Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) has expressed criticism over a Muslim woman named Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman for a video of her and “Bubu”, her pet dog, saying that her actions are an affront to Islam.
JAKIM director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha took to his Facebook page to condemn the video, saying that intentionally touching dogs was “highly disturbing” and went against Islamic teachings.
“JAKIM deeply regrets her intentional act of touching dogs without any concrete reasons, which is prohibited in Islam. We find her actions to be highly disturbing to Muslims here as they contravene our culture and the tenets of our school of jurisprudence,” Othman said.
He went on to say that although Islam allows Muslims to cleanse themselves after touching dogs, this did not mean they may adopt the animals as pets. As such, the action was akin to Muslims knowingly committing sins out of the ability to repent later.
“Therefore, JAKIM hopes the individual will stop her actions and repent to Allah. Her actions suggest that she is trying to start a new culture that can be insulting to Islam,” he added.
Nurhazinah uploaded the video on her Facebook profile on 1st July as part of a competition organised by pet lovers group SmartHeart. In the video, Nurhazinah recounted how she began feeding “Bubu”, a stray mongrel, before eventually adopting the dog after rescuing it from a mass culling operation in 2015.
The campaign features individuals sharing their experiences with their respective pets to get votes, and those with the best stories will be chosen as winners.
UPDATE (7th July 2017, 9am):
“Jakim does not decide what is a sin,” said Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin in a Facebook post. He was addressing the issue of JAKIM asking Muslim woman Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman to repent for a video of her and “Bubu”, her pet dog.
Wan Ji explained that there is no part of the Quran or hadith (a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad) which says that it is “haram” (forbidden) for Muslims to touch dogs. He also added that a “fatwa” (edict) by renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Abd Al-Barr states that touching dogs is something that is “makruh” (offensive act), but not “haram”.
“The issue of repenting does not arise for it does not involve a sin,” he said.
Wan Ji is not the only person who has spoken up against JAKIM’s calls for the Nurhazinah to repent.
MMO quoted lawyer Syahredzan Johan as saying that JAKIM does not have the power to issue any fatwa or to make decisions on any Islamic rules, except in relation to issuing halal certification.
“JAKIM is not a state religious body, so its director-general does not have the status of a mufti,” Syahredzan said, adding that it has no jurisdiction to advise or to warn anyone regarding the rules of raising pet dogs.