"Greetings to you, too."
It is commonly used for Muslims, but not for non-Muslim Indonesians. I don’t think it should be on the Bahasa Indonesia course, to be honest. It doesn’t apply to all Indonesians and could confuse some people. For example, someone learning on Duolingo for a trip to Bali. If you’re living in Jakarta then maybe. But it’s an Arabic word, and this should be explained in the notes. Another note: I got it wrong because I spelled it wrong - but there’s no standardized transliteration of it, so this also needs to be considered when this goes out of beta.
TL;DR - 9 out of 10 people in Indonesia are Muslim, practising or not (or simply because they have to be or for convenience, eg, need a job / to be married), because religion and state are so entwined.
Around 25% of the global population ascribe to Islam. 1.8 billion people or so (although this is census data only, perhaps followers of Islam are more diligent in filling out religious detail) and 11-14% of this 1.8 billion people reside in the most Islamic country in the world - Indonesia.
Population of Indonesia is around 260 million, so... between 200-225 million people in Indonesia will be Muslim.
That's almost 90%.
So, this means that only 1 in 10 people in Indonesia will not have Muslim stamped on their ID (although, many Muslims I know in Indonesia do not really adhere to the faith - simply must say that they are for government or marriage or work or family or whatever).
A woman recently asked, "I would like to get married to a man, but he is Christian - will you [to friends] still talk to me and be my friends if I convert, so we can be married?".
This was quite an interesting question, as it was in a bar, over a beer...
But, it does go to show that religion - in particular Islam - is taken very seriously in Indonesia. Even though many Indonesians do not take it as seriously as Indonesia...
The little girl goes to a Muslim school and picking her up and dropping her off is the only time her mother wears a Hijab.
For most who will be learning this course, while it is useful to know the Muslim greetings and responses - perhaps it is not as useful as knowing how to use the go-food app and order sate ayam dan bakso sapi.
It'd be pretty strange for some bule to walk into a Javanese cafe and greet the barrista with a formal Muslim greeting, but not know how to ask for kopi.
Perhaps these phrases might be given after more useful terms for learners, as I've not seen "Hei Tini!", "Hai Andi", "Yo Mas", "Wigati Bang" or many other greetings that are in more common use.
Don't think I'd say it unless it was super serious Imam Mosque time or I'm facing the Sharia Squad.
Way to deep about religion, practicing and unnecessary context.
The literal Arabic meaning is "May peace be upon you as well". It remains a fact that for over 90% of Indonesians use it as a greeting. So you being Muslim or not, Indonesians will recognize the greeting when you using. And they will respect you for it as you being an outsider.
However I agree it depends on the how (in)formal the situation is. In clubs and bars, it's kinda weird. With people of respect (police agents, family, parents or even strangers on street for asking something) it is good.
So it's good to learn as it is well commonly used. Only you have to know and feel when to use it.
Whenever I have been to Indonesia, this has always been the main greeting used when entering or leaving someone's house. But to be honest, I wouldn't use it with complete strangers where it's not obvious to me their religion or in an impersonal setting - such as a restaurant, business, hotel, etc. And I certainly can't imagine anyone would expect tourists, visitors, or non-muslims to greet them in this way. If anything, I'd think there's more chance of causing offence by saying it than not saying it.
I don't think it's necessary to be included in this course either...
I would not recommend the use of this as a greeting since this is not applied to everyone.
I live in Indonesia my whole life and I've recognized this only applied for moslem friends. A moslem friend once said to me, this phrase 'waalaikumsalam' as a response for 'assalamualaikum', will not be counted when it is mentioned by people who are not moslems.
In short, it only happens between Moslems. My moslem friends would never use it for any people but the ones who they know are moslems too.
For non-religious phrase, we could say: 'Hai/halo juga!' Since, 'Hai' and 'Halo' is one of the most generally used greetings for anyone from any religion.