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وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّواْ بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَآ أَوْ رُدُّوهَآ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَسِيباً
-An-Nisâ’ ( النساء )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

And when you are greeted with a greeting, as when it is said to you, ‘Peace be upon you’, greet, the one that greeted you, with better than it, by responding to him with, ‘Peace be upon you, and God’s mercy and blessings’, or return it, by saying back to him what he said; in other words, it is a duty to greet in one of these two ways, the former being the preferred one. Surely God keeps count of, He holds [you] accountable for, all things, and requites accordingly, including things such as returning a greeting. The Sunna specifies that one should not return the greeting of an disbeliever, an innovator, a wicked person, and of the one that greets a person who is in the act of relieving himself, or one in the bath, or one eating — indeed it is actually disapproved with the exception of the last. To the disbeliever [who says ‘peace be upon you’] one should simply say, ‘And upon you’.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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