Don’t Carry Your Dog To Indonesia In Your Left Hand

dog photo indonesia1

For my trip to Indonesia, I’d planned to create a photo book about my school, my city, family, and other interesting talking points about America. The lost dog I took in three years ago is definitely a part of my family and I planned to share photos of her… until I read a chapter on pollution as it relates to Islam and Islamic duties. It turns out that my dog is seen as a source of pollution. My left hand is also a pollutant. If I were to carry my dog around Indonesia in my left hand, that would be seen as a double whammy in the eyes of Muhammad.

There are two major forms of pollution as it relates to Islam. Najasa is pollution caused by external factors and hadath is caused by one’s engagement in certain activities. Coming in close contact with a discharge from a dog is considered very impure and would require me to clean myself seven times to remove the najasa. And as for me carrying her around… In many Asian cultures (where Islam was founded), the left hand is used to wipe oneself after using the restroom. Because of this, you should not touch anyone or pass them an item with the left hand. That hand is symbolically unclean and to use it during your interactions with others is considered an insult. But when you know better, you do better. The more we know about each other and our diverse cultures, the more tolerant and understanding we become in regard to the differences that exist among us. Therefore, I will continue reading about Islam to learn that I should not brag about my dog, know why I should remove my shoes before entering a mosque, and expect that mostly everyone around me who is Muslim will perform the salat (ritual prayer service) five times a day.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Carry Your Dog To Indonesia In Your Left Hand

  1. My comment is this, for those people with the left hand issue, when they are intimate, do they refrain from using their left hand?

    • I can’t be entirely sure. I referred back to one of the books, An Introduction to Islam by Frederick Denny, and it does not specify. But, it does mention that touching human genitals and secretions are a form of pollution (so I am assuming one would use the left hand). Other references mentioned that men should not use the right hand using going to the bathroom. I would like to assume that the left hand (which is typically associated with other kinds of pollutions) would be used instead of the right hand, but at this point I just don’t know enough to be sure.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am appreciative of the wealth of knowledge you have gain and share openly.

  3. During my research on using the left or right hand when being intimate, I also found some information on why the right handedness may have originated. Because of the rugged land and the abundance of desert across Asia, water was very scared. Therefore, to cut down on contamination and illnesses, it was necessary to distinguish one hand as being the “dirty” hand and one hand which would be kept clean.

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