By Shaykh Mashhoor Hasan Salmaan
‘Al-Qawl al-Mubeen fee Akhta`i al-Musalleen’ [pp. 290-295]
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) reports from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that he said, “when one of you meets his brother then let him give him the salaam. If a tree, wall or rock divides them then let them give the salaam upon meeting again.”
[Sunan Abu Daawood [Eng. Trans. 3/1435 no. 5181] and its isnaad is saheeh consisting of trustworthy and precise narrators. Refer to ‘Silisilah as-Saheehah’ [no. 186]]
This hadeeth contains evidence for the Muslims to greet one another when they meet due to this act inculcating unity, absence of hatred and mutual love. The command that is mentioned in this hadeeth is one of recommendation and not obligation.
With respect to this there is no difference between the one who is in the Mosque or outside of the Mosque. Indeed the Sunnah proves that it is legislated to give the salaam to whosoever is in the Mosque regardless of whether he is in prayer or not.
Ibn Umar (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) reports that “the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to Qubaa to pray there. The Ansaar came to him and greeted him while he was in prayer. I asked Bilaal, ‘how did you see the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replying to them when they greeted him while he was in prayer?’ He replied, ‘in this way.’ Ja`far bin Awn demonstrated by extending his palm, keeping its inner side facing down and its back side facing up.”
[Abu Daawood [Eng. Trans. 1/236 no, 927] and Ahmad [2/30] with a saheeh isnaad meeting the conditions of Bukhaaree and Muslim. Refer to ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ [no. 185]]
Imaams Ahmad and Ishaaq bin Rahaawayah took to this opinion. Al-Marwazee said, “I asked Ahmad, ‘should one greet the people while they are in prayer?’ He replied, ‘yes and mentioned the story in which ibn Umar asked Bilaal how the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied to the salaam and his reply that he did so by indicating.’ Ishaaq gave the same reply.” [‘Masaa`il al-Marwazee’ [pg. 22]]
This was also the opinion that Qaadee ibn al-Arabee chose saying, “it is possible that indicating in prayer occur to reply to a salaam just as it is possible that one indicates due to a need that presented itself to him. If it is to reply to the salaam then there are a number of authentic narrations concerning this such as the action of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in Qubaa and other places.” [‘Aaridah al-Ahwadhee’ [2/162]]
The evidence for the legislation of the salaam after completing the prayer in the Mosque lies in the famous hadeeth of the man who prayed badly reported by Abu Hurayrah, “the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) entered the Mosque and a man also entered and prayed and then came and greeted the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) . The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied to the salaam and said, ‘return and repeat your prayer for you have not prayed.’ The man returned as prayed as he had done on the first occasion and then came to the Messenger of Allaah (doing this three times)” [Saheeh Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/404 no. 724] and Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/218 no. 781]]
Al-Albaanee said, “through this hadeeth Siddeeq Hasan Khaan, in ‘Nuzul al-Abraar’, derived proof that ‘if a person were to greet another and then meet him again shortly after then he should greet him again.'”
He also said, “this hadeeth also contains evidence towards the legislation of greeting those in the Mosque. This is also proven by the hadeeth that mentions the Ansaar greeting the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the Mosque of Qubaa as has preceded. However, despite this we find some of the partisans not attaching any importance to this Sunnah. So one of them enters the Mosque and does not greet those in there thinking that it is disliked to do so, so maybe in what we have written serves as a reminder to them and others and admonition is of benefit to the believers.” [‘Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah’ [1/314]]
So in conclusion we learn that the salaam and shaking of hands is to be done upon meeting and upon leaving even if it be after a short time, regardless of whether this is in the Mosque or outside of the Mosque.
However the matter that is distressful is that when you meet someone after completing the prayer and you say, ‘as salaamu alaikum’ he promptly replies, ‘taqabbalAllaah’ and thinks that he has fulfilled what Allaah has obligated in replying to the salaam. It is as if he has not heard the saying of Allaah,
“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or at least return equally. Indeed Allaah is Ever a careful account taker of all things.” [an-Nisaa` (4):86]
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “spread the salaam amongst you.”
[Saheeh Muslim [no. 54], Ahmad [2/391, 442, 447, 495] and others.] He did not say, ‘say taqabbalAllaah’!
We do not know of a single Companion or Righteous Salaf, may Allaah be pleased with them all, that they used to shake hands with those on their left and right and give the tidings of the prayer being accepted after completing the prayer. If any one of them would have done this then it would have reached us, even it be via a weak isnaad and the People of Knowledge would have quoted it those who delved into every ocean and explored their deepest depths and derived from them many rules and regulations and did not neglect a single aspect of the Sunnah.
[‘Tamaam al-Kalaam fee Bid`iyyah al-Musaafaha ba`d as-Salaam’ [pp. 24-25] and ‘al-Masjid fee al-Islaam’ [pg. 225].
Shaykh Abdullaah bin Abdurrahmaan al-Jibreen said, “many of those who pray extend their hands to shake the hands of those around them after saying the tasleem of the obligatory prayers. They supplicate for them by saying, ‘taqabbalAllaah’ and this is a bid`ah and has not been reported from the Salaf.” Refer to: ‘Mujallah al-Mujtama`’ [no. 855]]
Look and see how the Researching Scholars have quoted that the shaking of hands, in the mannerism that has just been discussed is a bid`ah. Al-Izz bin Abdus Salaam said, “shaking hands after praying the Fajr and `Asr prayers is a bid`ah. This does not hold for the one who has just arrived and shakes the hand of someone he meets before the prayer. Indeed the shaking of hands is only legislated upon meeting and the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to follow up his prayer by saying the legislated adhkaar. He used to seek forgiveness three times and then turn. It is reported that he said (after the prayer), “O Lord save me from Your Punishment on the Day You resurrect Your servants.” All goodness lies in following the Messenger.”
[The hadeeth is reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/345 no. 1529], at-Tirmidhee [no. 3398, 3399] and Ahmad [4/290] Refer to: ‘Fataawaa al-Izz bin Abdis Salaam’ [pp. 46-47] and refer to ‘al-Majmoo`’ [3/488]]
This bid`ah that was confined to the Fajr and `Asr prayers in the time of the author has now spread to include all of the prayers and there is no might or movement except with Allaah.
Al-Luknaawee said, “two matter have spread in our times and in many of the lands that are desired to abandon:
The First: the people do not greet those in the Mosque upon entering the Mosque at the time of the Fajr prayer. Instead they enter, pray their sunnahs and then they pray their fard. Then they greet one another after completing the prayer and following on from it and this is a vile state of affairs. The salaam is only a Sunnah when one meets as is established in the authentic Sunnah, it is not said at the end of a gathering.
The Second: They shake each others hands after completing the Fajr, `Asr, `Eed and Jumu`ah prayers despite the fact that it is also only legislated to shake hands upon meeting the first time.”
[‘As-Si`aayah fee al-Kashf `ammaa fee Sharh al-Wiqaayah’ [pg. 264].
From what has preceded it appears that there is no problem in two or more people shaking hands who have not previously met. Al-Albaanee said, “as for shaking hands after having completed the prayer then this is a bid`ah without doubt unless it be the case where two people meet not having previously met. In this case shaking hands is a Sunnah.” [‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ (1/23)]]
After discussing the difference of opinion concerning shaking hands after completing the prayer he said, “from those who forbade it were ibn Hajr al-Haythamee ash-Shaafi`ee and Qutub ad-Deen bin `Alaa ad-Deen al-Makkee al-Hanafee. Al-Faadil ar-Rumee declared it to be a vile bid`ah in ‘Majaalis al-Abraar’ wherein he said, ‘shaking hands is commendable at the time of meeting, as for other than the time of meeting such as after the Jumu`ah and `Eed prayers, as is the habit of our times, then the hadeeth is silent about this and therefore this action remains without any evidence. It is established that that which has no evidence to support it must be rejected and it is not permissible to blindly follow it.'”
[Ibid. Refer also to: ‘ad-Deen al-Khaalis’ [4/314], ‘al-Madkhal’ [2/84], ‘as-Sunan wa al-Mubtada`aat’ [pp, 72-77]]
Then he, may Allaah have mercy upon him, proceeded to clarify his own ijtihaad and view saying, “as for what I say: they have agreed that this shaking of hands (in this manner) has no basis in the Sharee`ah however they differed as to whether it was reprehensible or permissible. When a matter revolves around being reprehensible or permissible then it is desired to prohibit it because repressing the harm takes precedence over promoting that which is beneficial. Indeed how is it not possible that it take precedence over an action that is permissible? Furthermore those who do shake hands (in this manner) see it as a good action and they go to great lengths in vilifying those who prohibit this and they stringently persist upon it. It has preceded that persisting upon something that is recommended can lead to it becoming disliked so what then would be the case in persisting upon something that is a bid`ah having no basis in the Sharee`ah?! Therefore there is no doubt that such an action is reprehensible” [Ibid. [pg. 265]]
Finally it is necessary to point out that it is not permissible for a Muslim to sever the dhikr of his brother Muslim unless it be for a valid Shar`ee reason. Also it is not from wisdom that you retract your hand forcibly from the hand of the person next to you who is shaking it, neither is it from wisdom that you push back the hand that is extended to you for this is harshness and rudeness which is alien to Islaam. Instead you should take his hand with gentleness and kindness and explain to him that this method of shaking is an innovation for how many are the people who listen to exhortation and accept sincere advice and it was just ignorance that made them to fall into innovation. Therefore it is upon the scholars and students of knowledge to explain the Sunnah in the best of ways. It is possible that a man or student of knowledge desire to put an end to an evil but he does so in a bad way and thereby falls into an evil greater than the one he wished to reject. So I enjoin you to gentleness! Gentleness O Callers to Islaam for then the called will love you and through your good morals and character you will attract their hearts and find them taking heed. Indeed the nature of man is that he rejects what is presented to him in a severe and harsh way. [‘Tamaam al-Kalaam fee Bid`iyyah al-Musaafaha ba`d as-Salaam’ [pg. 23]]