We get guests sometimes in my house and even though my intentions are COMPLETELY PURE, I know that its prohibited for me to touch them. How can I deny a handshake without looking rude?
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Islam prohibits casual contact between members of the opposite gender. Leave alone touching, it is not even permissible for a male to see the face or hands of a female who is not related to him. At times, this could lead to uncomfortable situations in places where it is customary to shake hands with colleagues. However, as Muslims, we are convinced that the upholding the laws of Allah Ta’ala is better for us. We do not compromise our religion just to appease society.
There is a Hadith from Ma’qil ibn Yasar (may Allah be pleased with him) saying;
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : لأن يطعن في رأس أحدكم بمخيط من حديد خير له من أن يمس امرأة لا تحل له (أخرجه اطبراني في المعجم الكبير (20/ 211)
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “It is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you.”
There are many reports from the Prophet (sallallahi alayhi wasallam) that he never shook the hands of any women. Aaisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said,
والله ما مست يد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يد امرأة قط (متفق عليه)
“By Allah, the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) never touched the hands of another female.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 7/49 and Sahih Muslim, 3/1489)
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) himself declared,
إني لا أصافح النساء (أخرجه أحمد في مسنده – ( /44558)
“Verily I do not shake hands with females.” (Musnad Ahmad, 44/558)
So despite being a Prophet, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not shake hands with females. Can there be anyone who has purer intentions than the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam)?
Furthermore, whilst it may seem that our intentions are pure initially, the devil can entice us. And from a mere glance and hand shake, it could lead to devastating actions later. Thus, we need to trust the wisdom of Allah and follow His rulings.
Based on these and similar narrations, all four schools of Fiqh are unanimous that it is impermissible to shake hands with a strange female.
You may clearly just tell your guests that it is not permissible for you to shake hands. They will respect your opinion. If you want to be abit more diplomatic, you can smile and say that your wife does not want your hands to touch the hands of other females. In which ever you convey your values, the main thing is that you should not compromise.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)