Musaafahah done with one hand or both
Fatwa No: 342082

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. What is the authentic hadith for Musaafahah (shaking the hand) with one hand? There are so many interpretations given by people in our region (South India). If the solid Nass (text) is not found, then following the Urf (local custom), Musaafahah with both hands, is better in my view. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

There is no text that states the command to use one hand only in Musaafahah. However, there are several ahaadeeth that indicate that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would use only one hand in Musaafahah with his Companions, and there are also ahaadeeth that indicate that he would use both hands. Therefore, scholars held different views as to whether it is prescribed to shake hands with one hand only or with both hands. There are two scholarly views in this regard. The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh reads:

"Scholars held different views as to whether it is recommended to use both hands or one hand in Musaafahah. The Hanafis and some Maalikis maintained that it is an act of Sunnah to use both hands in Musaafahah. Its manner is to let the palms of the two persons' right hands touch one another and that each puts the palm of his left hand on the back of the other's right hand. They said that this was the common practice of the Companions and Taabi‘is (generation following the Companions) in this regard. They relied on the statement of Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, which reads, "The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, taught me to recite the Tashahhud with my palms between his palms." They also relied on the statement cited by Al-Bukhaari in the chapter: The Chapter of (Shaking) with Two Hands. It reads, "And Hammaad ibn Zayd shook hands with Ibn Al-Mubaarak with both hands," noting that this was the common practice among the Companions and Taabi'is.

They also relied on the report on the authority of ‘Abd Ar-Rahmaan ibn Razeen, who said, "We passed by Ar-Rabathah (a village near Al-Madeenah) and were told, 'Salamah ibn Al-Akwa‘, may Allah be pleased with him, is here.' I went to him and we greeted him. He brought out his hands and said, 'With these two, I pledged allegiance to the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.'" They also relied on the hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which reads, "There are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands with one another but that Allah makes it incumbent upon Him to attend their supplication and not let their hands separate until He has forgiven them." They argued that the versions of this hadeeth and others used the plural form 'hands' (which in Arabic means more than two), and this means that it refers to Musaafahah with both hands, not one.

Other scholars held that the prescribed manner of shaking hands does not go beyond the linguistic meaning of the Musaafahah; it means one palm touching another. They relied on the statement of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Busr, may Allah be pleased with him, which reads, "Can you see this hand of mine? I bear witness that I placed it on the hand of Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam..."

Among the scholars who held the permissibility of using one hand in Musaafahah was Al-Mubaarakfoori  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his book Tuhfat Al-Ahwathi. He listed the ahaadeeth indicating using one hand in Musaafahah at the end of the chapter "Chapter on Musaafahah" in Sunan At-Tirmithi.

We believe that this matter is broad, Allah willing. There is no harm in using both hands in Musaafahah, as Salamah ibn Al-Akwa‘, may Allah be pleased with him, did when pledging allegiance to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as he said, "With these two, I pledged allegiance to the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam..." [Al-Bukhaari: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad - Al-Albaani graded it hasan (good)]

And whoever wishes to use one hand in Musaafahah may do so.

Allah knows best.

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