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“I Want To Touch A Dog”: Of Religion, Cultural Taboos And A Lot Of Saliva

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The ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’ event held yesterday at Central Park,Bandar Utama, was well-received and applaud by some liberal Muslims , but had drawn the exasperation of Jakim.

The religious authority had issued a fatwa saying that the impurity of a dog can only be removed by washing seven times, one of which should be with earth. Even pigs, which the Qur’an states are haram and describes as an abomination are not najis (impure) to such an extent.

And because of the unhygienic nature of them, it would be difficult for Muslims to perform the solat (prayer) and could lead to

But in the case of dogs which are needed for hunting, farming and herding livestock, there is nothing wrong with that because the Prophet Muhammad gave permission for that.

Because of these reasons, many Muslims have an unshakeable fear of dogs or even go as far as to cause harm to the animals, event organizer Syed Azmi Alhabshi to Asia One.

“This is just a baby step for us. I don’t know whether people will now understand not to throw stones at dogs, but we want people to know that if they are not knowledgeable or are curious about things, they should just ask. If we ask nicely, people will respond,” he said.

About 800 people, from the inquisitive to dedicated dog owners, attended the event, which was organized through Facebook, Asia One reported.

Attendees were encouraged to wear colours to denote their interest: yellow for those who wanted to pet a dog, orange for those who just wanted to watch and red for dog owners.

The event aimed to close the cultural gap with the help of the four-legged creatures, but received more jeers than cheers from the majority.

Participants also listened to a lecture from a religious leader on dog contact, and were taught the Islamic way to cleanse their hands after touching a dog, called sertu or samak.

However, dogs have always been taboo to the Malay culture and Islamic religion, sparking an ongoing debate and one too many contradicting nas and hadiths (words of Prophet Muhammad, regarded as basis of laws) which just adds to the confusion.

The former mufti and adviser to the Johor Islamic Re‎ligious Council, Datuk Nooh Gadut said:

“Don’t try to create a culture that goes against Islam and the Shafie school of thought, especially when it has elements of insulting the clerics in this country,” he was quoted as saying in Malay daily Berita Harian.

“This is forbidden for three reasons, which are religion, health and a culture that contradicts with Islam. It must be remembered that Malaysia adheres to the Shafie school of thought,” he said.MYNEWSHUB



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