#329: Touching Wolves

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Are wolves ruled as najis like dogs are? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

We start with the statement of Allah SWT:

وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم

“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you.” [1]

This verse shows that animals are created in groups or communities just like people are in terms of Allah SWT created them, guarantees their sustenance and are fair towards them. Thus, we shouldn’t oppress or be excessive on them more than what is commanded of us. [2]

Definition of wolf

The 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan defines a wolf as a type of wild animal that looks like a dog and is greyish-yellow in color. [3]

Differences between a wolf and dog

Wolves are different from dogs although they are usually considered as the same animal. Here, we state their differences, among them are: [4]

  • Dogs are generally smaller compared to wolves.
  • Dog’s eye color is in the range of blue to brown. While the eye color of wolves is in the range of yellow or amber and it is never brown.
  • Dogs bark and don’t howl, while wolves howl and don’t bark.
  • Dogs can be domesticated (keep as a pet), while wolves are wild animals and cannot be domesticated.
  • Dogs have a smaller sized heads, broad chests and short legs. While wolves have a large heads, long legs and slim chests.
  • Dogs have a smaller jaw compared to wolves. While wolves have a larger and stronger jaw compared to dogs.
  • Dogs are included as carnivores but there are some which are omnivores. While wolves are carnivores. 

The najis status of dogs

As we know, dogs are categorized as animals that are mughallazah najis (major najis). This is based on the statement of the Prophet PBUH:

طَهُورُ إِنَاءِ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا وَلَغَ فِيهِ الْكَلْبُ أَنْ يَغْسِلَهُ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ أُولَاهُنَّ بِالتُّرَابِ

“When a dog laps the water in a vessel belonging to any of you, he must wash it seven times, using earth the first time.” [5]

Imam al-Nawawi stated that none of us – scholars of madhhab Syafi’I – stated there is a difference between the lick of a dog with its other body parts. When its urine, faeces, blood, sweat, fur, saliva or any of its clean body parts that is damp, then it is obligatory for it to be washed seven times and one of the washings must be mixed with soil. [6]

Are wolves ruled the same as dogs?

Basically, the ruling of a creation is pure and clean and not ruled as najis except there is syarak evidence which states it is najis. This is as stated by al-Khatib al-Syirbini in his book:

الْحَيَوَانُ كُلُّهُ طَاهِرٌ لِمَا مَرَّ إلَّا مَا اسْتَثْنَاهُ الشَّارِعُ

“All animals are pure except what has been stated by syarak of its najis status.” [7]

Coming back to the question asked, wolves aren’t included in the dog category nor of their lineage. This is as stated by Dar Ifta’ al-Misriyyah that dogs are animals that bark. Thus, every animal that barks regardless of its size whether it is small like the Pomeranian (الكلب الرومي) or larger sized dogs. If the dog’s physical characteristic changes (from mixed breeding or others), then it is still included in the dog category although it doesn’t bark loudly. As for animals that don’t bark although it is similar to dogs such as wolves and fox, they aren’t categorized as dogs nor do they share the same rulings. [8]

Moreover, wolves aren’t considered as najis like dogs as understood signalled by al-Khatib al-Syirbini who made wolves as an example of a pure animal when discussing the purity of animals reproduced from the mixing of a pure animal and dogs. [9] Furthermore, wolves aren’t a reproduction mix from dogs nor their lineage. However, they are wild animals different from dogs although they have a similar physical appearance. 

Conclusion

According to the above discussion and deliberation, we conclude that wolves are included under the category of pure animals and don’t share the rulings of dogs and their lineage. Hence, it is fine to touch it and its faeces and carcass are considered as mutawassitah najis (moderate).

May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in practising Islam. Amin. 

Wallahu a’lam. 

[1] Surah al-An‘am: 38

[2] See Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 6/419-420.

[3] See https://prpm.dbp.gov.my/cari1?keyword=serigala.

[4] See https://www.javatpoint.com/dog-vs-wolf.

[5] Narrated by Muslim (279)

[6] See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 3/185.

[7] See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/226.

[8] See https://almalnews.com/ ماذا-قالت-دار-الافتاء-عن-الكلب؟/

[9] See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/229.

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