Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Through my friendship with my friend and his muslim family, I embraced Islam. However, they don’t observe rules of gender interaction. When his mother and aunties try to shake hands with me and I refuse, they get upset. How should I deal with it?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for wanting to do that which pleases Allah.
Abu Ad-Dardh narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.” [Tirmidhi]
Alhamdulilah for your friend’s family being the means to your Islam. What a tremendous blessing! I encourage you to still visit them, but for special occasions e.g. Eid and Ramadan at a minimum. Explain to your friend why you feel uncomfortable when you visit. InshaAllah he can tactfully communicate that to his womenfolk, and they can learn to adjust if they wish to see you more often. Any relationship requires give and take. Your request is reasonable.
Make dua for Allah to guide them, give them gifts, be kind to them, and model good character. Allah has blessed them through you making good on your Islam; you have the opportunity to be a positive influence on them.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani