Muslim Vet In Malaysia Shares Criticisms She Faces
In Islam, dogs are conventionally thought of as impure. Because of this, a Muslim veterinarian in Malaysia is facing a difficult predicament every day at her job.
Dr Salehatul Khuzaimah Mohamad Ali, better known as Dr Ima, recently went viral on TikTok sharing about treating dogs despite the stigma she faces as a Muslim.
In her video, she talks about standing firm in what she practices, which includes Ihsan, which translates to goodness, towards dogs.
Muslim vet says stigma about treating dogs is a challenge
In a TikTok video titled ‘Challenges being a Muslim vet’, Dr Ima starts off by saying not everyone can understand what she tries to fight for.
She mentions Ihsan towards dogs. Ihsan is an Arabic word that roughly translates to goodness and excellence.
Dr Ima said that being a vet and treating animals is her passion.
As a Malaysian, as a Malay, and as a Muslim, she, like many others, has been taught that touching or having dogs is forbidden by her religion.
“If I’m not in this field, I (would probably) still have the same stigma as other people,” she said.
The challenges of a Muslim vet, especially when dealing with dogs, are largely due to the stigma, she said.
Dr Ima said she refers to various Muslim leaders and scholars instead of sticking to one.
As she said, “I will stand firm on what I practice”, Dr Ima shows a video of herself washing her hands with soil.
This is an Islamic cleansing method known as sertu, performed after coming into contact with the saliva or excrement of dogs.
Hopes to inspire others
Dr Ima says because people are scared of dogs or think that they are haram, there is a tendency to harm or abuse them.
Giving an example, she showed an article about a postman shooting a dog with rubber pellets.
She then shared that she receives a lot of criticism because she handles dogs in her job.
Some have asked her to change professions while others asked her to be more selective in her patients.
But being a vet does not mean you can choose your patient, she said.
Dr Ima shared that sometimes there are emergencies and she still has to attend to the dog.
Concluding her video, Dr Ima said she hopes in the future, there will be more Muslim vets that can fight for animal welfare.
“I hope I can be one of a kind that can really inspire other people to at least show our care to animals,” she said.
Netizens voice support for Dr Ima
Dr Ima’s TikTok video has since garnered over 70,000 views. On the platform, where she shares how she handles dogs, gives pet care advice, and debunks animal myths, she has over 279,400 followers.
Watching her video, many voiced their support for Dr Ima.
Others also showed their respect for the work she is doing and told her to keep up the good work.
Someone pointed out that Islam teaches love and compassion, and people like Dr Ima are proof of that teaching.
Glad Dr Ima is following her passion
According to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), touching and holding dogs is not against Islamic law and is not a sin.
However, the council states that any area that comes into contact with the animal’s saliva or excrement has to be cleansed with the sertu method.
We’re glad Dr Ima is following her passion and fighting to dispel myths while promoting animal welfare.
You can check out her other TikTok videos here.
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