Q. If I am a few minutes late on the dinner table, do I have to make Salaam to all those already on the dinner table? And is it necessary for all of them to reply to my Salaam?
A. It is disliked (Makrooh) to make Salaam to a person whilst he/she is eating. If Salaam is made to a person whilst he/she is eating, it will not be necessary to respond to such a Salaam. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah 19/81)
This is specific to a time that one has a morsel of food in one’s mouth, which makes it difficult for one to reply to a Salaam. If this is not the case, then Salaam may be made before or after such a time. (Shaami 6/415)
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa