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Can Men Touch Women?
Shake Hands or Talk to Them?

As a salesman I shake hands with women customers, but Muslim women refuse.
One even said "Women can't talk to men." What does Islam really say about all of this?"

Answer: Muslim women are too precious and respect their entire bodies

You asked about Muslim women not wanting to shake hands with you due to the religion. I can understand how that might concern you. After all, I too used to be a typical man living in America after the hippy movement. But you have to understand that this was not always the case here in our country. In fact, it was not really the case anywhere in the civilized world until recent history.

As regards women shaking hands with non-Muslim men, actually the same does hold true for the men in Islam as well. You see a man can shake hands and a woman can shake hands, but only with members of the same sex, except for brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, close relatives and so on. This is not really that strange. The concept here is one of modesty.

You see, God-fearing Christians were the same way when I grew up. I was not proper at all for men to seek to shake the hands of women, nor the other way around. I can recall my grandmother and later on my own mother being very offended by men who offered to shake hands with the women. It was as though they had not proper manners and were probably not very good Christians either. After all, they would say, why does this man feel that he has to touch the women?

When I first started as a commission salesman in the late 1960s we were told not to extend our hands to the women unless they extended theirs first.

So, society changes its rules from one generation to another and the customs greatly depend on what people feel like doing.women

But God doesn't really change things around or mix things up that much. If you look to the Bible in the Old Testament you will find that the idea of modesty was very strong in those days for the believers and women were definitely protected from men's unwanted advances. The New Testament makes it clear that the Old Testament is not canceled in any way, according to Mt: 5:17. Clear cut case of God's Will over man's will. Make sense?

The Quran is very emphatic about the members of the opposite sex protecting themselves from temptations by lowering their gaze and guarding their private parts [chapter 24:30, 31].

This was for both the men and the women to prevent them from being led into temptation and doing things that were forbidden by Almighty God.

Notice also in the New Testament the clear reference to a man not looking at a woman with lust. For just as he has committed it in his heart, so has he committed here on earth.


You said the women told you they can't speak to any man? This is only in regard to socializing or playing around. The women are most definitely allowed to seek education, employment and do business in Islam. Naturally, this would entail dealing with men. About this there can be no doubt. Women have contributed so much effort, communicated and preserved so much of our beautiful religion, that it seems a crime that someone would take this kind of opinion in regard to the Muslim women.

Women should never be kept from speaking when it is necessary. Islam does not stop people from living an ordinary life and doing things that must be done. There is no example from this in the early days of Islam, that I am aware of and I feel sure that if you research it, you will find that the women are the most mixed up on this subject are those who are living in countries where Islam is promoted as being the religion of the land, yet they do not practice the true religion and they are following their leaders like sheep follow their leaders.

It is only Allah who has all knowledge and we have only that which He gives us. Any good in these answers is from Allah and the mistakes are from myself. Please pray for me to do better, inshallah.

Yours Truly, Yusuf Estes, (former) National Muslim Chaplain

Thank you for your interest in Islam and the Muslims. It is our duty and privilege to present the truth and proof about Islam and what it represents. We desire to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam to help others see the true message that came with all of the prophets from Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. The message is Laa elaha illa lah (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah)

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 11 January 2011 05:19)