Question: What is the ruling in Islaam regarding returning the greeting of Salaam to a woman, and should the woman give the greeting of Salaam (i.e. to a man)? And is there a difference between the young woman and the older woman, who there is no fear of Fitnah (temptation) from her? And what is the ruling of shaking hands and kissing their heads - meaning the old women?
Answer: The man does not give the greeting of Salaam to a woman, and the woman does not give the greeting of Salaam to a man, because this is a Fitnah (temptation). O Allaah, unless it is a phone call, in which case the woman gives the Salaam or the man (gives the Salaam) according to the limited amount that is needed only. Or if the woman is from his acquaintances (those whom he knows), for example if the man enters his home and he finds a woman in it who he knows and she knows him, then he gives the greeting of Salaam, and there is no harm in this. However, for the man to give the greeting of Salaam to a woman who met him in the market place (mall, shopping center, etc.), then this is from the greatest of temptations. So he does not give the greeting of Salaam (to her).In reference to kissing women who are relatives whom one can never marry (i.e. Mahaarim), then kissing them on the head and the forehead, there is no harm in that. Also, to kiss them on the cheek, there is no harm in that, if it is done by the father. This is because Aboo Bakr (radhiyAllaahu 'anhu) entered upon his daughter 'Aa'ishah when she was ill, and he kissed her cheek. So there is no harm in this. However, if it is someone other than a man's daughter, then the kissing should be on the forehead and the head.Concerning shaking hands with a woman who is not a relative whom one can never marry (Mahram), then verily that is forbidden, because shaking her hand is a greater cause of Fitnah than just looking at her. In reference to kissing the heads of the elderly women who are from those female relatives that one can never marry, then there is no harm in that. And those women who are not relatives whom one can never marry, then do not kiss them.
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