As Muslims, we must believe that
every commandment and decree from Allah is for our own good. God knows best
about us than ourselves. The knowledge we have is too little compared to the
Knowledge of God which is like a drop of water from the oceans of the entire
world and beyond that. And even a drop of water too comes from God.
The origin of the prohibition
comes from the Qur'an as in surah Al-Mai'dah, verse 3 which reads:
"حرمت عليكم الميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير وما أهل لغير الله به"
Which means: "It is
forbidden to you (eating) carcass, blood, pork, and (meat) slaughtered
mentioning name other than Allah has
Therefore as a Muslim, every
commandment and prohibition of God must be act upon without having doubts and
skepticism. We are encouraged to study, if possible, the reasons for such
commands and prohibitions. But it is not allowed that we begin to obey God's
commandments only after knowing the reason behind it. This is because we may
never know the reason behind the commandment of God as mentioned by Imam
Al-Ghazali;only the prophets would have knowledge on some of these reasons.
The show of respect in Islam is done through offering greetings of peace between individuals regardless of gender, and handshakes between individuals of the same gender. This is the customary practice and religious etiquette when Muslims meet each other in social gatherings.
This custom is different between Muslims and those from other communities. In a multi-religious society and secular country such as Singapore, it is customary to offer a handshake to welcome and show respect to neighbours, friends and colleagues, or to show appreciation at events and ceremonies. This practice is in line with the Islamic principle of preserving the larger common good, especially when Muslims live alongside, and frequently interact with other communities in a multi-religious society.
In particular, at state and national-level events and ceremonies, the principle of the secular government should be upheld and the norms of courtesy and social interaction in our multi-racial and multi-religious society should be observed by all communities, including Muslims. In such contexts, it is appropriate for Muslims to shake the hands of the GOH, regardless of gender, race and religion. Similarly, at public service ceremonies, Muslim public officers are expected to observe this protocol in receiving awards from GOHs which applies to all award recipients.