The Quran, The Dogs and The Lady
by – Jahamy
As usual, year in and year out, the entire of the Ramadan would have had many “religious events”. Most of the mosques would have been full of people doing the terawih – the long prayer. One will hope and expect that at the end of such “month of holy activities”, the Malay Muslim community will emerge more compassionate, more responsible for other makhluks of Allah, more aware of what Islam is and hopefully, more aware of what is IN THE QURAN.
My fear and I repeat – my fear only – that for many of the Malay Muslims, life will be back as usual until the next Ramadan comes along to perform the “religious rituals” all over again. I think some are concerned with the “pahala” (whatever that means to the beholder) of the ritual than the substance of what Islam is all about.
It was very disturbing the manner with which Maznah was handcuffed and put into lockup for 2 days simply because she happened to love and care for dogs. This says a lot about those involved in the episode.
It was already shocking (in one sense not shocking because one will not expect any differently from the ignorant) that a few Malay Muslims were chastising her for keeping dogs. I also saw the video many times. Try as I might, I could not see anything offensive to Islam in that video.
OH my God – Muslims keeping dogs????? Haram ke? All this in Ramadan. Despite all the terawih, no one seems to care what Allah says in the Quran in surah Al Maidah verse 4. I honestly do not know what punishment Allah will visit on those who exert cruelty on others contrary to Allah’s injunctions and decree!
This is what surah Al Maidah verse 4 says with regards to what is lawful (halal) to eat:
‘They ask you what is lawful to them (as food). Say: lawful for you are (all) things good and pure: and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (mukallibina) (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah: eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account’-(translated by Yusof Ali).
Instead of “hunting animal”, it could very well have been translated as “trained dogs” because of the word “kalb”. So it is lawful to eat what your trained dog has caught for you. However, it is common sense and hygienic to clean the catch before you eat it – you don’t need a scholar to tell you simple things like this!
If dogs were haram or forbidden in Islam why would Allah give the example of righteous youths sleeping in a cave with their dog (surah 18 verse 18 to 22). You and the “religious salaried civil servants” know better or Allah? Some say that it is the view of some “scholars” that dogs are haram. So the scholars know better than Allah?
You would rather accept the views of the scholars than to use your own Allah given brains to accept what the Quran says?
I am generally scared of dogs but I will not allow my fear to proclaim it haram. Let me share a verse from the Quran with you:
“Or do you not reflect that the Companions of the Cave and of the Inscription (Al Raqim) were wonders among Our Sign?” (Quran: 18: 9)
There are many interpretations of Al-Raqim – some say it refers to an inscription, some say it is the name of the mountain where the cave is and some say it is the name of the dog. It is also said that the name of the dog is traditionally known as Qitmir.
If you are a Muslim and you sincerely accept the Quran, you can easily accept what Allah says in the Quran:
“You would have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if you had come up on to them, you would have certainly turned back from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with terror of them” (Quran 18:18)
Allah is giving an example of some youths who were keeping a dog. This dog accompanied them while they were sleeping. These youths are not some normal youths from some sekolah agama or some graduan kelulusan pengajian Islam who are too eager to show off the things they have memorised from there for fame or money or position.
Who are these youths? Allah tells us in surah 18 verse 13 as follows:
“We relate to you their story in truth: they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance” (Quran 18:13).
Can you not understand or is there some seal over your heart? These youths are believers whom Allah has advanced them in guidance. This is certification from Allah about these youths, not certification from some man made university teaching man made syllabuses based on their understanding.
These youths who are believers and are advanced in guidance had a dog. You think Allah tells us this for nothing? You think Allah does not know that in the future some Mullah from somewhere will teach otherwise and call dogs haram?
Why do you think that Allah mentions the youths keeping dog a further 3 times in the following verse?
(Quran 18: 22). “(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth,- doubtfully guessing at the unknown;(2359) (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say you: “My Lord knows best their number; It is but few that know (their real case).” Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers” This verse obviously first came to the Prophet. Do you honestly think that after having knowledge of this verse the Prophet would forbid Muslims from keeping dogs? Do you really think the Prophet will change the words of Allah? I do not think so. Try to understand what Allah is saying in the following verse in the same surah.
“And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord: none can change His Words, and none will you find as a refuge other than Him”. (Quran: 18:27)
It is so clear for those who have eyes that can see, ears that can hear and brains that can understand – there is no changing the words of Allah. Unless they belong to the category of “sum-mum bukmum umyumfahum la yarjiuun” (Quran 2:18), may Allah have mercy on them.
The Prophet Muhammad does not have any choice in the matter but to recite exactly as is revealed to him. He will not change, modify or say anything contrary to what is revealed.
“This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of the ‘Alamin. And if Muhammad had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah). We surely would have seized him by his right hand (or with power and might). And then We certainly would have cut off his life artery (aorta).” (Al-Haqqah: 44–46).
With a severe warning from Allah to the Prophet in the above verse, can we ever imagine the Prophet to forge any false saying contrary to the Quran? Allah forbid!
When the Quran is so explicitly clear, why do you want to go in search of other sources including the opinions (fatawa) of scholars? In the discipline of usul al fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence, it is clear that the Quran is the most primary source. Could this search for other than the Quran be what Allah means in the following verse?
“These are God’s revelations (Quran) that We recite to you truthfully. In which hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?” (Quran: 45:6) (also 7:185, 77:50 and 31:6).
For those of whom the Quran is insufficient even when it is clear, if one was to check some of the sahih hadeeth, you will find hadith of this type too:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “While a dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, an Israeli prostitute saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So Allah forgave her because of that good deed.” (Sahih Bukhari 4.56.673)
I find that the Maznah video episode is symptomatic of a bigger problem which I have been talking about for more than 20 years now – Islam has evolved into a religion instead of remaining as a “Way of Life” or “Addeen” as it was meant to be. Hence, some Muslims have become confused between hygiene, religious ritualism and the act of keeping dogs which is allowed in Islam.
The matter is of course made worse in our country where there is an increasingly dangerous trend towards greater State control of the faith of Muslims and how they are allowed to manifest that faith. This trend is bound to succeed in the long term because the Muslims themselves are largely ignorant of their own Quran. Again this has been predicted by Allah:
“And the Messenger has said, “O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned.” (Sahih International Translation. Quran 25:30)