The Aadaab of Musafahah (Shaking Hands)

  1. Do not shake hands (make musaafahah) with a person when his hands are involved in such an act or activity which necessitates his emptying his hands. On such occasions salaam is adequate. Similarly, when someone (e.g. the leader in a gathering or the Ustaaz or the shaykh) is engaged in something (e.g. giving a talk), then do not remain standing in expectation of obtaining consent for sitting. Merely be seated.

  2. If someone is hurrying along the road, do not stop him for hand-shaking. Such a person should not be stopped and engaged in conversation. You may be holding him up from something important.

  3. When arriving in a gathering do not make musaafahah with everyone present. Make Musafahah with only the person whom you intend to see.

  4. Some people are under the impression that mere handshaking is sufficient for restoring the peace between two antagonist or persons who have quarrelled. While the malice remains in the hearts musaafahah is of no benefit. Firstly clear the air by solving the dispute. Thereafter make musaafahah.

  5. Musaafahah should be made on arrival and on departure.

  6. When making musaafahah, the hands should not contain anything. Some people holding money in their hands make musaafahah. In this way they present a gift. This is improper. Musaafahah is a Sunnah act which is an ibaadah. It should not be corrupted with a worldly deed.

  7. Do not wait in expectation of musaafahah. Do not wish that people come forward to shake your hands.

  8. The Sunnah method of musaafahah is only to shake hands. In some places there is the custom of kissing the hands after making musaafahah. This practice should be discontinued.

  9. On the occasion of Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique radhiyallahu anhu accompanied Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. On their arrival at Madinah Tayyibah the Ansaar (Helpers or the Sahaabah of Madinah who assisted the Sahaabah of Makkah Mukarramah) came out in crowds to welcome Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam as yet, hence on account of Hadhrat Abu Bakr's radhiyallahu anhu advanced age they mistook him for the Rasool. Under this impression they began making musaafahah with him. It is very significant that Hadhrat Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu did not decline when the people mistakenly shook hands with him. This act of his indicative of the perfection of his intelligence. He continued making musaafahah with all of them. Since Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam was very tired on account of the arduous journey, Hadhrat Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu did not wish to impose the inconvenience of crowds making Musafahah on Nabi-e-Kareem sallallahu alayhi wasallam. By substituting himself Hadhrat Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu saved Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam considerable inconvenience. If someone adopts this method today in the presence of his shaykh, he will be regarded as a highly disrespected person and will be severely criticised and reprimanded.

  10. Nowadays external etiquettes of respect are regarded to be service. True service is to ensure the comfort of the one whose service is intended even if one has to undergo inconvenience and difficulty in the process. This is the meaning of Muhabbat (love). The Sahaabah practically demonstrated this.

  11. When making musaafahah, take into consideration the pleasure and the comfort of the one with whom you intend to make musaafahah. Refrain from adopting a method which will displease and inconvenience him.

  12. Making Musafahah after Salaat (as is the practice in some places) is Bid’ah.

  13. Do not make Musafahah after Salaat with one who is engrossed in some work. Just as there are rules for salaam so are there rules for Musafahah. According to the Hadeeth Musafahah is the completion of salaam. In some places while making Musafahah the thumbs are pressed. It is claimed that in the thumbs are the veins of love. This is baseless and the narration is a fabrication.