The hot topic that I have always been questioned with by my many non-Muslim friends as a Muslim since being identified as one is the topic of, ‘Why can’t Muslims touch/ consume Pork/ Porcine products and Dogs’.
As a young Muslim, the only answer I was able to give was that it was Haram (forbidden). I couldn’t provide any further answer. There was also the issue of whether or not cooking and eating utensils that had previously been used to consume/ cook such meats, is permissable for use by Muslims.
I could relate to this awkwardness very well because when I was 8 years old, my best friends were a pair of Chinese non-Muslim twins, Ang Wei Hao and Ang Shiming (I think it’s shiming but if you happen to read this, please email me!! I miss you two not lookalike brother and sister!). I have no idea how we became best friends but I remember very clearly that they’d ask me for help on English and I’d look for them for Maths. We always sat beside one another in class and we loved badminton then ( I hate badminton now. I suck at it having not played it for a very long time). Then there was this one time when the Mrs Ang and the Ang twins invited me over to their house to study cum play.
I remember that day I was there, we played badminton in the house. How stupid could one be to play badminton in the house? We were kids then so we should be forgiven right? Then whilst playing, the shuttlecock knocked onto one of the vases at home and it came crashing down. I’m not sure if it was an expensive vase but we stopped after that. Aunty, if you are reading this, I AM SOO SORRY!!! I never dared to say sorry to you cause I was afraid that you’d scold me but you were so nice to say it was okay. So, after we stopped playing, we were served with vanilla flavoured ice-cream.
NOW, that was when I became so unsure. I remember my religious teacher had said that utensils used to eat pork were Haram and I couldn’t consume food from it. So, being the smart guy, I told Aunty that I didn’t like vanilla and like chocolate flavour.
Aunty went to buy chocolate ice-cream for me lar!! I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t tell her that I didn’t dare eat because it was from a ‘non-halal’ utensil.
Years have since passed and I am more learned now. If you were to serve me again, I’d eat it Aunty. All that ice-cream and more from whatever kitchen utensils. But let’s get back to the topic, the point here is, as muslims we are:
NOT ALLOWED to touch dogs when either our hands are wet or when they are wet
NOT ENCOURAGED to keep dogs as pets as the dogs saliva and nose which is everwet will definitely get in contact with our home
NOT ALLOWED to consume pork
ALLOWED to touch dogs when both our hands and their furs are dry
ALLOWED to wear DRY porcine products (pork skin shoes/ bags)
With the development of technology in recent years, pork skin shoes and bags have become popular and with that, many Muslims are worried that accidental contact with these porcine products may require them to sertu. Henceforth, may this be a clear cut non-contestable debate that TOUCHING and/ or WEARING of such products (provided they and your contact point are dry) is permissable and does not require you to sertu.
I know many Muslims may still doubt me but rest assured that I wouldn’t dare type such stuff without having done any research of my own.
Firstly, I have consulted one Ustaz Azmi who once mentioned that purchase and wearing of porcine products is permissable provided that the body part in contact and the product is dry. There is no need to sertu. However, he does not recommend the purchase of such stuff for all the obvious reasons but he did not say that it was Haram to wear.
Secondly, I decided to drop an email to the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura or better known as MUIS, the ruling Islamic Organisation in Singapore. The following is an excerpt from the email that I sent and the reply that I received. Nothing has been edited to keep the authenticity of the information:
“I find it discerning that what is being taught at religious classes in mosques differs from the information i read at the FAQ. It has always been mentioned to me since young that consumption and contact of pork/ porcine products was haram until i attended a class which mentioned that contact of porcine products need not require sertu. all it needs is just to be washed off by water. what is the final standpoint on this and possibly on other issues? is there a standard ruling that all ustaz/ustazahs must follow muis guidelines. could it be possible that they adopt a different mahzab?”
The Reply from Feirul Maliq Bin Intajalle:
“Assalamualaikum Wrth. Wbrkth.
An object will become najis if the procine product is wet or if what it comes into contact with is wet. If it is dry, it is not najis. Hence, if ones hand is wet when it touches the object that has come into contact with pork, one must then perform sertu on ones hand. If the object and person hands are dry, then one need only to wipe off any particles suspected to have come from pork from the hand before washing it. if there’s an opinion from other mazhab but major issue in Singapore will be relate to Syafii school. (Main mazhab in Singapore)”
Therefore, from the above email. We can conjure that it is in fact OK/ ALLOWED/ PERMISSABLE/ BOLEH/ GE YI to touch porcine products.
SO, to all those Muslim who are so paranoid about this and don’t feel comfortable to touch, Don’t Touch Lar!!! But don’t you dare say NO to me when I touch or I’ll throw that pork skin shoe at you!!
As for the utensils that had been used, I will discuss that again in due time but IF you are an ever doubtful Muslim, just stay away and politely decline. Otherwise, if you are like me, eat lar!