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Shiagirl54

Shaking Hands With Men/women

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I am going to visit my parents in America in a month or so, and I am newly religious. I live in Lebanon, and I have gotten use to not shaking hands with men since I put my scarf on in 2009. My husband is also moderatly religious as I am. We are so worried about whats going to happen when we go to America and we dont shake hands with men/women. How am I suppose to explain my stance? Without them thinking I am an extemist maniac? My dad is Sunni & doesnt really support some of my religious boundries. If there is anyone out there with this problem, please enlighten me on how you act when an old friend comes charging at you with a hug when you havent seen them for 3 years. Or when you are almosted forced to shake someones hand! Like what do we do!

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Just go with the social dynamics at play, Survival in this world is just as important. Sure, You might have some religious notions but come on. Time to grow up and accept and survive.

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Asalam Alaikum,

 

What i do is when offered to shake someones hand, i just put my hands over my chest, slightly incline my head and smiile, if someone takes offense well reallly its their problem. OR you can just say that your getting over a nasty cold and would rather not have contact :P

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I am going to visit my parents in America in a month or so, and I am newly religious. I live in Lebanon, and I have gotten use to not shaking hands with men since I put my scarf on in 2009. My husband is also moderatly religious as I am. We are so worried about whats going to happen when we go to America and we dont shake hands with men/women. How am I suppose to explain my stance? Without them thinking I am an extemist maniac? My dad is Sunni & doesnt really support some of my religious boundries. If there is anyone out there with this problem, please enlighten me on how you act when an old friend comes charging at you with a hug when you havent seen them for 3 years. Or when you are almosted forced to shake someones hand! Like what do we do!

 

 

I've lived in America my whole life, and I've found that going to Lebanon I had to explain to Lebanese "Muslim" men why I can't shake their hands more than I had to explain it to anyone here. 

 

With that being said if someone does reach out in a social gathering I just place both my hands over my heart and shoot them my best smile and explain that I'm giving them my heart instead of my hand because my religion advises to do so. They usually appreciate that. Make it more about love and less about rules in religion and people who don't understand the religious aspect of it will take a liking to it. Trust me.

 

As for "muslim" people who try to advise you on what is right, ignore them. 

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Or..

 

 

Where always ...

 

Hestra-Classic.jpg

 

 

 

1 – Muhammad b. Ya`qub from `Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ibn Abi `Umayr from Abu Ayyub the silk dealer from Abu Basir from Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام.  He said: I said to him: Does the man shake the hand of the woman who is not a mahram?  So he said: No, except from behind a garment.

 

 

 2 – And from a number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad from `Uthman b. `Isa from Sama`a b. Mihran.  He said: I asked Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام about the shaking of the hands of a man and a woman.  He said: It is not allowed for the man to shake the hand of the woman except the woman whom he is forbidden to marry, a sister or a daughter or a paternal aunt or a maternal aunt or the daughter of a sister (niece) or like it.  And as to the woman whom it is allowed for him to marry, then he does not shake her hand except from behind the garment and he is not to press her palm.

Edited by Nima

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Why is this such a big deal. Seriously, you guys make it harder than it is. When a man wants to shake your hands, simply place your hand on your chest and slightly bow and smile, then say "I'm sorry but I can't shake hands with men for religious reasons" or whatever. He'll understand. So simple.

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It isnt that simple to non muslims who dont understand why they don't shake hands with the opposite sex. That's why the OP said "without it making me look like an extremist maniac".

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Salam Alaikom,

 

I have always had so much difficulty with the whole not shaking hands with men as I am very shy. I even remember discussing with my friends, what is one of the most difficult obstacles of ahkam, and I remember saying telling a na-mahram, "I'm sorry, but I can't shake hands with you".

 

I have finished my 3rd year at university now, and everytime I meet with classmates or have groupmates, I pray to God so much that the men do not ask to shake my hands, because I just don't want them to feel embarrassed in front of others. 

 

In a lot of cases, if I tell a guy I can not shake hands, they avoid talking to me as a whole in the future. For example asking for notes, or homework, etc..

I remember when I was in high school, I was taking a college course, and there was different age groups varying from like 16-60years, and I was the only 16 year old. When I did not shake hands with an older american man which was around 45ish, he ended up respecting me so much more and praising my essence. (it wasn't praising, it was rather saying so much good about me, when he had just met me!)

 

Simply, how I react is as someone mentioned above, I put my hand on my chest and say im so sorry, but I can't shake hands. And I make sure to smile a lot lol.

At some point, I was on the verge of shaking someones hand cause I felt super embarrassed, but remembered if you truly want to have Iman and Taqwa you need to be able to survive hard tasks, plus this is not even that much of a difficult task.

 

You will be fine, but remember it all depends on how much you are able to value Allah's rules and your level of Iman. 

Good Luck!

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It isnt that simple to non muslims who dont understand why they don't shake hands with the opposite sex. That's why the OP said "without it making me look like an extremist maniac".

Oh yes it is easy. I live in the states and I do it every time. Who cares if they think you're an extremist maniac? What they think is worth nothing to make Allah unhappy with you. Trust me, they won't think like that. Most of the men I meet, just say "oh I'm sorry I didn't know that" etc.. But they'll forget about it once they see how friendly and smiley and normal you are. Even though some situations are so awkward, like job interviews, you'd think that maybe not shaking their hands and making them feel awkward will not get you the job, but it's Allah's choice if you get the job or not, whether you shake their hands or not anyways.

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Living in this day of age I think people need to be more flexible about certain situations especially when living in the West. But saying this it shouldn't go against your religion or push you to do haram...

What do you lot think about sitting next to the opposite sex on a bus or in a class setting etc?

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This question is nagging at me because I am starting a new job in a few weeks inshaAllah, and I am trying to plan in advance so I can strengthen the resolve not to touch non-mahrams. 

 

My question is, what exactly do you say to people?

 

I used to be much better at this, but since entering into a field that tends to emphasize progressive thought, my nafs has at times compelled me to shake hands with men to send some sort of message that despite my hijab I am open-minded and committed to gender equality. I feel like I have something to prove, as though my willingness to touch non-mahrams will somehow set me apart in their minds from cultures of illiteracy and honor killings.

 

I know this is deeply problematic because, of course, what others think is irrelevant when put up against my relationship with God (not to mention the fact that these non-mahrams probably don't give a second thought to the fact that I touched them without protest). But in that split second of decision making, shyness and the temptation to take the easy way out and not make a big deal of it can win out over logic and reason. 

 

I have a feeling that if I can string together an eloquent and concise explanation and practice saying it, it would be the perfect weapon to help me overcome this weakness. But part of me wonders if the desire for such a zinger is just a symptom of worldly egoism that I should fight. Should I just not say anything at all unless someone asks? I think I could get by with a gesture and a smile in most situations, but that would leave me worried about misunderstandings.

 

If you do say something to non-mahrams, what do you say? Does this differ depending on whether they have Muslim backgrounds? "My faith doesn't allow me to touch men" sounds a bit too much like it is an external constraint rather than a jihad against my own nafs. "I don't feel comfortable shaking hands with members of the opposite sex" sounds like I am trying to hide the religious motivation and might cause the other person to take offense. 

 

(As a side note, I must say alhamdulillah for this forum--I was a bit tempted to get in touch with young man I've heard declines handshakes and introduce myself and chat him up on the pretense of seeking his advice on how to deal with this issue in the workplace--so the mere existence of this thread has helped me avoid creating one morally suspect situation for myself and another).

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I bring my hand on my heart and a bright smile on my lips and say. "With all my due respect, my hand on my heart as a shake of hands". In most cases it works.

If they ask why (very rarely, to be honest), I don't lie and I explain to them that I choose to not have physical contacts with unrelated men.

I don't deny I always have to screw up my courage  :blush:

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You can always run away from it...

 

I live in Africa, and the country Im in take everything as racism, so when I see a woman, I come up with an excuses from shes far away to make her coffee or get papers or files...

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Salam Alaikom,

 

I have always had so much difficulty with the whole not shaking hands with men as I am very shy. I even remember discussing with my friends, what is one of the most difficult obstacles of ahkam, and I remember saying telling a na-mahram, "I'm sorry, but I can't shake hands with you".

 

I have finished my 3rd year at university now, and everytime I meet with classmates or have groupmates, I pray to God so much that the men do not ask to shake my hands, because I just don't want them to feel embarrassed in front of others. 

 

In a lot of cases, if I tell a guy I can not shake hands, they avoid talking to me as a whole in the future. For example asking for notes, or homework, etc..

I remember when I was in high school, I was taking a college course, and there was different age groups varying from like 16-60years, and I was the only 16 year old. When I did not shake hands with an older american man which was around 45ish, he ended up respecting me so much more and praising my essence. (it wasn't praising, it was rather saying so much good about me, when he had just met me!)

 

Simply, how I react is as someone mentioned above, I put my hand on my chest and say im so sorry, but I can't shake hands. And I make sure to smile a lot lol.

At some point, I was on the verge of shaking someones hand cause I felt super embarrassed, but remembered if you truly want to have Iman and Taqwa you need to be able to survive hard tasks, plus this is not even that much of a difficult task.

 

You will be fine, but remember it all depends on how much you are able to value Allah's rules and your level of Iman. 

Good Luck!

 

I second this. Also, I've noticed that not shaking a persons hand from the first encounter, it actually earns you quite a bit of respect from them. And, all the other non-mahrams around are more aware about it and keep a respected distance. Just one "embarrassing" encounter saves you from a million others. 

 

Like on my first day of university, first year, we were introduced to all the other students studying the same course as us. It turned out that I happened to come a little late and got to meet everyone all together, the very first person I was introduced to was a guy who extended his hand and said "Hi, my name is... nice to meet you". I hesitated for a second but then clasped my hands together and shyly said "sorry, I can't shake your hand, it's against my religion". That stopped all the other guys from attempting to shake my hand and even prevented them from randomly bumping into me in the future. You know all those friendly little pats on the back or nudges you get from people, yeah, they were really careful about those as well. If you politely just tell someone you can't do something and not get pressured into lying then people generally tend to respect that. They might initially treat you differently because they just aren't accustomed to your way of doing things, but eventually they'll come around and realize that you're as normal as they are, and that you just have a different belief system. 

 

On the contrary, I have a friend who has been put into a few uncomfortable situations, but did not respond as directly and honestly as I had. She, I guess, feels it's okay to shake a non-mahrams hand because as she puts it "there really isn't anything wrong with it". She's had a "friendly" classmate nudge her quite a few times, put his hands over her eyes (playing the "guess who" game), he's even awkwardly hugged her. If she had just refused direct physical contact with him in the beginning, or any other male in that class, then she could have saved herself from all of that. Even after those situations, and after I told her to directly confront him and tell him that it's against your religion to have any physical contact with a non-mahram, she chose to play things a little differently. She just pretended that she's a germaphobe (which ironically is true) and doesn't like to be "touched". That pretty much resulted in her offending the guy and it does nothing to stop other guys from doing the same things he had done. 

 

There's no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed of your beliefs. The more you respect your beliefs and confidently stick to them, the more prone others are to respecting you for it. 

What do you lot think about sitting next to the opposite sex on a bus or in a class setting etc?

If it's unavoidable, or if the other person comes and sits next to you and you do not want to move seats so as to not seem rude (especially if it's a classmate who started a conversation with you), and you're not touching, then what's the problem? 

Edited by yafatimaalzahra

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If you want to practice your religion with enough determination then you can. No matter what the circumstances. Islam is truly practicable through any circumstance. I managed to have a beard, pray on time, fast, stay completely away from alcohol and avoid contact with the opposite sex while competing internationally for team GB and while training under the British Army. (please don't start a debate on the permissibility of being in the Army I will explain one day). 

 

Fortunately most westerners believe in freedom of religion and even if they don't agree with your belief they have learnt to respect it. Those who do not respect it are bound by law to do so. However in practical terms a quick explanation followed by a joke sorts most things out. People who take offense do so for two main reasons from my experience. Prejudice due to the media and society against Islam or prejudice due to discomfort with people who are 'different'. Both can be solved by showing that you are indeed not very different from them through integration. It also gets easier as you go on because if a few people understand they make others understand and accept it without you having to do the work.

 

If anything you'll find you have to stop people caring about it so much. I once had guys avoid shaking hands with me because they thought it applied for both men and woman. I also had to calm down my corporal who had a salaat timetable and wold wake me up to pray fajir (after I had already prayed) because he had a dodgey timetable from the internet. 

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