Shaking hands when meeting & parting

Abu Hurairah said that: “When the Prophet ﷺ used to see someone off, he would say:

أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللهَ دِينَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ
(I leave your religion, your trusts, and the last of your deeds in Allaah’s protection).”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“A number of benefits can be derived from this authentic narration. First: the lawfulness of seeing someone off with its statement:

أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللهَ دِينَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ

The traveler then responds to him by saying:

أَسْتَوْدِعُكُمُ اللهَ الَّذِي لا تَضِيعُ وَدَائِعُهُ
(I entrust you to Allaah whose trusts are never lost).[1]

Second: taking hold of one hand when shaking hands (al-musaafahah), which has been mentioned in many narrations. This is what its linguistic derivation indicates, as Lisaan al-`Arab states that: ‘Al-musaafahah is taking hold of the hand, the same as at-tasaafuh. A man shakes hands with another man if he places the safh of his hand in the safh of the other’s hand, safh meaning the front (palm). An example of this is the narration about al-musaafahah upon meeting, which is an interaction of joining one palm to another and turning face-to-face.’ I say: some of the afore-mentioned narrations report this meaning as well, like the marfoo` narration of Hudhaifah: ‘Indeed, if a believer meets another believer then greets him with the salaam and takes hold of his hand and shakes hands with him, their sins fall off as leaves of trees do.’[2] Al-Mundhiri (3/270) said: ‘At-Tabaraani reported it in al-Awsat, and I don’t know of anyone who was refuted among its narrators.’ I say: it has supporting narrations that raise it to the level of saheeh, such as the narration of Anas mentioned by ad-Dhiyaa al-Maqdisi in al-Mukhtaarah (240/2-1) which al-Mundhiri attributed to Ahmad and others. All these narrations show that the way of the Prophet in shaking hands is to take hold of one hand; hence handshaking with both hands which some of the shaikhs do is against the Sunnah, so let this be known.

Third: shaking hands is legislated at the time of parting as well, which is supported by the general meaning of his ﷺ statement: ‘Shaking hands is part of perfecting the greeting of salaam.’ This is a jayyid narration considering its chains of narration, and perhaps we will dedicate a special chapter to it if Allaah تعالى wills. Then I traced these chains of narration and it became clear to me that they are extremely weak, which cannot be used as supporting evidence to strengthen the narration. Hence, I reported it in as-Silsilah adh-Dha`eefah 1288. The basis for using it as evidence, rather supporting evidence, only becomes clear if one remembers the lawfulness of giving the salaam when parting as well due to his ﷺ statement: ‘If one of you enters a gathering then let him give the salaam, and if he goes to leave then let him give the salaam, as the former is not more deserving than the latter.’[3] Abu Daawood, at-Tirmidhi and others reported it with a hasan chain of narration. So what some people say –that shaking hands at the time of parting is an innovation– is baseless. Yes, whoever looks at the narrations about shaking hands upon meeting will find them to be more numerous and stronger than those about shaking hands when parting. A naturally intelligent person will conclude that the lawfulness of the second handshaking is not like the first one in rank. The first one is sunnah and the second one is mustahabb. As for the second one being an innovation, then no, due to the evidence that we mentioned. On the other hand, shaking hands immediately after the prayers is an innovation no doubt, unless it is between two people who had not met before that, in which case it would be sunnah as you learned.”


[1] Saheeh al-Kalim at-Tayyib 168
[2] As-Silsilah as-Saheehah 526
[3] Saheeh Abu Daawood 5208, Saheeh at-Tirmidhi 2706

[as-sisilah as-saheehah 16 / alalbaany.com]

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Shaking hands when meeting & parting

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