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Date [ 2014-09-04, 11:23 ]

This is completely different from the Western handshake and has its own meanings.



(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Nancy Joseph = Donald Trump has an unusual view of the handshake.This is what he said: “People always come up to me wanting to shake hands and I never know where that hand has been.  I say let’s copy the wonderful Japanese custom of bowing. It’s respectful and it’s sanitary. What more could you want in a greeting?”A Malay would beg to differ.


While hygiene can be a factor, refusing a handshake while in Malaysian society is tantamount to being rude and lacking in manners, especially in a business environment. A Western handshake is acceptable between a non-Muslim and a Malay Muslim. Nowadays, most Malays prefer not to do the traditional Muslim handshake with non-Muslims and stick to the Western handshake. But between Muslims, the traditional Muslims handshake is a must.

There are variations and different meanings to this handshake.Greetings between MuslimsThis is usually done by giving the ‘salam’ which can be said to be a greeting. This is done by saying ‘Assalam mualakum’and it means ‘Peace be on you.’ The other recipient will automatically reply “Waalaikummusalam” which translates as “May peace be upon you too”.  This same greeting is also uttered before departing. Theseoriginatefrom traditional Arabic/Islamic culture.While saying the above greetings, the palms are touched.
 
Both hands are extended to sandwich the recipient’s right hand.  Malay handshakes are usually light and loose without a grasp and involve only slight touching of the hands. Avoid strong, firm handshakes, even between men. Do not give the Westerner’s firm and hard businesslike handshake.This is next followed by placing either the right hand or both hands over the heart. The hands are then retracted bringing the right hand or both to touch the greeter’s own chest for few seconds to mean, ‘I greet you from my heart’. 

This gesture completes the body movement signifying a thankful acceptance. The person being greeted should also follow suit.Greeting the ElderlyThere are also rules about greeting older people. Always the younger person should be the FIRST to greet an older person. Not to do so is considered as having been badly brought by the parents.Therefore when doing so, it is extremely polite to take the proffered hand and bow from the waist down over the elderly person’s hand. Then touch it with the forehead or the tip of the nose. 

This is considered the Tier 1 handshake, i.e. the most respectful handshake.  All four palms and twenty fingers take part in this Tier 1 Salam.  The person, who is initiating the greeting, has his right palm meeting the elderly person’s right palm. 

His left palm is placed behind the left hand of the person.  Greeting WomenThisis crucial if it is a male greeting a woman. He should say, while keeping his gaze lowered out of respect for her:"Asalaamu aleikom w rahmat Allahi w barakato" (Peace be upon you, and Allah's mercy and rewards). For short he can just say "Asalaamu aleikom" (peace be upon you).

There are factors must be considered.  First, does he already know her? Is he related to her?  Second, is she with a male relative or alone? If he is related to her, a simple salaam aleichem, (insert her name here) is alright. If he is known to her and she is accompanied by others, the same. If he is NOT related to her and she is alone or with other women, he may nod but he should not speak.
 
If he is NOT related to her and she is accompanied by a male relative, he speaks to the male only!For non-Muslims, being able to follow these Muslim way of greeting will go a long way in creating a good impression with their Malay contacts, be it business acquaintances or friends.
 
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