Question/Comment: Assalamu alikum xx xxxxxxx xxxxxx,
I have a non-Muslim professor who asked me this question: “In Muslim culture, when doing business or interacting among friends, what is the cultural substitute for shaking hands? How is a greeting communicated between a woman and a woman, between a man and a man, between a man and a woman during a first-time meeting? How is respect shown?”…And this is how I put together my answer but I haven’t submitted to him, so would you please check my answer and tell me what needs to be changed, and what not…I will appreciate your feedback.
My answer: The handshake greeting is recommended between same genders in Islam. Men can shake hands, kiss on the cheeks, and hug…etc their wives, mothers, sisters, aunts. Men amongst themselves can greet each other the way they want as long as it’s appropriate (hugging, kissing on the cheeks, shaking hands, touching each other’s shoulder, whatever the culture of their nationality uses for greeting, and again as long as it’s appropriate from the manners prospective). And women can use the same greetings amongst themselves as well.
According to the Islamic law, it is not permissible for Muslim men or women to shake the hands of (any opposite gender who’s not related to that opposite gender; even though women cousins are related to that man, but they may not be allowed to greet with any physical contact), regardless of each others’ religion, nationality. The respect is shown between men and women the first time or any time they meet can be anything that does not cause or lead to a physical contact. It can be a respectful oral greeting, like the “Peace be upon you” phrase. In fact, to show higher respect for women in Islam; men can greet women, but they should not expect the women to greet them back. Also, the non-physical contact in the Muslim culture shows more respect toward women from men.”
How did I do? :/
Jazakum Allah min kul Khair.
(Name: Urgent! I need your answer as soon as possible please!)
Time: Tuesday November 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm
Answers: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
- First of all, there should be limited communication between strangers.
- The greeting would differ from context to context. Regardless of the context, physical hugs and handshakes would be avoided with strangers.
- A formal note should be sent prior that states: Mrs. so and so would be meeting with your company/agency. The protocols would be fulfilled a specified manner. E.g. No handshakes, etc. (If this is not done, then you have a case that can unfold itself, as it did for Mrs. Obama) Thus, I think organizations appreciate such advance notices, surprises are not in anyone’s best interest.
- What institution are you going to? Professors seem to be more aware of cultural behaviors that relate to handshakes, bows, eye movements, pats on the back, dress code norms, etc. due to the diverse student pool they deal with. I honestly think sometimes professors ask such questions to test your level of ‘fundamentalism.’ (Whatever that means!)
- The answer you had shared was correct. (click on the following link) There would be differences here and there as to how each of us would share our response. I do not think your professor needs to know the context under which exceptions occur to what you have answered. Again, good responses, with time you can fine tune it. (Grade A-)
Allah Certainly Knows Best.
p.s. No clue why you wrote: Name: ‘Urgent! I need your answer as soon as possible please!!!!’ Unless you just want to be praised for your response!