Shaking hands with a non-mahram woman

Question

I would like a detailed answer on the ruling on a man shaking hands with a woman, and the views of the four imams and the majority of scholars on that.

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly: 

It is not permissible for a man who believes in Allaah and
His Messenger to put his hand in the hand of a women who is not permissible
for him or who is not one of his mahrams. Whoever does that has wronged
himself (i.e., sinned). 

It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yassaar said: the Messenger
of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For one of
you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than
that he should touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” 

Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 486. Shaykh
al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5045, that this hadeeth is
saheeh. 

This hadeeth alone is
sufficient to deter and to instill the obedience required of us by Allaah,
because it implies that touching women may lead to temptation and
immorality. 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah the wife of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the believing women
migrated to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him), they would be tested in accordance with the words of Allaah
(interpretation of the meaning): 

‘O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you
the Bay‘ah (pledge), that they will not associate anything in worship with
Allaah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual
intercourse’

[al-Mumtahanah 60:12] 

‘Aa’ishah said: Whoever
among the believing women agreed to that had passed the test, and when the
women agreed to that, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said to them: “Go, for you have given your oath of
allegiance.’ No, by Allaah, the hand of the Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never touched the hand of any woman,
rather they would give their oath of allegiance with words only.” And
‘Aa’ishah said: “By Allaah, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) only took the oath of allegiance from the
women in the manner prescribed by Allaah, and the hand of the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never touched the
hand of any woman. When he had taken their oath of allegiance he would say,
‘I have accepted your oath of allegiance verbally.’”

(narrated by Muslim,
1866) 

It was narrated from
‘Urwah that ‘Aa’ishah told him about the women’s oath of allegiance: “The
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never
touched any woman with his hand. He would explain to the woman what the oath
of allegiance implied, and when she accepted, he would say ‘Go, for you have
given your oath of allegiance.’” 

Narrated by Muslim, 1866 

This infallible one, the
best of mankind, the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection,
did not touch women. This is despite the fact that the oath of allegiance
was originally given by hand. So how about men other than the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? 

It was narrated that
Umaymah the daughter of Raqeeqah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “I do not shake hands with
women.” 

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i
(4181) and Ibn Maajah, 2874; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh
al-Jaami’, 2513. 

Secondly: 

It is not permissible to
shake hands even with a barrier in between, such as shaking hands from
beneath a garment and the like. The hadeeth that was narrated allowing that
is da’eef (weak). 

It was narrated from
Ma’qal ibn Yassaar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) used to shake hands with women from beneath a garment.” 

Narrated by al-Tabaraani
in al-Awsat, 2855. 

Al-Haythami said: 

This was narrated by
al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer and al-Awsat. Its isnaad includes
‘Ataab ibn Harb, who is da’eef (weak). 

Majma’ al-Zawaa’id,
6/39. 

Wali al-Deen al-‘Iraaqi
said: 

The words of ‘Aa’ishah,
“He used to accept the women’s oath of allegiance by words only” mean that
he did so without taking their hands or shaking hands with them. This
indicates that the bay’ah of men was accepted by taking their hands and
shaking hands with them, as well as by words, and this is how it was.  What
‘Aa’ishah mentioned was the custom.  

Some of the mufassireen
mentioned that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
called for a vessel of water and dipped his hand in it, then the women
dipped their hands in it. And some of them said that he did not shake hands
with them from behind a barrier and had a Qatari cloak over his hand. And it
was said that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) shook hands with them
on his behalf. None of these reports are sound, especially the last one, How
could ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) have done something that the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was ma’soom
(infallible), would not do? 

Tarh al-Tathreeb,
7/45 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

The most correct view is
that this (i.e., shaking hands with women from behind a barrier) is not
allowed at all, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth, according to
which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “I
do not shake hands with women;” and so as to ward off the means that may
lead to evil. 

(Adapted from Hashiyat
Majmoo’at Rasaa’il fi’l-Hijaab wa’l-Sufoor, p. 69) 

The same ruling applies
to shaking hands with old women; this is also haraam because of the general
meaning of the texts on this issue. The reports that say it is permissible
are da’eef (weak). 

Al-Zayla’i said: 

“As for the report that
‘Abu Bakr used to shake hands with old women, it is also ghareeb.” 

(Nasab al-Raayah,
4/240) 

Ibn Hajar said: 

I cannot find this
hadeeth. 

(al-Diraayah fi
Takhreej Ahaadeeth al-Hidaayah, 2/225) 

Fourthly: 

With regard to the views
of the four imams, they are as follows: 

1 – The Hanafi madhhab: 

Ibn Nujaym said: 

It is not permissible for
a man to touch a woman’s face or hands even if there is no risk of desire
because it is haraam in principle and there is no necessity that would allow
it.

 Al-Bahr al-Raa’iq,
8/219 

2 – The Maaliki madhhab: 

Muhammad ibn Ahmad
(‘Ulaysh) said: 

It is not permissible for
a man to touch the face or hand of a non-mahram woman, and it is not
permissible for him to put his hand on hers without a barrier. ‘Aa’ishah
(may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) never accepted a woman’s oath of allegiance
by shaking hands with her; rather he (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) used to accept their oath of allegiance by words only.” According
to another report, “His hand never touched the hand of a woman, rather he
would accept their oath of allegiance by words only.” 

(Manh al-Jaleel Sharh
Mukhtasar Khaleel, 1/223) 

3 – The Shaafa’i
madhhab: 

Al-Nawawi said: 

It is not permissible to
touch a woman in any way. 

Al-Majmoo’,
4/515. 

Wali al-Deen al-‘Iraaqi
said: 

This indicates that the
hand of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not
touch the hand of any woman apart from his wives and concubines, whether in
the case of accepting the oath of allegiance or in other cases. If he did
not do that despite the fact that he was infallible and beyond suspicion,
then it is even more essential that others heed this prohibition. It appears
from the texts that he refrained from doing that because it was haraam for
him to do so. The fuqaha’ among our companions and others said that it is
haraam to touch a non-mahram woman even if that is not touching parts of her
body that are not ‘awrah, such as her face. But they differed with regard to
looking when there is no desire and no fear of fitnah. The prohibition on
touching is stronger than the prohibition on looking, and it is haraam when
there is no necessity that would allow it. If it is the case of necessity,
e.g. medical treatment, removing a tooth or treating the eyes, etc., if
there is no woman who can do that, then it is permissible for a non-mahram
to do that because it is the case of necessity. 

Tarh al-Tathreeb,
7/45, 46 

4 – The Hanbali madhhab 

Ibn Muflih said: 

Abu ‘Abd-Allaah – i.e.,
Imam Ahmad – was asked about a man who shakes hands with a woman. He said,
No, and was emphatic that it is haraam. I said, Should he shake hands with
her from beneath his garment? He said, No. 

Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen also
favoured the view that it is prohibited, and gave the reason that touching
is more serious than looking. 

AlAdaab al-Shar’iyyah,
2/257 

And Allaah knows best.

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