Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Does the ruling regarding shaking hands with members of the opposite gender relate to avoidance of skin contact in particular or the impersibility of shaking hands of the opposite gender in gender? Can one over come this impermissibility if one were to shake the other person’s hand while using a glove(s)? For example, in the case of university convocations when one is confronted with shaking the hand of a university authority who may be someone of the opposite gender.

Also, as a tactic of avoiding shaking hands all together I strategy that came to mind was to present a visiting size shaped card with a message imprinted saying that ” In accordance with my religion I can not shake the hands of women/men who are not my immediate relatives. I mean no offense”. Do you think this approach is that the way of Hikma and Proper Adab? Insh Allah I respectively look forward to your response.

Answer   : It is better to just do the right thing. One way is to inform them beforehand, and to explain why. Then, when the time comes, just to make eye contact, smile, and place one’s hand on one’s chest.

It helps when explaining it to mention that this is also the practice of others. (“Like conservative Jews and persons of some other faith backgrounds, as a conservative Muslim I don’t shake hands with unrelated individuals of the opposite sex, as an expression of respect and modesty.” Or something like that.)

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.

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