Thursday, May 30, 2024 AD / Dhul-Qa’dah 22, 1445 AH
Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani
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Question & Answer
 

Is it okay to shake hands with female colleagues in accordance with customary and social rules and regulations and not out of pleasure?

Shaking hands with a foreign Muslim woman, although without Reybeh[1] and the intention of pleasure, is not permissible, unless there be a barrier like gloves between, in which case, without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure and squeezing, there is no problem; because this is touching the barrier and is not considered touching the body of woman; as Samma’ah ibn Mihran has narrated: «سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ -يَعْنِي جَعْفَرَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ- عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ عَنْ مُصَافَحَةِ الرَّجُلِ الْمَرْأَةَ، قَالَ: لَا يَحِلُّ لِلرَّجُلِ أَنْ يُصَافِحَ الْمَرْأَةَ إِلَّا امْرَأَةً يَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَتَزَوَّجَهَا، أُخْتٌ أَوْ بِنْتٌ أَوْ عَمَّةٌ أَوْ خَالَةٌ أَوِ ابْنَةُ أُخْتٍ أَوْ نَحْوُهَا، فَأَمَّا الْمَرْأَةُ الَّتِي يَحِلُّ لَهُ أَنْ يَتَزَوَّجَهَا فَلَا يُصَافِحْهَا إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ الثَّوْبِ وَلَا يَغْمِزْ كَفَّهَا»[2]; “I asked Abu Abdullah, meaning Ja’far ibn Muhammad, peace be upon him, about a man shaking hands with a woman, he said: It is not Halal for a man to shake hands with a woman, except for a woman his marriage to whom is Haram, that is, sister or daughter or mother’s sister or father’s sister or sister’s daughter or the like, but a woman his marriage to whom is Halal, he should not shake hands with her, unless from behind a garment, and should not squeeze her hand” and Abu Basir has narrated: «قُلْتُ لِأَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ: هَلْ يُصَافِحُ الرَّجُلُ الْمَرْأَةَ لَيْسَتْ بِذِي مَحْرَمٍ؟ فَقَالَ: لَا إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ الثَّوْبِ»[3]; “I said to Imam Sadiq peace be upon him: Can a man shake hands with a woman who is not Mahram to him? He said: No, unless from behind a garment” and Sa’idah and Aymanah the sisters of Muhammad ibn Abi ‘Umayr have narrated: «دَخَلْنَا عَلَى أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَقُلْنَا: تَعُودُ الْمَرْأَةُ أَخَاهَا فِي اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قُلْنَا: فَتُصَافِحُهُ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ مِنْ وَرَاءِ ثَوْبٍ، كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَبِسَ الصُّوفَ يَوْمَ بَايَعَ النِّسَاءَ، فَكَانَتْ يَدُهُ فِي كُمِّهِ وَهُنَّ يَمْسَحْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ عَلَيْهِ»[4]; “We came to Imam Sadiq peace be upon him and said: Can a woman visit her religious brother? He said: Yes, we said: Can she shake hands with him? He said: Yes, from behind a garment, on the day when women pledged allegiance to the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, he wore a woolen dress, so his hand was in his sleeve and they pulled their hands on his sleeve”. Also, the precaution is to avoid shaking hands with foreign woman of the Book, although its permission without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure is possible; because the reasons for prohibition are only about Muslim women, not non-Muslim women, and there is no prohibition regarding non-Muslim women and for this reason, it is permissible to look at them without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure; as it has been narrated from the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family that said: «لَا حُرْمَةَ لِنِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ أَنْ يُنْظَرَ إِلَى شُعُورِهِنَّ وَأَيْدِيهِنَّ»[5]; “There is no prohibition regarding women of Dimma to look at their hairs and hands” and it has been said in another narration that he said: «لَيْسَ لِنِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ حُرْمَةٌ، لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِنَّ مَا لَمْ يَتَعَمَّدْ ذَلِكَ»[6]; “There is no prohibition regarding women of Dimma, there is nothing wrong with looking at them as long as it is not intentional” that is, not with the intention of pleasure, and it has been narrated from Ali ibn Abi Talib peace be upon him that said: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى رُؤُوسِ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ»[7]; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the head of women of Dimma” and it has been narrated from Ja’far ibn Muhammad peace be upon them that said: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى رُؤُوسِ أَهْلِ التِّهَامَةِ وَالْأَعْرَابِ وَأَهْلِ السَّوَادِ وَالْعُلُوجِ، لِأَنَّهُمْ إِذَا نُهُوا لَا يَنْتَهُونَ، وَالْمَجْنُونَةِ وَالْمَغْلُوبَةِ عَلَى عَقْلِهَا، وَلَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى شَعْرِهَا وَجَسَدِهَا مَا لَمْ يَتَعَمَّدْ ذَلِكَ»[8]; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the head of Tihamah and Bedouin and village and irreligious women; because they do not refrain if they are forbidden, and so is the crazy woman and the woman who has lost her mind; There is nothing wrong with looking at their hairs and bodies, if it is not intentional” that is, not with the intention of pleasure; because it being no problem if it is not intentional, is not specific to this group of women, and this is the opinion of Sufyan al-Thawri that has been quoted from him: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى زِينَةِ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ، إِنَّمَا يُنْهَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ لِخَوْفِ الْفِتْنَةِ، لَا لِحُرْمَتِهِنَّ»[9]; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the adornment of Dimma women; because it is forbidden only for fear of sedition, not for respecting them” and he has reasoned by God’s words regarding Hijab that has said: ﴿وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ[10]; “And Muslim women” and it has been narrated from Ja’far ibn Muhammad peace be upon them that said: «إِنَّمَا كُرِهَ النَّظَرُ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ الْمُسْلِمِ، فَأَمَّا النَّظَرُ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ مَنْ لَيْسَ بِمُسْلِمٍ مِثْلُ النَّظَرِ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ الْحِمَارِ»[11]; “Looking at a Muslim’s private parts alone is indecent, but looking at a non-Muslim’s private part is like looking at a donkey’s private parts” that is, without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure is permissible; because they ﴿كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ[12]; “are like beasts, rather are more misguided, they are indeed the heedless ones”. With these descriptions, if a Muslim man fears that avoiding handshaking with a foreign woman of the Book will cause him significant harm, as sometimes happens in some non-Islamic countries, he can shake hands with her without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure; because it is a Taqiyya[13] by which he repels a hardship, and God has said: ﴿إِلَّا أَنْ تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً[14]; “unless you perform Taqiyya against them” and has said: ﴿مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ[15]; “God does not want to lay upon you any hardship”.

*For further explanations, refer to the arabic text.
↑[1] . [Translator note: The fear of becoming involved in Haram by looking at a woman who is not Mahram]
↑[2] . al-Kafi by al-Kulayni, Vol. 5, p. 525
↑[3] . al-Kafi by al-Kulayni, Vol. 5, p. 525; Man La Yahdar al-Faqih by ibn Babawayh, Vol. 3, p. 469
↑[4] . MishKat al-Anwar by al-Tabarsi, p. 355
↑[5] . al-Kafi by al-Kulayni, Vol. 5, p. 524
↑[6] . al-Ja’fariyyat by ibn al-Ash’ath, Vol. 1, p. 210; al-Firdous Bima’thur al-Khatab by al-Daylami, Vol. 3, p. 413
↑[7] . Qurb al-Isnad by al-Himyari, p. 131
↑[8] . al-Kafi by al-Kulayni, Vol. 5, p. 524
↑[9] . the interpretation of ibn Kathir, Vol. 6, p. 482
↑[10] . Al-Ahzab/ 59
↑[11] . al-Kafi by al-Kulayni, Vol. 6, p. 501; Man La Yahdar al-Faqih by ibn Babawayh, Vol. 1, p. 114
↑[12] . Al-A'raf/ 179
↑[13] . [Translator note: a precautionary dissimulation or denial of religious belief and practice in the face of persecution.]
↑[14] . Al 'Imran/ 28
↑[15] . Al-Ma'idah/ 6
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