What is the decree on shaking hands in sunnah and how is it done? Which hand is used and how are hands shaken?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1. Shaking hands (musafaha) itself is sunnah. It is also stated that it is sunnah to shake hands using both hands.

2. We have not found any clear statements about the shape of the hands. However, it is stated in some explanations of hadiths that it is necessary for the palms to touch each other. Accordingly, it is understood that shaking hands can be in either of the forms that you mention.  

3. It is also sunnah to hug each other by bringing necks together, which is called muanaqa.

According to Abu Hanifa and Imam Muhammad, it is makruh for men to kiss the faces of each other when they meet but according to Imam Abu Yusuf, it is not makruh. According to those explanations, it is permissible to make the cheeks and the heads touch each other. Since muanaqa means to make the necks touch each other, faces will naturally touch.

Some scholars state the following about kissing the face: If a person kisses the face of a religious scholar and a muttaqi person, it is permissible because it is related to maintaining the honor of the religion.

As for women, it is makruh for them to kiss the cheeks of each other when they meet and leave. (al- Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5:369)

4. The Prophet (pbuh) wanted us to start all good deeds with the right side. It is clear that it is better to start with the right side for this sunnah.

5. As for three times, we have not been able to find any information about it. There is no explanation in the narrations stating that it is repeated.

We will add the following short explanation:

It is sunnah for men to shake hands with men and for women to shake hands with women. According to the following narration by Tabarani and Bayhaqi, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"If a believer meets another believer, greets him and shakes hands with him, his sins will fall like the leaves falling from the trees in autumn."

The following is stated in anther narration:

"If two Muslims meet and shake hands, their sins will definitely be forgiven before they leave." (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi reported it from al-Bara. Nasbur-Raya, IV, 260.)

It is sunnah to hold both hands while shaking hands. Nawawi states the following in al-Adhkar:

"Know it well that musafaha is mustahab in all encounters. Shaking hands after the morning prayer and the afternoon prayer, which people transformed into a habit, does not exist in the shari’ah in that form. However, it is permissible because musafaha itself is sunnah."

The reason why the morning prayer and the afternoon prayer are mentioned here is that it was a habit in the age when he lived. The decree on musafaha after prayers is the same for all prayers. According to the view preferred by Hanafis, musafaha is absolutely permissible even if it is made after prayers. Some Hanafi scholars regard it makruh. (Wahba Zuhayli, İslam Fıkhı Ansiklopedisi, Volume IV, Risale Yayınları, p: 373)

(Mehmed PAKSU, Sünnet ve Aile)

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