Shaking Hands between Men & Women
‘Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah’
Muhaddith, Shaykh, Allamaa’
Muhammad Nasir uddeen al-Albaani
Abbas Abu Yahya
529 – From Umaymah bint Ruqayqah who said: ‘I came to the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– along with the women, so that we could pledge an allegiance upon Islaam.
So we said: O Messenger of Allaah we pledge allegiance to you that we will not associate anything with Allaah, nor will we steal, nor commit Zina, nor kill our offspring, nor will we utter slander intentionally forging falsehood, nor will we disobey you in a good action.
So the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– added: ‘In that which you have capability and energy to do.’
Umaymah said: ‘Allaah and His Messenger are more merciful to us than us being merciful to our own selves. Now then, we want to give you, O Messenger of Allaah the oath of allegiance.’
So the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said: ‘Indeed I do not shake hands with women, as for what I say for a hundred women is like what I say for one woman.’
Collected by Malik (2/982/8), by an-Nisa’ee in ‘Ashaarat an-Nisa’ from his book ‘Sunnan al-Kubra’ (2/93/2), Ibn Hibban (14) and Ahmad (6/357). Narrated from Muhammad bin al-Munkadir from Umaymah bint Ruqayqah.
In another narration collected by an-Nisa’ee in ‘al-Mujtaba’ (2/184), Tirmidhi (1/302), Ibn Majah (2874), Ahmad and al-Humaydi in his Musnad (341) by way of Sufyan bin Uayinah from Muhammad bin al-Munkadir with the same narration, except that al-Humaydi and Tirmidhi summarized the narration but they brought extra wording after the saying: ‘Now then we want to give you allegiance’ that Sufyan said: ‘It means: shake our hands.’
And in the narration of Ahmad the wording is: ‘We said Messenger of Allaah will you not shake our hands?’
Tirmidhi said: ‘The hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh.’
I (Albaani) say: ‘And its Isnaad is authentic.
Muhammad ibn Ishaaq followed them in the narration and said: Muhammad bin al-Munkadir narrated to me, the rest of the narration with extra wording at the end: ‘Umaymah said: ‘and the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– did not shake the hand of even one woman amongst us.’
Collected by Ahmad and al-Hakim, (4/71) with a Hasan Isnaad. This narration has a brief and similar supporting evidence from the hadeeth of ‘Asmaa bint Yazeed. It was collected by al-Humaydi (368), Ahmad (6/454,459), ad-Dulaabi in ‘al-Kuna’ (2/128), Ibn AbdulBarr in ‘at-Tamheed’ (3/24/1) and Abu Na’eem in ‘Akhbar Asbahaan’ (1/293) by way of Shahr bin Hoshab from ‘Asmaa. And in the narration by Ahmad:
‘Asmaa asked the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam–: will you not put your hand out for us O Messenger of Allaah?’
And the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said to her: ‘Indeed I do not shake hands with women.’
The narrator ‘Shahr’ is weak in regards his memory, and by this extra wording, it is perceived that the women used to take the hand of the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– when giving allegiance, with a garment covering his –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– hand.
And there are some other narrations which mention this, however they are all Maraseel (A type of hadeeth which is weak, were a Tabia’ee narrates from the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam thereby being a break in the chain), which al-Hafidh mentioned in ‘al-Fath’ (8/488) so none of them can be used as an evidence especially since they oppose that which is more authentic than these narrations, like the main hadeeth under discussion and that which comes after it, likewise the hadeeth of ‘Aeysha concerning when the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– would take the allegiance from women and she mentions that: ‘And no, I swear by Allaah the hand of the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– never ever touched a woman when they would give him allegiance, except that he would say: ‘I have taken your allegiance upon that.’
Collected by al-Bukhari
As for the statement of Umm ‘Atteeya –Radhiallaahu anha- : ‘We gave allegiance to the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam–, and he recited to us <<that they should not associate anything along with Allaah>> and he forbade us from wailing at a death, so a woman withdrew her hand, she said: such and such woman helped me lament. . . .’
The hadeeth has been collected by Bukhari and this is not as apparent as it may seem that the women would shake the Messenger’s hand.
So the like of this narration cannot refute the clear text from the saying of the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam–: ‘I do not shake hands with women.’ Also his action which was narrated by Umaymah bint Raqeeaa, Aeysha and Ibn Umar as we will mention.
Al-Hafidh said: ‘It is as if ‘Aeysha indicated to this, refuting that which came from Umm ‘Atteeya, from what Ibn Khuzaima collected and Ibn Hibban, al-Bazzar, at-Tabari and Ibn Mardaway from way of Isma’eel bin AbdurRahman from his grandmother Umm ‘Atteeya regarding the story of giving allegiance. He said: the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– stretched out his hand from outside the house and then we [the women] stretched out our hands from inside the house. Then the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said: ‘O Allaah bear witness.’
Likewise, in the hadeeth which comes after this where she said: ‘A woman from amongst us held her hand.’
Indeed one feels that they would give allegiance with their hands. And it is possible to reply to the first hadeeth that stretching out the hand from behind the Hijaab indicates that allegiance was taken even though the shaking of hands did not take place.
As for the second narration then the meaning of holding/clutching the hand was the delay in submitting allegiance, or that allegiance took place with a garment placed upon the hands.
Abu Daawood narrated in ‘al-Maraseel’ from ash-Sha’abee that when the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– took an allegiance from the women who came, using a garment from Qatar and he placed it on his hand and said: I do not shake hands with women….’
Then al-Hafidh mentioned the rest of the Ahadeeth in meaning and they are all ‘Maraseel’ and cannot be used as evidence.
What he (al-Hafidh) mentioned in reply to the two Ahadeeth of Umm ‘Atteeyah, then that is the main proof that her hadeeth are from Isma’eel bin AbdurRahman and he is not a strong narrator, because this Isma’eel is not well-known rather he is used as a supporting narrator.
So in summary, it is not authentic from the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– that he ever shook hands with a woman, not even while taking allegiance, more over so shaking hands when meeting each other.
As for what some people use as an evidence for its permissibility by using the hadeeth of Umm ‘Atteeyah which she mentioned, even though shaking hands is not mentioned. Likewise they turn away from the clear Ahadeeth where the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– refrained from shaking hands, and this is something which does not stem from a sincere believer, especially since there is a severe warning for the one who touches a woman who it is not lawful to touch as is in hadeeth no. 226 [ From the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– : ‘That it is better for a person to be struck on his head with an iron rod than touch a woman whom he is not allowed to touch.’ (See the Shaykh’s comment about this hadeeth at the end of this article.)]
There is a supporting hadeeth for the hadeeth of Umayma bint Ruqayqah which will follow shortly.
After I wrote what has preceded, I saw that Ishaaq bin Mansoor al-Marwazi said in the book ‘Mas’ail Ahmad wa Ishaaq’ (1/211): ‘I said (to Ahmad): Do you dislike to shake hands with women?’ He answered: ‘I dislike it.’
Ishaaq said: ‘It is as he said it, whether it is an old lady or a young lady, indeed the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– took their allegiance while he had a garment covering his hand.’
Then I saw in ‘al-Mustadrak’ (2/486) from Ism’aeel bin Abee Owais who said that his brother narrated to him from Sulayman bin Bilal from Ibn ‘Ajlaan from his father from Fatima bint ‘Utbah bin Rabee’ah bin Abd-Shams. ‘That Abu Hudayfah bin ‘Utbah –Radhiallaahu anhu- came with her (Fatima bint ‘Utbah) and Hind bint ‘Utbah to the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– to give allegiance to him. She said:
‘He took allegiance from us and he placed conditions upon us.’
She narrates that she said to him: O my uncle’s son did you ever know of any evil and sickness whatsoever about your people?’
Abu Hudayfah said: ‘Yes we will give him allegiance, and indeed this is what the allegiance was given about and this is its condition.’
Fatima said that Hind said: ‘I do not give allegiance to you upon not stealing rather I steal from my husband’s wealth, so the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– put out his hand and she put out her hand. Then he sent a message to Abu Sufyan and he –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– made it permissible for her to take from him. Abu Sufyan said: ‘As for food stuff then she can take it, as for wealth then no and made Dua’ against her!’
She said: ‘So we gave allegiance to him then Fatima said: ‘There was no person more hateful to me than yourself and I did not like that Allaah make it permissible for you to have authority and what it contains. And now I swear by Allaah that there is no person more beloved to me than your person and that Allaah lengthens it and blesses it and gives recompense.’
The Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said: ‘Likewise, I swear by Allaah none of you truly believes until I become more beloved to you than your son and your father.’
Al-Hakim said: Saheeh al-Isnaaad and Dhahabee agreed.
I (Albaani) said: ‘Its Isnaad is Hasan because there is some talk about Muhammad bin Ajlaan and Isma’eel bin Abee Owais but it is not harmful Inshallaah.
This hadeeth supports the point that allegiance took place between the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– and the women by stretching out their hands without actually shaking hands, as was previously mentioned by al-Hafidh, since if it did take place the narrator would have mentioned it, as is apparent. So there is no difference between this hadeeth and the main hadeeth under discussion.’
[Taken from ‘Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah’ vol.2 hadeeth no.529 p.63-67]
Hadeeth No. 530
From Abdullaah bin Amr’: ‘that the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– never used to shake hands with women in taking allegiance.’
Collected by Ahmad, Albaani said its Isnaad is Hasan.
[Taken from ‘Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah’ vol. 2 hadeeth no.530 p.67]
Hadeeth no. 226
Ma’aqal bin Yassar from the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– : ‘That it is better for a person to be struck on his head with an iron rod than touch a woman whom he is not allowed to touch.’
Collected by ar-Rooyaani in his ‘Musnad’ Albani said the Isnaad is good.
Shaykh Albaani commented:
‘In this hadeeth is a severe warning to the one who touches a woman who it is not allowed for him to touch. In this hadeeth is an evidence that it is prohibited to shake hands with women because no doubt shaking hands includes touching.
Many of the Muslims nowadays have been trialed by this and amongst them some of the people of knowledge, even if some of them showed disapproval in their hearts then the situation would have become minimized a little. However, they try to regard it as permissible by using many different techniques and interpretations.
It reached us that a very big personality in al-Azhar (University in Egypt) was seen by some people shaking hands with women. Our complaint is to Allaah about the absence of Islaam.
Indeed some of the Islamic groups have taken the opinion that it is permissible to shake hands between men and women, and it was made binding upon every Hizbi (partisan) to implement it, and they use as an evidence for that, with that which is not correct, rejecting what is considered from the hadeeth, and there are other clear Ahadeeth which show the impermissibility of shaking hands between men and women.’
[Taken from ‘Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah’ vol.1 hadeeth no.226]