Kissing or placing one’s hand on one’s chest after shaking hands

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I read in a book that Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) considered it to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrimi) to kiss or place one’s hand on one’s chest after shaking hands with another person. The author of this book explains that this practise is “the product of ignorance and stems from a lack of understanding Islamic etiquette.” I am concerned about this, because I usually kiss my hand or place it on my chest after shaking hands. This is also the practise of many righteous and God-fearing people. Is this the relied upon opinion in the Hanafi madhab? Your answer regarding this matter will be most appreciated.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

 I pray that this finds you well, and in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you all good and success in this life and the next.

According to a number of my teachers in Damascus, the dislikedness of kissing one’s hand after shaking someone’s hands that Ibn Abidin mentions is because this was a sign of the people of corruption in his times. It is not the case in our times, so it wouldn’t be prohibitively disliked or sinful. Rather, it is a sign of love and affection. It shouldn’t be done every time, however, nor considered “superior” to the sunna of simply shaking hands.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani