Hakim al-Ummat Hadhrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah sanctify his secret) writes:  

  • It is wajib (obligatory) to reply to the salam which is written in a letter. This reply may be [given] in writing or verbally.
  • The fuqaha (jurists) have said that in reply to the salam which is written in a letter, one may say عليكم السلام or even السلام عليكم

 Adab al-Mu’asharat, page12, English translation by Majlisul-Ulama of South Africa

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