How Should We Deal with Someone Who Owns Dogs?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

The default ruling on the clothing of people who frequent impurities (najasa) is purity. Does this apply to people who own/work with dogs/pigs (and don’t purify themselves; difference of opinion, don’t care, non-Muslim, etc.)? My concern is that e.g. the drunkard washes regularly, meaning the filthy alcohol goes away, but a person owning a dog washes but not with dirt.

Should I eat from their food that isn’t prepared dry, buy items that involve moisture/dipping in manufacture, etc.?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.

There are differing views about the purity status of dogs and pigs. When one encounters and interacts with Muslims who may be affected by impurities in the strict sense, it may be wiser to treat their dealings according to the less strict views, and Allah knows best.

Are Dogs Clean?

Dogs, like pigs, are considered filth (najasa) in the Shafi’i School. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin]

Every living animal is physically pure in the Maliki school, even dogs and swine. [Jaziri, al-Fiqh ‘ala al-Madhahib al-Arba’a]

While the more conservative view is that of the Shafi’i School, the dispensation exists for those who have difficulty preventing dog contamination. On condition that their prayer, with its prerequisites, is considered valid in the Maliki School, and Allah knows best. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

Filth (Najasa) Contamination of Dogs and Pigs

The type of contact that would cause contamination by pigs and dogs is restricted, in the Shafi’i school, to contamination by traces of moisture, whether saliva, urine, anything moist from them, or any of their dry parts that have become moist [Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj]

Cleaning Heavy Contamination

In the Shafi’i School, something contaminated by the filth from dogs or swine can only be cleansed by washing seven times. One of which (recommended not to be the last) must be with purifying earth mixed with purifying water and must reach the entire affected area. One may not substitute something else like soap or glasswort in place of the earth. If something dry, such as the animal’s breath or hair, touches one’s person, it need only be brushed away. [ibid.]

In the Maliki school, the above sevenfold washing is a sunna and not obligatory. [Jaziri, al-Fiqh ‘ala al-Madhahib al-Arba’a]

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.