Shaking hands with a non-Mahram


Answered by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi

Courtesy of IslamOnline.net

The Question:

Is it proven in the Glorious Qur’an or the Sunnah that shaking hands with women is totally prohibited within the social and family relations when there is trust and no fear of temptation?

The Answer:

There is no doubt that shaking hands between males and females who are not mahrams (illegal for marriage) has become an intricate issue. Reaching an Islamic verdict on this issue away from extremism and dispensation needs a psychological, intellectual, and scientific effort so that the Mufti gets rid of the pressure of all imported and inherited customs unless they are based on the textual proofs of the Qur’an or the Sunnah.

Before tackling the issue in point, I would like to exclude two points on which I know there is agreement among the Muslim jurists of the righteous predecessors.

Firstly, it is prohibited to shake hands with a woman if there is fear of provoking sexual desire or enjoyment on the part of either one of them or if there is fear of temptation. This is based on the general rule that blocking the means to evil is obligatory, especially if its signs are clear. This ruling is ascertained in the light of what has been mentioned by Muslim jurists that a man touching one of his mahrams or having khalwah (privacy) with her moves to the prohibited, although it is originally permissible, if there is fear of fitnah (temptation) or provocation of desire.

Secondly, there is a dispensation in shaking hands with old women concerning whom there is no fear of desire. The same applies to the young girl concerning whom there is no fear of desire or temptation. The same ruling applies if the person is an old man concerning whom there is no fear of desire. This is based on what has been narrated on the authority of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to shake hands with old women. Also, it is reported that `Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair hired an old woman to nurse him when he was sick, and she used to wink at him and pick lice from his head. This is also based on what has been mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an in respect of the old barren women, as they are given dispensation with regard to their outer garments. Almighty Allah says in this regard: “As for women past child bearing, who have no hope of marriage, it is no sin for them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show adornment. But to refrain is better for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” (An-Nur: 60)

Allah explains that there is no sin on the old barren women if they decide to remove their outer garments from their faces and such, so long as they do not do it in a manner in which they would be exposing their beauty wrongly.

Here the object of discussion deals with other than these two cases. There is no surprise that shaking hands with women is haram (unlawful) according to the viewpoint of those who hold that covering all of the woman’s body, including her face and the two hands, is obligatory. This is because if it becomes obligatory to cover the two hands, then it would become haram for the opposite sex to look at them. And, if looking at them is unlawful, then touching them would become haram with greater reason because touching is graver than looking, as it provokes desire more.

But it is known that the proponents of this view are the minority, while the majority of Muslim jurists, including the Companions, the Successors and those who followed them, are of the opinion that the face and the hands are excluded from the prohibition. They based their opinion on Almighty Allah’s saying, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent …” (An-Nur: 31) So where is the evidence on prohibiting handshaking unless there is desire?

In fact, I searched for a persuasive and textual proof supporting the prohibition but I did not find it. As a matter of fact, the most powerful evidence here is blocking the means to temptation, and this is no doubt acceptable when the desire is roused or there is fear of temptation because its signs exist. But when there is no fear of temptation or desire, what is the reason for prohibition?

Some scholars based their ruling on the action of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on the day of the Conquest of Makkah. When he wanted to take the pledge of women he said to them, “Go, for you have given your oath of allegiance.” But it is known that the Prophet’s leaving a matter does not necessarily indicate its prohibition, as he may leave it because it is haram (forbidden), makruh (reprehensible), or because it is not preferable. He may also leave it just because he is not inclined to it. An example of this last is the Prophet’s refraining from eating the meat of the lizard although it is permissible. Then, the Prophet’s refraining from shaking hands with women (other than his wives) is not evidence of the prohibition, and there should be other evidence to support the opinion of those who make shaking hands absolutely prohibited.

However, it is not agreed upon that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) refrained from shaking hands with women to take their oath of allegiance. Umm `Atiyyah Al-Ansariyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported another narrative that indicates that the Prophet shook hands with women to take their oath of allegiance. This is unlike the narration of the Mother of the Believers `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who denied this and swore that it had not happened.

It is narrated that `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), said, “When the believing women migrated to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they would be tested in accordance with the words of Allah, ‘O Prophet! If believing women come unto thee, taking oath of allegiance unto thee that they will ascribe nothing as partner unto Allah, and will neither steal nor commit adultery nor kill their children, nor produce any lie that they have devised between their hands and feet, nor disobey thee in what is right, then accept their allegiance and ask Allah to forgive them. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.’ (Al-Mumtahanah: 12)” `A’ishah said, “Whoever among the believing women agreed to that passed the test, and when the women agreed to that, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said to them, ‘Go, for you have given your oath of allegiance.’ No, by Allah, the hand of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) never touched the hand of any woman, rather they would give their oath of allegiance with words only.” And `A’ishah said, “By Allah, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) only took the oath of allegiance from the women in the manner prescribed by Allah, and the hand of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) never touched the hand of any woman. When he had taken their oath of allegiance he would say, ‘I have accepted your oath of allegiance verbally.’” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

In his explanation of the saying of `A’ishah, “No, by Allah, the hand of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) never touched the hand of any woman …” Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar said: she swore to ascertain the news as if she (`A’ishah) wanted to refute the narration of Umm `Atiyyah. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Hibban, Al-Bazzar, Al-Tabari, and Ibn Mardawih that Umm `Atiyyah said in respect of the story of taking the oath of allegiance of women, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) held out his hand from outside the house and we (the immigrating women) held our hands from within the house, then he said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’” In another narration reported by Al-Bukhari, Umm `Atiyyah said, “… thereupon a lady withdrew her hand (refrained from taking the oath of allegiance)…” This narration indicates that they (the immigrating women) took their oath of allegiance by shaking hands. Al-Hafizh said: we reply to the first saying that holding out hands from behind a veil is an indication of the acceptance of the allegiance even if there was no shaking of hands. As for the second narration, withdrawing hands indicates the postponement of accepting the pledge of allegiance or that taking the pledge of allegiance happened from behind a veil. This is supported by that narration of Abu Dawud on the authority of Al-Sha`bi that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) wanted to take the pledge of allegiance of the immigrating women he brought a garment and put it over his hands saying, “I do not shake hands with women.” Furthermore, in his book Maghazi, Ibn Is-haq is reported to have said that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) wanted to take the pledge of allegiance of the immigrating women, he would dip his hands in a vessel and a woman would dip her hands with him in the same vessel.

Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar said: it is possible that taking the pledge of allegiance happened on more than one occasion. Sometimes, it happened without touching hands by any means, as narrated by `A’ishah. Another time it happened that the women’s oath of allegiance was accepted by shaking their hands with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as narrated by Al-Sha`bi. A third time it happened that they dipped their hands in the vessel as mentioned by Ibn Is-haq.

The most correct view seems to be that it occurred on more than one occasion, if we realize that `A’ishah talked about taking the pledge of allegiance from the immigrating women after the Truce of Al-Hudaibiyah, while Umm `Atiyyah talked about what seems to be the oath of allegiance of the believing women in general.

By transmitting these narrations, I mean to clarify that the evidence of those who are of the opinion that shaking hands with women is prohibited is not agreed upon, as is thought by those who do not resort to the original sources. Rather, there is some controversy concerning this evidence.

Furthermore, some contemporary Muslim scholars have based their ruling concerning the prohibition of shaking hands with women on the Hadith narrated by Al-Tabari and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Ma`qil ibn Yassar that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It would be better for one of you to have himself stabbed on the head with an iron needle than to touch a woman that is illegal for him.”

Here, the following should be noted:

1. The scholars and Imams of Hadith have not declared the authenticity of this Hadith. Some of them say that its narrators are trustworthy, but this is not enough to prove the authenticity of the Hadith because there is a probability that there is an interruption in the chain of narrators or there was a hidden cause behind this Hadith. That is why Muslim jurists in the periods that followed the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have not based their ruling on the prohibition of shaking hands with women on this Hadith.

2. Some Hanafi and Maliki jurists stated that the prohibition is not proven unless there is a certain qat`i (definitive) piece of evidence such as textual proofs from the Glorious Qur’an or authentic Hadiths on which there is no suspicion regarding the chains of narrators.

3. If we suppose that the above-mentioned Hadith is authentic, it is unclear to me that the Hadith indicates that it is prohibited for males and females who are not mahrams to shake hands. That is because the phrase “touch a woman that is illegal for him” does not refer to the mere touching without desire as happens in normal handshaking. But the Arabic word “al-mass” (touching) as used in the Shar`i texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah refers to one of two things:

1. Sexual intercourse, as reported by Ibn `Abbas in his commentary to Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘… or ye have touched women …’. He stated that “touching” in the Qur’an refers figuratively to sexual intercourse. This is clear in the following Qur’anic verses that read: “She (Mary) said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me?’” (Al `Imran: 47) and “If ye divorce them before ye have touched them …” (Al-Baqarah: 237)

2. Actions that precede sexual intercourse such as foreplay, kissing, hugging, caressing, and the like. This is reported from our righteous predecessors in the interpretation of the word “mulamasah”.

Al-Hakim stated in his Al-Mustadrak `Ala as-Sahihain: Al-Bukhari and Muslim have narrated many Hadiths that show that the meaning of the word “lams” (touching) refers to actions that precede sexual intercourse. Among them are:

a) The Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “…The hands fornicate. Their fornication is the touch …”

b) The Hadith narrated by Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You might caress her.”

c) The Hadith narrated by Muslim that Ibn Mas`ud is reported to have said that a person came to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and told him that he had kissed a woman or touched her with his hand or did something like this. He inquired of him about its expiation. It was (on this occasion) that Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, revealed this Qur’anic verse that reads “Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! good deeds annul ill deeds …” (Hud: 114)

d) `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) is reported to have said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit us (his wives) and it was his habit to kiss and caress us and do actions other than sexual intercourse until he reached the one whose turn was due and he stayed there.”

e) `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is reported to have said in his commentary to Almighty Allah’s saying, “… or ye have touched women, …” that it refers to actions that precede sexual intercourse for which ablution is obligatory.

f) `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, “Kissing is to be considered among the touching acts, so perform ablution if you do.” (Al-Mustadrak, vol. 1, p. 135)

Hence, the opinion of Imam Malik and the substantial meaning of the legal verdict issued by Imam Ahmad in this respect are that the touching of a woman that nullifies ablution is that which is accompanied by desire. And this is the way they interpreted Almighty Allah’s saying, “… or ye have touched women, …”

That is why Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah regarded as weak the opinion of those who interpreted “mulamasah” or (touching) in the Qur’anic verse to mean mere touching without desire. In this regard, he says, “As for the nullification of ablution with mere touching, it does agree with the original rulings of the Shari`ah, the unanimous agreement of the Companions and the traceable traditions reported in this respect. Moreover, those who held this opinion have not based their ruling on a textual proof or an analogical deduction.”

So, if “touching” in Almighty Allah’s saying “… or ye have touched women, …” refers to touching with hands, kissing or the like, as said by Ibn `Umar and others, then it is known that when “touching” is mentioned in the Qur’an or the Sunnah it refers to that which is accompanied by desire. We would like to cite here the following verse that reads, “… and touch them not, while ye are in retreat in the mosques …” Here, it is not prohibited for the one who retreats to the mosque for devotion and worship to touch his wife without desire, but touching that is accompanied by desire is prohibited.

Also, this includes the Qur’anic verses that read “O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon …” (Al-Ahzab: 49) “It is no sin for you if ye divorce women while yet ye have not touched them …” (Al-Baqarah: 236) For if he (the husband) touches his wife without desire, then the waiting period is not required and he is not required to pay her the whole dowry, according to the agreement of all Muslim scholars.

So, whoever assumes that Almighty Allah’s saying, “… or ye have touched women, …” includes general touching without desire has exceeded far beyond the language of the Qur’an and that of people. For if “touching” in which a man and a woman are included is mentioned, it is known that it refers to touching with desire. Similarly, if “sexual intercourse” in which a man and a woman are included is mentioned, it is well known that it refers to actual sexual intercourse and nothing else. (See the collection of Fatawa Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah, vol. 21, pp. 223-224)

In another context, Ibn Taimiyah stated: The Companions had debate regarding Almighty Allah’s saying, “… or ye have touched women, …”. Ibn `Abbas, supported by a group, held the opinion that touching here refers to sexual intercourse and added: Allah is modest and generous. He euphemizes with what He wills in respect of what He wills. Ibn Taimiyah added: This opinion is believed to be the most correct.

The Arabs disagreed regarding the meaning of touching: does it refer to sexual intercourse or actions that precede it? The first group said that it refers to sexual intercourse, while the second said that it refers to actions that precede it. They sought the arbitration of Ibn `Abbas, who supported the opinion of the first group and regarded that of the second as incorrect.

By transmitting all these sayings, I mean to show that when the word “al-mass” or “al-lams” (touching) is used to mean what a man does to a woman, it does not refer to mere touching but rather refers to either sexual intercourse or actions that precede it such as kissing, hugging, and any touching of the like that is accompanied by desire and enjoyment.

However, if we investigate the sahih (sound) Hadiths that are narrated from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), we will conclude that the mere touching of hands between a man and a woman without desire or fear of temptation is not prohibited. Rather, it was done by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), whose actions are originally a source of legislation. Almighty Allah says: “Verily in the Messenger of Allah ye have a good example …” (Al-Ahzab: 21). It is narrated on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, “Any of the female slaves of Madinah could take hold of the hand of Allah’s Messenger and take him wherever she wished.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

The above mentioned Hadith is a great sign of the modesty of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Furthermore, it is reported in the two Sahihs that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit Umm Hiram bint Milhan, who would offer him meals. Umm Hiram was the wife of `Ubadah ibn As-Samit. Allah’s Messenger once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Then Allah’s Messenger slept putting his head in her lap, and afterwards woke up smiling. Umm Hiram asked, ‘What causes you to smile, O Allah’s Messenger?’ He said, ‘Some of my followers who (in a dream) were presented before me as fighters in Allah’s Cause (on board a ship) amidst this sea cause me to smile; they were as kings on thrones …’”

Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar has mentioned lessons that are deduced from this Hadith: The guest is permitted to nap in a house other than his own on condition that he is given permission and there is no fear of fitnah. According to this Hadith a woman is also permitted to serve the guest by offering him a meal, drink or the like. Furthermore, a woman is permitted to look for lice in his head, but this last was an object of controversy. Ibn `Abd Al-Barr said, “I think that Umm Hiram or her sister Umm Sulaim had breast-fed the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). So, each one of them had become his foster mother or his foster aunt. That was why he (the Prophet) used to sleep in her house and she used to deal with him as one of her mahrams.” Then he (Ibn `Abd Al-Barr) mentioned what indicates that Umm Hiram was one of the Prophet’s mahrams, as she was one of his relatives from his maternal aunts, since the mother of `Abd Al-Muttalib, his grandfather, was from Banu An-Najjar.

Others said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was infallible and could control his sexual desires even from his wives, so what about other women who were illegal for him while he was granted infallibility from doing any wrong action or obscenity? This was one of his distinctive traits.

Al-Qadi `Iyad replied that the distinctive traits of the Prophet are not proven by personal interpretations of Hadiths. As for his infallibility, it is indisputable, but the original ruling is that it is permissible to take the Prophet’s actions as a model unless there is evidence that this action is one his distinctive traits.

Furthermore, Al-Hafizh Al-Dumyati said: It is wrong to claim that Umm Hiram was one of the maternal aunts of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) either by reason of marriage or fosterage. Those who breast-fed the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are well known. None of them was from the Ansar except the mother of `Abd Al-Muttalib. She was Salma bint `Amr ibn Zaid ibn Lubaid ibn Khirash ibn `Amir ibn Ghunm ibn `Adyy ibn An-Najjar. While Umm Hiram is the daughter of Milhan ibn Khalid ibn Zaid ibn Judub ibn `Amir ibn Ghunm ibn `Adyy ibn An-Najjar. Umm Hiram has a common ancestor with Salma only in their grandfather `Amir ibn Ghunm. So, they are not among his mahrams because it is a metaphorical relationship. Al-Hafizh Al-Dumyati added: If this is proven, it is reported in the Sahih books of Hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used not to enter any house in Madinah except the house of Umm Sulaim besides those of his wives. When he was asked why, he said, “I take pity on her, as her brother (Hiram ibn Milhan) was killed in my company.”

If this Hadith has excluded Umm Sulaim, then Umm Hiram is granted the same exclusion as her because they are sisters and resided in the same house; each one of them had her own apartment beside their brother Hiram ibn Milhan. So, the case is mutual between them, as reported by Al-Hafizh ibn Hajar.

Moreover, Umm Sulaim is the mother of Anas ibn Malik, the servant of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and it was the habit of people that the master mixed with his servant and his family and did not deal with them as outsiders.

Then, Al-Dumyati said: There is no indication in the Hadith showing that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had khulwa (privacy) with Umm Hiram, as this might have happened in the presence of a son, a servant, or a husband.

Ibn Hajar replied: This is a strong likelihood, but it does not refute the original argument represented in looking for lice in the head and sleeping in her lap.

Ibn Hajar added: The best reply is that it is one of the distinctive traits of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) (See Fath Al-Bari, vol. 13, pp. 230-231).

What I conclude from the aforementioned narrations is that the mere touching is not haram. So, if there exists reasons for mixing as that between the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and Umm Hiram and Umm Sulaim and there is no fear of fitnah, then there is nothing wrong with shaking hands when there is a need for it, such as when returning from travel, the non-mahram male relative visiting his female relative, and vice versa, especially if this meeting happens after a long period.

Finally, I would like to ascertain two points:

Firstly, shaking hands between males and females who are not mahrams is only permissible when there is no desire or fear of fitnah. But if there is fear of fitnah, desire, or enjoyment, then handshaking is no doubt haram (unlawful). In contrast, if either of these two conditions (that there is no desire or fear of fitnah) is lacking between a male and any of his female mahrams, such as his aunt or foster sister or the like, then handshaking will be haram (although it is originally permissible).

Secondly, handshaking between males and females who are not mahrams should be restricted to necessary situations such as between relatives or those whose relationships are established by marriage. It is preferable not to expand the field of permissibility in order to block the means to evil and to be far away from doubt and to take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a model when there is no proof that he shook hands with a non-mahram woman. Also, it is preferable for the pious Muslim, male or female, not to stretch out his/her hand to shake the hand of anyone of the opposite sex who is not mahram. But if he/she is put in a situation that someone stretches out his/her hand to shake hands with him/her, then he/she can do that.

I have tried to clarify the detailed ruling of the issue here in order to inform those who are in the dark about it how to behave while sticking to the tenets of their religion. Also, when the detailed Islamic ruling is explained and people are fully aware of it, there will be no room for personal justifications that are not supported by legal backing.

 

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175 Comments

  1. Haq says:

    Salaam
    1) Can someone mention some commentaries on the Muwafaqaat?
    2) There is a quote long time ago from Zarakashi (I think) where it said the muqallid cannot be blamed for taking the easy opinions. So how can there be an Ijma’?

    Peace…

  2. Abu Tamim says:

    [But it is known that the proponents of this view are the minority, while the majority of Muslim jurists, including the Companions, the Successors and those who followed them, are of the opinion that the face and the hands are excluded from the prohibition. They based their opinion on Almighty Allah’s saying, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent …” (An-Nur: 31) So where is the evidence on prohibiting handshaking unless there is desire?]

    Well then does that mean we can look at each other’s faces if there is no “desire”. I’m looking at her just to “admire” her beauty, or to appreciate the creation of Allah. She’s already married, so there’s no “desire” from me.

    [In fact, I searched for a persuasive and textual proof supporting the prohibition but I did not find it. As a matter of fact, the most powerful evidence here is blocking the means to temptation, and this is no doubt acceptable when the desire is roused or there is fear of temptation because its signs exist. But when there is no fear of temptation or desire, what is the reason for prohibition?]

    According to the translation of the Ayah from Surah Nur above, the ayah says to “lower one’s gaze and be modest”. Not shaking hands is a form of being modest. For many people, there is no fear of temptation or desire when looking at someone from the opposite gender (i.e. not lowering one’s gaze), however we are commanded to lower our gaze, and to be modest. The two can be taken as necessities for one another. Lowering one’s gaze is a form of being modest.

    Right now in the year 2008, shaking hands is a means of introducing/greeting someone new. In our (American) society, it is not taken as an act that provokes desire between opposite genders. At the same, a method of “introduction” between opposite genders that is becoming fairly common now in our society is the “parallel kiss and hug”, similar to the way elder gentlemen greet each other in the Middle East. The “kiss and hug” is also not taken as a means of provoking desire between opposite genders. In a few years, the “kiss and hug” will become more and more common (it was quite uncommon in the 90’s), and over time it will come become the norm of greeting each other (just as shaking hands is today). Will we then allow that method as a means of introduction to non-Muslims of the opposite gender who “extend their hand first”?
    Allah has given us the best way of life with Islam. Who knows the Accord better than Honda, and who knows the creation better than the creator. Allah has given us the Qur’an and the Sunnah as a way of life that is befitting to us until the end of time. As American Muslims none of us were raised in an “Islamic Culture”, it’s up to us to uplift the culture of Islam in a non-Muslim society.

    • yahya says:

      Brother Abu Tamim, assalam o alaikum, fully agreed with you. It is a matter of common sense that we can not deside that we have desire or not. Order is order,there is misunderstanding of Quran and Sunnah in the above article. Thanks

      • Hussam says:

        Agreed, The woman is a temptation to a man, and man a temptation to a woman.

        I can stop desiring them when I can learn not to breath.

        “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘If one of you were to be struck in the head with an iron needle, it would be better for him than if he were to touch a woman he is not allowed to.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5045).

  3. Abu Abdullah says:

    salam alaikum br. Suhaib,

    May Allah make our hearts firm upon His Path,

    I think that the context has been confused, perhaps because you entered the discussion after it began or because my replies were addressing 2 people rather than just 1

    To be clear – I am NOT questioning juryan-al-amal and whether it is valid or not – as I already mentioned
    “I would like to make it clear my central concern on this particular point is not over debating the relevant strength of the opinion, it has become obvious that at a minimum it is a stated part of the later Maliki tradition which was inferred from earlier Maliki thought.”

    So this is not the issue.

    Rather the issue in the context of this thread is the application – in this case the idea that for example shaking the hands of the woman may be considered a marjooh opinion by some, but can be given as a fatwa ahead of the raajeh. (This came about as a result of discussion with AH and is not part of Dr. Qaradawi’s argument (h) who considers this to be the raajeh in the first place)

    Another example, more pertinent because we know the justification for the fatwa and it is a general fatwa – mortgages – interest is haraam – but can give a rule that would allow someone to deal with this type of interest even though the hanafi opinion used as justification (which is misrepresented in this case anyway) is marjooh

    So when you state
    “Thus, are you contending that one who is qualified does not have the right to issue a fatwa based on the Maslaha that is presented before him and take the Marjoohd opinion? ”

    My answer is – what do you mean by maslaha here? Any maslaha, or a specific category of Maslaha? Does it conform to the conditions of juryan al-amal as mentioned by banani and others? If so of course they have the right if they have adopted and are following this methodology, otherwise…

    In other words – are these fatwas being given based upon a real daroora, or a real haaja ‘aama that takes the same level with certain conditions (as referred to by Sh. Bin Bayyeh’s work on it)

    So my question to you would be – are you contending that this is the case for shaking the hand of a woman (if one considers the opinion to be marjooh and forbiddence to be the raajeh), or the case of taking mortgages?

    Are there real daroora issues or what takes their level as understood by the mathahib in our reality today which justify these positions?

    Will at least some people face life and death (daroora), or the society collapse (haaja ‘aama) if muslims do not shake the hands of the opposite sex, or take mortgages?

    So this is why I mentioned that this way of thinking that we can adopt any opinion on the basis that we find it most easy for our life today (even if they are marjooh opinions) would be in fact a misapplication of the principles we were looking at, rather than only applying the principles when there is a real daroora or what takes its level.

    And by mispplication the practice of the deen may be weakened etc.

    Which is why I quoted Shatabi earlier since he says the same thing making a very clear warning -
    وربما استجاز هذا بعضهم فى مواطن يدعى فيها الضرورة وإلجاء الحاجة بناء على أن الضرورات تبيح المحظورات فيأخذ عند ذلك بما يوافق الغرض حتى إذا نزلت المسألة على حالة لا ضرورة فيها ولا حاجة إلى الأخذ بالقول المرجوح أو الخارج عن المذهب أخذ فيها بالقول المذهبي أو الراجح فى المذهب فهذا أيضا من ذلك الطراز المتقدم فإن حاصله الأخذ بما يوافق الهوى الحاضر ومحال الضرورات معلومة من الشريعة فإن كانت هذه المسألة منها فصاحب المذهب قد تكفل ببيانها أخذا عن صاحب الشرع فلا حاجة إلى الانتقال عنها وإن لم تكن منها فزعم الزاعم أنها منها خطأ فاحش ودعوى غير مقبولة
    وقد وقع فى نوازل ابن رشد من هذا مسألة نكاح المتعة ويذكر عن الإمام المأزري أنه سئل ما تقول فيما اضطر الناس إليه في هذا الزمان والضرورات تبيح المحظورات من معاملة فقراء أهل البدو فى سنى الجدب إذ يحتاجون إلى الطعام فيشترونه بالدين إلى الحصاد أو الجذاذ فإذا حل الأجل قالوا لغرمائهم ما عندنا إلا الطعام فربما صدقوا فى ذلك فيضطر أرباب الديون إلى أخذه منهم خوفا أن يذهب حقهم فى أيديهم بأكل أو غيره لفقرهم ولاضطرار من كان من أرباب الديون حضريا إلى الرجوع إلى حاضرته ولا حكام بالبادية أيضا مع ما فى المذهب فى ذلك من الرخصة إن لم يكن هنالك شرط ولا عادة وإباحة كثير من فقهاء الأمصار لذلك وغيره من بيوع الآجال خلافا للقول بالذرائع فأجاب إن أردت بما أشرت إليه إباحة أخذ طعام عن ثمن طعام هو جنس مخالف لما اقتضى فهذا ممنوع فى المذهب ولا رخصة فيه عند أهل المذهب كما توهمت قال ولست ممن يحمل الناس على غير المعروف المشهور من مذهب مالك وأصحابه لأن الورع قل بل كاد يعدم والتحفظ على الديانات كذلك وكثرت الشهوات وكثر من يدعي العلم ويتجاسر على الفتوى فيه فلو فتح لهم باب فى مخالفة المذهب لاتسع الخرق على الراقع وهتكوا حجاب هيبة المذهب وهذا من المفسدات التى لا خفاء بها ولكن إذا لم يقدر على أخذ الثمن إلا أن يأخذ طعاما فليأخذه منهم من يبيعه على ملك منفذه إلى الحاضرة ويقبض البائع الثمن ويفعل ذلك بإشهاد من غير تحيل على إظهار ما يجوز فانظر كيف لم يستجز وهو المتفق على إمامته الفتوى بغير مشهور المذهب ولا بغير ما يعرف منه بناء على قاعدة مصلحية ضرورية إذ قل الورع والديانة من كثير ممن ينتصب لبث العلم والفتوى كما تقدم تمثيله فلو فتح لهم هذا الباب لانحلت عرى المذهب بل جميع المذاهب لأن ما وجب للشيء وجب لمثله وظهر أن تلك الضرورة التى ادعيت فى السؤال ليست بضرورة

    I hope that clarifies any misunderstandings on your part vis a vis my position, my apologies again for any lack of clarity or diversions on my part

    On another side issue -

    your point “Our discussion has never been about a Muqalid’s right to do so as there is a ‘Ijma on what is stated above. ” is I believe inaccurate unless I have misunderstood your intent. I think that scholars like Ibn al-humaam and – closer to home for you – Qurafi are on the opinion that they have the right to do so. This issue of following the rukhus, like the issue of talfeeq – is that the majority of the ulama consider it wrong but there are some who permitted both, and this permission became more widespread over time. If one listens to some of the shuyukh you have mentioned in your own posts you can see that quite easily.

    As for why I quoted Shatabi – this was simply because he had been mentioned by others earlier, and is often misrepresented, so I wanted to show that actually he is not the way commonly portrayed in secondary sources. He does not permit these things as mentioned above, and is firmly on the jamhoor position.

    Wa Allahu A’lam

    May Allah Bless your efforts,

    Wasalam

    Abu Abdullah

  4. Suhaib Webb says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    Moving, missed a flight, and currently in France waiting for another.

    Indeed, I mistakenly wrote ‘Ijm’a and stand corrected as there is only a Jamhour on the issue of talfiq.

    Abu Abdullah:

    It seem that we are swimming in circles here and at times it is not clear as to what you are arguing for. However, I was shown another post of your on the Maqasid site and it seems that your primary issue is related to the methodology of Dr. Yusuf, Dr. Bin Bayyah and, giver our say, around 90 other scholars that work with them. My suggestion is to talk to them. This is what I did.

    Maslaha:

    I think we can agree that we are all on the same page and there is not need to assume otherwise. It is even more important to have such good assumptions about the scholars. Sh. Yusuf constantly discusses this issue as well as Sh. Raysouni and I have not heard them go outside of the normal definition given by the scholars of Usol. I must be honest that, at times, your tone is condescending in nature. Relax akhi, and hold the possibility that you might be wrong. There is not need to talk to each other like teachers and as though one is sitting on the mimbar and the other is listening. Again, I challenge you to entertain the idea that you might not know. It is not easy, and as Sh. al-Islam Ibn Qayyim mentioned, on of the hardest things on the soul. In no way am I saying you are not a humble pious person, but I fell, at times, that your tone is absolute and that is why I tried to disengage from this discussion.

    Your question:

    I was once with Sh. Dido and someone brought him a book written against the Riba fatwa. He looked at it, smiled, looked through it and put it down. He was then hounded by a large group of brothers and he sat with them and said, “You have the right to disagree with the fatwa, but the methodology is correct.” For that reason, and others, I’ve meet many of the scholars who supported that fatwa, and based on the research that you’ve provided, I fail to see the correctness in your argument(s) and feel very confident with the ruling given by over 30 scholars on that issue. While I respect your contentions, I fail to agree with them.

    SDW

  5. Abu Abdullah says:

    I pray that you have completed your travels successfully,

    Jzk for your advice akhi, most definately no-one is above reproach, and I need it more than most – please again forgive me and overlook any of my shortcomings in this respect for my sake, especially given the nature of the net and the difficulty of communication.

    To restate – “I pray that no-one is at all offended by anything written here, and that we love each other since we are all inshahAllah seeking the same goals.”

    The most important for us is that someone seeks to please Allah and follow His Deen in the best way possible, and adopts that which he believes is the most correct way based upon the buraheen in front of them according to their level.

    And no doubt we can agree to disagree, and continue to love each other since that which binds us together is foremost.

    Fee Amanillah

    Wasalam
    Abu Abdullah

  6. Um Hana says:

    Bismillah,

    Speaking from just a practical, street level stance, common sense, and personal experience:

    All I can say on this issue, is that some brothers have become in the habit of shaking hands, staring, getting close to women, with the attitude that since they don’t find them attractive, it’s ok to do.

    It becomes a kind of game – well, let me drink the sister in with my eyes, ascertain her age, beauty level, and my attraction to her, and then I’ll decide if I can go ahead and shake her hand, get close to her, stare at her, talk sweetly and softly to her – because he (or Shaytan) has convinced him that he can “handle it”.

    (This is the old addiction snare: “Just one more – I can handle it” Yeah, right!)

    It even reaches a level where you feel the brother gets insulted that he should lower his gaze, not shake hands, or what have you, because he insists within himself that you are not hot, so I can now do what I want!

    As a muslimah, I don’t like the thought that men are checking me out to decide whether or not they are attracted to me and basing their behavior on what they decide.

    This is the oldest trick in the book. Because it may not be the first glance. It might be the 100th glance. And it might not be the first touch. It might be the 3rd, 30th or 300th.

    It is not fair to women (or men). Men are excited visually. Women become close to men through touch and proximity. You might not be attracted to her initially, but you might be building up a sense of closeness and warm fuzzy feelings in her. Yet you have no intention to pursue her in a halal way? That is totally unfair. She might be guessing you really like her and about to ask for her wali’s number, when you have decided she is not attractive? Totally unfair.

    Or, she starts to have a feeling, modulates her behavior based on that (giggling, looking at you with doe eyes, softly speech), and that “unattractive” woman suddenly is looking and soundly very good.

    This is playing with the hearts of Muslim women – maybe even married women? Brothers – DO NOT GO THERE.

    By the way, even old, ugly, fat men and women get into trouble. It is not only the beautiful young people who fall into sin.

    Most men are not having relations with Angelina Jolie. They are with normal, average, nice looking women whom they might not have been instantly mesmerized with, but later got attracted to with a glance, a laugh, a body movement, etc. that probably surprised them. Most people fall at the end of the day by darkened lights and a smile.

    Get real.

    Talk to the thousands upon thousands of home-wrecking adulterous relationships happening in workplaces all over america – when Sally started looking awfully good to Tom after 2 years working side by side together every day, “team-building” exercises, and traveling to a couple of conferences together.

    Lowering gaze, not touching, distance, speaking directly not softly/seductively, not beautifying in public, etc. are all on a continuum. It is a non-aggression pact between the sexes so when we mess with these little things we are liable to create broken hearts, misunderstanding, sins, aggression, hatred, suspicions, hard-heartedness, etc.

    You can talk fiqh til the cows come home on this one. But to me it is a no-brainer. You men want to play, you gotta to pay. Otherwise, stay away!

    • Um Hana, your common sense argument affected me more than all the fiqh that came before. You are absolutely right. And by the way, you have a way with words and if you’re not a writer you should be.

    • Muhammed-Ali says:

      As-Salamu Alaykum

      “You can talk fiqh til the cows come home on this one. But to me it is a no-brainer.”

      “You men want to play,
      you gotta to pay.
      Otherwise, stay away!”

      thank you sister, i had a hard week was tested verry hard…. and al-hamdu lillah you managed it to let me laugh and lighten my heart a bit from the bourdens .
      I changed the last sentence so it looks more like poetry, subhanallah :D

      I agree with your view but still have respect for the fiqh discussion and the presented position, may Allah (c.c.) protect us all from touching the haram and from hurting the feelings of the opposite gender!

      As-Salamu alaykum

    • Nosherwan Huma says:

      Where’s the like button?!?!

    • Hraz says:

      Thank you Um Hana for your lively comment. I thought it might also be useful to point out to the readers that the article doesn’t justify the actions of the brothers that you mention (the ones that check to see if they will get into fitna or not and behave accordingly). And that good moral conduct and honesty of behavior and manners should prevent guys from behaving this way without a specific ruling on this behavior (as this falls under general misconduct which is against Islamic akhlaaq).

      I think the argument the article is making is that it is not necessarily an outright sin if someone is put in situations and does shake hands – and personally I think it is important to make this distinction as some people are in favor of a total ban on shaking hands even if infrequent and even if it could cause social embarrassment to the other party.

      The final note in the article kind of sums it up “Secondly, handshaking between males and females who are not mahrams should be restricted to necessary situations such as between relatives or those whose relationships are established by marriage. It is preferable not to expand the field of permissibility in order to block the means to evil and to be far away from doubt and to take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a model when there is no proof that he shook hands with a non-mahram woman. Also, it is preferable for the pious Muslim, male or female, not to stretch out his/her hand to shake the hand of anyone of the opposite sex who is not mahram. But if he/she is put in a situation that someone stretches out his/her hand to shake hands with him/her, then he/she can do that.”

  7. Kadijatu says:

    mashAllah, well said Um Hana. May Allah guide us all. Ameen.

  8. Kadijatu says:

    salam,

    quick ques, was your comment referring to interactions with muslim OR non muslim women? or was it both depending on the circumstances?

  9. Um Hana says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Khadijatu, There might be a meaningful distinction in terms of a ruling whether it is with non-muslim or muslim women. And whether the woman is initiating the hand shake or not. etc. I don’t know.

    What I do know, is that in reality, on the ground, I don’t see that brothers necessarily can maintain a separate set of behaviors outside of masjid and within, or separate behaviors with non-muslim women and muslim women.

    In the end, the rulings get generalized and applied beyond their theoretical limitations, conditions, etc. Shaking hands phenomenon is spreading into interactions between Muslim men and Muslim women. And by the way, that includes married and unmarried.

    Men who shake hands with women in their workplace, hang out with them, are used to conversing with their female colleagues alone, look at them directly, etc. bring those behaviors into their interactions with Muslim females in the workplace, masjid, fundraisers, aqeeqahs, islamic classes, walimas, and all the other occasions when muslim men and women interact.

    I used to be concerned about non-muslim men shaking my hand. Over a year ago, I started noticing Muslim men – including an imam – reaching out to shake Muslim women’s hands. (My solution is to try to wear gloves as much as I can, but you know I’m afraid to say I think the arm around waist and “bear hugs” are coming).

    I think it’s also fair to ask shouldn’t non-muslim women be protected and respected too? Just because they learned something doesn’t mean that it is good for them. Muslim men can definitely be giving them miscues or getting into dangerous situations with them – don’t they deserve better than that?

    From being raised here, being a non-muslim before – I know that some Muslim men, thinking they are being “polite” and “friendly” and “Americanized” definitely give cues that they are interested. They give the cues that non-muslim american men would give if they wanted a relationship.

    For example, I see muslim men – even religious ones who are prominent in the community – routinely talking to women for lengthy periods of time, complimenting them, giving out their phone numbers, sugary-sweet talking on the phone with women any hour of the day, giving them rides. Most women would take this as a come-on.

    The women would either act on it, wait for the man to act on it, or just think the man is a sleazeball. In most of those scenarios, unless the man and woman are prepared to marry, the end is not good.

    But this is done just to fit in supposedly and they THINK that they are fitting into the cultural pattern, not knowing how non-muslim men and women do their particular dance and give their partcular signals.

    So once you enter into the cultural norms and adapt Islamic manners to conform to the new cultural setting – then you must really know what you are talking about from deep within that culture. Because your new “adjustment” will just raise a whole new bunch of cultural issues that need conforming to.

    Like, how long a man holds your hand on the handshake can indicate interest. I’m talking lingering milliseconds. Too long and you’re a potential stalker. Are we going to have a fiqh discussion on how long to hold the woman’s hand?

    How are you going to regulate a man’s skin temperature and softness so that when a woman feels it she can’t sense your character, masculinity, or an interest that you have but aren’t even aware of yourself? Can fiqh handle that one? The fact is, you can keep getting deeper and deeper in a culture and human behaviors and never stop. You end of being neck deep in it.

    Don’t we have something better than that in the first place? If we stick to our norms of male-female interactions based on quran and sunnah, we will insha’Allah be able to have men and women interacting in safe, healthy ways that protect individual psyche, emotion, heart, as well as social relationships, families.

    It is hard enough implementing what we have without adding new layers of ambiguity and non-standardization to it.

    • Sister, after reading your second answer I’d like to invite you to visit my website and answer some of the questions presented there. It’s not a fiqh site, rather it was created to dispense common-sense advice to Muslim brothers and sisters who need help with marriage and family problems. Your style of writing and your common sense attitude would fit very well Insha’Allah.

  10. Idrees says:

    AS,

    I have not found a definitive answer regarding this after scouring the web. I apologize if this seems silly or trivially obvious, but is it haram to hug ones cousins? If one did so, would that invalidate a fast, for example?

    Thanks.

    Salam aleikum

  11. mulsimah says:

    salaam

    I just wanted to say that the only time a hand is extended its usually from a nonmuslim not a muslim right?
    does this change things//?

    one of the posts above made a good point.. what if you have been shaking hands and all of a sudden a person you know when touch will cause fitna. so what explanation can you give then?
    there just seems to be too many complications

    I was thinking about how things have change. Like yusuf islam never used to shake hands with women and now he does and same with music and nonmuslims c this because they write ‘he didnt before and now he does’

    why are things changed? is it ok to reinterpret? isnt that what irshad manji wants?

  12. mulsimah says:

    and if its ok then why are we condenming her?

  13. Brent says:

    Barakullaahu feekum

  14. Muslimah says:

    Responding to the question, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, states the following:

    Women used to attend the jama`ah or congregational Prayers and the Friday Prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to urge them to stand in the last rows behind men.

    At the beginning, men and women used to enter through the same door. When this caused overcrowding on entrances and exits, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him, said: “(It would be better) if this door is left for women.” Upon saying so, the men made that door for women, and it became known up until today as “The Women’s Door”.

    Moreover, women, at the time of the Prophet, used to attend the Friday Prayer; they used to perform the Prayer regularly and listen to the khutbah to the extent that one of them could recite Surat Qaf as she heard the Prophet recite it several times in the Friday khutbah. Women also used to attend the `Eid Prayers and participate in that big Islamic festival that included the old and the young, men as well as women, out in the open, all worshipping Allah.

    Umm `Attiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of the `Eid and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Moreover, women used to attend religious sermons with men at the Prophet’s house and they used to inquire about religious matters that many women nowadays would find embarrassing to ask about. For instance, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) praised the women of Al-Ansar for trying to understand their religion without being held back by bashfulness for they used to ask about such matters as major ritual impurity, wet dream, purificatory bath, menstruation, chronic vaginal discharge, etc.

    And when women found that men’s questions were taking most of the Prophet’s time, they plainly requested the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to make a special day for women. So the Prophet dedicated a day for them when he used to give them lessons and sermons. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)

    Shedding more light on the issue, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:

    The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explicitly told men not to exclude women from going to the Mosque. It is reported that the wife of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to attend the congregational Prayer in the Mosque at Fajr and `Ishaa’ Prayers. It was said to her, “Why do you leave home, you know that `Umar does not like that and he feels ashamed (that you leave home at that time)?” She said, “So what prevents him from stopping Me?” The person said, “It is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ‘Do not prevent the she-servants of Allah from Allah’s Mosques.’” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    It is not obligatory for women to attend the jama`ah or congregational Prayers at the Mosque, because they have other obligations as regards their home and children. However, if they have time and feel safe to attend the Mosque, in proper Islamic dress, then they should not be stopped.

    We should rather make our Mosques in such a way that men and women both have equal chance to pray there observing the rules of Prayers.

    Some people, in voicing objection against women going to the Mosque, rely on what `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said in this regard. She is quoted to have said, sometime after the Prophet’s death: “If the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have seen what the women do now, he would have stopped them from coming to Mosques.”

    But the great scholar of Hadith Ibn Hajar states: “This statement does not say very clearly that `A’ishah gave the Fatwa that women are forbidden to come to Mosques.” (Fath Al-Bari, p. 928).

    It is not known that any Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or a prominent jurist forbade women from attending the prayers in the Mosque. The custom of preventing women from attending the Mosques started later in times. This unfortunately has negative impact on many of our sisters, drawing them backward and making them ignorant of their faith.

    Women in the West go everywhere. They are in the markets, in malls, in restaurants, and in offices. It is ironic that some men allow them to go to all the places of temptation, but they want to stop them from coming to the places where they can pray to their Lord and learn about their faith.

  15. Maiwand says:

    Asalamu alaykum.

    Can you please clarify one issue please Sheikh.
    You mentioned that we can shake hands as long as there is no fear of temptation. But, what if the temptation is formed after shaking hands, even though prior there was no feeling. So to protect our myself, should I not refuse at first instance. I would be grateful if you can clarify this.
    Jazakallah khair

  16. Maiwand says:

    Can you also please clarify the following hadith:

    Ahmad narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Umaymah bint Raqeeqah that she said: “I came to the Messenger of Allaah (S) with other women to give the oath of allegiance to him, and he accepted our pledge to abide by what is in the Qur’aan… We said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will you not shake hands with us?’ He said, ‘I do not shake hands with women.

  17. Zubair Khan says:

    I don't know the authenticity of that hadith or anything, but Sh. Qaradawi addresses it in the article:

    “Some scholars based their ruling on the action of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on the day of the Conquest of Makkah. When he wanted to take the pledge of women he said to them, “Go, for you have given your oath of allegiance.” But it is known that the Prophet’s leaving a matter does not necessarily indicate its prohibition, as he may leave it because it is haram (forbidden), makruh (reprehensible), or because it is not preferable. He may also leave it just because he is not inclined to it. An example of this last is the Prophet’s refraining from eating the meat of the lizard although it is permissible. Then, the Prophet’s refraining from shaking hands with women (other than his wives) is not evidence of the prohibition, and there should be other evidence to support the opinion of those who make shaking hands absolutely prohibited.”

  18. Muhammad ibn Uthman says:

    a dilema – imagine I encounter 2 non muslim women

    one is fat and ugly

    the other young and pretty

    who do i shake hands with if i find the fat and ugly one attractive?

  19. AbdulBaasit M. Khan says:

    Nice article! And some pretty good arguments & rebuttals.

    However ~ at the same time the reader [and, in general, anyone who is studying this topic] ~ must be aware of the fact that Az-Zayla`ee, Ibn Nujaym Al-Hanafi, Muhammad Ibn Ahmad `Ulaysh, An-Nawawi (and the Shaafi`ees), Imaam Al-Hasani Ash-Shaafi’ee, Al-`Iraaqi, Ibn Muflih, Imaam Ahmad, Ibn Taymiyyah (etc) have all expressed the fact that this is totally Impermissible (حرام).

    And from the contemporary (or recent) Scholars, Shaykh Ahmad Al-Bannaa (father of Imaam Hasan Al-Bannaa), Shaykh Muhammad Sultaan Al-Ma`soomi Al-Khajnadi, Al-`Allaamah Ibn Baaz, the Standing Committee for Academic Research & Issuing Fatwas (al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah), Shaykh Dr. Bakr Abu Zayd, Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen, Shaykh Dr. Ibn Jibreen, Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan, the Muhaddith of the era Al-Albaani, the renowned scholar – Dr. Muhammad Sa`eed Ramadaan Al-Bouti, Al-`Allaamah Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shanqeeti, Muhammad Ibn `Ali As-Saabooni, Muhammad Ismaa’eel Al-Muqaddam (a well-known Shaykh from Egypt), `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Yusuf Mangera [from qa.sunnipath.com] … and on & on … have ALL expressed their view that this is absolutely IMPERMISSIBLE.

    It is only Dr. Qaradawi and a maybe 1 other, who issued this Fatwaa that handshaking with non-Mahrams is ‘permissible’.

  20. AbdulBaasit M. Khan says:

    I loved Sh. Qaradawi’s article on this issue … and he he refuted every single Hadeeth on this issue (about لأن يطعن أحدكم “For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than touch…”), and how he even attempted to bring doubt as to whether the Prophet Muhammad touched the hand of a non-Mahram woman or not.

    + It’s also funny that he quoted the verse where Allah says: “Verily in the Messenger of Allah you all have a good example …” (Al-Ahzab: 21)

    - and he used that to say that the Prophet held hands with women, so We should too! – whereas the Opposite is the truth!! * I wonder how this authentic Hadeeth of the Prophet escaped him… the Prophet said: إني لا أصافح النسآء “I do NOT shake hands with women.” i.e. non-Mahram women

    Clear-cut. + And, FYI, the hadeeth is recorded by An-Nasaa’ee in Al-Bay`ah (no. 4110), and by Ibn Maajah in Al-Jihaad (no. 2865), and by Imaam Ahmad in Baaqi Musnad Al-Ansaar (no. 25765). It was verified to be SAHEEH (authentic) by Al-Haafizh Ibn Katheer in his “Tafseer al-Quraan”, `Abdul-Haqq Al-Ishbeeli, Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalaani, Al-Albaani and Al-Waadi`ee who said that this hadeeth على شرط الشيخين “meets the criteria of the 2 Shaykhs (Bukhari & Muslim)”.

    And what he said is correct ~ because the great Haafizh, Ad-Daaraqutni said the exact same thing in his الإلزامات والتتبع (Al-Ilzaamaat wat-Tatabbu`), no. 114. After citing this hadeeth, he said: يلزمهما إخراجه

    So there is no difference of opinion about the ‘saheeh-ness’ of this statement of the Prophet. * Why did the Shaykh miss this vital Hadeeth on this topic?

    And this is no place to go into the Hadeeth of the Prophet (واليد زناها اللمس), the Zinaa of the hand is touching. And the Zinaa of the eye is looking, etc. * As An-Nawawi clearly said: “It is PERMISSIBLE for a man to “look” at a non-Mahram woman when he intends to marry her, or during buying/selling and so on, yet it is Not permissible to touch her in any of these cases!” + كل من حرم النظر إليه حرم مس

  21. Suhaib Webb says:

    Abd al-Basit:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    While your points regarding the ideas of Sh. al-Qaradawi are admirable, your method of critique is not. Let us be easy in addressing the scholars and remember our humble states. Your style brings to mind the statement, “We are in more need of a little adab, then a lot of knowledge.”

    Imam al-Shafi noted that one could memorize the Qur’an, but never know all of the Sunna. It is common for scholars, as noted by Ibn Taymiyyah and al-Dehlawi, to miss a hadith or for it to slip their minds. I have never seen the scholars, or people of Allah, react in the fashion displayed by yourself. Immaturity and sticking out one’s chest simply diminish the important points you made above. Consider taking a moment to pause, think about yourself and gain some humility and adab when addressing such issues. It will go along way in helping other listen to you and gain benefit from your knowledge.

    Suhaib

  22. AbdulBaasit M. Khan says:

    But yaa Ustaadh – I am not a scholar & I really don’t think that I am from the people of Allah. I’m just an average Muslim… I am definitely in need of more adab as well as knowledge and much more!

    But I was just sooo surprised and shocked and taken-aback… because this is not like a “Lecture” where one could forget something. That is only human, I know. * But when issuing a Legal Verdict (فتوى), from what I know, one has to be very careful and extremely thorough in his examination of all of the evidences on a particular topic.

    And the Hadeeth إني لا أصافح النساء is essential on this subject. And I’ve seen all the other Scholars – Ibn Baaz, etc. – cite this hadeeth when issuing Fataawaa on this issue. * So when Al-Qaradaawi (حفظه الله عز وجل وجزاه خير الجزاء) casts tries to cast doubt in the reader’s mind as to whether or not the Prophet shook hands with women — by citing those weak ahaadeeth & the hadeeth of Umm ‘Atiyyah (which does not even mention “the shaking of hands”) & and another hadeeth which no scholar of the past ever interpreted in the way he interpreted it — and he does not quote this Umdah Hadeeth إني لا أصافح النساء … I was (at that moment) just so dumfounded. And I reacted inappropriately, without adab, as you said.

  23. Sharafe says:

    Abdulbaasit,

    That hadeeth you mentioned was addressed in the fatwa:

    “In fact, I searched for a persuasive and textual proof supporting the prohibition but I did not find it…it is known that the Prophet’s leaving a matter does not necessarily indicate its prohibition, as he may leave it because it is haram (forbidden), makruh (reprehensible), or because it is not preferable. He may also leave it just because he is not inclined to it. An example of this last is the Prophet’s refraining from eating the meat of the lizard although it is permissible. Then, the Prophet’s refraining from shaking hands with women (other than his wives) is not evidence of the prohibition, and there should be other evidence to support the opinion of those who make shaking hands absolutely prohibited.”

    May Allah help us work together in the areas we agree upon, and excuse each others for the areas we disagree upon.

  24. K says:

    It is so utterly frustrating to hear non-muslims respond to a rejection of their hand with:

    ‘well, I have lots of muslims friends and they all shake hands with men’.

    ‘well, I have muslims friends and they don’t mind coming to events, which have alcohol present’.

  25. Rafael says:

    As salam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

    I haven’t read all the comments so forgive me if my contribution is not particularly insightful. The article raised some interesting points. I do not know if anyone mentioned the similar predicament among Jews on this very issue. My one major bafflement though was the idea that shaking a distant family member’s hand would ever be considered necessary, but perhaps there was a point concealed in that. This is one reason I find Sh. bin Bayyah’s statement on the matter to be more lucid in suggesting that touching hands has a cultural context that might be sought to avoid harm (in this case emotional). I recall the response of a colleague of mine to my not wanting her to hug me was to cry.

    As regards the issue of the Christian greeting of “kissing” cheeks, in reality it better described as touching cheek-to-cheek, often place a hand on the other’s shoulder. Although it seems quite universal in [traditional] Muslim cultures and people of dignity to avoid such (if you pardon the pun) “cheekiness”, it seems that this might in some sense be less egregious than shaking hands based on there being an absence of grasping, and in relation to what has been written regarding the apparent silence of the [Maliki] ulema in regards to a practice among the Berbers of slapping hands as a greeting between genders. Thoughts?

  26. Amatullah says:

    Asalaamu alaykum warahmatallahi wabarakatu,

    Its common in non muslim societies for people to shake hands with the opposite sex and its an issue thats been playing on my mind a lot recently and i’ve even had nightmares where a man has tried to shake my hand! lol. After reading the different opinions by different scholars, i’m still not sure what i would do if a situation arises where a man puts out his hand for me to shake. i’m applying to university soon inshAllah and i’ve heard of how one girl didnt shake hands during the interview, and the man must have got offended or something and the rest of the interview went really badly. I dont want to disobey Allah, but i still have some worry that if I refuse to shake hands with a man, it will cause many problems. I’m still in two minds about this and I hope Allah helps me. May Allah make it easier for all of us. Ameen

    • Naseeha says:

      Sister Amatullah, KNOW that it is only Allah alone who can benefit or harm you, not the man who is interviewing you nor anyone else! Keeping that in mind, making decisions becomes easier.

      Contemplate on the following statements of the Prophet salalalhu alyhi wasallam and things will be clear to you inshaAllah!

      According to Wabisah bin Ma’bad, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:

      I came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and he said: “You have come to ask about righteousness ?” ” Yes,” I answered. He said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so.”

      “Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better than it.”

      “Leave that about which you are in doubt for that about which you are in no doubt.”

      Ibn ‘Abbas said: I was behind the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) one day and he said: “O boy, I shall teach you some words. Be mindful Allah and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. If you ask then ask of Allah, and if you seek help then seek help from Allah. Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you in some way, they would not benefit you except in something that Allah has decreed for you, and if they were to gather together to harm you in some way, they would not harm you except in something that Allah has decreed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

  27. Malikha Abdullahwali says:

    Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim
    As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu

    After reading the above article. I would like to comment upon a recent world event involving the handshaking between Muslim men and non-mahram women. President Barack Obama and his wife visited Jarkarta, Indonesia this past week and one of the Ministers is currently under fire for shaking the hand of Michele Obama, President Obama’s wife. Now I have not heard anything other than a negative outcry of a mistake that anyone of us could have made. As a Muslim, I don’t believe for one iota of a moment that that brother had any ulterior motives other than just extending his hand to the people in the line that was passing before him. Let us stop the hypocrisy and ask Allah subhana wa Taala to forgive and pardon us for all the gheeba that is spreading about this incident and to ask Him to forgive our dear brother for his mistake. I don’t hear anyone speaking about the gross incidence of homosexuality that is destroying the moral fabric of the Middle East regions. I don’t hear anyone talking about the nakedness of the so called Muslimah’s of today ). So what is this???!!! Are we ready to tar and feather this brother for a mistake that anyone of us could have made? Have we conveniently forgotten the prostitute that saved the thirsty dog from death by Allah??? Her reputation was the lowest in the eyes of the people but her heart was filled with the Rahma of Allah subhana wa Taala. This is a nasty reminder of how the people were ready to accuse Aisha, Mother of the Believers, of an act that they interpreted as immoral when she was escorted by a non-mahram brother after looking for a piece of jewelry that fell from her. Shame on us!!! Muslims, some of us, are too quick to judge…be careful!!! We must fear the wrath of Allah and forgive our brother for his error. Everything that you have stated above is as near to the truth as the evidence allows. Now it is our obligation to show mercy to our brother and make duaa for his pardon from our Rabb.

    • Ayesha says:

      Assalamulalykum,
      Mashallah Very well said.. !

    • Farah says:

      Just wanted to say thank you for saying this. Reading all the discussion above has been very disheartening and except for our dear Imam Webb’s efforts to teach adab by moderation…the majority is full of self-righteous opinion wrangling it seems. Forgive me if that was harsh, but as you said, we need to be lead by ‘Rahma’ not by finger-pointing.
      Allah teach us all

    • Syed says:

      prostitute that saved the thirsty dog from death by Allah…she was a believer and was saved for her belief+action.

  28. Ahmet Er says:

    Salam Alaikum,

    I am deeply concerned with this attitude of re-questioning established practices in our religion.

    Woman and Men are not allowed to shake hands, or touch each other. We know that in specific circumstances, this practice is permissible. Whoever thinks that s/he is in such a situation can explain his/her case and ask for a fatwa.

    It is hardly possible to say that we (our Ummah) would benefit from this post above (written either by Sh.Qardawi or anyone else). It could easily be misunderstood by many, who are not in a position to make a judgment (including myself).
    WS

  29. Mohamed Ali says:

    Bismillah,

    my comment on this issue of shaking hands with a non-Mahram:

    it is all about the intention of the non-Mahram. the woman who gets a handshake with a bad intention from the non-Mahram.. she would not have done a sin…everyone is responsible for his own deeds. and a good muslima would not go further..and a handshake is not like staring to someone with a bad gaze..so it is nothing bad actually. shaking hands is part of a greeting – part of mutual respect..it is the opener for peace. refusing it – would be something like misrepresenting the religion. maybe some muslim women see the bad side – but they do forget about the good side. it could be that ones intention is bad while shaking hands – but a greeting (salam) puts love in our hearts..and his intention gets in conflict with the love the woman shows him. he could change his intention actually..and it would lead to the good insha’allah.

    i am no fiq scholar.. i do not deserve writing a word on this homepage.. but i hope that my view of this issue is respected.

    and i love Brother Suhaib Webb very much and i am proud on him- masha’allah May Allah protect him from the evil eyes. ameen.

    wa salam

  30. Iyad says:

    As-salamu aleikum,

    I find this fatwa more strong:

    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/21183/shaking%20hands

    Because shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (may Allah protect him) quotes many ahaadeth who are weak, and you will realise that when you read the fatwa above.

  31. nadzri says:

    Assalamualaikum,
    I don’t agree with you brother.
    We are from ahli sunnah wal jamaah and our faith based on 4 which are al-quran, sunnah, ijma’ and qiyas. Perhaps we should look it more thoroughly based on ijtihad by each mazhab. I am syafi’iyyah and i trust and embrace what is already explained by Imam Syafie. To me, shaking with non-mahram is prohibited (total haram)unless when it turns to very old women and children (very very young).
    Wallahua’lam.

    • stackoverflow says:

      That’s a very good point there sister, masha’Allah. Whatever happened to the four madhaahib that the overwhelmingly vast majority of the ‘ulemaa of the past 1,400 years followed? And how can a scholar of the present century issue a fatwa going against the interpretations of the Qur’an and ahaadeeth given by the sahaaba, the tabi’een, and the tabi’ tabi’een? (Sh. Suhaib, correct me if I’m wrong here – did any of the sahaaba, tabi’een, or tabi’ tabi’een hold the opinion that it’s OK to shake hands with women – except for old women?)

      I guess at this point it’s up to the individual person to make the decision. Whether to have taqwa or not – isn’t this the question we face our whole lives? May Allah (SWT) guide us all.

  32. Megan says:

    I have really enjoyed the discussions and comments, masha’Allah.

    I have attended a good number of professional events, and I do not shake hands, and for the most part, due to the good nature of others, I’ve not had any problems or negative attitudes. If you are pleasant, kind, and positive, people will respond to your attitude, rather than the lack of gesture.

    It’s important to remember that shaking hands at introductions are auto-pilot responses, and not to have nightmares or worries (as some sisters mentioned above) and just see it as it is. It’s like holding a door open for the person behind you, it’s basic good manners here.

    My husband and I recently attended a 4 day seminar, where there were alot of “team” activities, where others were giving high fives, hugs, etc. The entire four days, everyone in the group worked to accommodate us so this didn’t happen, including rearranging entire activities for our sake.

    The most important element is to be confident with your position, be pleasant, kind, and genuine in your demeanor, and you’ll leave a positive impression that one can live differently, and be happy.

    I remember one wife saying to her husband, when she saw that only I was able to touch my own from the females, “Hey honey, check that out. No more jealousy like that, maybe we should become Muslim.” Sure she was joking, but alhamdulellah, a positive impression, bithnillah, was made.

    • C says:

      AA Sr. Megan,

      Jazak’Allah Khayr for your comment! It was exactly what I needed to read. You reminded me of what I already knew in my heart, but had forgotten or buried with fear and doubt.

      I don’t shake hands with men (and I’d like to add that I don’t judge people who do), a practice I started about 8 years ago in college when I began wearing a hijab. I have to admit that not shaking hands with men for me was a MUCH MUCH harder action (and at times continues to be) than wearing a hijab or even praying in public.

      Recently though, I have been thinking a lot about changing this practice and shaking hands with men as I look for a job and new opportunities. My thought was that my lack of hand-shaking could preclude my entrance/acceptance into the professional world, and in general would distance me even further from non-Muslim Americans since I am part of a grossly-misunderstood minority in the US.

      This country (US) is my home and I don’t want to live on the fringes. I want to be a walking example (insh’Allah!) of a compassionate and striving Muslim who is an active member of the country in which I live.

      You reminded me that the best way to accomplish this is to be kind, sincere and confident with who I am so that people will insh’Allah look beyond the gesture (or the lack thereof) and see my character instead.

      For those of us who are struggling to surrender the handshake, I sincerely pray that Allah makes it easy for us. And for all Muslims, I pray that Allah blesses us with the strength to be the best version of ourselves.

    • Zainab Fida Ahsan says:

      SubhaanAllah!, very heartening dear sis :)

  33. SeekerOfTruth says:

    I think the shaykh summed up his arguement, in the second to last paragraph!:

    ‘It is preferable not to expand the field of permissibility in order to block the means to evil and to be far away from doubt and to Take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a Model When There Is No Proof That He Shook Hands With A Non-Mahram Woman.’

    Why Follow Other than the Sunnah, When the Sunnah is Crystal Clear?! Its like Ignoring the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), thinking our way is better! When the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said in an authentic hadeeth ‘He who does not follow My Sunnah, is Not from Me’.

    May Allaah Guide Us!

    • Mostafa says:

      u should read the answer i think
      we all agree we should follow the sunnah of prophet the question is what was his sunnah?

      sheikh here discusses technically to find out if what the prophet did not do in that time means it was forbidden or it was not just the best thing to do.

  34. s. says:

    so does that mean you go to hell when you’ve ‘touched’/had sex with someone before marriage?

  35. Mostafa says:

    SO IF IT IS FORBIDDEN ONLY BY DESIRE, WHY DO YOU ONLY PERMIT SHAKING HANDS WITHOUT DESIRE, WHAT ABOUT HIJAB AND OTHER THINGS THAT IF WE SEE THE HAIR OR EVEN THE BODY WITHOUT DESIRE. THERE WILL BE NO LIMITATION THEN WILL IT?

  36. abu maryam says:

    This whole issue sounds like another modernist-led attempt to revise and reform Islam within a modern context. This approach will utterly fail insha Allah.

    p.s. I came across this news item in LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-american-imam-20110527,0,5640663.story?page=1

    I would sincerely wish SW could comment and clarify the context behind his remarks before they are misconstrued by the general masses.

    Barakallah feek

    • Hassen says:

      Sounded like a thorough explanation of the issue with valuable insight on the evidences from the Quran and Sunnah. Not sure what made it seem “modernist”…

      May Allah reward Shaykh al-Qaradawi for this fatwa and Shaykh Suhaib for posting the translation online.

  37. Jenny says:

    Salam alaikum from Germany
    Thanks for the many thought-provoking comments so far. Shaking hands is not only standard procedure but strongly expected here in Germany, much more than in N.America (where I grew up). I rarely shook hands in Canada, and that was even as a non-Muslim. Here it is insulting NOT to do so. A few years after becoming Muslim I decided to stop shaking hands with men. It was very difficult, and I saw that many were not only puzzled but actually insulted, making me feel like they had a poor impression of me as a Muslim because of this. Frustrated, I started shaking again, but always with a bad conscience.

    Reading this article and the comments has given me ideas on how to at least “decrease the number of handshakes” (LOL) if not get rid of them (mostly). (I can at the very least not reach out my hand until they do). I have also encountered Muslim men wanting to shake hands, and I have no qualms about politely refusing them. But in this area there are few Muslims, fewer with hijab, and VERY few of those who are active in the community and have a lot of interactions with non-muslims (ex. working, kid´s sport trainers, dialoge etc). I am outgoing, but I know all eyes are on me, and I am often the first muslim that these people have ever actually dealt with. With all the anti-muslim propaganda these days, I am so glad they can see that we actually normal people, and I know they are glad about seeing this too. I have the impression that in this area, NOT shaking hands, esp. upon a first introduction, carries the equivalent feeling of slapping people on the face. I always feel as though I am walking a fine line. May Allah forgive inshallah….

  38. Muhammad says:

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan.
    I have people refusing to shake hands with me on a couple of occasions and it can be really offensive. Once it was an ignorant Muslim who also pulled his hand back after I said “Assalaamu alaikum”. Presumably he just “knew” I was Jewish and had actually said “Asa-’am alaikum”. He did this in front of children he had been giving evening classes to in a Muslim school. Incidentally I do have a beard. Many of the Asian teachers at the school didn’t – not that I’d otherwise make an issue out of that.
    With me the question I have is nothing to do with desire – I just don’t like making anyone feel rejected in this way. Particularly if it plays into the whole anti-Muslim idea that we Muslim men think women are dirty. If we have to live with this, OK, and I certainly don’t feel I’m causing offence in Muslim circles where – it quite simply doesn’t cause offence.
    I’m no scholar, but if the “no touching” rule is absolute and unconditional, the “Umm Hiram bint Milhan” hadith is just too shocking. The two narratives simply cannot co-exist. As I get older I am forced to the conclusion that the Prophet (S.A.W) dealt with people and situations according to their circumstances and merits, a lot more than many of us care to admit. Because I keep coming across things like this that cannot be explained and equated in any other way. I’m sorry if other may feel me unqualified to say this, but I am also forced to conclude that the cherry picking is divisive, culturally prejudiced and political. And it seems to take a lot of courage, particularly for anyone qualified to do so, to go against it.
    To be honest, I’m not in a position to say if this particular issue is cherry picked or not. But other issues most certainly are. Too many of us know use these points to undermine each other – on a really deep level – like on the religious / spiritual level, with their advice dressed with brotherly epithets. If this is just classic passive aggression, which, frankly, it appears to be in a lot of cases, if we really believe in an all-Knowing Creator and a Day of Reckoning, not much fiqh is required to understand what the consequences might be.
    It’s too easy to bamboozle and belittle people with a bit of obscure knowledge. Ask anyone whose has worked in any science or technology field what the geeks can be like.

  39. Abu Zainab says:

    as salaamu alaikum,

    Maybe this is the example that our brother Suhaib Webb wants us to adopt when speaking about scholars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKk937pdO_E

  40. Suhaib Webb says:

    As,

    Abu Zainab:

    May Allah reward you for your concern. Actually, I was at this lesson, to the right of the sheikh (a little farther back) and left with a very sad feeling in my heart. While I do not agree with some scholars and some madrasah’s on a number of issues, I try (and I have made plenty of mistakes) to keep it ethical by following the method taught to us by our scholars.

    Azhar (may Allah raise her) in the last year or so has taken some amazing steps to address the Saudi-Sufi divide. Last year Sh. al-Azhar, Sh. Ahmed Tayyib (ha) held a conference for ‘Taqarub between the two groups, inviting scholars from each school to discuss their issues and the problems related.

    What is important for us now is to ask, “Are we going to build or destroy?” I believe that former is the better option and, while I will offer my attempts at constructive criticism, hope to maintain the ties of brotherhood.

    Suhaib

  41. Zainab Fida Ahsan says:

    Audhubillahi minash shaytaanir Rajeem,
    Bismillah hir Rehmaanir Raheem…

    Assalamu alaykum wa Rehmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    This whole page, apart from being enlightening about the issue in question, also throws light on another aspect of our Ummah.

    It shows for example, how much of disagreements and contradictory perspectives are present in the Ummah….and taking this page as a sort of a sample for the Ummah at large, well the impression…gives a bad feeling.

    I do not intend to offend anyone but the Shaytan and his companions.

    While the Ummah is going through Revival and Re-Strengthening of Islamic education, its heart-breaking and a point of reflection that we are still fighting over issues like ‘whether to raise hands in prayer or not’ , whether ‘its okay for women to go to mosques (or even school!) :( ‘ , whether its okay to ‘wear kurta-pyjama or pants’…okay this could have sounded funny to some, nut unfortunately, its a disheartening reality of the Ummah :( makes me really sad.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to discourage enquiry into matters of Fiqh or other Islamic sciences (I am a student myself, alhamdulillah), and I strongly believe that nothing can be more important than to learn something that could make us worship Allah Ta’ala, Our Most Gracious Rabb in the best way…what I do intend is that we remind ourselves of the fact that the our main concern in life is ‘Ibaadah’ of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala.
    Please re-read the last line!!

    We must thank Allah Ta’ala for giving us the perfect example of how to be an ‘abd, male or female, of Allah Ta’ala , in our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS …and not simply divide ourselves into sects based on our impatient understanding of Fiqh and the like…!! Wake up people!

    It would not be pleasing to Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala to see His slaves make His Deen synonymous to rhetoric…His Deen of action (Good ‘deeds’, ‘works’ of righteousness)…read that before?…and intellectual reflection, yes…coupled with good ‘intention’ and ‘humility’…yes!

    May Allah Ta’ala protect us all from Kibr, arrogance.

    When the Ayah about hypocrites was revealed, the Sahaaba themselves questioned The Messenger,SAWS, whether any of them were being referred to !! and look at us.

    This comment is not written just to prove a point…its calling all of s (including me) to see what the actual point is!

    Our beloved prophet , Muhammad SAWS,said in his last sermon what means…” Shaytan has lost all hope of leading you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.”

    May Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala not let our hearts to deviate after He has guided them ameen.

    “Verily my happiness is in my Iman,
    and Verily my Iman is in my heart,
    and Verily my heart does not belong to anyone but Allah”

    -Asma Bint Abi Bakr (RA)
    Trying to echo it myself!

    SubhaanAllahi wa behamdehi, SubhaanAllahil Azeem ( An adhkaar told by Muhammad SAWS to be light on the tongue and heavy on the scales! )

    May Allah Subhaanahi Wa ta’ala give us a goodly life in this world and a goodly life in the hereafter…ameen.

    All mistakes and flaws are my own and from the shaytaan and what good can there be, except from Allah, Ar-Rabbil ‘Alameen…?

    Wassalamu alaykum wa Rehmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

  42. Questioner says:

    I feel that this issue has become more convoluted than it really is.

    We are not talking about hugging without desire, kissing without desire, staring without desire, talking without desire, exchanging phone numbers without desire, giving each other rides without desire, seeing a hijabi’s hair without desire, muslim guys trying to cozy up to sisters “without desire” etc. There is no controversy with the any of the above. I think its safe to say that we can ALL agree the above is not right.

    Keep it simple yo! We are addressing ‘touching’, as in ‘touching while shaking hands’ without desire. Nothing else.

    I think the implication behind many of these questions is that since we can not always assume what the other genders intention is (although I think most of us know when it is done with desire vs not. Man or woman, guy or girl, young or old, we ALL have an innate ‘desire compass’ unless we choose to ignore it), then ‘shaking hands without desire’ might lead to desire. If you think that might be the case for you in your future desire-less handshakes, then… just don’t do it man! It might not be the case for someone else. But if something causes your heart to stir, then leave it, you know yourself best.

    BUT to say that a handshake WITHOUT lust in “RESTRICTED SITUATIONS” must always become a precursor to desire, and that no one should feel differently about this, is not valid. The Sheikh didn’t say in social settings, he didn’t say when a brother is checking out a sister, he said RESTRICTED SITUATIONS.

    The Sheikh connected all the dots and explicitly ended his article with:

    Secondly, handshaking between males and females who are not mahrams should be RESTRICTED to NECESSARY situations such as between relatives or those whose relationships are established by marriage. It is PREFERABLE NOT to expand the field of permissibility in order to block the means to evil and to be far away from doubt and to take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a model when there is NO proof that he shook hands with a non-mahram woman. Also, it is PREFERABLE for the pious Muslim, male or female, NOT to stretch out his/her hand to shake the hand of anyone of the opposite sex who is not mahram. BUT if he/she is put in a situation that someone stretches out his/her hand to shake hands with him/her, then he/she can do that.

    What the problem is!?

  43. SK says:

    Assalamu’alaikum,

    i just loved reading all the comments here masha’Allah especially from Umm Hana, may Allah reward you all for your efforts Aameen.

    shaking of the hands is so common in the western society & there seems to be difference of opinion as to whether we should shake hands of the opposite sex.

    i personally follow the ruling that we shouldn’t shake hands of the opposite sex, both muslim & non-muslim simply to avoid all the points mentioned by a few above. Fitna being the main one, and to avoid that we should just simply not do any of it.

    i work for a charity & am the only Muslim there, shaking hands is a common practice. And it was hard – because there so use to tapping you on your shoulder, or doing a hi5, and shaking hands. but if you do one thing it always leads to another. suddenly they’ve stepped in to your personal bubble zone but which you’ve allowed to happen from small steps like shaking hands.

    it is still touching and sisters should always (and brothers) guard their modesty and all times and avoid any form of physical contact. you don’t need to shake their hands – all you simply say ‘sorry with all due respect i don’t shake hands’ and its that easy.

    me & my colleagues do air 5′s – that really works.

    jazakallahukhairan sheikh for this article :)

    Ws

  44. SA says:

    Does the same apply to hugging? It is very common in western culture. Often men just hug me without thinking twice!

    • Hussam says:

      Or kissing on the cheek,

      I am forever being stormed by people trying to kiss me on the cheek.

      is it ok if there is no desire?

    • HAw says:

      Salam…yes this hugging is a big problem. It’s like a sudden action. The first time it happened to me, I was taken aback and just remained motionless for that 2 seconds or so. :(

  45. Abdul-Rahman III says:

    This topic is a prime example why this Ummah is stuck behind and cannot move forward. It is amazing how such a insignificant topic can take up soo much distraction, discussion, debate and time.
    The Ummah is suffering great injustices, wars, civil wars, poverty, occupation, deprivation and destruction, these are the real moral topics need to be tackled seriously and immediately, not trival topics. Why are we never distracted with the main real issues that matter the most?

    I’m amazed that the most little of issues takes up much time and space of the practising brother or sister.

  46. Fosia says:

    Mashallah
    Umm Hana your coments have been both educational and very funny at the same time. You have said it very well and may Allah bless you and your family and to all others who commented or have read the article. Byda way Umm Hana you are an excellent writer Mashallah

  47. Mina says:

    As salaamu alaikum

    As a recent convert, I really needed to read this article and comment thread today. As simple as it may seem to those who have a firm foundation in this Deen it is not that simple to all of us. It’s difficult to determine what are deemed acceptable behaviors with our non-Muslim family and friends. Do we continue to interact with our family and friends in the manner we always have such as greeting with hugs and kisses or do we now shut these people down and inform them that the behavior is not permissible in Islam?

    This topic also branches off into other areas of discussion with regard to gender mixing. (The only place I am not in mixed company is at the masjid.) When I go to a friend’s house and her husband is home, am I allowed to engage in a conversation with him?

    Sometimes all the do’s and don’ts can be very overwhelming and let’s face it people are apt to talk about the don’ts before they talk about the do’s. My life is like a new building under construction. Progress is slow and I’m waiting for the cement to be poured but it can’t because the base isn’t finished yet…

    JazakAllahu Khairan this was very beneficial to me but I’m still thirsting for knowledge….

  48. Kashif says:

    I am having difficulty in grasping this concept that a man can not decide if he has desire for a woman or not.
    I think this whole discussion is being taken out of context.
    I am a 37 year old doctor (married with 2 kids), I see approximately 20-25 patients a day. About half of them are women. I shake hands with every patient regardless of their sex when I introduce myself. It is as a form of courtesy. I have absolutely no desire to have relations with any of these women. It is purely 100% business related. You have to look at the context and the environment that you are in. If you are hanging out with friends there really is no reason for you to shake hands with people of the opposite sex. Allah (SWT) knows your intentions. Why do we as Muslims split hairs over little things and forget the big picture. One can develop a desire for someone of the opposite sex just by looking at them, physical contact is not required.

  49. worshipperofallah and muslim girl says:

    i had a boy come up to me recently and say assalamu alaikum and bring his hand out for me to shake during formtime and i refused and didnt say anything and waited for him to leave i felt alittle humiliated cuz there were ppl around watching but i was glad i did the right think
    he was left there hanging for a couple of seconds and just left eventualy loool it was well funy though

  50. Hassan says:

    Assalamoalaikum,
    I really liked the comment of Um Hana. It was casually written but was very satisfying. And it is very encouraging to know that some of our fellow muslims are standing up for their principles in the midst of so much pressure and misunderstanding. For if i were put in such a difficult situation, i would have surrendered some of my principles just to be better “integrated” in the society. I am thankful to Allah for saving me from such trials. But i am also jealous (in a positive way) of all those Muslims who are following Islam in a much better way than i am DESPITE all the trials.
    And i understand that many find Handshaking unavoidable.
    for them, they should regard their case as an exception and as circumstantial rather than changing the actual rule. And should revert back as soon as it is easier for them.
    because these seemingly harmless little steps taken in the wrong direction, with the wrong intention, can cause major rifts in the long run.
    Protect your Imaan(in your heart) as much as possible, then even if your actions are somewhat deficient due to some difficulty Allah will always forgive you.
    May Allah help and guide us all.
    Ameen

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