What is the ruling of kissing one’s hand and bowing to other?

Kissing one’s hand and bowing to other?

Question:

Ustadz, is it true that kissing one’s hand and bowing out to him are not from Islamic teaching, but from the feudal teaching? Please explain it to us.

May Allah reward you greatly.

Answer:

There are several matters that being questioned here.

First of all, regarding the kissing of one’s hand.

Sheikh Muhammad Nashiruddin al Albani said,

“Regarding the ruling of kissing one’s hand, there are many hadith and narration from the predecessors, all of which point out that the hadith is originally comes from the Prophet. Therefore, we believe that it is allowed for a person to kiss the hand of a scholar (also means ustadz or religious figure) with several stipulations below:

  1. The hand kissing is not deemed as a habit, so that the figure is used to reach out his hand to be kissed by his pupils. Likewise, the pupils are accustomed to hope for blessing by kissing the hand of his teacher. The reason is because the Prophet himself rarely had his hand being kissed by his companions. If so, then it is not allowed to make it as a habit that is continually done, as explained in explanations of principles of Islamic law.
  2. The hand kissing is not causing the scholar to be arrogant and assumes that he is better than other persons, or assumes that he is the greatest scholar, as what happened to some religious figures.
  3. The hand kissing doesn’t eliminate the practice of the sunnah of the Prophet that are widely known, such as shaking hand. Shaking hand is a suggested deed based on the deed and the words of the Prophet himself. Shaking hand is what causes the sins of the doers to be falling off, as mentioned in several hadith. Therefore, it is not allowed to eliminate the sunnah of shaking hand in order to pursue a deed which highest status is deemed permissible. (See: Silsilah Shahihah 1/159, Maktabah Syamilah).

However, we need to add the fourth stipulation, that is, the scholar whose hand is being kissed is the scholar of sunnah, not the scholar who defends innovations.

Secondly, bowing out to a person as a form of honoring him. :

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيَنْحَنِى بَعْضُنَا لِبَعْضٍ قَالَ « لاَ ». قُلْنَا أَيُعَانِقُ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا قَالَ لاَ وَلَكِنْ تَصَافَحُوا

“”O Messenger of Allah! Should we bow to one another?” He said: “No.” We said: “Should we embrace one another?” He said: “No, but shake hands with one another.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja no. 3702, and regarded as good hadith by al Albani).

By this brief explanation, it is hoped that we could understand and differentiate between the act that is permissible based on Islamic teaching and the un-permissible one.


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