Proper Manner of Answering the Telephone
What follows is beneficial knowledge from AshShaykh Al’Allaamah AlAlbaanee (rahimahullaah) transmitted by way of his student Shaykh Saalih bin Taha Abu Islaam (hafidhahullaah) in his book entitled, (what translated means) Al’aqeedah first, if they but only knew (Vol 1, pgs. 16-17), wherein he (Abu Islaam) said,
“He called me rahimahullaah (meaning AshShaykh AlAlbaanee) one day by telephone, but I was not there. My young daughter, upon answering the telephone, said, “Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaah” . The Shaykh asked for me and then said to her, “Inform your father that Muhammad Naasiriddeen AlAlbaanee called”. (He did not say ‘AshShaykh’ . . . and this is from his humbleness, may Allaah raise his rank in Aljannah)”.
“When I returned home, my daughter informed me that a man by the name of Muhammad Naasiriddeen AlAlbaanee had called. I returned his call immediately. After he (the Shaykh) requested from me that which he had wanted, he said, “Oh Abaa Islaam, when I phoned you your young daughter answered and said, “Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaah” . Is this an action (mannerism) based on knowledge? Or just (your) young (daughter’s) personal action (mannerism)? We want to (derive) benefit (from this) Oh Abaa Islaam”. And this (the comment of the Shaykh) is also from his humbleness and wisdom in (conveying) Adda’wah. Then I said to him, “Truly this is from the action (mannerism) of (my young daughter) and for the first time”.
“From that which we know in this situation is that when a man (meaning collectively – ‘anyone’) answers the telephone he says, “Na’am” (Yes), then the person calling gives assalaam to the person he has called (by saying “Assalaamu ‘alaikum . . .”), then the person who answers the call returns assalaam. He (the one answering the call) does not begin with “Assalaamu ‘alaikum . . . .”
Then he (the Shaykh) rahimahullaah said: “This is from that which we know to be correct. Because the person calling is like the person who knocks on the door. There is no difference between them.
[End of translation]
Explanation of what is to be derived from this beneficial knowledge:
From that which has been transmitted to us of the words of AshShaykh Al’Allaamah AlAlbaanee, through his student Shaykh Saalih bin Taha, is that we are to answer the telephone with the word ‘Na’am’. The answerer does not give assalaam first. The one calling is to give assalaam first and then we respond to their salaam. The daleel is based upon that which is the proper manner (adab) for knocking on a door and the response to it.