I Touched a Woman; How Can I Be More Mindful of the Sacred Law in the Future?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

I know I shouldn’t be doing this but yesterday, an elderly woman came to my home, and she asked for water, and I gave her water. While calling her, I touched her back.

I know I should not have done this, but I just forgot at that moment, and my concern is: how can I be more conscious of Allah and remember His rules all the time and follow them?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Awareness and regret for our mistakes are the first steps in being mindful of the Sacred Law in the future. No one is perfect, and this awareness does not come without experience and sincere effort.

The Impermissibility of Touching an Unrelated Member of the Opposite Gender

As a man, you did not have the right to touch an unrelated female in that way, especially if taking advantage when she is vulnerable and seeking your help.

According to the dominant position of the Hanafi school, the only exception to the prohibition of a man touching an unrelated (non-mahram) woman (and vice versa) is the permission to touch the hand of an elderly woman, as long as there is no lust or lustful intention involved. However, if there is lust, then this too would be impermissible. If the touch was lustful, you should repent to Allah and keep a respectful distance in the future when such a situation arises. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

Allah Forgives All Sins

If the touch was a genuinely innocent slip and out of mercy for someone elderly and the like, then just use this occasion as a reminder to become more conscious next time and gradually improve. Allah says, “O My servants who have wronged their souls! Do not despair of the mercy of Allah; Allah forgives all sins; He is certainly the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [Quran, 39:53]

Mindfulness of the Sacred Law

Mindfulness of the Sacred Law comes by learning it, applying it with excellence, and remembering Allah regularly. Sometimes, that mindfulness is also reinforced by the slips that were written for us to commit and repent from, so we then resolve not to repeat them by Allah’s will.
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.