Professor Mustafa Talk Gönüllü, the rector of Adıyaman University, who was appointed by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has claimed that shaking hands with an unrelated woman was “more horrific than holding fire.”
In a post shared on social media, Professor Gönüllü asked whether it was religiously permissible to hold a woman’s hand without having been engaged. “The hand of a woman touching an unrelated man when there is no need is forbidden by the religion. In this respect, an unrelated man cannot shake hands with an unrelated woman. Our Prophet had declared that holding the hand of an unrelated woman to shake hands was more horrific than holding fire and it was said that those who hold the hand of someone unrelated would grasp the fire of hell,” Gönüllü wrote.
He has also claimed that “walking with one’s fiancée out and staying alone together” was strictly forbidden by the religion and was a great sin. But Gönüllü stated that it was permissible for elder men and women to shake hands as their “emotive sides were vanished.” Gönüllü’s remarks drew immediate ire from social media users.