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Shaking Hands with a Woman
Question: There is much debate here in the US about
the shaking of a woman's hand, let alone giving her a hug. People debate
about the hadith in which the Prophet expressed his personal
dislike on shaking hands with women. Some say this was his own personal
thing, others say it is Sunnah so it is for everyone. I would
like to know your views.
Answer: There is no directive of the Shari‘ah
which explicitly prohibits a Muslim to shake hands with a woman who is
not his mahram; therefore, it cannot be regarded as a
Sunnah of the Prophet (sws); however, shaking hands with a woman is
something which was personally disliked by the Prophet (sws) as is
mentioned in certain Ahadith (as you have also referred to). I
think Muslims should refrain from acts disliked by their Prophet (sws).
Of course, They have not been bound by Islam in this regard.
The question may arise about the status of the personal likes and
dislikes of the Prophet (sws) as regards their validity for his
followers. In this regard, I think two distinct categories can be
Since Muslims are required to follow the moral example set by the
Prophet (sws), the first category of likes and dislikes should be
followed by them as much as they are able to in order to reap high
rewards in the Hereafter. This of course does not apply to the second
category, examples of which include the Prophet’s like for certain
colours or his dislike for certain type of foods.
Shaking hands with a woman is a dislike that belongs to the first
category, and, therefore, a moral standard that is highly desirable to