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Question 644: Sir, is Shaking Hand with Non-Muslim Break Wudu? I take admission in Canada University for my mtech programs in civil engineering, we have international university there which means that people from all sects weather hindu, Buddhist, Cristian, Jews, Sikhs, and all others study there.

Since me being a Shia Muslim (momin) I have to take care for prayers 5 times a day. So kindly guide about the fact that since being part of university i have to shake hands, communicate, hang out with all type of students weather it be hindu, Cristian, male or female as per modern era, like team work  or for study projects in group but i am ignorant about weather I can pray nimaz as I have heard that if a hindu with sweat touches you say during handshake his sweat is najis and wudzu you have to repeat and you have to wash that area first then do again wudzu for nimaz and with same state say clothes as it would get hectic for me to change clothes for prayers 5 times or bathing etc and say if i stay in hostel their students do usually visit your room and may be they sit on our bedding i was thinking that if any of my hindu freind will sometimes vist my room for studies should i have to allow him to be free like my brother as sometimes he sits with me or sleeps there in my room as in hostel life i have experienced this type of situation previously also. I don’t want to allow hindu freind in my freind circle but as per university campus we have to be in good relations with every type of student so as to be socially active in events, fests related to university we also have to eat,sit stay together.

Kindly help me as i am socially weak already and want to develop my social skills for my future placement job profile weather it be in America or somewhere else.

Answer 644: Almost all Shiite faqihs agree on the nijasah of the kuffar (non-believers)[1], but the impurity of Ahlul Kitab (People of the Book)[2] is an issue of dispute amongst them. The different viewpoints are as follows:

  1. Nijasah of all non-Muslims among which are the Ahlul Kitab. This viewpoint was chosen by Ayatollah Golpaygani who stated and thoroughly explained about it in Nehayat al-Afkar fi Nejasah al-Kuffar, this was also Imam Khomeini’s verdict on the issue.[3]
  2. Taharah of Ahlul Kitab and nijasah of the rest of the nonbelievers. This verdict has many advocates.[4] A hadith from Imam Reza confirms this fatwa.[5]
  3. Taharah of all people, perceiving the nijasah of non-Muslims a result of normally making contact with a najis (impure) substance such as pork and wine, thus if they cleanse and wash themselves they will no longer be najis. Therefore, these people aren’t najis per se, they become najis as a result of other najis substances.
  4. The Ahlul Kitab (that is, the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure (tahir) as long as you do not know that they have become ritually impure (najis) by coming into contact with an impure object. You can follow this ruling when dealing with them.[6]

Although, a Kafir (like Hindus and Buddhists who are polytheists[7] and considered to be idolaters in a way) is ritually impure and it is necessary to avoid coming into contact with the moisture from or on his body,[8] but this doesnt mean that we, the Muslim are not allowed to comminuciate with them. Becasue, you as Shia Muslim can propagate Islam, according to the following Fatwa.

Tabligh

If you have the ability to propagate Islam to non-Muslims or to disseminate religious knowledge among Muslims in non-Muslim countries without any danger of losing your own faith, it is wajib kifa’i upon you and all the others who have the ability to propagate the pure Islam of the Holt Prophet (PBUH).[9]

If you don’t have the ability to do so you are supposed to atleast behave good toward them and not abuse those Kuffars. Becaseu, in the holy Quran Allah (SWT) orders us not to abuse Kuffars’ false gods that They invoke besides Allah, lest they May abuse Allah in revenge and out Of ignoranc. He, the Almighty says: “And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah out of ignorance” Thus have We made fair seeming to every people their deeds; then to their Lord’s shall be their return, so He will inform them of what they did”.[10]

Respect Others

In other verse of the holy Quran Allah, the Almighty does not forbid us respecting those who have not made war against on account of (our) religion, and have driven us forth from our homes, that we show them kindness and deal with them justly Surely Allah loves the Doers of Justic.

Allah only forbids us respecting those who made war upon us on account of (our) religion, and drove us forth from our homes and backed up (others) in our expulsion, that we make friends with them And whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.[11]

Taharat is not obligatory

Taharah (such as Wudhu and Ghusl) is not obligatory upon us. They are considered as a condition for validaty of some acts as follows:

Things for which Wudhu is obligatory

Wudhu is not obligatory upon us. It is considered as a condition for validity of the following acts:

For the Sajdah and Tashahhud which a person forgot to perform during the prayers, provided that he invalidated his Wudhu after namaz, and before performing those forgotten acts. It is not obligatory to perform Wudhu for Sajdatus sahw.

For the obligatory Tawaf of the holy Ka’bah. If a person has made a Nadhr, or a solemn pledge, or taken an oath for Wudhu. If a person has made a Nadhr, for example, that he would kiss the Holy Qur’an.

For washing and making Pak the holy Qur’an which has become najis, or for taking it out from lavatory etc. in which it has fallen, when he becomes obliged to touch the script of the holy Qur’an with his hand, or some other part of his body. But if t he delay by making Wudhu causes further desecration of the holy Qur’an, one should take it out from lavatory etc., or make it Pak, without performing Wudhu.[12]

Obligatory Ghusl

There are seven obligatory baths as follows: Bath for Janabat, Bath for Hayz (for women only), Bath for Nifas (for women only), Bath for Istihaza (for women only), Bath for touching a dead body, Bath for a dead body, Bath which becomes obligatory on account of a vow or an oath to perform it.[13]

Things for which Wudhu is Mustahab

Wudhu is Mustahab for the following purposes: Namaz-e-Mayyit. Visiting the graves. Entering a mosque. Entering the Shrines of the holy Prophets and Imams (A.S.). For reading, writing, or touching the margin or border of the holy Qur’an, or for keeping it with oneself. Before going to bed for sleep. It is also Mustahab that a person already in Wudhu, should perform a fresh Wudhu for every namaz. If he has performed Wudhu for any one of the above purposes, he can commit all acts which require Wudhu. For example, he can even pray with that Wudhu.

Things that invalidate wudu

The follwoings are those things that invalidate wudu: Passing of urine. Excretion. Passing wind from the rear. A sleep, deep enough to restrict sight and hearing. However, if the eyes do not see anything, but the ears can hear, Wudhu does not become void. Things on account of which a person loses his sensibility, like insanity, intoxication or unconsciousness. Istihaza which will be dealt with later. Janabat, and, as a recommended precaution, every state which requires Ghusl.[14]

Note: A well known religious law says: “Everything is ritually pure for you unless you come to know that it is ritually impure.”[15]

This law declares everything to be pure unless one becomes sure a particular item has become impure. And as long as you are not sure that it has become ritually impure (najis), it is to be considered pure and you can apply all the rules of purity to it without any hesitation or doubt. The Ahlul Kitab (that is, the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure (tahir) as long as you do not know that they have become ritually impure (najis) by coming into contact with an impure object. You can follow this ruling when dealing with them.

The impurity transfers from one item to another through flowing wetness [that is, there is so much wetness in the impure item that it permeates to another item and makes it impure]. The impurity is neither transferred when it is dry, nor is transferred by non-flowing wetness. So, if you place your hand on a dry najis item, your hand will not become impure.

You can assume the ritual purity (taharat) of any person that you meet and shake hands with (even if that person’s hand is wet) as long as you do not know his faith and religion – in such cases you can assume that he might be a Muslim or one of the Ahlul Kitab. Moreover, it is not obligatory for you to ask him in order to ascertain his religion; that is, even if doing so does not put you or him in any inconvenience.[16]

Note: A Muslim man is not allowed to shake hands with a woman without a barrier, such as gloves, unless refraining from shaking hands will put him in a considerable harm or unbearable difficulty. In the latter case, he is allowed to shake hands to the extent of necessity only.[17]

Conclusion: If you don’t know or not sure that when the Kuffars (those who are ritually impure not Ahlul Kitab) shake hands with you their hands are wet there would be no problem to wash your hands after that. Also, there would be no need to repeat performing wudu after they shake hands with you. Because, shaking hands is not among those things which invalidate wudu and cause the necessity for its repetition. Since Kafir (like Hindus and Buddhists who are polytheists[18] and considered to be idolaters in a way) is ritually impure you are only supposed to wash your hand if that person’s hand is wet. Otherwise, if you do not know his faith and religion- in such cases you can assume that he might be a Muslim or one of the Ahlul Kitab or if you are not sure the person’s hand is wet there would be no need to wash your hand.

Furthermore, if you have the ability to propagate Islam to non-Muslims you can establish relationship with them and invite them to become a Muslim or at least respect them so that you can represent a good image of Islam by your good behaviors.

For further information on this issue, please read the following answers:

Index: Ahlul Kitab are ritually pure: Permanent Marriage with them, answer 081.

Index: Number of things which invalidate Wudu (ablution), answer 556.

Index: Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Man or Woman, answer 603.

Index: Ways to Greet in Islam with Muslims and Non-Mahram, answer 369.

[1] . Tawdihul-Masael of the Maraje’, vol. 1, pg. 76-77.

[2] . Ahli Kitab: A non-Muslim on whose prophet a Divine Book has been revealed, i.e., a Jew or a Christian. This term, according to the Qur’an, does not apply to the followers of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, who have been called “Muslimun” or “Mu’minun” in the Qur’an, Hadith and other Islamic reference books. It is used as a synonym for Kitabi (with its fern. Kitabiyyah q.v.).

[3] . Tawdihul-Masael of the Maraje’, vol. 1, pg. 76.

[4] . Ayatullah Khamenei, Ajwibatul-Istifta’at, pg. 67 and Ayatullahs Nouri Hamedani and Fazel Lankarani, Tawdihul-Masa’el of the Maraje’, vol. 1, ppl 76-77. Also, see: Sadr, Muhammad Baqir. Buhuthon fi Sharhil-Urwatil-Wuthqa, vol. 3, pp. 283-284.

[5] . Wasael al-Shia, vol. 3, pg. 422, hadith 4050.

[6] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani, Q&A: Ahl-e Kitab.

[7] – Serat al-Nejat by Ayatollah al-Shaikh al-Tabrizi, vol.6, pg. 373.

[8]  – Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (with annotations of Imam Khomeini), vol.1, pg.1, pg.76, issue no.106. Publisher: Islamic Publication Institute affiliated with Society of Teachers, 1424 A.H.

[9] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Question & Answer » Migration to non-Muslim Countries.

[10] . Surah An’aam, verse 108.

[11] . Refer to: Surah Mumtahanah, verse 8-9.

[12] . Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 1, Pgs. 212-214, Issues: 355-357; The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules regarding Wudhu, Things for which Wudhu is obligatory.

[13] . Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 1, Pg. 208.

[14] . Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pg. 188.

[15] . Al-Wasael, Kitab al-Taharat, Chapters on Najasat, chapter 37; Al-Fusul al-Muhimmah fee Usul al-Aemmah, Takmilat al-Wasael, Vol. 2, Pg. 55, chapter 9.

[16] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Taharat & Najasat: Ritual purity & impurity » General Rules.

[17] . Ibid, Hand Shaking.

[18] – Serat al-Nejat by Ayatollah al-Shaikh al-Tabrizi, vol.6, pg. 373.

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