Halal and Haram in Handling Dogs and Pigs – The UPM Case.
Baru-baru ini Tini telah mendapat email ini daripada salah seorang bekas producer 3R, Anna Har. Anna juga telah menerbitkan salah satu episode kami bertajuk Woolf, Woolf, Meow, Meow (musim ke -12)yang mana 3R membincangkan tentang tangungjawab seorang pemilik haiwan peliharaan dan tugas kita menjaga kebajikan haiwan-haiwan semua.
Tini tak pasti sama ada anda pernah menerima email berserta gambar-gambar seorang penuntut veterinary bertudung memengang anjing dan khinzir. Gambar-gambar tersebut telah menimbulkan pelbagai reaksi masyarakat. Tini ingin berkongsi di sini, email yang datangnya dari seorang veterinary muslim dari Universiti Putra Malaysia. Disini beliau menerangkan segala kemusykilan dan kecurigaan yang mungkin anda semua hadapi berkenaan dengan isu ini.
Apa yang pasti, kita sebagai khalifah Allah mempunyai tangungjawan besar dalam menjaga kebajikan makhluk Allah, tak kira apa jenis binatang, flora dan fauna.
Harapan ini, article dibawah dapat membuka mata dan minda kita, dan sama-sama mendapat manfaat darinya.
The e-mail is from a Malay Muslim Veterinarian based in Universiti Putra
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Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
To all those who are concerned, I wish you all the best and pray that you are in the good graces of the Almighty and Most Merciful Allah.
I feel drawn to share with you what I have to say about certain pictures now being circulated in group websites and forums in the internet of a Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University Putra Malaysia Malay Muslim student who has posed for photos whilst being in a pig sty and handling both dogs and pigs!
I am writing this e-mail at length in the hope that my explanations will be understood clearly and not misinterpreted.
NEVERTHELESS, to those who do not have the time to spare to read this,its enough for me to state that:
· ‘THERE’S NO PROBLEM WITH THOSE PICTURES!
· THOSE PICTURES ARE NOT INSULTING ISLAM BUT ONLY SHOW THAT MUSLIMS CAN, IF THEY NEED TO, TOUCH DOGS AND PIGS!
· IT’ IS MANKIND’S RESPONSIBILITY AS KHALIFAHS OF ALLAHTO
ENSURE THE COMFORT, SAFETY, FREEDOM AND WELLBEING OF ALL OF ALLAH’S CREATURES ON EARTH!
There is no injunction that says that it is forbidden to touch dogs and pigs. What is forbidden is for Muslims to eat the meat of swine and any animals that have fangs. We need to be clear about what Islam’s views are about these animals.
Both of them are amongst the Creations of Allah and Allah would not create anything in vain. In fact, each creation of Allah has a significant role to play in this life.
Has Allah created the dog and pig to be viewed with disdain by His Ummah?
Before continuing with this discourse, please allow me to introduce myself.
I am a graduate Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, year 2006. I am now continuing my Master of Physiology, first semester studies in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UPM.
I studied at the Kuala Selangor Islamic Secondary School before this.
I might not be the best person to explain about this for there are better individuals who are Islamic scholars who could give in depth explanations about the subject matter together with the relevant verses and their detailed translations.
Even then, I will do my best to share with you from my limited Islamic knowledge and from what I have learned from my personal discussions with the learned religious teachers in seminars that we have held in our own faculty with regard to this issue.
Firstly, as a Veterinary Doctor (@ Animal Doctor), it is part and parcel of our duties to carry out treatment of dogs or pigs. For those of us who work as Veterinary Doctors, or Vets in short, in Animal Clinics, most of us have to treat dogs and cats.
Even then, there are those who limit their treatments to just cats.
As for pigs, usually no Muslim Vets will choose to work in those farms.
Those who work in the Department of Veterinary Services at times have to visit the pig farms to ensure that the farms concerned practice good farming procedures and management in order to be free from contagious diseases such as the Nipah virus which wreaked havoc in 1999 and threatened the lives of human beings.
There are also Vets working in the laboratories who have to process samples coming from pigs or dogs such as their blood, faeces or anything else derived from them.
Hence, in the curriculum of the Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, students will be involved in handling dogs and pigs. Starting with practical studies of the organs of such animals in the study of the anatomy and physiology subjects to the extent of handling,treatment and carrying out postmortem examinations of such animals in depth upon entering the pre-clinical and clinical years.
In general, I agree with the term of ‘desensitization’ used by someone who e-mailed merecently. As veterinarians, this desensitization is necessary for us to not feel disgusted when treating our animal patients for it is our responsibility and also part of our oath that we recite when we graduate.
Upon entering Year 4, a veterinary student will have to follow the introduction to clinic subject and clinical subjects in Year 5. In both these subjects, students will be divided into small teams..These teams will taketurns to carry out practical work in the prescribed activities. They have to carry out practical studies for a week on each subject. These practical studies involve the treatment of pets such as dogs and also the pig rearing industry. They have to visit pig farms to carry out observations, diagnose diseases and carry out treatment procedures.
From what I have seen, the pictures being circulated through the internet are those of a UPM veterinary student taken during her practical studies at the pig farms and clinical studies.
It is my opinion that the student posed for such pictures publicly not to insult the Islamic Faith or anyone but to share an experience that not many in the general public might go through!
Regarding the issue of touching, holding and treating dogs and pigs that are categorised as ‘Najis Mukhallazah’ (Severe Najis) according to Islamic Fiqh, its not actually ‘HARAM’ as understood by most Malay Muslims. Many ask me how as a Muslim I can touch dogs and pigs which are forbidden to be touched?
According to the Fiqh of Islamic Knowledge that I studied since my Islamic primary school up to the secondary school, the touching of
‘Najis Mukhallazah’ is not ‘haram:’
· What is taught in the Fiqh Laws are when we have touched ‘Najis Mukhallazah’.
· we are to purify ourselves with carrying out the ‘samak procedure’ which is to wash the affected areas 7 times.
· Once with water mixed with pure earth and then to rinse it off 6 times with pure water.
What is haram with regard to dogs and pigs is the consumption of their meat and by products, not touching them. As a Malay, I understand the views of the Malay society who feel squeamish or disgusted about dogs and pigs. This might have come about from the traditions of our forefathers who tried their level best to avoid touching dogs and pigs for their aversion to have to cleanse and purify themselves when such a situation occurs and would affect their acts of ibadah.
I myself, even after being clear about the rules regarding the touching of dogs and pigs, felt awkward and squeamish when I held a pig’s heart for the first time, what more when I had to lift a dog to be placed upon the examining table where the technique calls for me to hold the dog close to myself as it is the safest technique to avoid injury to the animal in the lifting process. Still, we need to be clear about what is Islam’s view with regard to these two animals, created by Allah the Almighty.
Did Allah create the dog and pig to be reviled and loathed as severe ‘najis’?
If so, why then is there the Islamic decree in Fiqh that states any prey caught and killed by trained hunting dogs as ‘halal’ to be consumed provided the hunter makes the intention in his or her heart for the sake of Allah when releasing the hunting dog or dogs or bird of prey ? What about the story of the prostitute who was forgiven by Allah of all her sins and entered into Paradise solely on the basis of her good deed in feeding a dog dying of thirst with water that she took by climbing down a well using her shoe?
Dogs and pigs are also creatures of Allah and included amongst the responsibilities of mankind who have been appointed as the Khalifahs of Allah upon this Earth. As such, they too like humans need food when hungry, drink when thirsty, treatment when sick even though the priorities differ when the situation warrants choosing between them and humans.
Thus, I see what is being studied by the veterinarians relating to dogs and pigs including the obligations to treat them is included in Fardhu Kifayah and fulfills a part of mankind’s responsibilities as the Khalifahs of Allah! Nevertheless, it is still the responsibility of the veterinarian to know the do’s and don’ts of the Islamic faith in his or her career.
Muslim veterinarians and veterinary medical students need to be careful and not be lackadaisical in their observing the cleanliness and purity of their physical selfs and attire so as not to render their ibadah null and void because they failed to avoid contamination of such severe najis upon themselves. The best way for such veterinarians and veterinary medical students to avoid such complications is to separate their work clothes and their normal attire, especially their clothings which they use for prayer. This is to avoid damage to such clothings used in prayer for such attire will be damaged if purified through the ‘samak’ procedures.
Civilians ought not to worry because such filth is not contagious.
It means that if a vet just washes his or her hands after work but has not purified their hands through the ‘samak’ procedure, such a situation still does not promote contagion when, or if, you have to shake their hands. The essence of colour, smell and taste is no longer there for they have washed off their hands but still the vet needs to carry out the ‘samak’ process before prayer.
The same situation can occur when a Muslim has to shake the hands of a Non Muslim who rears dogs at home. What about those who have stepped on dog poo or stepped upon grounds that have been trod upon by dogs and pigs? One does not have to worry too particularly, especially if there is no essence of the three
criteria to suggest the presence of such severe najis -colour, smell and traces.
There are suggestions by several ustazs to purify the whole body through the ‘samak procedure once in a while for the civilian Muslim population and once a month for the veterinarians. This is if the essence of the Najis Mukhallazah is feared to be present on their persons but not detectable. They can then be purified thoroughly by carrying out the ‘samak’ process regularly. Still, this is just my opinion and not an obligation upon all those who have doubts as to the state of their purity and personal cleanliness.
Actually, there have been many questions that have been raised regarding Muslim veterinarians who have to treat racehorses? What is the Islamic law regarding it? How about the treatment fees received? Isit halal?
The same goes to the matter of a Muslim veterinarian who provides services and advice in improving the pig farming industry. What’s the Islamic law regarding that? What about the vet who has to carry out a lengthy corrective surgery on dogs and pigs to the stage that he or she misses their prayers?
Can it be considered to be the same as carrying out surgery on humans where the prayers can be shortened and carried out together in ‘jamak and qasar’?
There are lots of other questions coming from civilians, between us veterinarians and the veterinary students that I cannot be answered due to my limited religious knowledge. I figure that the same situation occurs or will occur in your career if you truly seek for the answers. This is because Islam is the complete way of life and it covers all elements of living and the beauty of it is that, true Islam already has all the answers to our predicaments and situations. It is up to us to study, research and understand what Islam has to say about anything by observing the guidelines and teachings of those who are learned and are knowledgeable in the faith.
Lastly, as Muslims, let us take responsibility to correct the misunderstanding of our Ummah especially those involving the Malays with regard to this very sensitive and disturbing issue. This matter is often raised by the Non Muslims who are quite concerned about animal welfare.
One of my seniors in his final year project regarding animal welfare, conducted a poll of opinions. Among the questions asked were :
· ‘If you saw a dog that had its legs trapped, would you help by freeing it?’
· Give reasons for each of your answers.
As a Muslim, I felt sad and ashamed when I saw one answer stating :
‘No, because I am a Muslim.’
This scenario has to change for as Muslims, we need to take care of three relationships:
1. Our relationship with Almighty Allah
2. Our relationship with our fellow human beings
3. Our relationship with our fellow creatures on Earth
Verily, Islam is pure and simple. Everything relating to our existence here on Earth has already been revealed to us through the Last Testament of Allah (The Holy Al-Qur’an Al Karim) and the Hadiths and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.
We need to delve into the Revelations, seek and find the answers to all our needs, understand, implement and put them to practice in our lives. Verily, all Knowledge belongs to Allah, the Most Learned, Most Aware.
May this article be beneficial to all. Ameen.
Dr. Mohd Dzulhamka Kamaluddin
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia .
Prof. Dr. Rasedee Abdullah
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
Universiti Putra Malaysia
You may find this article even more interesting. Go to The UPM Case:
Halal & Haram
Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan bin Abdul Rahman
I have been following the story of the construction of a centralised and modern pig farm in Kampung Tumbuk in Kuala Langat and how the issue of religious sensitivity and racial cards have been played by the opposition (i.e. the BN people) in Selangor.
The issue also appears to have been made worse by the lopsided reporting by the Malay newspaper which obviously is trying to incite racial sentiments. Please allow me to share my views, as a Muslim, on the matter.
The Babi and the narrow-minded politicians who call themselves Muslims from an Islamic perspective. In Islam, the eating of swine is forbidden. This is clearly demonstrated in many verses of the Quran.
Among others these include:  5:3, 6:145, 16:114-115;  2:168-169, 3:93-94, 6:119, 10:59;  5:90-91.
My research has failed to find any evidence that suggests that the religion does not allow Muslims to be standing next to, to look at or to smell a pig. Maybe some people in authority can highlight further on this issue. First of all, I am appalled at the narrow-minded politicians who made the issue of building a centralised and modern pig farming an issue. It is beyond doubt that the real issue here is economy, environmental pollution and improving quality of life in the surrounding community. The opposition (BN) are making a mockery of this just because of political mileage. I feel when something good is being done; it should be promoted by all parties.
I have travelled to St Louis, USA which is also known as the pork capital of the world. I have visited and stood 3 feet away from a pig pen. There was no smell. It was so damn clean. It is even cleaner than
public toilets in Malaysia . How many of these politicians have visited such a farm and how many are involved in goat farming in Malaysia? While the goat is Halal in Malaysia, please enter any of the farms in Malaysia and you will see how dirty they are. Islam only prohibits the eating of pork. There is no prohibition
against looking at or standing next to a pig. In fact, I have yet to find anywhere in the Quran where it says that Muslims are prevented from rearing them.
During my 15 months’ tour of duty with the UN in Cambodia, I saw many Malay Champa, who are devout Muslims, rear pigs under their houses for economic reasonsbut they do not eat them. From an economic perspective, it is better to rear pigs than cows or goats. It is simply more profitable. The pregnancy duration is about 112-115 days compared to goats which is about 150 days or a cow, 290 days. At the end of each pregnancy, the pig produces between 12- 15 piglets, the goat 1 or 2 kids and the cow just 1 calf. From an environmental perspective, it is definitely better to have a central farm where small farmers join hands and run one big and clean farm. This way the cleanliness of our water ways will be maintained. Waste management will become the epicentre of the operation. It is more economical to run one big farm than many small farms that are polluting.Overall it is a win-win situation for everyone.
It is insulting the way some politicians look at the issue. I believe from an Islamic perspective it is quite clear. It is the narrow-minded politicians that played up the matterthat makes it into a Muslim and non-Muslim issue and tried to create a bigger racial divide among Malaysians. Sometimes I wonder, which has the lower image, the babi or these politicians. For that aspect, I respect the position taken by
PAS on this matter. It has shown that it has handled the issues properly. I ask all level-minded Malaysians to re-look at the ‘Babi’ issue again. Study the real issues properly and make a proper
judgment. Overall, it will benefit Malaysians from the economic, environmental and quality of life perspective.
Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan bin Abdul Rahman