[Q-ID0415] Can I shake the hand of a woman during a job interview?

QUESTION:

What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter; whenever a person goes for a job interview in England, he has to shake hands with a female. Is this permissible? 

Questioner: Wasim from Birmingham,  UK

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

It is not permissible to shake hands with non-mahram women. It is haram (prohibited) to touch any part of a non-mahram woman’s body without any need, even if there is no fear of lustful desire. A handshake is not necessary in an interview. An interview can be done even without a handshake. Thus, a handshake is not permissible in this case.

It is mentioned in one of the most authentic works of the Hanafi school, al-Hidayah:

(وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ أَنْ يَمَسَّ وَجْهَهَا وَلَا كَفَّيْهَا وَإِنْ كَانَ يَأْمَنُ الشَّهْوَةَ) لِقِيَامِ الْمُحَرَّمِ وَانْعِدَامِ الضَّرُورَةِ وَالْبَلْوَى

Translation: “It is not permissible for a man to touch the face and hands of a non-mahram woman, even if there is no fear of lustful desire. This is because it contains a prohibited act and is not done out of any necessity.” [al-Hidayah, vol. 2, pg. 368]

It is mentioned further in the same book:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ stated:

مَنْ مَسَّ كَفَّ امْرَأَةٍ لَيْسَ مِنْهَا بِسَبِيلٍ وُضِعَ عَلَى كَفِّهِ جَمْرَةٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Translation: “Whomsoever touches a woman’s palm without any need, a cinder will be placed on his hand on the Day of Resurrection.” [al-Hidayah, vol. 2, pg. 368]

Due to this, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would not shake hands with women even while taking a pledge of allegiance. He ﷺ  would take the pledge verbally.

Sayyidah ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet ﷺ said: “When the believing women emigrated to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, they would be tested in accordance with Allah’s saying: ‘O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the pledge…’” [60:12]

Sayyidah ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “Whoever among the believing women affirmed this, passed the test. When they affirmed that, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would say to them: ‘Go, for you have given your pledge.’ No, by Allah! The hand of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ never touched the hand of any woman, rather he accepted their pledge in words only.” ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “By Allah, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ did not demand of women (in their pledge) anything other than that which Allah had commanded, and the hand of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ never touched the hand of a woman. He would say to them, when he had accepted their pledge: ‘You have given your pledge,’ verbally.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith no. 2875]

Sayyidah Umaimah bint Ruqaiqah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “I came to the Prophet ﷺ with some women, to offer our pledge of allegiance to him. He ﷺ said to us: ‘(I accept your pledge) regarding what you are able to do. But I do not shake hands with women.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith no. 2874]

Torment has been promised for shaking hands with (non-mahram) women. The jurist, Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi (may Allah have mercy upon him) records, “A person who shook hands with non-mahram women will be brought on the Day of Resurrection in a state in which his hands will be tied to his neck, with chains of fire.” [Rawd al-Fa’iq ma’ Qurrat al-‘Uyun, pg. 389]

Those spiritual guides who take the pledge of allegiance from their female followers by touching their hands and thus commit a prohibited act must find edification (in the above statements). We seek refuge in Allah (from such misdeeds).

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri 
Translated by the SeekersPath team

Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0415] Can I shake the hand of a woman during a job interview?

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