Ruling on Kissing the Hands of a Shaykh/Aalim

Question: The Majlis said that kissing the hands of a Shaikh is improper. However, there are several Hadith narrations which prove that Sahaabah did kiss the hand of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Imaam Nawawi and other Fuqaha have also said that it is permissible.

Answer (by Mujlisul Ulama):

Brother, the fatal mistake which you and numerous people in this age commit is to subject the Ahaadith to personal opinion. There exists the severe disease of laymen digging out narrations from the kutub and when they become confused because the masaa-il of the Shariah appear to be in apparent conflict with somec narrations, they subject the Ahaadith to their personal opinion. For such persons, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) warned that their abode will be the Fire of Jahannum.

You have cited some Ahaadith pertaining to kissing of hands, and you mentioned the opinion of Allaamah Aabid Sindhi (rahmatullah alayh) while you are perhaps unaware of the clear ruling of Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Muhammad and countless Fuqaha of the Hanafi Math-hab. They all were fully aware of the narrations which you have cited. But despite these narrations, they ruled the impermissibility of kissing hands.

While you have mentioned the narrations pertaining to kissing of hands, you either are unaware or you have forgotten or you intentionally chose to ignore the following Hadith and similar others:

“Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that a man said to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “O Rasulullah! “Someone from amongst us meets his brother or his friend. May he bow for him?’ Rasulullah  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “NO!” The man said: “May he embrace and kiss him?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “NO!” The man said: “May he hold his hand and make musaafahah?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Yes!” – [Tirmidhi]

In Bahrur Raa-iq appears the following explanation:

“In Jaamius Sagheer it is stated: ‘It is Makrooh for a man to kiss a man or his hand or to embrace him.’ Tahaawi narrated that this is according to Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam (rahmatullah Muhammad alayhima). Imaam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh) said: ‘There is nothing wrong with kissing and embracing…’ The daleel of Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah  alyhima) is the Hadith of Anas (radhiyallahu anhu), and it is also narrated that the Nabi (alayhis  salaatu was salaam) forbade from mukaa-ma-ah, i.e. kissing. And the Ahaadith which have been narrated in conflict of this (prohibition) are Mansookh (abrogated)
…………………. Sarakhsi and some of the Muta-akh-khireen have granted concession to kiss the hand of a pious Aalim and Zaahid for the sake of barkat.”

From the aforegoing you will understand that there is difference of opinion on this issue in the same way as there is difference of opinion on numerous masaa-il of the Mathaahib. Our Akaabireen follow the ruling of Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayhima) in the mas’alah. Other senior Ulama and
Mashaaikh follow the other view of permissibility. So while we adhere to Imaam Abu Hanifah’s ruling and discourage kissing the hands of even Ulama and Mashaaikh, due to the difference of the Akaabireen, we do not apply vehemence to our discouragement.

However, in this age, it is best to abstain from kissing the hands of even a Shaikh/Aalim because there no longer is true Taqwa. The Shaikhs of this age are generally bogus, ignorant or bid’atis. They are ignorant in even the rudiments of Tasawwuf. Their primary concentration is on singing and poetry, especially poetry sung by their mureeds to extol their own hallucinated greatness, piety and virtues. They swoon, get deceptively transported into nafsaani ecstasy and shed crocodile tears to impress the audience. People are insincere. They do things for riya, and this practice of kissing the hands entails bowing (making ruku’) which according to the Shariah is in the category of Sajdah, has become a custom devoid of reality and humility. It is an external show and a hollow custom devoid of sincerity and true respect in the heart. Furthermore, the spiritual guides are not of that calibre of piety to warrant such veneration. And, Allah knows best.

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