Dogs are considered ritually impure in Islam and casually touching the animals is shunned by the Malay Muslim community.
However, a couple in Shah Alam are breaking taboos surrounding the animals by rescuing and sheltering stray dogs.
Meet Nurul Ain Abdul Hamid, 28, and her husband Muhammad Razeef Che Samah, 39, who run the SI Home Shelter, which houses 10 dogs, and 400 cats, in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam.
Malaysiakini spoke to Nurul Ain, who recalled how her dog-rescuing quest came about.
According to her, she and her husband both grew up having dogs as guard animals in their family farm.
Then in 2018, they came across Marvella - a stray dog which has been abused to such an extent, that its two front legs were mangled.
A former staff of Nurul Ain, who works in e-commerce, had contacted her regarding the animal, as Nurul Ain was already running the SI Home Shelter then, albeit with only cats.
Nurul Ain posted out a Facebook shoutout but when they were no takers, she decided to take in and shelter the animal herself.
"When my husband and I found Marvella, both of her front legs were mangled. We brought her to a veterinarian who said that her front legs are no longer functioning. He advised to let it be but unfortunately, Marvela’s front leg became infected," she told Malaysiakini.
The dog's two legs had to be amputated, but the canine perservered through the ordeal, and eventually captured the attention of comedian Harith Iskander and his wife Dr Jezamine Lim, who ended up adopting it.
Nurul Ain and her husband has rescued and sheltered 10 other dogs since, at the SI Home Shelter, which also shelters about 400 cats.
The RM15,000 needed to foot the shelter's utility bills, medical bills, food and workers' wages comes from donations, as well as the couple's own pockets.
Nurul Ain admits that her rescue work is often frowned upon by her own people, but says it does not bother her as she knows she does it with good intent.
"I do not simply hold dogs and take photos and upload them online to avoid misrepresentation and invite mockery. Actually, when I stumble upon stray dogs, I would nurse them and shelter them.
"I don't go out to search for them. It is fate," she told the portal, referring to her rescuing dogs are all through reference.
Nurul Ain also assures that she performs the necessary Islamic obligations, such as using a special type of soap endorsed by Jakim, after she has dealt with dogs.
Having seen cases of dogs being poisoned by people who do not like the animals, she said that prohibition against casually touching dogs is not a license to abuse the canines.
"Dogs are also Allah’s creation and that even in Islam. Some stories highlight dogs, such as the story of a prostitute who gave water to a stray dog and was granted (afterlife in) Heaven because of that particular deed.
"We are constantly reminded again in Islam that we need to be good to animals and to have compassion. So, when we see a dog in need, we can save it," she was quoted saying.
"I hope that dogs will, in the eye of the public, be seen as innocent creatures that want to be loved and receive attention, similar to other animals. Not all dogs are aggressive. If we just let them be, they will not attack you," she added.
Such a noble cause indeed!
May Nurul Ain and her husband receive all the support they need to continue rescuing abused animals.
Photo source: Malaysiakini
Thu Jul 16 2020
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