I was surprised by the turn of the Shiek Hamza Yusuf post where we started talking about shaking hands so I'm making it it's own post to discuss this.
Do you, or do you not, shake hands with members of the opposite sex?
I don't. I feel this is my body and we shouldn't have contact with any man besides our husbands and related men. Accidentally touching is another thing like when a cashier gives you back your change and accidently brush fingers or yesterday while loading the grocery bags into my stroller the bagger employee and I bumped heads. But to actaully put our your hand to a member of the opposite sex makes me wrinkle my nose in distaste.
I used to shake just because of the upbringing but after being in Islam and seeing how it's better not to shake I stopped. When my mom came and I warned her she shouldn't shake hands with any man here THE MEN WENT AND SHOOK HER HAND. UGH! I was soo frustrated. She was trying to not shake too by putting her hand on her chest like the arabs do and she was trying to say Salam and everything and still they stuck out their hand. At least she tried though so I give mad props to mom for that.
When I went back to USA I knew I couldn't not shake everyone's hands so I wore gloves and one day I was meeting my sister's current boyfriend and I didn't have my gloves nearby so i didn't shake his hand at all and he was like why you being rude and my sister said don't worry she is a weirdo that doesn't touch guys. I was thinking thanks a lot sis calling me a weirdo. Another time I was trying to cram my hand in my glove when meeting my close friend's boyfriend and he didn't offer to shake which was good because my glove was only half on and that would have looked silly..please wait one more second while I finish putting my glove on before I can touch you lol. She told me later she had already talked to him about this and I was grateful.
The most embarrassing that no one I think understood was at Thanksgiving my cousin came down to look at our G-pa's car. He and I had grown up not close but we'd play rubber band tag and such durring the holidays. So I hung back this time (wearing hijab and black robes and all) and he greeted everyone and there was a pause then he turns to me and spreads his arms out really wide in front of everyone! "Come on and give me a hug! I haven't seen you for a while, we missed you." I couldn't just slam him in front of the family and I remebered that to keep family peace sometimes we have to do something disliked so I gave him an awkward hug (and yes I told my husband about it later but he was cool because he understood the reason behind it) and gave him a falsetto "Oh yeah, I miss you all too." I did miss them but I didn't want to hug them. Then there is still a long pause and I think he got the message that I was really embarrased because they all turn to the car and resume inspections abruptly. It's not that I don't like my male marriageable realtives because they are pretty cool guys, especially this cousin because he's a writer like me, but it was jsut soo awkward. And after not having any contact with other men for a long time it was really weird to be hugging someone like that. It made me value the not-touching rule more.
Another thing that ticks me off a lot is when you have a small baby and men come up to touch or kiss your baby and they are kissing it all noisily and it's like 12 inches from your own face ugh. Or worse cradled in your arm and near your chest and they start kissing it totally awkward. OR!!! When passing the baby back and forth they don't try to not touch your body in the passing. One brother in law is very good about this and I appreciate it always.... others aren't so aware. Now as soon as they reach to kiss the baby I'm holding I pass it to them before they get too close. It works better.
I see a lot of stupid things like men goofing off (innocently not THAT WAY) with maids or younger sister-in-laws that are supposed to be wearing hijab but arent' yet. I'm like dude where is your modesty? I know if I say anything out loud they'd think I'm all extremish though. I don't feel extreme though I feel like what I'm doing is perfectly right and they are being loose with theirselves.
The funniest thing though was durring Ramadan you know visiting a million houses in one day and always hugging and kissing people goodbye. I was going down the line a in peripheral vision saw the next person was tall so I rose on my tip-toes to kiss goodbye and started raising my hands to hug when I realized it was my husband's Uncle. He and I exchanged puzzled glances and then I burst out laughing and apologised. I kissed his wife instead and winked and apologised to her too, just in case.
It very interesting to suddenly one day be rough housing with a husband's nefew or friend's son or husband's cousin and then the next day you go to hug him to say Salam and he abruptly puts his hand on his chest and backs off indicating he's now a man and isn't going to be playing anymore games. It's surprising but all you can do is smile that he feels so manly now and put your hand to your chest too to say Salam back. I really respect boys who do this instead of continuing to shake beyond into late teens and longer. I respect them as men instead of boys.
So although I know it's a cultural thing to shake, I still feel it's better not to shake than to shake or have contact with the opposite sex. Lets hear your opinions. Yes you can copy and paste from the other page if you don't want to have to re-type the comment you've already made. :)