” I want to touch a dog” but I don’t want to

To be honest, I’m disappointed by how Malaysians reacted upon the running of a controversial event, “I want to touch a dog”.
Yes, it is weird, it is daring, it is controversial, and perhaps not necessary as it is a very sensitive issue among Malaysian Muslims, to be specific.. But me personally is not against it. Though I don’t have any gut to even go near one.
My reasons? Because I know dogs have been hated by Muslim society in Malaysia, though not all. People doesn’t feel bad killing and poisoning dogs, which is very very wrong and even forbidden in Islam. They are God’s creatures too, for God’s sake.

No 2, the event is not intended for fun, I believe. It is to raise awareness among Malays to not hating dogs and to not fear dogs. Dogs in malaysia are not only feared, but abused too. When children are taught not to be near dogs, they tend to hate dogs automatically whenever they see one. How do they react? Throwing stones,and some even beat them. No, this is not right. Because we have been teaching children to do something without them actually knowing why. The analogy that came across my mind is how parents have been teaching children to not go near a crazy dude on the street. Because of this, they grow up hating poor people with mental illness rather than having the heart to help them. Worse, people isolate them, beat them, chase them away. Now where is the part where we educate the society about human rights?

No 3, I believe the organizer is not a simple minded. Upon reading the programme details, I know he’s been planning everything with details. He even acquired permission from MAIS(Majlis Agama Islam Selangor). There are sertu coaches who was intended to teach participants on when and how to do sertu. I’m sure, there is very little number of Muslims who actually know how to perform sertu and samak. They also invited scholars to educate participants on how to handle dogs, why we can’t pet dogs, and other do’s and don’ts regarding dogs. He also made sure that all dogs are clean and healthy by providing a veterinarian service to examine all dogs which are to be brought into the programme. Perhaps the only mistake is that the participants went out of control when they got all excited uploading photos of them hugging dogs which had raised suspicion and confusion among society. Yet is it the organizer to be blamed 100%?

Yes, I read some scholars’s opinions that touching dogs unnecessarily is not encouraged in islam. It is enough that we stand for their rights, not let them sick and starve, and not to hurt them. But still, touching dogs is never Haram, But if we make contact with their sweat and saliva, it is compulsory for us to perform a cleansing ritual called ‘sertu’. Touching a dry dog with dry hands doesn’t require specific cleansing. Unfortunately, Malaysians tend to see it as haram as in definitely forbidden and sinful. Wrong fact needs to be corrected.

Muslims are forbidden from petting dogs in their houses as this will limit the cleanliness in ibadah and according to some scholars, Rasulullah has once said that owning a pet dog in our house would limit the rewards we would get from doing ibadah.
However, it is allowed to own a dog for security as taking care of farms or houses. Even in Islamic history, dogs are used by Rasulullah and companions as a guide during travels, but not as pets.

Whatever it is, my source of disappointment is not the critics that the organizer had received, but how the critics are done. People labelled him liberal, yahudi, useless, stupid. The only reason I’m writing this post is not to show support nor disagreement towards the campaign, though i do have my own stand, but I’m writing because I’m utterly frustrated by how most people doesn’t have any manner and respect in criticising. Isn’t he human too? We all know they’re no single human on earth who’s immuned from making mistakes except Rasulullah saw. Even if what they’re doing is wrong, do they deserve rude condemning words from public? i don’t think so. Islam teaches us to give genuine advice and education to those not knowing. Never had I heard that Islam allows us to spit rude words on our brothers’ face. Never. So why do we?
Where do we get the license from?

So brothers and sisters who read this, I hope I made my point clear. We have a better way to educate, which is far from spreading hatred and nasty words. And it is not fair to judge people without trying to look from their side of view. Even if they make mistakes, they deserve nice encouraging advice, because every one of us makes mistakes too.

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