Is it allowed to “fist bump” with the opposite sex?

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

Some of the women in my class offer their hands for me to shake, and I try to refuse because I have read a hadith that Rasulullah said, “it is better for a man that a steel nail be driven through the center of his head rather than for him to touch the palm of a strange woman.” This is narrated by at-Tabarani in Mu’jam al kabir.

Instead, I just pound those girls’ fists, so that my knuckles comes into contact with theirs. It is not as professional, but I am still a student, and not in a professional setting, so a somewhat casual attitude is not frowned upon. Is this permissible? I have read different versions of the above hadith, some of which read “than if he touches a strange woman.” Is it if he just touches any part of her (in which case pounding a fist would be included?) or only if he touches her palm? Jazakallah

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, it would not be permissible for you to touch classmates of the opposite sex, even by doing so with your knuckles.

It is soundly reported from the Messenger of Allah that he said: “It would be better for one of you to have himself stabbed on the head with an iron nail than to touch a non-mahram woman.” [Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir]

Leave what you have been doing by asking Allah for facilitation (tawfiq) and mindfulness (taqwa), and pray the Prayer of Need. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]

Allah Most High said, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [65.2-3]

When there is taqwa, Allah sends the way out. Yet we take the means whilst relying upon Allah as the spiritual master, Ibn `Ata’illah, said, “No task is arduous if you seek to fulfil it through your Lord, and no task is facilitated if you seek to fulfil it through yourself.”

Then just be courteous, smile, and let them know that you’d prefer not to shake hands.

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

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