Elementary Arabic I/Lesson:Beachhead
There are many words in Arabic that are used to greet each other, whether it being an acquaintance, friend, family, collegue, etc. Mainly, words such as "Ahlan" and "Marhaba". However, in arabic societies where it is heavily influenced by Islam, a formal greeting is used by saying, "As-salaamu alaykum"—which means Peace be upon you ... it is customarily and respectful to respond back by saying, "Wa alaykum as-salaam"—meaning, And upon you be peace. Some Muslims reserve the greeting to fellow Muslims, so knowing the appropriate answer is always good, but with some people a non-Muslim should not initiate this exchange, but use "Ahlan" and "Marhaba".