Shaking hands with a non-Muslim woman

Q 10: What is the ruling on shaking hands with non-Muslim women? In the country where I live, it is the custom to treat men and women equally in everything.


A: It is not permissible for a man to shake hands with a woman, unless he is her Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). The basis of this ruling is the fact that The hand of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) never touched the hand of a (non-Mahram) woman. It was authentically narrated in "Sahih Al-Bukhari", "Musnad Ahmad", and the "Sunan" of Al-Tirmidhy and Al-Nasa'y, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I do not shake hands with women.” This is the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who sets the best example for his Ummah (nation based on one creed). Allah (Exalted be He) says: Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day (Surah Al-‘Ahzab, 33:21) (Part No. 17; Page No. 29) Muslims should act upon the teachings that the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought and Allah has enjoined following, saying: And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). One of the things that the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught was not to shake hands with women, and the basic principle regarding his sayings, deeds, and approvals is that they constitute the code of laws for the Muslim Ummah (nation based on one creed) unless there is an evidence for ruling out of this principle. We know of no such evidence in this case. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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