Touching or shaking hands with a non-Mahram woman

Q: Is Wudu’ (ablution) nullified by touching or shaking hands with a non-Mahram woman (neither a spouse nor a permanently unmarriageable woman), an act which is already Haram (prohibited)? We have read in the books of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) Hadiths which unconditionally indicate that touching women does not nullify Wudu’. Is this generalization restricted to touching Mahram women only (i.e. Spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative)?


A: All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, and his family and Companions. According to the soundest opinion of the scholars, touching women or shaking hands with them does not nullify Wudu’ at all, whether these women are non-Mahram, one’s wife, or an unmarriageable female relative. This is because the basic rule is Istis-hab (presumption of continuity) of Wudu’ until proven nullified by a legal evidence. The nullification of Wudu’ because of the stated reason has not been authentically reported in any Sahih Hadith (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish).As for touching women stated in the following Qur’anic Ayah (which means): O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) until the part saying: But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:6) [in which case Wudu’ is necessitated], it refers to Jima‘ (conjugal intercourse), according to the soundest opinion of scholars.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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