Purity and Dogs

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Can you please explain the ruling of purifying things that got touched
by dogs or pigs in sufficient detail?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Dog and pig filth

In the Shafi’i school, dogs and pigs and any moisture that comes from them is filthy. This is because of the hadith ‘The cleansing of a container in which a dog has lapped is to wash it seven times the first of which is with earth.’

If you touch a dog or a pig with wet hands, or a wet dog brushes passed you, or you touch moist pork or bacon, in order to purify your hands for prayer, you must wash it under the tap seven times, one of which has earth mixed into the water.

Practical tips

For those in frequent exposure to such things, one trick is to have a little cup of earthy water next to the sink you are usually use and just pour it over your hands, or the affected area, once and then wash under six times under the tap. I doesn’t take much. (I know because I used to wash up in a cafe and I would see the utensils that had been used for bacon/pork go into the sink, so I’d just do that when I went to pray.)

If you are walking next to a river and dog licks your foot, for example, you can just stick you foot in the merky water and shake it around seven times, and you’re good to go.

For people living with non-Muslims keep dogs or who eat pork, they can just use soap or any other detergent instead of earth. [Rawdat al-Talibin, al-Nawawi, as a weaker but followable position] There is no need to cover their house in mud and claim that you are just keeping things clean!

For the use of dogs for the disabled, please see this answer.

Spreading filthy water

Water that comes off from the cleaned area takes the same ruling as the clean area. So, for example, if you wash you hand three times with water alone, there remains four washes, one of which with earth. In this scenario, the water that comes off you hand and, by happenstance, falls onto the ground makes the ground just a filthy: it too now needs four washes, one of which with earth.

To avoid this, make sure the first wash is done with earthy water, and do so over a basin. This way everything will be washed together.

If you follow the weaker position above, putting clothes in the washing machine with any detergent would be fine.

A man’s best friend

Dogs aren’t evil and many scholars of this ummah have held that they and their saliva are not filthy. The issue that everyone agrees on is that you cannot have a dog merely as pet, let alone a pet pig! Besides that, we should be too strict or impractical. At the end of the day, all scholars agree that you can use them for hunting and killing prey.

For more detail, please see this answer.

I pray this helps,

[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.