد ...

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported:
A man asked the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him): Which deed in Islam is the best? He said: "Feeding people and extending the greeting of peace to those you know and those you do not know."

Sahih/Authentic. - [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Explanation

The Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) was asked: What qualities of Islam are the best? He mentioned two qualities:
First: Feeding the poor frequently, and this includes charity, gifts, hospitality, and banquets. The merit of feeding others is even more emphatic during times of famine and the rise in prices.
Second: Extending the greeting of peace to every Muslim, whether you know him or not.

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Benefits from the Hadith

  1. The Companions' keenness to learn about the qualities that bring benefit in this life and the Hereafter.
  2. Extending the greeting of peace and providing others with food are among the best deeds in Islam given their merit and the people's need for them at all times.
  3. These two qualities combine benevolence in words and deeds, which is the most perfect kind of benevolence.
  4. These qualities pertain to the way Muslims treat each other, and there are other qualities about the way one deals with his Lord.
  5. Initiating the greeting is solely for Muslims; thus, no greeting should be initiated with the disbeliever.