Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Muslims and Our Relationship with Dogs

"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart  whose soil have never been loosened or fertilised by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones" ~ Charlotte Bronte

Hello Readers,

I must write this post because I am just annoyed as hell by my brethren muslims here in Malaysia. I see them being cruel to dogs, I see them poking fun at this man who was in a recent article applauded for his acts in keeping and saving stray dogs, belittling him and calling him less of a muslim for doing what he did.

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of dogs myself, simply because most of them are huge (bigger than I am I might add, but this is just my theory because I do not want to be admitting to certain discriminatory evidence of my real height..but I digress) and I have a horrifying memory of being chased by wild dogs in Sungai Siput when I was a child riding a bike. I remember being so terrified that I left the bike and ran for my life, and eventually climbed up a tree. Errkk.. I love cute ones (small toy dogs they call) and I also love puppies!!

Anyways, back to this issue. For starters, you must understand that different mazhabs of the Islamic faith have different views on which parts of the dog is haram, and this is important because it eventually shapes how our relationships with the dogs are then forged and maintained.

(i) Mazhab Maliki  : This mazhab says that dogs are cool and not najis , which means...wait for it.. NO part of the dog is haram...which means that you can touch dogs, you can let the dogs lick you, and kiss you ...and roll around in the mud with dogs...whatever lah ok;

(ii) Mazhab Syafie (which is Malaysia's chosen mazhab FYI) : Our mazhab is definitely one of the most strict in EVERYTHING and our mazhab says that all of the dog is najis (fur and saliva and all) and is therefore haram for us to touch;

(iii) Mazhab Abu Hanifah : This mazhab is a bit more tolerant and is of the view that only the saliva of the dog is najis but the fur isn't. Get it? That means, you can still touch a wet dog and stuff, but licking and kissing the dog is off limits.

The fatwa of the majmuk has come to the conclusion that the 3rd view is the most correct, because you know why? Because technically and truly,  in the Islam religion, you can't be simply saying that this is haram or that is haram unless there is a dalil that says so. Disagree with me? Why don't you look up Surah Al-An'am, verse 11 and read and try to understand the words.

Now, what does that have to show for declaring the shisha haram I wonder?...  but lets not go there, that is for another post maybe.

Back to the dog issue.

We Malaysians unfortunately, have a habit of being obsessed with our country's chosen mazhab. Now this obsession and blind following of a particular mazhab over another is a subject of heated debate in the ulama' world but somehow or rather, Malaysia has not caught up with that being an issue, or either than that, its just not that widely circulated in the media. Generally, an obsession with particular mazhab is frowned upon. You want to know why? because Islam is supposed to be easy. When a particular precept in a mazhab makes your life difficult, muslims are asked that it find a precept in a mazhab which makes their life easier you know what I mean?

A great example of this is on the issue of whether pregnant ladies who do not fast, are supposed to bayar fidyah sahaja, or bayar fidyah and ganti puasa as well. Our mazhab says, you have to do both. But another mazhab says, no need, just pay your fidyah as you are carrying a miracle, a child! and it is a most stressful experience. So the fatwa of the majmuk says, in conflicting precepts of a particular mazhab, just choose the easiest one for you to follow. Because it is a view of a muslim scholar, and it is not something which  the Al-Quran has specifically mentioned. It is use your own mind and judgment.

Now, back to the dog issue. I have explained the status of the dogs kan? What about keeping them as pets? This, you must understand is a separate issue to that of touching them.

Understand that there is no verses in the Al-Quran disallowing the keeping of dogs as pets at all. It is silent on the issue. However, there are some hadith (which are essentially the words of the prophet FYI) that would indicate that the main rule is that keeping dogs as pets are frowned upon, but there are exceptions and they are as follows:-

(i) Keeping them as pets to watch over herds of animals;

(ii) Keeping them as pets to watch over your crops; and

(iii) Keeping them as pets for hunting.

Imam Nawawi also has the view that muslims are allowed to keep dogs as pets to stand guard over their houses for safety reasons.

So, what does that tell you readers?

In so far as the uncle who takes in stray dogs and helps them, let me just share with you a story. This is a story which is documented even before prophet Muhammad s.a.w time. Rumour is it happened masa zaman nabi Isa a.s.

Anyways, the woman belonged to the oldest profession in the world (if you know what I mean). For lack of a better word, she was a prostitute. She was thirsty and was on the verge of collapsing when she found a water source. She had managed to take some water for herself, being so weak when she felt a tug from the back of clothes, to find a dog that was thirsty and was asking for the water she was holding. She felt sorry for the dog and gave the water to the dog but in doing so, she had lost all the energy she had left to get some more water for herself and she died. It was said in the story that Allah forgave her for all her sins and she went to heaven because of her act of kindness to the dog.

So shame on the haters and people who judge others without understanding the true precepts of our faith. All good deeds are rewarded, regardless of who it benefits.

Open your mind people, and understand your own faith before going on a blind charade of judgment. You are embarrassing the rest of us.

P.S - The views contained in this article are my personal views and does not allege to represent those of other Muslims of the Islamic Community as a whole. Please read with caution.  

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