What is the ruling in shaking hands...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

What is the ruling in shaking hands with one another after prayer?


What is the ruling in shaking hands with one another after prayer?


Shaking hands is a recommended act in itself. Al-Nawwawi has stated, “It is a sunna which occurs upon meeting.” Ibn Batal has stated, “Shaking hands is considered a good act by the majority of scholars.” The scholars of various schools have documented the recommended nature of shaking hands between men. They have used as proof text the hadith narrated by Ka’b ibn Malik who said, “I entered the mosque and the Messenger of God was present. He got up toward Talha ibn Abuydallah in a hurry until he shook my hand and greeted me.” Also on the authority of Qatada who said he asked Anas, “was handshaking found amongst the companions of the Messenger of God?” and he said, “yes.” Also it is narrated on the authority of Ata ibn Abi Muslim Abdallh al-Khurasani who said that the Messenger of God said, “Shake hands [with one another] and hatred will vanish, exchange gifts and you will love one another and rancor will vanish.”

As for hand shaking after prayer none of the scholars has said it is impermissible. Rather they have opined that it is recommended and that it is either a praiseworthy innovation or a permissible innovation. The demarcating opinion, however, belongs to Imam al-Nawawi who stated, “If you shake hands with someone you did not greet before prayer it is a praiseworthy innovation, if you greeted them before prayer than it is a permissible innovation.”

Al-Haskafi has said, “al-Timirtashi, in accordance with al-Durr, al-Kanz, al-Wiqaya, al-Niqaya, al-Mujma, al-Multaqi, and other works, has ruled that shaking hands is permissible in all circumstances even if after the afternoon prayer. As for the statement that it is an innovation, they mean a praiseworthy innovation as has been mentioned by al-Nawawi in his adhkar.” Ibn Abdin commented on this statement by saying after mentioning all those who say it is praiseworthy in all circumstances from the jurists of the Hanafi School, “this is in accordance with what the commentator has mentioned in regards to the texts of the school and he has used as text proof the generality of the texts regarding the religious sanctioning of hand shaking.”

Other scholars have said that handshaking is praiseworthy in all circumstances after prayer. Al-Tabari found comfort for this in the hadith narrated by both Bukhari and Ahmad on the authority of Abi Jahifa who said, “The Messenger of God came out in midday to al-Batha’, he made ablution, then he prayed the noon prayer in two units and the afternoon prayer in two units. In between his hands was a spear behind which the women would pass. The people rose and went to him to take his hand and wipe their faces with it.” Abu Juhayfa said, “So I took his hand and placed it on my face and it was colder than ice, and more radiant than musk.” Al-Tabari says that one takes comfort in this when people shake hands after prayer, especially the afternoon and sunset prayer, when their actions are coupled with a good intention.

As for al-Izz ibn Abd al-Salam, after he divided innovation into five categories: mandatory, prohibited, reprehensible, recommended, and permissible, he said, “as for the permissible innovation, examples of it are shaking hands after the morning and afternoon prayer.”

Al-Nawawi has said, “As for the common handshaking after the morning and afternoon prayer, Sheikh Abd al-Salam has stated that it is a permissible innovation and it can not be described with any reprehensibility or recommendation. What he has stated is fine, and the preferred is to say that if one shakes hands with one who was with him before prayer it is permissible and if one shakes hands with one who was not with him before prayer it is recommended since shaking hands when meeting is a sunna by consensus due to the rigorously authentic hadith narrated on this subject.”

With this it is clear that whoever criticizes this action either has no knowledge of what we have mentioned or he is not on the path of knowledge to start out with. God is most high and all knowledgeable.

Some scholars regard shaking hands after prayer disliked. They opine that its continuous practice might lead those who are ignorant [of its legal status] to believe that it is part of the completion of prayer or among its recommended actions which has been transmitted from the Prophet . Consequently, they declared it disliked to block the means to such a belief. Others substantiated their opinion on its impermissibility by drawing upon the fact that the Prophet did not shake hands with congregants after prayers. In spite of their position, they maintained, as Ibn 'Illan quoted from the book Murqat Al-Mafatih, that if a Muslim extends his hands, one must not turn him down because of the resultant injury of offending and hurting his feelings. Because it is established in Islamic law that avoiding harm takes precedence over achieving an interest, these scholars maintained that avoiding injury takes precedence over the etiquette of shunning what they deem disliked.

The ruling

Shaking hands has a [textual] basis in Islamic law. The fact that it occurs after prayers does not remove it from [the scope] of permissibility. It is permissible or recommended — according to either one of the two scholarly opinions, or according to the detailed opinion of Imam An-Nawawi on this issue. It must be noted that shaking hands is neither part of the completion of prayer nor one of its recommended actions which the Prophet was reported to have observed regularly. It is this which the scholars who maintain its dislike noted and their position pertains to the assumption that shaking hands is part of the completion of prayer or one of the actions which the Prophet practiced on a regular basis and does not pertain to the practice of shaking hands per se. Those who follow the opinion of the scholars who consider this practice disliked must take this into consideration and adhere to the etiquette of disagreement concerning this issue and avoid creating dissonance, division and enmity among Muslims by refusing to shake hands with a fellow worshipper who has extended his hands after prayers. They must know that treating others with kindness and spreading friendship and bringing people together are more beloved to Allah the Almighty than avoiding an act deemed disliked by some scholars when the verifiers from among them maintained its permissibility or recommendation.
Allah the Almighty knows best.

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