Etihad airways posted a picture on their Facebook:

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It shows prince Mohammed bin Zayed shaking hands with a woman that is a part of Etihad airways best engineers. Therefore, I got a bit curious about the situation here.

As I know, in Islam it is forbidden to shake hands with a woman. So, why is he shaking her hand?

Second, her headscarf is not fully covering her hair in the front of her head. As I saw in some other photos, not all women in UAE cover their front hair. As far as I know that is also forbidden in Islam - the whole part of the head should be covered.

What am I missing here, or am I fully wrong about those two things?

  • This is not a forum to judge countries, people or their actions; rather, it is about Islam. Please rephrase your question accordingly. – III-AK-III Aug 29 '17 at 20:32
  • @DenisWasilew PR, basically. Same reason CAIR spokespeople deny slavery is allowed in sharia. – G. Bach Aug 29 '17 at 21:15
  • @III-AK-III how am I judging anyone? By asking about interpretation of sharia laws in different regions? I'm looking for an explanation of how is something permitted in one region that is forbidden in Islam mainly. G. Bach, well, thanks! – Denis Wasilew Aug 29 '17 at 21:33
  • I think a better question is whether the UAE practices Sharia or not. Does their economy use contain and makes use of interest-based credit (Riba)? Does the UAE collect Zakat and distribute it amongst the poor? Etc. I personally am not aware of ANY Muslim-populated country that practices Sharia on a legitimate level. Having some parts of Sharia in the country's law does not mean that the country is running under Sharia. – Shadi Aug 31 '17 at 10:49

Putting aside the possibility that she's e.g. his sister or wife, there's a range of possibilities that someone might "break the rules".

  • Differences in scholarly opinion.

  • Incomplete knowledge of the rulings.

  • Disagreement with the rulings.

  • Focusing on more important matters (charity, prayer, etc.).

  • Considering these things to be lesser sins which will be removed anyway:

    If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise]. -- Qur'an 4:31

  • The impracticality of avoiding all sin.

  • Not to be obstinate in religious matters.

  • Not being particularly devout, or having a lull in one's iman (faith).

  • Because strictly adhering a host of rules makes you unhappy.

  • Trusting in Allah's subsequent forgiveness.

We'd only be guessing as to why these two people are doing what they are doing.

Sharia seems to mean different things to Muslims and non-Muslims. Muslims might consider it as an Islamic code of conduct. We don't think of it as malleable, so it doesn't make sense to talk about it being more liberal in one place.

Some governments enforce some aspects of Sharia, and this is what non-Muslims often have in mind. However, implementation varies greatly from country to country. It's probably safe to say what UAE implements is more liberal than, say, Saudi Arabia. And it's probably more strict than other countries which implement Sharia law e.g. Malaysia or Indonesia. There's a description of the UAE's implementation on Wikipedia, which doesn't sound particularly "liberal".

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  • Thank you for that! The reasons you've pointed make sense and I wasn't aware of some of them. It would be good asking a person that lives in UAE for an interpretation. The application of Islamic law article on wikipedia is exactly why I've asked about liberated version of Islam - I've been to Malaysia, Morocco and UAE and it was very easy to see how varied it can be. Thank you for the answer, have a nice day. – Denis Wasilew Aug 30 '17 at 6:08
  • "Not to be obstinate in religious matters." That doesn't mean "don't follow rulings you find too harsh", it means "don't make life hard by doing too demanding supererogatory stuff". – G. Bach Aug 30 '17 at 9:01
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    Maybe the fact that the different 7 emirates follow different schools of fiqh might play a role too. – Medi1Saif Aug 30 '17 at 16:20

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