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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Important: Are you wearing pig skin?

We are all aware that wearing clothing that is made out of pig skin or that has traces of pig skin is forbidden (pig skin remains filthy (najis) even after tanning) - as such, it is impermissible to wear shoes or clothing from pigskin, and prayer in such items would be invalid. But how many of us can truly say that they are NOT wearing pig skin?

This is a difficult issue to deal with because not every item of clothing or furniture is labeled appropriately. Some items may have small elements of pig skin and not be labeled at all or some will just state "real leather" but will not state the type of animal it's derived from.

Here is a useful article taken from sunnipath.com realting to this issue. The article was written by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera .

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful.

1. You must determine whether the garment is made of pigskin or not. If one person does not know then ask someone who works in a leather store.

2. If you cannot be sure then it would still be better to abstain from wearing it since the Sharia has considered it essentially impure [najis al-'ayn] and cannot be purified in any way.

The following may help to determine whether it is of pigskin. However, consult an expert in a leather store if still in doubt.

And Allah knows best.
Abdurrahman Ibn Yusuf

Are You Wearing Pigskin Leather?

It is amazing that many Muslims do not know if they are actually wearing a leather jacket or a shoe or carrying a purse or any other leather product that is made of pigskin.

At many occasions I have pointed it out to folks about it. Many have listened and many have not, I keep seeing them wearing those again and again. Imagine how many mosques, centers and other holy places they may have made NAJAS. Their prayers may not have been accepted. Do you think you are one of them or will you be one on them?

Here are some tips to find what a pigskin is, what it looks like and where it is used?
Where it is Used?

  • General Leather Products: Heavily used in Chinese and other developing or under-developing countries.

  • Shoes & Joggers: Full Leather suede looking Shoes or inner linings.

  • Jackets: Full Leather suede looking knee long and waist long full sleeve or sleeveless jackets.

  • Purses: Women and men purses. Full leather or linings.

  • Briefcases: Men and Women leather brief cases, usually inner linings are pigskins. But look out for rest of the leather.

Why is it Used?

Price & Availability: Pigskin is cheap and easily available in most countries. It is lighter that real suede made of Cow. Due to low price it is easier to market and sell. It was first used as liners as it is really thin and strong. Soon it was used in most products as profit margins are comparatively high.

How to recognized it?

Mostly, it looks like suede. But it is thinner. It has spots on it. Kind of depressions or little holes that never go through. It seems like some has used spikes to try to pin through it. But these spots are only on one side.

Usually, on the other side of the leather, you will see squeezed round shaped spots. These spots may not be very prominent on this side. If you look very closely at the pictures given, you will have no problem in identifying pigskin. If you are not sure, read labels or ask the store keepers. Do not ask them if these are pigskins. Let them tell you what kind of leather it is. Do not take their words - Ask for proof.

Hard to Recognize

Hardest is to recognize the pigskin that is being used for non-suede type leather products. But with a close examination spots and holes can be detected. This type of leather needs much concentration.

Picture # 1
Flattened leather with thin look and equal-distance spots

Picture # 2
Very prominent Spots & Pin Holes. Suede like texture is visible.

Picture # 3
Flattened and soft looking but spots are visible.

Please also read the useful articles in the links below:

Further reading:

(1) Pig Skin Shoes - GMWA Foodguide (This is a very good website that investigates companies that in the UK that provide everyday items to the consumer. This article investigates shoes in particular and GMWA have come up with a list of shoes to avoid from companies such as Clarkes and Marks & Spencers. This link and the website is worth a look.

(2) Pigskin Sandals: Wudu and Makeups - SunniPath.com

(3) Using Hairbrush Made With Boar Bristles - SunniPath.com

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