What are the benefits of shaking hands?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Islam is a religion that emphasizes manners in communication towards others regardless of whether they are Muslims or not. Furthermore, one of the reasons Allah SWT sent the Prophet Muhammad PBUH is to perfect the character of people, as the Prophet PBUH himself said:
إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ صَالِحَ الْأَخْلَاقِ
"I was sent to perfect good character."
Musnad Ahmad (8952)[Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh states the hadith is authentic and the sanad is strong]
Furthermore, shaking hands when meeting someone is one of the manners and good conduct in Islam. The reason is, it showcased the love and care between those who are shaking hands. According to the above question, there is a hadith that mentioned the benefit of shaking hands:
- From al-Bara’, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ، فَيَتَصَافَحَانِ، إِلَّا غُفِرَ لَهُمَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَتَفَرَّقَا
"There are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands, but they will be forgiven before they part."
Musnad Ahmad (18547)
The above hadith is narrated by Imam Abu Daud, Imam al-Tirmizi and Imam Ibn Majah in their sunan. As for the status of the above hadith, we include the scholars’ opinions on it:
- Imam Abu Daud (275 H) stayed silent (did not state the status) of the hadith in his sunan and if Imam Abu Daud do not state the status, then the hadith is soleh (where it is acceptable in terms of the text and chain of narrators). (See: Sunan Abi Daud, 354/4)
- Imam al-Tirmizi (279 H) stated the hadith as hasan gharib. (See: Jami’ al-Tirmizi, 74/5)
- Imam Ibn al-Mulaqqin (804 H) evaluated the hadith from al-Bara’ as hasan. (See: al-Tawdhih li al-Jami’ al-Sahih, 105,29)
- Imam al-Suyuthi (911 H) stated the hadith is authentic. (See: al-Jami’ al-Saghir, 288/2)
- Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh evaluated the hadith as sahih li ghiarihi. (See: Musnad Ahmad, 517/30)
Reviewing on the above opinions of scholars, we are inclined to state that the hadith is hasan and this is supported by the actions of the companions of the Prophet PBUH. This is in accordance with an authentic hadith:
- From Qatadah RA, he said from Anas bin Malik RA:
أَكَانَتِ المُصَافَحَةُ فِي أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ
"Was it a custom of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) to shake hands with one another?" He said, "Yes."
Sahih al-Bukhari (6263)
Furthermore, Imam Ibn Bhattal said that shaking hands is considered as a good deed according to most scholars and Imam al-Nawawi also said that shaking hands is agreed as a sunnah when meeting someone. (See: Fath al-Bari, 55/11). This action is sanctioned by most jurists as sunnah supported by several authentic and hasan narrations. (See: al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 356/37)
To conclude, the hadith mentioning the benefit of shaking hands is hasan as stated above. Furthermore, this practise has been in existence since the time of the Prophet PBUH as narrated by the companions of the Prophet PBUH. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us strength to practise it and spread this sunnah of our beloved Prophet PBUH. Amin.