Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the ruling on excessive public displays of affection such as kissing in public or on social media for a husband and wife to showcase their love? Thank you.
Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.
We start with Allah SWT’s statement:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.” 
Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili explained this verse is among Allah’s verses – which means signs – that show al-Ba’th – that means creation – where He created you in pairs including mankind so that you’ll find affection and mercy. He also creates love and care between husband and wife. Indeed, what has been mentioned, are signs that show the greatness of Allah SWT for those who want to reflect on His creations, plans, authority and wisdom. 
According to the 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan, showing affection is being affectionate and loving with each other.  Being affectionate between a husband and wife is permissible. It is one of the blessings from Allah SWT for His slaves who is naturally inclined towards owning and being owned. Thus, showcasing the feelings of love towards one’s partner through touch and words is a normal thing.
However, Islam emphasizes the matters of dignity and honour of husband and wife. There is a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:
الإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ شُعْبَةً، وَالحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ
“Iman has over sixty branches – and modesty is a branch of Iman.” 
Syeikh Mustafa al-Bugha when commenting on this hadith said that modesty is one of the attributes of a person and this attribute leads a person to do good and leave what is shameful and indecent. 
Furthermore, being shy is divided into two:
- Related to the rights of Allah, for instance, we are ashamed Allah is always watching another transgressing His commandments or committing His prohibitions.
- Being ashamed in regards to the rights of creations, such as a person is always protecting himself from doing something degrading or shameful. 
How important having feelings of shyness is that in a hadith, it is stated that if Allah dislikes a person, He’ll remove shyness from the person. This is as narrated from Abdullah bin ‘Amr from the Prophet PBUH, he said:
إِذَا أَبْغَضَ اللهُ عَبْدًا نزَعَ مِنْهُ الحَيَاءَ
“When Allah wants to destroy a person, He takes away modesty from him,” 
Especially, when being shy is a commendable character that leads to good. Whoever has a lot of shyness will also have a lot of goodness, whoever has a little of shyness will also have a little of goodness. Shyness and being modest can be developed. For every person who has a person under his responsibility should develop and teach modesty on his responsibility.
A person who is modest and shy will be able to take care of himself and his dignity will prevent him from doing anything that contradicts the norms of life and the shariah of Allah SWT. Hence, when a person loses his shyness in him, then all bad and indecency gather in him.
The decline of character and the western culture and the ruins of their values occurred when modesty is no longer practised in their lives. Restoring modesty in accordance with the guidelines of shariah is crucial in our lives.
Coming back to the question asked, excessive public displays of affection such as kissing or sharing such videos on social media are inappropriate. Furthermore, it is completely different from the character a Muslim should have, for he is commanded to be modest and never degrade himself by being indecent. Moreover, Imam al-Nawawi also stated that among the matters that degrade the honour of a person is kissing his wife in public. 
A concern that it will become a norm in society
In addition, there is also concern that if such excessive displays of affection are exposed on social media, it will be followed by youths and it will ultimately be considered a norm. What’s more worrying is that it may lead to other worse matters such as exposing the aurah, inciting desires and others where all of them should actually be a secret between a husband and wife not to be showcased to others.
This is stated in a hadith narrated by Jarir bin Abdullah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:
وَمَن سَنَّ في الإسْلَامِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً، كانَ عليه وِزْرُهَا وَوِزْرُ مَن عَمِلَ بهَا مِن بَعْدِهِ بعده من غير أن ينقص من أوزارهم شيء
“And whoever introduces a bad practise that is followed, he will receive its sin and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.'” 
Al-Nawawi said that whoever introduces transgression then he will be punished the same way as the person who commits it until the day of Judgement. In other words, the punishment for the sin is continuous throughout his life or even after his death.  Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani added about this matter saying that the person bears the sin of what he taught and showed for as long he doesn’t repent from the sin. 
According to the above discussion and arguments, in our opinion, the act of excessive public displays of affection between a husband and wife such as kissing and others should be avoided, for it doesn’t depict how a true Muslim.s character is and is far from the honourable eastern culture that we upheld all this time.
However, if the affection between husband and wife showed in the form of holding hands, then this is fine. We end with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH, he said:
الحَيَاءُ لاَ يَأْتِي إِلَّا بِخَيْرٍ
“Haya’ (pious shyness from committing religious indiscretions) does not bring anything except good.” 
May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in religion. Amin.
 Surah al-Rum: 21
 See al-Tafsir al-Wajiz, pg. 407.
 Narrated by al-Bukhari (9); Muslim (35) but with the words, “Iman has over seventy branches…”
 See Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/11.
 See al-Kafi Syarah Hadith 40 oleh Dr. Zulkifli al-Bakri, pg. 191-192.
 Narrated by al-Baihaqi (7724) dalam Syu‘ab al-Iman.
 See Minhaj al-Talibin, pg. 345.
 Narrated by Muslim (1017)
 See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 16/226-227.
 See Fath al-Bari, 12/193.
 Narrated by al-Bukhari (6117)