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


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 harām (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 Hanafī school, al-Hidāyah,

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

“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-Hidāyah, vol. 2, pg. 368]

It is mentioned further in the same book,

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ stated that,

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

“Whomsoever touches a woman’s palm without any need, a cinder will be placed on his hand on the Day of Resurrection.”

[al-Hidāyah, vol. 2, pg. 368]

Due to this, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ would not shake hands with women even while they would take a pledge of allegiance; they would take the pledge verbally.

The Mother of the Believers, Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah Siddīqah (may Allāh be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet ﷺ said, “The Noble Messenger ﷺ would say to those women who came to pledge allegiance, ‘Go, for you have given your pledge to me.’

وَاللَّهِ مَا مَسَّتْ يَدُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَدَ امْرَأَةٍ قَطُّ

‘By Allāh! The blessed hand of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ never touched the hand of any woman.’”

[Sunan Ibn Mājah, Hadīth 2875]

Sayyidah Umaymah bint Ruqayqah (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “I came to the Noble Prophet ﷺ with some women, to offer our pledge of allegiance to him. He ﷺ said to us,

اِنّی لَا اُصَافِحُ النِّسَاء

‘(I accept your pledge). I do not shake [meaning, do not touch] hands with women.’”

[Sunan Ibn Mājah, Hadīth 2874]

Torment has been promised for shaking hands with (non-mahram) women. The jurist, Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī (may Allāh 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.”

[Qurrah al-‘Uyūn ma’ Rawd al-Fā’iq , 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 Allāh (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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