THE “I Want To Touch A Dog” event, which was recently organised in a neighbouring country, has stirred great concern and outcry among the public, especially the Muslim community as the act clearly contradicts the teachings of the doctrine and religious practices of Brunei Darussalam, Imams said in yesterday’s Friday sermon.
“It has to be understood that in accordance with the Shafi’e school of thought, Muslims are forbidden to touch dogs intentionally,” they said, adding that this was because defiling oneself without a reasonable cause or purpose is forbidden in the eyes of Islam.
“Although Islam has enjoined a specific method to help us purify ourselves when we are soiled by ‘najis’ categorised as ‘mughallazah’, that method, however, should not be used as an excuse to deliberately touch ‘najis mughallazah.’”
It was further elaborated that such an act is similar as consciously committing a sin but with the intention to repent and ask for Allah’s forgiveness later.
The Mufti Fatwa of Brunei Darussalam in 2012 states that it is incumbent upon us to refrain from touching any form of ‘najis’, and this is a mandatory duty (wajib) which applies to all situations and circumstances.
Zainuddin al-Malibari rahimahullah in his kitab I’anah At-Thalibin said, “If there is no clear intention or purpose whatsoever, it is obligatory upon you to avoid ‘najis’, because whatever that is sinful for you, you ought to stay away from it.”
This further emphasises that the touching of any form of ‘najis’ is to be avoided in any situation, as stated by al-Asnawi rahimahullah:
“According to a more definite opinion, we should not use ‘najis’ on our clothings, that is, to smear ‘najis’ on it (clothings); the same thing also applies to our body, that is, not to use ‘najis’ on it (body) where the ‘najis’ is in direct physical contact with it, regardless of whether it is wet or dry.”
According to Imam Ibnu Hajar rahimahullah in his kitab “Al-Hawasyi Al-Madaniyah”, he is of the opinion that it is haraam to defile one’s body or clothings with ‘najis’ if there is no real need to do so.
Hence, it is haram to deliberately use something that is’ najis’, whether it is used on your body, clothings or hair, and even more so if it is ‘najis mughallazah’, such as that of a dog, even when it is dry.
“However, if it is inevitable for you from touching the ‘najis’ because there is a dire need for it or from a situation that is beyond your control outside of the prayers, then it becomes permissible.
“For example, if you are in a situation where you cannot find anything to clean off the urine, you are allowed to cleanse it by wiping it with your hands, or in the case of someone whose job is to clean toilets, or slaughter animals, or the case of people who need treatment through the use of ‘najis’ and others,” the Imams explained, adding that for the people mentioned above, it is not compulsory for them to avoid touching the ‘najis’ because they have a clear and definite need and use of it.
Nevertheless, it is still mandatory for them to purify themselves of the ‘najis’ when they are going to perform their prayers and the like.
Basically, Islam does not look down in contempt upon dogs as one of Allah’s creatures, much less mistreat, beat and kill the animals without apparent reason, because these acts truly in itself violate the teachings of Islam.
In fact, dogs ought to be shown love, compassion and their well-being looked after.
However, in the Shafi’e school of thought, Muslims are prohibited from keeping such animals as pets. This is because it is a matter of religious law, which in this case touches on the issue of cleanliness of clothings and parts of the body.
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said in a hadith which means, “Cleanliness is part of faith” (Narrated by Imam Muslim).
“We should bear in mind that the Muslim community of this country holds on to the ‘akidah’ of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, the Shafi’e school of thought, which is based on the Constitution.
“Thus, it is crucial for us to continue to adhere to and uphold our religious law that is not in conflict with the precepts of the Syafi’e school of thought,” the Imams said, adding that in efforts to realise the country’s vision of becoming a Zikir Nation, it is not appropriate to organise such an event which would later turn into a trendy and viral social following in Brunei Darussalam.
This stand taken is in line with the titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, which was asserted in conjunction with the National Nuzul Al-Quran 1435 Hijrah celebrations, as follows, “In Brunei, we do not practise a culture of random mix or selective matching, rather our culture is based on practices founded on truthfulness.
“We will dutifully obey and carry out those laws that are stipulated by the religion and Al-Quran. Therefore, I would like to remind all of us to exercise caution and to behave responsibly when preaching to the masses. Let us be more careful and not easily seduced in imitating or blindly accepting the ways or foibles of others. We should avoid importing problems for ourselves, particularly in terms of religious practices.”
The people of this country are advised to refrain from copying or following any events or programmes which contradicts with religious laws, religious practices, public interests, religious harmony, code of conduct, public etiquette, as well as the sensitivities of the Muslims of this country.
Allah the Almighty says in Surah Al-Isra’ verse 36, “Do not occupy yourself with what you have no knowledge of, indeed the sight and hearing and the heart, all these will be questioned.”
The sermon ended with a reminder for the Muslim community in the country to strengthen their ‘akidah’ and upgrade their ‘iman’ and piety by increasing acts of worship solely for the pleasure of Allah the Almighty.
“Let us altogether pray for Allah the Almighty to protect us from the influences of devious elements that run contrary to our ‘akidah’ and religious laws which we have dearly upheld to be our way of life until the present time.” (Prepared by Mosque Affairs Department, Ministry of Religious Affairs)