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Can We Refuse Shaking Hands to Avoid COVID-19?

15 November, 2020
Q Can we refuse to shake the hands of people in the present crisis of COVId-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic for fear of transmission of diseases?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

During COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we should refuse to shake hands where and when there are fears of such transmissions.

In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

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The protection of life is one of the fundamental objectives of the Shariah. Removal of harm is one of the golden rules of Islamic jurisprudence. Therefore, the Shariah mandates taking all the measures to safeguard life by preventing the spread of diseases. 

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spreads from person to person through close personal contacts. Droplets of bodily fluids – such as saliva or mucus – from an infected person are dispersed in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing. 

So, the disease can be easily transmitted by shaking hands with a person whose hands have been in contact with bodily fluids.

Since we are to prevent transmission of diseases, we ought to take all the precautions against endangering our lives. Allah says, {And do not let your own hands throw you into destruction.} (Al-Baqarah 2:195

Based on these teachings, we should refuse to shake hands where and when there are fears of such transmissions. People suffering from transmissible diseases, including flu and flu-like symptoms, should stay home to avoid passing on the viruses to others. 

It is our Islamic duty to inform the authorities and seek immediate medical attention in case of any concern over being infected with such viruses to save ourselves and others from the spread of the pandemic threatening human life.

📚 Read Also: How to Prevent Illness With COVID-19 Spikes and Relaxed Lockdowns?

Finally, let’s pray to Allah to help us overcome this challenge and bless us all with sound health; here are two duaas we should read regularly.

O Allah, Bless us all to enjoy our faculties of hearing, sight and stamina as long as we live.

And we refuge with You from leprosy, dementia, and all fatal and deadly diseases.

Almighty Allah knows best.