Handshaking in Islam

Handshaking, which is known as ‘Musaafaha’ in Islam is from among the practices of the Messenger of Allah (SA) and one which was done by the companions of the Prophet (SA).

According to a tradition recorded by Imam Tirmizi, it is known as the completion of the greeting to one another. Abu Zarr (RA) said, ‘Whenever I met the Messenger of Allah (SA), he made ‘Musaafaha’ with me’. (I.e. he shook hands with me) (Abu Dawood).

According to several traditions, it is evident that this act of handshaking is one which has special virtues in it. In a hadith recorded by Imam Tirmizi and Abu Dawood, it is narrated that the Prophet (SA) said, ‘Whenever two Muslims meet and then shake hands with each other, their sins are forgiven before they separate’. (Imam Tirmizi has graded it as a Hassan (good) hadith). Another tradition recorded in Mishkaat from Ata (as a Mursal tradition) informs that (Musaafaha) handshaking between Muslims helps to remove ill feelings which they may have for each other.

Handshaking (Musafaha) is normally done at the time of meeting another Muslim after the greeting of Salaam has been given. (As recorded in Mirqaat by Mulla Ali Qaari and Allama Nawawi in Al-Azkaar). At this time it is also recorded that one can pray for the forgiveness of each other. Bara Bin Azib (R.A.) has narrated that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘When two Muslims meet and shake hands with each other, then praise Allah and seek forgiveness from him, both of them will be forgiven’. (Abu Dawood)