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Greeting, Hugging Non-Mahram Men and Women

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about a wife seeing his husband hug a non-Mahram woman in front of her children and how to deal with this.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for almost six years and have two daughters. My husband usually shakes hands with non-Muslim women and I don’t. I was thinking to talk to him about that. It was first time after six years that my husband’s non-Muslim friend invited us to a dinner. I was surprised to see when my husband’s friend’s wife asked to hug him and he said yes. They hugged each other and then we left. It was a shame for me because they did it in front of me and our kids. I want to raise my children on Islamic manners and now I am getting concerned about it because i believe that our children do what they see.

I talked to him about it and he acknowledged his mistake but I didn’t get any answer that he would not do that again or not. And now after that I am having doubts about our relationship that whether I should continue it or not.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Unless there is something more to the situation that you have failed to disclose, it would seem ill-advised to think of ending your marriage solely based on this action of your husband, which he himself admits is a mistake.

Often, even practicing Muslims find it difficult to avoid shaking hands with the opposite gender in certain situations. There is a social and psychological pressure that people often succumb to when confronted with the choice of shaking someone’s hand or not doing so in both casual and professional settings. Your husband is certainly not the first person to slip in this regard. In fact, it is a common problem that people report and inquire about.

If your husband is a good partner otherwise and someone who tries to practice his faith, I would advise you to be a loving and supporting spouse. Nudge him in the right direction. Try to understand his struggle and speak to him like a friend and sincere confidant. Help him overcome the difficulties he is facing. But don’t suffocate him. Rather, advise him and then give him some space to take it in and work on himself.

People slip, and sometimes they do so repeatedly. It does not mean they are bad people, nor does it mean that they do not care for their religion and practice. As the Prophet, blessings upon him, said, “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” (Tirmidhi)

It is also important to ensure that other areas of your life are ones where both you and your husband are practicing your faith as this may eventually be the key to overcoming one’s vices.

Finally, you should continue making supplication for him and your family. In the end, God is the one who changes hearts.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Is Hugging on Eid an Innovation (Bid`a)?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: Is it bidah to hug on Eid? A dear friend refused to hug saying it is a bidah. What is the correct way to celebrate eid then? What is the right way to greet fellow Muslims on Eid? Please explain the correct position.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

The texts of the Hanafi school are clear that the act of hugging between two individuals is permissible if done while (a) properly clothed (b) without desire, and (c) with the same sex.

Ibn Nujaym states in his Bahr al-Ra’iq, mentioning the ruling of hugging, “Our Shaykhs have stated that if one is confident in being free of desire and intends kindness, honoring, and showing respect to a Muslim then there is no harm in it (la ba’s bihi).”

This was also indicated by Imam Marghinani in his Hidayah, Imam Haskafi in his Durr al-Mukhtar, and ibn `Abidin in his Hashiya.

As such, there would no dislikedness in hugging others on Eid day to express one’s joy and happiness. Bringing happiness to the hearts of the believers is one of the most rewarding of acts one can perform, whether it be through a smile, handshake, or hug.

Wassalam
Salman