Praise be to Allaah.
The fuqaha’ differed with
regard to whether pigskin is purified by means of tanning. The Shaafa’is are
of the view that tanning purifies all kinds of skin, whether the animal is
one that is permissible to eat or not, apart from (the skin of) dogs and
pigs. Abu Haneefah was of the view that an exception is made in the case of
pigs only. Imam Ahmad and Maalik were of the view that no skins of dead meat
can be purified by means of tanning, including pigskin. There is a report
from Ahmad which says that the skin of that which was pure in life may be
purified by means of tanning, even if the meat of the animal is not
permissible to eat, and there is another report which says that nothing can
be purified by means of tanning except only the skin of animals whose meat
is permissible to eat.
Dawood al-Zaahiri and Ibn
Hazm were of the view – and it was narrated from Abu Yoosuf, the companion
of Abu Haneefah, and some of the Maalikis such as Sahnoon, Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam
and ‘Abd al-Mun’im ibn al-Faras, and al-Shawkaani among later scholars –
that all kinds of skins may be purified by means of tanning, including the
skins of dogs and pigs.
The scholars differed
concerning the ruling on making use of pigskin after it has been tanned. As
for those who were of the view that it is pure after tanning, they have no
doubt that it is permissible to use it for all kinds of purposes. Some of
those who said that tanning does not make pigskin pure said that it is
permissible to make use of it in dry circumstances but not in wet
circumstances. This was narrated from the Hanbalis. What that means is that
it may be used as a container for grains, and it may also be used in
clothing such as shoes and the like.
al-Fiqhiyyah (20/34) it says:
The fuqaha’ are unanimously
agreed that pigskin cannot be purified by tanning and it is not permissible
to use it because it is impure in and of itself and tanning is like life,
because being alive does not make it pure, and the same applies to tanning.
It was narrated from Abu
Yoosuf that pigskin does become pure by means of tanning.
There is another report
which differs from the well-known Maaliki view; It was narrated from ‘Abd
al-Mun’im ibn al-Faras, that pigskin is like any other kind of skin, and it
is permissible to use it in dry and wet circumstances once it has been
tanned, whether it was slaughtered in the proper manner or not. End quote.
In the answer to question
no. 1695 we have stated that
pigskin is impure and does not become pure by means of tanning. In the
answer to question no. 13213 we
quoted Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) as saying that in
order to be on the safe side it is better not to use it even if it has been
tanned, because of the difference of opinion concerning it.
From the above it is clear
that the issue of whether pigskin is purified by means of tanning is the
matter of ijtihaad, and it is not like the ruling on pig meat (pork etc).
The prohibition on pig meat is a matter on which there is unanimous
agreement and it is not permissible to dispute that.
Based on the view that
pigskin becomes pure by means of tanning, there is no doubt that it is
permissible to use it.
Based on the view that it
does not become pure by means of tanning, there is no doubt that it is
permissible to use it if that is necessary. If there is consensus that it is
permissible to eat pig meat in cases of necessity, even though it is
unanimously agreed that it is haraam, then it is more likely that it is
permissible to use the skin after tanning, concerning which there is a
difference of opinion.
With regard to the specific
issue of using pigskin to make valves for the heart, if it is not possible
to make the valve from pure (taahir) skin, then it is permissible to make it
from pigskin out of necessity, and it should be used in preference to the
metal which would require one to take medicines permanently, which may lead
to many side-effects.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said:
If a person breaks a bone,
it should be set using a pure bone. Our companions – i.e., the Shaafa’is –
said: it is not permissible to set it using something impure, when one is
able to use something pure instead. If he sets it using something impure the
matter is subject to further discussion. If it needs to be set and he could
not find anything pure to use instead, then he is excused. But if that was
not necessary and there was something pure that could be used instead, then
he has sinned and it must be removed if there is no fear that he may die or
the limb may be damaged as a result. End quote.
Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtaar
al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on the words of
He (may Allaah have mercy
on him) explained that the basic principle is that it is haraam to use
impure bones for medical treatment, and pure bones should be given
preference. If there are none available then it may be set using an impure
bone, but in that case two conditions must be met:
There should be a need to set
There should be nothing pure
available that could be used instead
If one of these two
conditions is not met, then it is not permissible to set it using something
impure, and he is regarded as sinning if he does so, and it must be removed,
so long as there is no fear that he may die or one of his limbs may be
damaged as a result.
Based on this discussion,
medical treatment by means of transplanting an animal organ of this type
[i.e., from an impure animal] should meet two conditions:
The sick person should be in
need of the transplant from the impure animal. This condition is met when
specialist doctors testify that there is indeed such a need.
No pure organ is available that
could be used instead.
If these two conditions are
met, then there is nothing wrong with the surgeon transplanting this impure
organ or part of it, and the presence of this impure organ in the patient’s
body is not regarded as having any effect on his prayer or acts of worship
for which purification is required, since there is a reason for which a
concession is granted allowing it. End quote.
al-Tibbiyyah (p. 268).
Hence the Islamic Fiqh
Council stated that it is permissible, with no reservations, to take an
organ from an animal whose meat is permissible to eat and that has been
slaughtered properly, or from another animal in the case of necessity, and
transplant it into the person who is in need of that.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih
al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: The heart doctors
may put in a vein made of metal or they may put in a vein that they have
taken from a pig. But the metal vein may deteriorate and the veins from the
pig may be better, as they may be accepted (by the body) and become like
part of the person’s body. What is the ruling on that?
There is nothing wrong with
it, i.e., there is nothing wrong with putting veins from another animal into
a person’s heart, and it should be based on what is most suitable for his
heart, because this is not the matter of eating, and Allaah has only
forbidden eating pigs, and this is not eating. Once we know that nothing
else will help him except this, then it becomes the matter of necessity and
Allaah says with regard to eating pig meat, i.e., putting it directly in the
mouth (interpretation of the meaning):
“while He has explained
to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of
il-Maftooh (106/question no. 2).
And Allaah knows best.