Caught Open-Handed

Written by: Hamzah Moin


“Assalamu Alaikum!” a man shouts as he enters the room.

The crowd of people stand up as he makes his rounds shaking people’s hands and introducing himself. You notice that you are the end of the long semi-circle and the man will shake your hand last.

“Perfect,” you whisper to yourself, “save the best Salam for last.”
You watch the man make his rounds as you criticize the other people for making such haphazard Salams to him.
“Ha!” you snicker to yourself, “you call THAT a Salam??”

You realize this new guest is almost near your position. Beads of sweat roll down your face. Your chance to make an outstanding impression on him is NOW. Finally it’s time to Salam him yourself. You reach your hand out but suddenly the man turns around and walks in the opposite direction. You feel like a ghost … like nobody can see you but that weird kid from The Sixth Sense.

Your arm remains outstretched as the entire semi-circle begins to laugh at you.

What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Being caught open-handed is an inevitable occurence that happens to every Muslim throughout their lives. The real question is, what can one do to not embarass themselves if their hand is left outstretched?

Cough or Sneeze

A great way to cover this all up is by making a huge coughing or sneezing fit. Make it sound like your lungs will be ripped out at any second. This is a good diversion and you can use your outstretched arm to cover your mouth to block any sort of nasty bacteria entering the atmoshere.

The guest will most likely have noticed you by now and although you won’t receive a handshake because your hand is filled with phlegm, you receive a nod from the guest and this fills up your heart anyway.


Start stretching for your toes. Why not? Not only is it sunnah to remain healthy but everyone loves to stretch. The guest turns around and gives you a nice big smirk. You feel flattered. What is even more flattering is that the guest proceeds to start stretching for his toes too. You create unity in this process.

Be Vocal

No need to take that crap from him. Start being rude if necessary.


The guest turns around, smiles and shakes your hand. He proceeds to tell you that you have a strong will and he likes bold people like yourself. You make a new friend.

Make Dua

When things aren’t going your way it’s best to make dua (a supplication) to Allah to make things bigger. This is done easily by taking your left hand and joining it with your outstretched hand.

You should ask for many good things in the world like world peace, victory to Muslims, and to remain in good relations by this mystery guest.

The guest looks over to you and sees your piety. He smiles and you smile back. Alhamdullilah.

Shake the Guy’s Hand Next To You

You can fool everyone by shaking the guy’s hand who is beside you.

“It was really meant for you brother.”

The new guest is a bit saddened by this action and begins to cry a bit. You laugh menacingly at this fact.

Start Dancing

Self explanatory but a tad bit on the not-so-Halal side.

The mysterious guest turns around and sees you dancing. He laughs excitedly and proceeds to dance as well. This is the most fun but Un-Halal route.

Just Go For The Whole Damn Hug

You look at your outstretched arm and smirk to yourself. “This is child’s play” With your other arm you dive to the brother and give him the most enormous hug of your life. The brother at first loses his breath but regains lung composure and returns the hug back to you. You become best friends and trade baseball cards.


Sometimes, even a hug can be lost in the shuffle.

What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Start a Conga Line

You place your hands on top of the guest’s shoulders and shout “CONGA!!”

The guest isn’t really pleased but proceeds to lead the conga line anyway. The uncles and aunties upstairs hear this and are not impressed. Any sort of marriage proposal that was heading your way is discarded. The guest laughs.

Play “Guess Who”

You clasp your hands over the guest’s eyes. “Guess Who?” you ask.

The guest starts naming every single name he can think of until he reaches your name. You unclasp your hands and you both laugh together like schoolchildren on a hot summer day, playing tag or hide-and-go-seek. He then tells you his name and you become his closest friend. You both chuckle to yourselves.

Give the Guest a Noogie

You take your outstretched arms and tackle the guest to the ground. You proceed to give him a noogie until he starts crying. The other guests try pulling you apart but you aren’t letting up. The mysterious but crying guest starts giggling at your antics and agrees to become your friend only if you stop noogie-ing him.

Hijabis looking for a way to apply to this to their everyday lives… noogie-ing hijabs doesn’t work. Believe me.


In Arab culture, an air kiss on the cheeks is a form of greeting. But sometimes even a kiss is missed

Look at those luscious lips.

Just Stand There

Sometimes a little embarassment can go a long way. Just stand there with your eyes closed and your lips all puckered up. The guest will feel flattered that you are going for the cheek-kiss thing and will feel guilty for missing it. He gives you his phone number.

The Miss-Kiss

Unfortunately, sometimes even when the guest sees you and does the cheek-kiss on you, you sometimes forget which side he is starting and which side you are starting? The result… you both start at the same side and more than cheeks are being kissed.

Both you and the guest are disgusted at this bizarre icebreaker but still remain close friends for the rest of your lives.