Whenever you want to make a big decision, you might think about what would be the right choice; which one is better and going to lead you to the right way. When the choice is made and you have followed one way or another, again thousand thoughts appear. And one of those thoughts or questions is: “Was that predestined? Is it me who is making the choice or it was made for me before? What is my will in it?
Once a man asked Imam Sadiq (AS), “Does Allah make human beings to do or not to do a thing?”
He answered, “Allah is More Just to make a person do a thing and then punish him for that” .
Imam Reza (AS) also replied to a similar question with this phrase, “Allah is More Just and Wise to do such a thing” .
Divine wisdom and justice do not allow Allah to decide about good and evil acts of human beings, who are created to have a free will and the right to decide for their own fate. He directly refers to the fact that human beings are responsible for what they do and He just shows them the truth in the Holy Quran. They are to choose which way to take and what to do.
“and say 'This is the truth from your Lord. Let whosoever will, believe, and whosoever will disbelieve it.” (18:29)
“Indeed, We have guided him to the path, he is either grateful or ungrateful” (76:3)
So, none of the things we do in this world is the result of divine determinism. But we know that Allah has the ultimate will. He makes decisions, which no one can change. Where does His Will stand regarding human being’s will?
Are human beings the final decision-makers and Allah has no role and consideration in the decisions they make, or Allah makes the final decision and human beings have no part in the things that happen to them , and they have no free will? None! They both work together. For everything we do, both our will and Allah’s will play their own parts. 
Let me give you an example. Imagine a person who is in a terrible financial state and decides to go to his neighbor’s house to steal some money from their strongbox. The moment he decides to do such a thing, he knows that the money does not belong to him and might put the neighbor in trouble. He knows that stealing is not a good thing to do, and it’s against the laws of humanity, Islam, Christianity, and any other faith. At the end of the day, he decides to steal the money and goes to his neighbor’s house.
Well, the guidance is given by Allah, in the holy books, in one’s heart and thoughts, but it’s the person who makes the final decision. One might think that “Well, Allah could stop that man from stealing that money. Why didn’t he?”
The answer is that he surely could, but it is against his greater will to praise the ones who do what he commands them to do and the ones who decide to harm themselves, others, the earth, or the whole world. That is where the difference is made.
To sum up, one should know that Allah wanted us to decide and to choose, and that makes the difference between human beings and other creatures. Allah decides about certain things and guides us to the right path through signs and words He had sent to us. However, we are the ones who choose the way we want to take.
Which way is yours?!
The religion of Islam is profoundly concerned with the social life of human beings, and its rules are set to be practiced on a large scale and in all aspects of humans’ life. Therefore, it is inseparable from the financial and political organization of society. So, Islam has built a system of economy compatible with any society  and practical at any given time.
Islam considers the economy as one of the most important aspects of social life, but not its sole purpose which has to be taken into account at the expense of ignoring or harming other aspects of human life. The typical and well-known economic concepts in Islam are Khums, Alms tax (Zakat), Usury (Riba), Mortmain property (Waqf), etc.
A healthy economy according to Islam is one that is vibrant and growing, advantageous for all kinds of people in the society, and free from favoritism and injustice. This is an economy in which a fair amount of income is earned through a sufficient amount of work which is beneficial both for the individuals and society.
Therefore, a Halal source of income -that is the money earned through acceptable ways in Islam- in Islamic society is earned through a job, which is compatible with public interests based on the sharia of Islam. On the contrary, the income earned by any demand regardless of its nature or its effect upon society is not considered Halal according to Islam. In other words, the demands must be for the benefit of humankind -not just materialistically but also spiritually- to result in a healthy and desirable income .
Despite many misunderstandings, Islam never condemns being wealthy or having a prosperous way of living[i]. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Worshiping has seven parts and its best part is lawfully earning money”. Contrarily, producing wealth in lawful ways, legal trading, and spending money for personal matters without extravagance and prodigality -which is strictly forbidden in Islam- have been highly recommended .
However, it condemns putting financial needs and concerns above other things, living for the sake of gathering money and piling it up, not earning money to have a better life, which is apparently not achieved just by money. On the other hand, if money becomes a means for work, activity, and productivity, then it will result in a more satisfactory and peaceful life .
To conclude, the practical religion of Islam is in favor of a lively economy in which welfare is not restricted to a particular group in society, a typical feature of capitalistic societies. Moreover, wealth is distributed fairly but not equally and regardless of the amount and quality of the work they undertake - characteristic of a communistic economy- among all kinds of people in the society.
It is a system that is continually developing, and each individual has an opportunity to put his or her talents into practice. In other words, social justice is the crucial factor of the Islamic financial organization. A perfect example of this kind of society can be easily depicted in the reign of Muslims’ great religious leader after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Ali (AS) [ii].
[i]. Money has been directly called “Kheir” which means “goodness” in the Quran (2:180).
[ii]. On the second day of his reign, Imam Ali (AS) told his people as an announcement of his way of distributing the commonwealth among the society that: “the wealth is God’s property. Thus it will be distributed equally betwixt you, and no one is regarded above the other in this distribution, and there will be the best reward for God-fearers on the Day of Judgement”. Also, he was severely criticized by the upper-class groups in society for his careful observance of neglected people and his similar behavior with all kinds of people from any economic background.
- Sheykh Al-Saduq. Savab al-Aamal va Iqab al-Aamal.
- Morteza Motahhari. Nazari bar Nezame Eghtesadye Islam (An Overview of Islamic Economic system). Tehran: Sadra Publication.
Imagine one of your ordinary days in which you go out in the morning to go to work or the university or anywhere else. You attend some gatherings. You see men and women around you interacting and greeting on different occasions and in various manners, more frequently shaking hands.
You are a member of this community too, and you also used to greet different people with whom you had interactions every day and perhaps it was not important for you if the person you shake hands with is a man or a woman. But now, as a Muslim, you must know that shaking hands in Islam with the opposite gender is forbidden. If this has raised a question in your mind, we will be discussing the issue here.
As a scientific fact, everything we do, or we say, or any other kind of action we perform via every part of our body from legs up to the eyes, or even any thought passing into our minds has energy in itself. Once we bring something into existence, such as an utterance or an action, hence its specific kind of energy, it will never go to an end; but it is transformed and transferred to different targets, leaving its influence on them and first on ourselves.
Thus in our interactions, we are producing some kind of energy. So when people from the opposite genders confront each other and shake hands or kiss or hug each other, as a kind of greeting, what kind of energy is being interchanged between them?
God has put some kind of desire in human’s nature by which the opposite sexes are attracted to each other. When women and men who are non-Mahrams, greet each other in any way involving touching their bodies or looking at one another in such a way that arises this desire, they will be leaving a negative effect on each other; although it may feel pleasant.
Once this instinct is provoked, to satisfy their sensual needs, people may go further in their relationships and may be driven into immoral and sinful acts. The final result would be regret, distrust among people and broken families and other mental and physical consequences. Because in Islam’s viewpoint, sensual desires must only be satisfied among spouses. Due to this and some other reasons we might not know, God has set some rules regarding the quality of relationships between women and men. Following these rules will make concepts like marriage and family meaningful.
One might say that we do not have any bad intentions in our relationships with those who are considered non-Mahram for us. We can control our desires when confronting them and nothing sinful happens. But the prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his family who were the purest ones of all time obeyed these rules too.
They avoided any kind of interaction with non-Mahrams that are considered to be Haram.
When people came to the prophet for Bay’ah (to swear allegiance), he shook hands with men, and for women, a container of water was brought in which the prophet put his hand and took his hand out and then women put their hands in the water to make their pledge .
A Muslim is only allowed to touch the body of those of the same gender and those of the opposite gender who are Mahram for him/her.
A man can only look at the face and hands of a non-mahram woman if they do not have decorations and on the condition that it is not for pleasure [i].
In the Quran, we read: “Say to the believers, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts… And say to the believing women, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and reveal not their adornment, save such as is outward…” (24:30-31). Non-Mahrams must be careful with their speaking, too. In another part of Quran, we read: “…be not abject in your speech, so that he in whose heart is sickness may be lustful, but speak honorable words.” (33:32). In these verses of the Holy Quran, the danger of arousing sexual desires through speaking and looking has been warned. However, there are no limits to touching, looking, and talking between spouses.
And some exceptions may occur. For example, if a doctor of the same gender is not available, one can go to a doctor from the opposite gender and touching and looking is permitted in this case. But only in case of necessity and as much as needed.
Most probably it will be hard for you to find an excuse to refuse to shake hands with non-mahrams especially those with whom you had usual interactions before. Because in your society this may result in a misunderstanding about your attitude toward people.
When a non-mahram wants to shake a hand with you, if you politely say that due to religious matters you can't shake hands but you are pleased to meet them, in most cases, they will accept it from you without being offended. This would be better rather than falsely mentioning illness and other things. But if you explained your reason honestly and someone reacted badly, you do not need to bother yourself convincing that person.
To conclude, shaking hands, kissing, hugging, and every other kind of greeting and interaction between non-Mahrams which involves touching and also looking at each other on purpose, and talking with each other in a tempting manner are Haram in Islam.
[i] Refer to the article “The Islamic etiquette of looking” for more information.
- shakin hands in islam
- Mohammad ibn Jarir Tabari, “Tarikh-e Tabari,” vol.3, p.61-62.