Boar-Bristled Paintbrushes
Friday, January 26, 2007
As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu

For those of us who paint, this may be very useful information, insha'Allah. This question is answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari (may Allah preserve him).

What is the ruling regarding using paint brushes made of boar bristles? It is very difficult to find any other and what if one has to buy it for someone who is in one's employ as a painter and you don't actually use it yourself?
The reliable opinion in the Hanafi School and that which is considered to be the established narration (dhahir al-riwaya) is that pig hair is filthy (najas); hence it will not be permitted to use, buy or sell anything made out of pig hair.

The great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Kasani (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Bada’i al-Sana’i:
“As far as a pig is concerned, it has been narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah be pleased with him) that it is considered to be essentially filthy (najas al-ayn), due to the fact that Allah Most High described it as being “filthy” hence it will be unlawful (haram) to use its hair and all other body parts, except that there is a dispensation given for shoe-makers due to need. And it is narrated from Imam Abu Yusuf, in another narration, that it is prohibitively disliked for shoe-makers also. It is unlawful to sell pig hair as mentioned in all the narrations (related from the Hanafi Imams)….” (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 1/63)

And, as Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explained:
“According to Imam Abu Yusuf, which is the established narration in the Hanafi School, the hair of a pig is considered filthy and impure. This is the position chosen by Imam al-Kasani in his al-Bada’i and Imam al-Mawsili in his al-Ikhtiyar. Thus, if one prayed with pig-hair more than the amount of a dirham, one’s prayer would not be valid…” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/206)

Thus, although some Hanafi Fuqaha did permit the use of pig hair out of need, the reliable and mainstream opinion is that it will remain unlawful. The established narration mentioned by Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) is that pig-hair remains filthy, and this is the position chosen by most other Hanafi Fuqaha.

Based on this, it will normally not be permitted for one to use paint brushes made of boar bristles. Indeed it may be difficult to find paint brushes that do not contain boar bristles, but it is not impossible. Paint brushes that do not contain boar bristles can and may be found. And, as Imam al-Kasani, pointed out in the above text, all the narrations from the Hanafi jurists state that it will not be permitted to sell pig hair.

However, one should remember that the above-mentioned ruling is in the situation where one is relatively positive of the paint brush containing boar bristles. If one is uncertain, it will not be unlawful to use it.

Some contemporary Ulama state that if finding paint brushes that do not contain boar bristles is difficult, one may use a paint brush that contains boar bristles provided two conditions are met. This permissibility is based on the position held by some Hanafi jurists that it will be permitted to use pig hair in cases of extreme need, as mentioned in the above text of Bada’i al-Sana’i.

The two conditions are:
1) One ensures that the bristles do not become detached from the brush and fall into the paint, hence becoming attached with the paint onto the wall.
2) One ensures that the bristles are scientifically dried in such a manner that its wetness and moisture is not transferred into the paint.

If one cannot be certain of the above-mentioned two points, it will remain unlawful to use such a paint brush. (See: Nizam al-Fatawa, 1/40)

And Allah knows best


posted by Sketched Soul at 10:53 AM | Permalink


At 12:19 PM, Blogger Farzeen


Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I am happy to note that the paint brush closest to me says "pony hair."


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Sketched Soul

Wa'alaykum as-salaam wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu my dear Farzeen,

haha.. well I think your 'pony hair' paint brush is safe, insha'Allah.

So are you painting now?? instead of writing a book..hehe *still waiting to read something*



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