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Purity and Judging Pigskin

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives guidance on prayer and items made of pigskin.

I have been using a leather wallet and recently found out that it is made of pig skin leather. I have performed some prayers while this wallet was in my pocket. Will I have to repeat such prayers? 

Jazakum Allah khayr.

The Short Answer

Please see Praying with a pig-leather wallet… do I have to make up such prayers?

General Advice

Please bear in mind that the default on everything is purity until proven 100% otherwise. A “guesstimate” from a non-specialist that the leather is actually pig leather (and not peccary leather, for example) is not sufficient. You should be genuinely sure that it is indeed pigskin, and be wary of being OCD about everything and anything.

Also, in the future, you should actively ask what type of leather the item you are buying is made of. Pigskin is common in gloves and the insides of shoes.

Guiding Others

Oftentimes, we ask question for others, others who look up to us for guidance, but don’t necessarily have to drive to find out what is right and wrong, or even apply what we have to say to them.

We have to be understanding and merciful, but that doesn’t mean we have to bend the truth or water-down Allah’s religion.

That said, in this particular case, if you did find out that you had definitely prayed many years of prayers wearing or carrying filth, there is a strong position in the Shafi‘i school that says that the prayer does not have to be repeated. (Rawda al-Talibin, al-Nawawi)

This is in addition to the fact that there is some debate over pigskin being pure or not. (Hashiyat al-Tahtawi; al-Mabsut, Sarakhsi; al-Sharh al-Kabir, Dardir) You could guide others of less religious resolve to follow such an opinion in retrospect so that they do not have to make up such prayers. This do not entail that one could go ahead and knowingly use pigskin in the future.

Our religion is based on objective knowledge and genuine keenness to do what Allah wants us to do. It is between strictness and ease, and does not turn into inflexible harshness any more than it does into a lackadaisical neglect. We should be as strict on ourselves (within reason) as we can; and yet be as soft as possible with others as long it doesn’t spoil what they already have of resolve.

Imam al-Bayhaqi quotes one the Early Muslims saying: “Trials in religion are three: the trial of the common man is in the loss of religious knowledge, the trial of the learned is in the existence of dispensations and alternative interpretations, and the trial of those who know and appreciate [Allah] is in having a duty to be done at a particular time and then delaying it.” He also quotes another saying, “Whoever wants to do nothing and be nothing, let him see well to following [all sorts of] dispensations.” (Shuab al-Iman, al-Bayhaqi)

It is worth noting the al-Bayhaqi’s book is called the The Branches of Faith. That is to say the these points guide us in helping our faith grow and come to full fruition. This is what our religion is about, and something that we should always be working on.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Does Touching Pigskin Break Wudu? (Maliki)

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Assalamu Alaykum,

Concerning shoes with pig leather: if you have to touch the shoe to take the outer cover off, would that break your wudu?

It is quite difficult to find shoes without pigskin and I’m going a little OCD about this. What should I do?

Answer: Wa alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah,

It is not permissible for a person to use, wear or sell pig skin in the Maliki school. Touching pig skin does not break wudu in any situation. If a portion of the pig leather got on one’s body or clothes, that would have to be removed before prayer.

If you are not sure whether leather is from pig or not, it is considered pure until proven impure. If you find that you are experiencing “OCD” or waswasa, it is an obligation to do whatever is needed to remove those constant thoughts. You may take an opinion from another school or a weak opinion from within your school.

If the constant thoughts are interfering with your life, you may seek out help from a mental health professional.

And Allah knows best.

Rami

Does Touching a Pigskin Item Invalidate My Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

Is my prayer invalidated if, during a congregational prayer, the pigskin jacket of someone praying next to me touches my clothes or skin?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, your prayer will not be invalidated by merely touching a pigskin item during the prayer. [Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi `ala Maraqi al-Falah]

The jurists mention that this is not considered to be a form of carrying filth, which normally invalidates your prayer if greater than the excused amount, hence it does not affect the validity of your own prayer.

Note that they also qualify the touching to be with something dry, as there is no filth transfer in such a case, as opposed to wet filth which could be invalidating.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Should I Do With Boots Made of Pigskin?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I recently purchased a pair of expensive boots made of pig leather. I didn’t know that at the time of purchase. What should I do with them?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

It would not be permitted to wear such boots. Generally, animal hides are rendered pure through the tanning process that occurs when producing leather. However, the exception to this rule is the skin of pigs, which remains filthy even after it undergoes tanning. This is because the pig is considered essentially filthy as evidenced by the Qur’anic verse, “for verily it is filthy.” [16:145]

Due to this, it is not permitted to wear clothing made from pigskin. Likewise, it would not be permitted to sell such clothing as there is a legal maxim that states that it not permitted for one to sell to others that which one is not permitted to use. [Ibn Nujaym, Ashbah] In other words, such an item would have to be discarded.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is Pigskin Permissible as Clothing?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As Salaam Alaikum,

Is it permissible to wear clothing made from pig’s skin such as jeans, jackets, or to carry a pigskin handbag?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this finds you in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

No, it is not permissible to wear anything made of pig skin.

This is because the pig is considered to be essentially filthy in the Hanafi school. The basis for this is the words of Allah Most High, “for verily it is filthy” [6.145].

Please see related answers in the archives at www.SeekersGuidance.org

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani