Embracing and kissing are the ultimate forms of the manifestation of love and attachment, but these acts are permissible only when they are not opposed to the letter and spirit of the Sharee'ah, and there is no danger of their leading to harmful consequences.

It is quoted in Tirmizi, on the authority of Anas radhiyallahu anhu, that once a person inquired from the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, "Is it permissible that upon meeting a brother or dear friend we embrace him and kiss him?" "No", the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam replied. The questioner then asked, "Is it allowed to shake hands with him?" "Yes! It is allowed," said the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

The authorities have explained the forbidding of embracing and kissing in this Tradition by saying that it appertains to situations in which such an act can be the cause of an evil or mischief, otherwise several incidents of embracing and kissing by the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam himself are reported in the authentic collections of the Traditions, as the following narratives will show.

Ayyoob Ibne Bushayr radhiyallahu anhu relates, on the authority of a member of the tribe of Banoo Anzah, that he asked Aboo Zarr Ghifaari radhiyallahu anhu whether the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam shook hands with people upon meeting them. Aboo Zarr radhiyallahu anhu replied, "Whenever I went to him or met him, he always shook hands with me. Once, (it so happened) that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam sent for me, but I was not at home at that time. When, on returning, I was told that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam wanted to see me, I went to him. At that time, he was sitting on his seat. He got up and embraced me, and threw his arms around my neck, and this embrace was very good; very, very good, i.e. most blessed and pleasing. "

Aboo Daawood

It is related by Imaam Sha'bee, that when the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam received Ja'far Ibne Abi Taalib, (on his return from Abyssinia), he embraced him and kissed him between the eyes, i.e. on the forehead.

Aboo Daawood, Bayhaqi

Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa relates that I have not seen anyone more similar to the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam in shape and appearance of face, and in habits, disposition, and manner of walking than (his daughter) Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa. (She resembled him most in all these things). When she came, the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would get up, (out of love and joy), and advance towards her, and take her hands in his hands, and make her sit in his place. In the same way, when the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam went to her house, she, too, used to stand up, take his hands in her hands, and kiss them, and make him sit in her place. "

Aboo Daawood

The above reports distinctly show that embracing and kissing the hand or forehead etc., are permitted in the Sharee'ah and established by the practice of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam himself. The narrative of Anas radhiyallahu anhu in which embracing and kissing are forbidden will, thus, be deemed to be applicable to circumstances in which these are likely to lead to a sin or possess even a semblance of it.

Moreover, in Aa'ishah's radhiyallahu anhaa narrative, it is stated that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to stand up at the coming of Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa, and Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa used to do the same at the coming of the sacred Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam which shows that to stand up, out of love, joy, esteem or good-mannerliness, for a relative, a friend, an elder or any other dearly loved or venerable person, too, is correct and in keeping with what is lawful in the Sharee'ah.
However, from the other Traditions, it appears that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam did not like the Companions radhiyallahu anhum to stand up at his coming and expressed his displeasure at it. It was, probably, due to his natural humility and being free from pride.

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