Muslims kissing each other''s faces

Q 3: The habit of men kissing each other on the cheeks when they meet everyday has spread among the young people, old men, in the Masjid (mosque) and in the classrooms. Is this contradictory to Sunnah or not? Is it a Bid`ah (innovation in religion), a sin or something permissible? We would like to know the ruling of Shari`ah (Islamic law) in detail. What about kissing on the shoulders?

A: It is permissible when meeting someone to exchange greetings and shake hands. If this meeting is after returning from a journey, it will be permissible also to hug each other, according to what was authentically reported from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), that when the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) used to meet, they used to shake hands with each other; and when they met each other after returning from a journey, they used to hug each other. As for kissing the cheeks, there is no evidence for this in the Sunnah.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.