Peace sign for your handshake?

A sister and I were discussing the shaking hand issue with the opposite gender, and good/bad experiences we’ve had with regards to dawah. She told me about one time which she politely explained why she could not shake this man’s hand, and he verbally expressed his offense.

The day after this conversation I was on campus and I went to sign up for a club project outside the student union. I started speaking with one of the organizers, and after some time the lady wanted to introduce me to the man she was standing next to. He introduced himself and kindly put his hand out.

I saw his hand, and my mind flashed back to the conversation I had just had with the sister about handshakes and how offended the man was. but with Allah’s help, I met his handshake with a peace sign. I asked him, “Could I give you a peace sign in exchange for your handshake?” It took him a second took get it, but Alhamdullilah he was all for the idea once it clicked.

 I explained, “Out of modesty, we do not have much opposite gender physical interaction, so we give peace signs in exchange for handshakes.”

[if anyone has a better one-line explanation than that, please let me know.]
There were a couple of people around the table, including a cameraman who had been taping the whole handshake situation.  Once the cameraman saw that he commented, “that’s hecka cool!” Alhamdullilah we were in agreement: The Muslim peace sign is as cool as the handshake…if not cooler.

Anyway, I wanted to mention this story because we have a lot of interfaith/interclub, etc work we do through the MSA and I know it’s hard to assess every situation, but Alhamdullilah, I have found that giving something to someone- meeting them with a peace sign, makes them feel much more recognized than pulling your hand back.

Also, another idea that came to mind: you could keep chocolate or something with you, and when you know you might be in a situation where the handshaking comes up, give the individual something and explain that we give “chocolate in exchange for handshakes” or whatever the thing is.

Seriously, imagine if you wanted to shake someone’s hand and they gave you chocolate in exchange for shaking your hand. I’d want to know more about Islam…

It might be different, but, as the cameraman said, “it’s hecka cool.”

May Allah give us tawfiq.

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2 Responses to “Peace sign for your handshake?”

  1. Zubair Says:

    Did that seriously work? Peace sign instead of handshakes. I guess that could work for sisters, but I don’t know how a brother could pull that off…

  2. islamequalscool Says:

    It’s a good point- I don’t know how a brother would pull off the peace sign thing, although I also don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    But I do it about 99.9 % of the time and Alhamdullilah have had positive responses to it 99.9 percent of the time. There’s that 1 percent where I should have been smarter due to the situation, but I think the fact that the peace sign is being given in EXCHANGE for the handshake, instead of just pulling your hand back, is what is nice.

    Allah musta’aan…we’re in difficult times with the whole handshake thing. May Allah make it easy for us to use hikmah in the da’wah.

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