Gender Interaction in Islam; Shaking Hands

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt


What is the Islamic ruling for a Muslim man and woman to shake hands, in a business context? Is it absolutely ḥarām to shake hands with a non-maḥram?


Jazāk Allāh Khayr / Thank you for your question.

Shaking hands of a non maḥram opposite gender is not permissible in Islam unless the person whose hand is being shaken is elderly where there is no possibility of lust.

It should be noted that there are numerous respectful gestures that can be used to greet others. Some of these gestures do not require body-contact or touching in any form what so ever. One of the acceptable and professional ways of greeting, without any body-contact is to place one’s right hand up to one’s heart and nod with a smile.

The Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) stated,

“I do not make muṣāfaḥah (greet by shaking hands) to women” (Nasaī’)

The Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) stated,

“It is better for an iron rod to be driven into the head of a man, than for him to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” (Mu’jam al Kabīr)

The Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) would make muṣāfaḥah to the elderly men and women. (Badāiʿ Al Ṣanāiʿ, Al Baḥr Al Rāiq)

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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