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Ruling on Greeting by Gesture

I heard someone on a video say that Ibn al Qayyim said that greeting with gestures is forbidden because this is imitating the disbelievers. 1.) Is this true? 2.) if yes, then is it forbidden to greet with gestures such as hand waves and head nods?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

We have not come across any statement made by Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, about the prohibition of greeting (someone) by means of a gesture. Rather, he stated on more than one occasion that it is permissible for the person performing prayer to return the greeting by gesturing.

As for the ruling on greeting by gesture, it was reported as forbidden in the Hadeeth of ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb, narrating it on the authority of his father, who narrated it from his grandfather, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "He is not one of us who imitates other than us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians. Indeed, the greeting of the Jews is a gesture with the fingers and the greeting of the Christians is a gesture with the hand palms." [At-Tirmithi: Dha‘eef (inauthentic)]

Moreover, Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Do not greet the way the Jews and the Christians do: they greet by the hands, heads, and gestures." [An-Nasaa’i in As-Sunan Al-Kubra] Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said about this Hadeeth, as reported by his son ‘Abdullah in Al-‘Ial: “It is a Munkar (denounced) Hadeeth that I strongly denounce.

However, Al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, classified these two Ahadeeth as Hasan.

This forbiddance denotes dislike (Karaahah) rather than prohibition (Tahreem) according to a group of leading scholars; An-Nasaai’, may Allaah have mercy upon him, allocated a chapter in his book As-Sunan, entitled “Chapter: It is Disliked to Greet with a Gesture,” and so did An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, in Al-Athkaar. However, some contemporary scholars, like Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy upon him, held that it denotes prohibition.

The forbiddance in this regard is confined to greeting with a gesture without uttering the greeting of peace, and also to the situation when there is no need to gesture with greeting without uttering the greeting of peace.

However, when there is a need, like in the case of a praying person returning the greeting of someone (during the prayer), then there is no prohibition as it was authentically reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, returned the greeting with a gesture while performing the prayer.

For more benefit on returning Salaam while praying, please refer to Fatwa 362386.

Allah Knows best.


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