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Did Nabi (sallallallahu'alayhi wasallam) touch the hand of strange women

Question

First of all, may Allah grant you Jannatul Firdaus for your efforts.

Question: I´ve read the following extract of a text. The text contains strong arguments (from my perspective) that it is allowed to touch non-Mahram women, as long as there is no fear of desire. I always thought that would be haram but the hadith (sahihayn) seems to indicate something different. My question is: what is the understanding of the hadith? Here is the text passage:

“It is reported in the two Sahihs that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit Umm Haram bint Milhan, who would offer him meals. Umm Haram was the wife of `Ubadah ibn As-Samit. Allah’s Messenger once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Then Allah’s Messenger slept putting his head in her lap, and afterwards woke up smiling. Umm Hiram asked, ‘What causes you to smile, O Allah’s Messenger?’ He said, ‘Some of my followers who (in a dream) were presented before me as fighters in Allah’s Cause (on board a ship) amidst this sea cause me to smile; they were as kings on thrones …’”

This hadith suggests that we can touch strange females if there is no fear of sin.

Please explain.

Answer

Sayyidatuna Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) said:

“Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) never touched the hand of a strange woman ever”

(Sahih Bukhari, hadith: 7214)

In another authentic hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said:

“I do not shake the hands of women”

(Fathul Bari, hadith: 7214)

The commentators have given 2 replies to the hadith in your question;

1. Ummu Haram was a foster mahram of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam)  and therefore does not classify as a ‘strange woman’ to Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam)

2. If she wasn’t his mahram, this would be understood as an exclusive privilege for Him, (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) which others cannot emulate. Like is the case with the issue of marrying more than 4 wives…

(Fathul Bari, hadith: 6283)

3. One should bear in  mind that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) had complete control over his passions. (Sahih Bukhari) How could we equate ourselves to him?

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar