In the city of Detroit, dogs may outnumber people. Packs of wild dogs roam and reproduce in the empty areas of the city. The block I grew up on had a dog or two in every yard except ours. I didn’t hold anything against dogs as a kid, except for the incessant barking. The dogs belonging to our neighbors on either side never stopped barking at me even though they saw me every day for years. Whenever I would get close enough to the privacy fence to be smelled, on the one side, or just showed myself in the back yard on the other, the dogs would bark and bark. And that would set off a barking chain reaction down the block, as one dog after another joined in. I always assumed that barking and the irresistable urge to nuzzle your crotch was an inborn, irremovable part of dogness.

As I learned about Islam, this became all the more off-putting, since dogs are considered ritually unclean*. Being touched by the tongue or nose of a dog requires serious effort to purify. And the barking of dogs is said to keep away angels, according to prophetic hadith.

It has been a pleasant surprise these last few months here in our new neighborhood. Our chinese neighbors are quite fond of dogs; about one house in three keeps them. And there are plenty of wandering wild dogs here too, just like home. But they don’t bark! And they don’t approach people! And they never try to sniff you! They are dogs who know their place. It is truly a wonderful thing.

All this of course is just to say Hello and Thank you to The Talking Dog, who has been kind enough to throw a bone to Bin Gregory Productions. Talking Dog blogs about current events from a left-leaning perspective. There’s an annotated blogroll a mile long that I’ll have to peruse. Welcome, make yourself at home, just don’t pee on the couch.

*In three of the four madhabs, or schools of law. If I’m not wrong, dogs are pure in Maliki fiqh.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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1 Comment

  1. Assalamu alaikum,

    You are correct, the Maliki madhab considers dogs to be pure. However, you can’t keep a dog for a pet. I myself have a guide dog named Abby, that I use since I’m blind.

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