Shaikh al-Albani rahimahullah said,

“If it is said, ‘is it allowed to to initiate other than the greeting of peace with a disbeliever such as,  “How are you this morning?”, “How are you this evening?”, “How are you?”, and the likes, then I say that which is apparent to me, and Allah knows best, is that it is allowed because the prohibition mentioned in the Hadith [Muslim no. 2167] is only for Salam. In general, what is only intended [by the Hadith] is the Islamic greeting which includes the Name of Allah, the Exalted, as comes in the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ),

السلام اسم من أسماء الله وضعه في الأرض فأفشوه بينهم

‘As-Salam (peace) is one of the Names of Allah Almighty which Allah has placed in the earth. Therefore spread the greeting among yourselves.’ Reported by Bukhari in Adab al-Mufrad (no. 989) and it will come [in as-Saheeha] no. 1894.

What supports what I have mentioned is the statement of ‘Alqamah,

‘Verily Abdullah (that is: Ibn Mas’ud) used to give greetings to the Persian businessmen with a gesture.’ Reported by Bukhari (no. 1104)

and he gave the chapter title for it, ‘A person greeting a dhimmi with a gesture’. Its chain is Saheeh. So Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) allowed initiating greetings with a gesture because it is not a greeting specific to Muslims. Likewise, it is allowed to greet them [the non-Muslims] with the likes of what I mentioned of wordings.

As for what was mentioned in some books of the Hanaabilah like ad-Daleel that it is prohibited to also initiate the greetings [saying], ‘How are you this morning or evening?’ or ‘How are you?’, then I do not know of an evidence for that from the Sunnah…” End translation. [Silsilatus-Saheeha (no. 704) 2/318]

He also said rahimahullah,

“…If it is necessary for you to initiate and you say to him, ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good evening’, then this is the exiting point [from this issue] and the subject of giving salam to the disbeliever ends…” End translation. [Silsilatul-Huda wan-Nur (no. 50)]

Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan