The Most Frequently Committed Bid’a – Greeting Saudi Style
Those who had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia OR had the opportunity to see Saudi culture must have seen that when two Saudi men or women meet with each other, they always kiss on each other’s cheeks. If they meet multiple times during a day, they kiss each other’s cheeks every time. I also had the opportunity to see the Shoyukh (scholars) of Saudi Arabia like Imam of Masjid Al Haraam and Imam of Masjid Al Nabawi sharif and several other Saudi Imams and scholars (ulema). I never saw anyone of them not kissing when meeting with someone. They always kiss.
We also know that the Saudi scholars and the religious leaders always claim that they never do any thing against the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The way these scholars preach and present Islam, it shows that they do not allow any action that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not do. So, one can think that this daily routine of kissing by Saudis must be a Sunnah. May be it is one of the most important Sunnah because it is repeated very frequently among the Saudi clergy. In fact, it is an insult of a Saudi if the other Saudi do not greet him by kissing on his cheeks regardless how many times a day a person meets the same person.
Please remember, greeting each other is an Islamic requirement. There is a reward from Allah for greeting fellow Muslims. Moreover, when a religious leader greets fellow Muslims, it should be purely Islamic way.
Let’s see what is the true Islamic (Sunnah) way of greeting? I read the entire Qur’an and I read it many times but I could not find a single verse in the holy Qur’an that mentioned to kiss a fellow Muslim when you meet or greet. The noble Qur’an says;
“….But if ye enter houses, salute each other – a greeting of blessing and purity as from Allah. Thus does Allah make clear the signs to you: that ye may understand” (The Noble Qur’an An-Nur 24:61 )
When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allâh is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things. (The Noble Qur’an An-Nisa 4:86 )
When those who believe in Our signs, come to you, say: “Salâmun ‘Alaikum” (peace be on you); your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds, then surely, He is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Noble Qur’an Al-An’am 6:54 )
In the above verses Allah commanded to say Salaam. There is no kissing.
Let see the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I could not find a single Hadith in any book of hadith that could tell me that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kissed on the cheeks of his companions every time when he met. Instead, I found the following Hadith which goes against the actions of Saudi scholars.
Anas Ibn Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates, A man said, “Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), when a man meets his brother or his friend should he bow to him?” He replied, ‘No.” He asked whether he should embrace and kiss him, and he replied, “No.” He asked whether he should take his hand and shake it, and he replied, “Yes.” (Sahih Tirmadhi)
Therefore, it is absolutely clear that kissing on each other’s cheeks by adults when they meet / greet is not an Islamic action. It is not done by the Prophet (peace be upon him), therefore, it is a Bid’a. In fact, adult kissing on each other’s cheeks is a sin, since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has forbidden this action. This is a Bid’a of worse form which is committed by the Saudi scholars on daily basis everywhere including in Masjid Al Nabawi Al Sharif and Masjid Al Haraam in Makkah. The Salafee / Saudi scholars commit more and worse Bid’aat than any body else. In fact, they try to make lawful unlawful while their unlawful deeds are seen by their followers lawful.
However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to kiss his grandsons, Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain (Peace upon them) and other children out of love, which makes sense. For example, Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates, “A Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, “You (people) kiss the boys! We don’t kiss them.” The Prophet said, “I cannot put mercy in your heart after Allah has taken it away from it.” (Sahih Bukhari). There is no adult kissing as a part of greeting.
Love for the Prophet and his family (peace upon them)
Let me share with you some of the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which a Salafee (Wahabee) scholar will certainly call Shirk, Kufr and Bid’a while these are the most noble actions / beliefs of a Muslim.
Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), said of Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “I have not seen any one of Allah’s creation resemble the Messenger of Allah more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her. When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.” She would do the same when the Prophet came to her. She would stand up and welcome him with joy and kiss him. (Seerat-e-Sahabah)
Buhaysah Al Fazariyyah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “My father sought permission from the Prophet (peace be upon him). (When permission was granted and he came near him) he lifted his shirt, and began to kiss him (on the seal of prophethood between the shoulders of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and embrace him (out of love for him)………..” (Sunan Abu Dawood)
Umm Aban, daughter of al-Wazi’ ibn Zari’, quoting his grandfather, who was a member of the deputation of AbdulQays, said: When we came to Medina, we raced to be first to dismount and kiss the hand and foot of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him). But al-Mundhir al-Ashajj waited until he came to the bundle of his clothes. He put on his two garments and then he went to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He said to him: You have two characteristics which Allah likes: gentleness and deliberation. He asked: Have I acquired them or has Allah has created (them) my nature? He replied: No, Allah has created (them) in your nature. He then said: Praise be to Allah who has created in my nature two characteristics which Allah and His Apostle like. (Sunan Abu Dawood)
AbdurRahman ibn AbuLayla, quoting Usayd ibn Hudayr, a man of the Ansar, said that while he was given to jesting and was talking to the people and making them laugh, the Prophet (peace be upon him) poked him under the ribs with a stick. He said: Let me take retaliation. He said: Take retaliation. He said: You are wearing a shirt but I am not. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then raised his shirt and the man embraced him and began to kiss his side. Then he said: This is what I wanted, Apostle of Allah! (Sunan Abu Dawood)
“……….When Zayd Ibn Thabit intended to go on a trip, the young Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) would stand humbly at his side and taking hold of the reins of his mount would adopt the attitude of a humble servant in the presence of his master. Zayd would say to him: “Don’t, O cousin of the Prophet.” “Thus we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us,” Abdullah would say. “And Zayd would say to him in turn: “Let me see your hand.” Abdullah would stretch out his hand. Zayd, taking it, would kiss it and say: “Thus we were commanded to treat the ahl al-bayt members of the household of the Prophet.” (Biography of Abdullah Ibn Abbas)
Shaikh Isma’il al-‘Ajluni records in Kashfal-Khafa’, “Wiping the eyes with the index fingers and then kissing them after hearing the caller (Mo’adhin) say ‘I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,’ and with the listener saying, ‘I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. I am pleased with Allah as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as the Prophet,” is based on ad-Dailami’s report from Abu Bakr that when he heard the caller say, “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” he would say the same, kiss the inside of his index fingers and wipe his eyes. The Prophet then said, “Whoever does what my friend (Abu Bakr) did, then my intercession will be permissible for him.” (Kashfal Khafa)
Abu Bakr ar-Raddad al-Yamani al-Mutasawaf recorded in Mujibat ar-Rahmah wa Aza’im al-Maghfirah, “Whoever says, upon hearing the caller say, ‘I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ ‘Welcome O my love and the coolness of my eyes, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, upon whom be peace,’ and then kisses his index fingers and wipes his eye with them, he well never go blind; nor will he never be afflicted with an eye infection.” (Mujibat ar-Rahmah wa Aza’im al-Maghfirah)
We believe, out of love, kissing hands and heads of parents, children, elders in the family, teachers, Murshad, Auolia Allah, progeny of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and holy Tabarrukat are indeed Islamic actions. Gatherings of Meelad Sharif and standing up during the Salaam on Prophet (peace be upon him) are noble actions of Muslims, which are completely based upon the Qur’anic teachings and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). But the Bid’a committed by the Salafee / Wahabee and Deobandis are sinful and have no basis in the Islamic Shari’a. May Allah save us from the evil of Bid’atees. Ameen.