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Musāfahah - Shaking Hands

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I use to see some people shake hand with both hands for more respect or showing more affection, Some others are saying prophet muhammed (SA) Only shake hands with one hand, is there any hadeeth regarding this issue, what is the actual way in this regard,




In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh


The masters of Islamic jurisprudence (fuqahā’) have mentioned that it is sunnah to use both hands in musāfahahMusāfahah is defined as placing one’s palm in the palm of another.


والمصافحة الأخذ باليد والتصافح مثله. والرجل يصافح الرجل إذا وضع صفح كفه في صفح كفه

(لسان العرب 4/47؛ صادر)


The sunnah method of musāfahah is to place the right palm in the right palm of the other person and the left hand on the back of the other person’s right hand.  This method of musāfahah is proven through several ahādīth, such as the following narration of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ūd رضي الله عنه.


حدثنا أبو نعيم حدثنا سيف قال سمعت مجاهدا يقول حدثني عبد الله بن سخبرة أبو معمر قال سمعت ابن مسعود يقول: علمني رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وكفي بين كفيه التشهد كما يعلمني السورة من القرآن ( التحيات لله والصلوات والطيبات السلام عليك أيها النبي ورحمة الله وبركاته السلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله ) . وهو بين ظهرانينا فلما قبض قلنا السلام – يعني – على النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم

(صحيح البخاري 25/926، كتاب الاستئذان، باب الأخذ باليدين؛ رحيمية ديوبند)


‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ūd رضي الله عنه said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم taught me the tashahhud, while my palm was between his palms, as he used to teach me a sūrah from the Qur’ān (Bukhārī)


‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ūd رضي الله عنه mentions that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used two hands.  The Sahābah رضي الله عنهم expressed the utmost respect for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.  Therefore, it is unimaginable that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم placed both of his hands on Ibn Mas’ūd’s رضي الله عنه hand, yet Ibn Masūd رضي الله عنه only used one hand.


Furthermore, using both hands in musāfahah was also the way of our pious predecessors.  Consider the following hadīth by Imām Bukhārī:


باب الأخذ باليدين وصافح حماد بن زيد ابن المبارك بيديه (المرجع السابق)


The Chapter of [shaking] with Two Hands.  And Hammād ibn Zayd shook hands with Ibn al-Mubārak using two hands (Ibid).

In the above narration, Imām Bukhārī clearly explains that the proper method of musāfahah is with both hands.  This is also the explanation of the fuqahā’ as seen in the examples below.


وتكره المصاحفة بعد أداء الصلاة بكل حال أما عند لقاء المسلم لأخيه بعد السلام بكلتا يديه مع أخذ الإبهام وبغير حائل من ثوب أو غيره فسنة (الدرر المباحة، ص 64؛ مطبعة)


Musāfahah is disliked after prayer in any situation.  But when meeting a Muslim brother, it is sunnah to do musāfahah firmly with both hands after saying salām and without having any barrier, such as a piece of cloth, [between the hands] (al-Durar al-Mubāhah)



وتجوز المصافحة والسنة فيها أن يضع يديه على يديه من غير حائل من ثوب أو غيره كذا في خزانة المفتين (الفتاوى العالمكيرية 5/369؛ رشيدية)


Musāfahah is permissible and its sunnah method is to place one’s hand in the hand of another without any barrier, such as a piece of cloth, in between.  This has also been mentioned in “Khazānah al-Muftīyīn” (al-Fatāwā al-‘Ālamghīrīyah)


وتلاقى عبد اللّه بن المبارك وحماد بن زيد فتصافحا ويكفي هذا العمل فبيد واحدة تجزيء وباليدين أكمل (العرف الشذي على هامش سنن الترمذي 2/101، باب المصافحة؛ قديمي)


‘Abdullāh ibn al-Mubārak met Hammād ibn Zayd and they shook hands.  This act [of musāfahah] is valid with one hand, but is more complete with two hands (al-‘Arf al-Shadhī)


Imām Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmāni summarizes this entire discussion in his masterpiece, I’ilā al-Sunan, by stating:

وهذه الآثار تدل على مشروعية المصافحة عند اللقاء وبه قال أبو حنيفة والجمهور وهل باليد الواحدة أو باليدين؟ فلا نص فيه ولكن المتوارث هو باليدين دون اليد الواحدة (إعلاء السنن 17/467؛ العلمية)


All these narrations prove the validity of shaking hands when meeting someone.  This is the opinion of Abū Hanīfah and the majority of scholars.  But is it with one hand or two?  Even though there is no clear, definitive narration for it, the method passed down, generation after generation, is with two hands, not one.


Therefore, it is important to clarify that this issue is related to the preferred method of shaking hands, not the valid method.  Hence, as important as it is to follow the sunnah to its fullest extent, it is just as important to not make minor issues the source of disunity, heated debates, and ill feelings towards fellow Muslims.  


And Allah knows best

Wassalam u Alaikum

Ml. Abrar Mirza,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah


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is it sunnah to do musaafaha with two hands? give reference [hadith and name of book]

Rasulullah is reported to have said, 'The perfect way for one to greet is to shake hands.' (Mirqaat vol.8 pg.498)

This was the way of the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu), greeted each other and shook hands. On returning from a journey, they used to embrace each other also. (Shu'bul Imaan; Bayhaqi)

This Sunnat of shaking hands should be encouraged as Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has stated that mutual greeting creates love and unity. It is clear that both hands should be used in hand shakes. Imam Bukhari has devoted whole chapter in his Sahih Bukhari on 'Chapter of Shaking hands with both hands.'

Hammaad ibn Zayd (Radhiallaahu Anhu) shook hands with ibn al-Mubaarak using both hands, then mentioned the Hadith of ibn Mas'ood (Radhiallaahu Anhu), 'Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) taught me the Tashahhud as he taught me a Sura from the Qur'aan while my hand was between his hands.'

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai


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