The word salima has three meanings:
- to be safe and sound, unharmed, and secure
- one being blameless or faultless
- to be certain, established, and clearly proven
The word salaam comes from salm, which means peace. The word silm – only slightly different – refers to the religion of Islam – because it is a religion of peace.
The word sullam means a ladder or stairs – any means that helps you climb or escalate. The connection here is that when one is in trouble or in any sort of danger, they use a means of climbing to get out of that situation so they can get to safety. For example, if a house is on fire, the family will climb up and out of the windows so they can be safe from the fire.
The word salaam itself means peace, soundness, well-being, safety, and security. It can also mean a greeting or salutation. When Muslims greet one another, they say salaam.
The word salima can also mean escaping or becoming free from evils, trials, afflictions, blemishes, or faults of any kind. The Arabs also used it to describe when a tanner would finish making something out of leather, making it firm, sound, and strong.
Usage in the Quran
The name of Allah, As-Salaam, is used only one time in the Quran itself. In Surah Al-Hashr, where Allah mentions many of His names at the end of the chapter.
هُوَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚسُبْحَانَ اللَّـهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
“He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Grantor of Security the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.” [59:23]
This emphasizes not only His divinity, but gives us a look at this specific attribute of Allah. He is perfection – without flaw and free from any and all defects. And at the same time, He is also the source of peace and security for each and every one of us.
He is our salaam. As-Salaam.