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HANDSHAKING IN ISLAM
LAWAL HABEEB

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HANDSHAKING IN ISLAM Shaking hands when meeting and saying salam is part of the etiquette of Islam and its good morals. There is an hadith where the prophet (SAW) was reported to have said: "there are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands with one another, but they will be forgiven before they part" Narrated by Abu Dawood. Shaking hands was a custom that was well known among the Sahabah (May Allah be pleased with them). It was narrated that Qatadah said: I said to Ana's Ibn Malik, Did the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing of Allah be upon them) shake hands with one another? He said: Yes. Narrated by Bukhari Shaking hands happens when one man places his hand in the hand of his companion, this implied by the Arabic word 'Musaafah' (handshaking). It also mean clasping the plan of one hands against the palm of the other person's hand. PUTTING HANDS ON CHEST/HEART AFTER SHAKING HANDS The act of putting hands on the chest/heart after shaking hands is contrary to the meaning of shaking hands both linguistic term and Islamic terminology. There is no evidence for that in the Sunnah, and there is no report that any of the companions did that. The act of putting hands over the chest/heart is not part of Sunnah but probably a customary actions to show honour and respect, but it is good to avoid doing it. SHAKING HANDS WITH OPPOSITE GENDER Shaking hands is commendable for both men and women. That is, the rewards will equally given to women when they shake hands with each other, However, it is not permissible for man for shake hands with a woman except his muhram (illegal to marry). Among the evidence for this is the hadeeth of Ma'qal Ibn Yassaar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be with him) said: 'if one of you were to 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-Tabarani). There is no doubt that shaking hands between males and females who are not Mahram (illegal for marriage) has become rampart among Muslim today, however, this is totally haram (unlawful) according to all scholars and is evident from sound and authentic traditions. SHAKING HANDS WITH NON MUSLIMS There is no law in the Qur'an as well as the Sunnah that prohibit the shaking of hands with non Muslims. Handshaking with them according to the Islamic Jurist is not Haram, however, loving them and leaving the Muslims aside is prohibited. As Allah says: 'O you who believes, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allah against yourselves a clear case?" (Q4:144) and many more verses. In detail, handshaking has nothing to do with being ally, it is formal greeting protocol when two people coincide or meet. THE SUNNAH OF HANDSHAKING 1. When two Muslim men or two Muslim women meet, they should say Salaam first and then shake hands. It is not permitted for Muslim men to shake hands with women or vice versa. 2. Shake hands with both hands (by putting the palm of the left hand over the back of one's brother's hands) or with one hand. 3. Since handshaking is Sunnah, you should do it every time you meet. 4. While shaking hands the palm of both hands should contact each other and avoid using the fingers. 5. Your hands should be empty when shaking hands, so that the palms will touch the other person's palms. 6. While shaking hands, you should smile and be happy. Bestowing the greetings of Allah in the most excellent manner and shaking hands are sunnah acts, and this is action that the prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) greatly encouraged his followers to execute both verbally and by example, as evident from sound and authentic traditions. Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah knows Best and He is the only source of Strength. Your brother and well wisher in Islam. April 2019
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