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Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine

By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850


The name Mislamin, Mussulman, is etymologically derived from the root Salem, “perfect, complete, enlightened, faultless,” or a man who has attained perfection in all his relations. The title or expression Malim, “master, or doctor,” is a term of offence to the Mahomedans, wherefore they are never addressed by it.

Should a Mahomedan be called or addressed in this manner unawares, he asks very angrily and offended, Ana Malim, “Am I only a master or learned man?” You have then to apologize, and to say that this offence was committed without thought, without any intention of wounding his feelings. The salutation Selam Alikun, “Peace with you,” should only be used among Mussulmans, but not from a non-Mahomedan to a Mahomedan, unless to offend him and be offended in turn by his rude reply. A non-Mahomedan has to address a follower of the Koran with Alla vi, “God be present.” Selam should be used only by and to a Selamen, Mislamin.

The only pity is, that the poor Mislamin is perfect already at his birth, and thus brings his perfections with him in the world like the animal, wherefore he has no necessity for any cultivation or improvement. But in modern times it appears that the Mahomedans do not regard themselves any more as so completely perfect, and are not so particular with the different titles, and tacitly submit to be styled once a while “learned, doctor, or master.”

Jews and Muslims in Palestine