There are many cases, specially for the Muslims living in non-Muslim countries, that a non-Muslim woman draws her hand towards a Muslim man to greet him with shaking hands, or a non-Muslim man tries to shake hand with a Muslim woman.

What to do in this situation?

  • Similar question: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/452/…
    – مجاهد
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 19:37
  • 1
    @AlUmmat No they are totally different. That question is not about shaking hand between man and woman, it is only shaking hand between muslim and non-muslim (both men or both women)
    – Ali
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 19:53
  • 1
    +1,Good question. There are no exceptions to the rule of prohibition man shaking hands with foreign women or vice versa ..But at the same time, there is no sin of compelled to do it, according to his intention Commented Nov 22, 2012 at 18:52
  • Also this answer may be useful in this and all similar questions brother, Godspeed with the difficult taks;)
    – owari
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 4:59
  • MYamanT What exactly do you mean by "compelled"? How can anybody be "compelled" to shake hands with someone?
    – Artus
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


Both are prohibted.As in Islam it is strictly prohibted to touch a stranger for women and men.Even both hand shakers are muslim(even man or woman) or one is muslim and other one is non muslim

Surah An-Nur, Verses 30 and 31

'And Say to the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bossoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or their (Muslim women) (i.e. sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful'

In THIS AYAT E PAK you can see that all womens are bound to hide them from others/strangers.So it is simply a logical thing that Even they are not allowed to someone see them then How it is possible that someone touch them? So same as for Men , They can't touch any stranger women and are not even allowed to see any stranger women
Let me share you some detailed links about this
1, 2 , 3

  • please feel free to ask... Actually I'm telling you the same thing that EVEN to LOOK SOME ONE STRANGER(namehram), then how it is possible to touch some one(and shaking hand is a part of touching others body part) please see this link for detail justaskislam.com/69/shaking-hands-with-women and please also check the links updated in answer
    – Freak
    Commented Nov 23, 2012 at 7:42
  • @Learner I think comparison is not so simple in Fiqh. If you could provide better references to Fatwa of different schools, Hadith in addition to Ayah, it would be great. Also the conditions of non-Muslim people is different in some issues, like marriage, or even looking them without Hijab.
    – Ali
    Commented Nov 23, 2012 at 10:44
  • 1
    @learner, although I agree with you about your conclusion but that you said "Even they are not allowed to someone see them then How it is possible that someone touch them?" is not useful here as the hands from wrist down to fingers are allowed not to be covered if are not ornamented, they may be seen but still not touched! / Also, although not recommended but what we have strictly forbidden is touching skin over skin, thus touching (of course not with ill wills) from behind the cloths like gloves CAN be OK, but will most of the time be problematic and even may be considered close to Zinaa
    – owari
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 4:53
  • 1
    What's a "strange person"? Do you mean a stranger?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 21:51
  • 1
    yes right .....
    – Freak
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 14:32

The above answer doesn't provide any of the proofs given by the one holding the opinion that it is prohibited for opposite genders to shake hands. Their proofs are linked in his answer to this answer in islamQA though, but not mentioned here.

I will answer from the standpoint that it generally is allowed to shake hands with opposite genders (while it is known that the majority of scholars maintain that it is unlawful).

Arguments proving it to be allowed

When we study fiqh, the basic understanding is that everything is allowed, except when it is proved otherwise. It is same to the context in court; "the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies".

The proof that it is haram to shake hands is often derived from this hadith:

or 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.

But according to this answer to the question: "What is meant by touch in this hadith?"

is that the hadith is clearly speaking about intercourse, and not just touch in its most literal sense.

Now, they also argue that the Prophet never shake hand with someone, therefore it is haram. The claim that the Prophet never shake hands might be correct, but that doesn't prove the conclusion to be correct. In fiqh, we do not say that everything the Prophet didn't do is haram.

`Aisha said, "And if any of the believing women accepted the condition (assigned in the above-mentioned Verse), Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) would say to her. "I have accepted your pledge of allegiance." "He would only say that, for, by Allah, his hand never touched, any lady during that pledge of allegiance. He did not receive their pledge except by saying, "I have accepted your pledge of allegiance for that."

Sahih Bukhari

Even though we have one hadith of Aicha saying that the Prophet never touched another womens hand, and even though the hadith of the Prophet saying to the women when they came to make bay'a: "I do not shake hands with women." Because he doesn't shake hands with women, whatever the context of the hadith is, doesn't prove it to generally be haram to shake hands with women.

"They said, 'Allah and His Messenger are more merciful to us than ourselves. Come, let us give our hands to you, Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I do not shake hands with women. My word to a hundred women is like my word to one woman.' " (sunnah.com - Muwatta Malik)

So these are the ahadith speaking about the Prophet not shaking hand. Logically we could end here and draw the conclusion saying that the ahadith doesn't prove it to be forbidden just because he didn't shake hands. For instance, its known that he didn't eat certain food, and that didn't mean it was forbidden.

There are some ahadith (1,2, 3), mentioning that some women even touched a sahabi's head in hajj:

then came to a woman of the tribe of Qais and she rid my head of the lice.


and went to a woman from my tribe who combed my hair or washed my head.

So, clearly a woman is touching his head.

In this and this video by Ali Gooma (Grand Mufti of Egypt, 2003-2013), he quotes some traditions that Umar Ibn Al Khattab shaked hand with the women when the prophet said that he isn't shaking hands with women. He also mentions that Abu Bakr shaked hand with a woman. He also mentions an old man getting foot massage by a woman

We also got some traditions where the prophet hold a womans hand (not shaking hand) from Sahih Al Bukhari:

Anas bin Malik said, "Any of the female slaves of Medina could take hold of the hand of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and take him wherever she wished."

and in this hadith it mentioned that the prophet didn't let go off the hand of the (slave) woman until she let go herself:

“If a female slave among the people of Al-Madinah were to take the hand of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), he would not take his hand away from hers until she had taken him wherever she wanted in Al-Madinah so that her needs may be met.”


As said earlier, the basic in fiqh is that everything is allowed until proved otherwise. So according to the answer in islamqa, proof has been given that it isn't allowed. We will summarize

  • The hadith, saying: "be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better than touch a woman"
    It is talking about intercourse, therefore this proof is baseless.
  • The Prophet said "I do not shake hands with women"
    This do not prove it to be haram, as explained earlier, just because the Prophet didn't do certain things, doesn't mean it is haram. (There are many examples of this in the Sunnah, see this for instance) We also have traditions showing that the Prophet did not let go of the (slave) women which hold his hand. We also have traditions of women combing men's (and the Prophets) hair, washing them and get rid of lice. This means the women touched the mans head at least., therefore these are bonus evidences which prove it isn't haram to shake hands. Because it would be enough to conclude that the hadith "I do not shake hands" is not proof enough.


Since we have argued against the proofs in the summarization above, we can conclude that there are no real (qat'i) proofs that it isn't allowed to shake hands with an opposite gender, therefore we cannot say it is haram. This is in accordance to our basic rule, that everything is halal until proven not.

So, it is generally allowed to shake hands with a non-mahram

Notice, if a person shakes hand with a non-mahram and somehow always gets aroused or something similar, then the ruling would change, but the basic rule (according to what we've concluded in this answer) it that it is allowed.

Answer to your question: In a situation like that, you just shake hands.
If you do follow the opinion that it isn't allowed to shake hands, many of those scholars actually count shaking hands of being within the small sins. If you are afraid that the situation might be awkward or somehow might lead to some fitna, i.e non muslim getting the wrong picture of muslims and islam, then the most wise would be to shake hands and do smile. Because we know: "Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds" and "al-fitnato ashaddo mina al-qatal" (And fitnah is greater than killing).

Can I shake hands with non mahram women? - dar-alifta.org
علي جمعة - حكم مصافحة المراة - Ali Gomaa
حكم المصافحة بين النساء والرجال - Dar Al-Ifta Al-Masrriyah
لماذا تُحَرّمون مصافحة النساء؟

The majority of scholars maintain that it is unlawful.

  • i would like to see links to the hadiths mentioned by ali gooma in text form, i cannot understand arabic.
    – qdinar
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 8:44

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

Salam, I think this hadeeth should be sufficient for this question,

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.

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