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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Hadeeth Three: The Prohibition of Shaking Hands with Unrelated (non-Mahram) Women.
عَنْ أُمَيْمَةَ بِنْتِ رُقَيْقَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ أَتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي نِسْوَةٍ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ نُبَايِعُهُ فَقُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ نُبَايِعُكَ عَلَى أَنْ لاَ نُشْرِكَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَلاَ نَسْرِقَ وَلاَ نَزْنِيَ وَلاَ نَأْتِيَ بِبُهْتَانٍ نَفْتَرِيهِ بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَأَرْجُلِنَا وَلاَ نَعْصِيَكَ فِي مَعْرُوفٍ . قَالَ ” فِيمَا اسْتَطَعْتُنَّ وَأَطَقْتُنَّ ” . قَالَتْ قُلْنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَرْحَمُ بِنَا هَلُمَّ نُبَايِعْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ . فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” إِنِّي لاَ أُصَافِحُ النِّسَاءَ إِنَّمَا قَوْلِي لِمِائَةِ امْرَأَةٍ كَقَوْلِي لاِمْرَأَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ أَوْ مِثْلِ قَوْلِي لاِمْرَأَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ”
Umayyah bint Ruqayqah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: I came to Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) among a group of women from the Ansār to offer him the pledge of allegiance. We said: “O Allah’s Messenger, we give you our pledge that we shall not associate partners in worship with Allah, we will not steal, we will not have unlawful sexual relations, we will not utter slander fabricating it from between our hands and feet, and we will not disobey you in anything of good.” He said (prompting them to say): “As much as you can and are able.” We said: “Allah and His Messenger are more merciful towards us. Come, let us give you our pledge, O Messenger of Allah!” Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “I do not shake hands with women―verily, my word to a hundred women is like my word to one woman.” (Reported by An-Nasā’ī, no. 4181, Ibn Mājah no. 2874, and graded sahīh by Shaikh Al-Albāni)
1. The oath of allegiance of women is by speech and not by touching whereas the oath of allegiance of men is by speech and taking the hand.
2. This hadeeth applies to any physical contact between non-mahrams. Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said:
((وَلاَ وَاللَّهِ مَا مَسَّتْ يَدُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدَ امْرَأَةٍ قَطُّ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ يُبَايِعُهُنَّ بِالْكَلاَمِ))
“By Allah, the hand of the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) never touched the hand of any woman. He would take the oath of allegiance from them verbally.” (Muslim, no. 1866a) In a narration, Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
((لئن يطعن في رأس أحدكم بمخيط من حديد خير له من أن يمس امرأة لا تحل له))
“That a nail of iron is driven into the head of one of you is better for him than touching a woman that is not allowed for him.” (At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabeer, no. 486 and graded saheeh by Al-Albāni in Saheeh al-Jāmi’ no. 486))
3. Shaikh Ibn Bāz stated: “It is not permitted for a woman to shake hands with men that are not mahrams to her and it not permitted for a man to shake hands with women that are not mahrams to him due to the two aforementioned hadeeths, and due to the fact that one will not be safe from falling into fitnah.” (Majmū’ Fatawa Ibn Bāz 6/28)
4. The best guidance is the guidance of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and what he taught these noble Companions is sufficient for us; so there is no room for modernists and liberals in the Muslim community to oppose the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) with their views and opinions, rather they should be rejected by the believers and shunned.
5. These narrations led all of the four Madhhabs: the Hanafis, Mālikis, Shāfi’ees and Hanbalis to prohibit touching or shaking hands with non-mahram women.
6. These ahādīth prove the prohibition of what is practised in some cultures where unrelated “aunties” touch the heads of young men, and unrelated “uncles” touch the heads of young women, or they shake each other’s hands. They are not mahram to each other―the elders should be advised with kindness and shown the narrations.
6. The hadeeth proves the eagerness of the female Companions to show obedience to Allah and His Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).
7. The oath of allegiance is only to the ruler of the Muslims and not to a leader of a sect, party or tribe.
8. This hadeeth proves the futility of the Sufi sects who make two blunders in this matter: firstly, that they give the oath of allegiance (or bai’ah) to their sheikhs (which they have no right to ask for); and secondly, that they permit women to touch and hold the hand of their sheikhs when offering this [innovated and false] oath.
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