What Does It Mean to Shun Another Muslim?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


The hadith prohibits shunning another Muslim for more than three days. What does it mean to shun another Muslim?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is not permissible for a person to shun their brother more than three nights, such that they meet and each one turns their back on the other. The better of the two is he who initiates the greeting of Salam.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

In this blessed narration, we see an indication of what shunning entails: each turns away from the other when they meet.

The Minimum of Shunning

From this narration and others, we see that not replying to one’s greeting of Salam is sufficient to be considered shunning. That is unless there is a legally recognized excuse that would allow that. [Ali Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih]

Thus, whoever gives the greeting of Salam, is free from the sin of shunning. The other is accountable for shunning if s/he does not reply to that Salam. For this reason, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The better of the two is he who initiates the greeting of Salam.” [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.

He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.

In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.