IPOH, Feb 16 — It is not advisable for the Chinese Muslims to use the dog symbol as part of their Chinese New Year home decorations, a group has said.
Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association president Prof Taufiq Yap Yun Hin said the animal symbol should be omitted from the cultural celebration.
“We do not encourage it as Islamic teaching prohibits such acts of having animal statues or pictures in the house.
“Chinese New Year for us is merely a cultural celebration and not a religious festival,” he told Malay Mail.
However, Taufiq pointed out that there is no harm for the Chinese Muslims to visit houses with such animal decorations.
“There is nothing wrong for them to visit the houses or attend a dinner where there are dog symbol decorations,” he said, referring to Chinese Muslims.
“We may not practise it, but at the same time we should also tolerate and respect the belief and culture of other races as well.”
Taufiq also added that the majority of Chinese Muslims will not even have any animal pictures or symbols as part of their house decorations during the Chinese New Year.
In Chinese astrology, the 12-year zodiac cycle is represented by an animal each year.
The 12 traditional Chinese zodiac animals include a dog and a pig, two animals which Muslims consider “unclean”.
Already, some Malaysian businesses are skirting around or playing down the portrayal of canines in Chinese New Year decorations this year, wary of offending the country’s Muslim majority in the Year of the Dog.
Meanwhile, Chinese Muslim Datuk Nazrin Cheong Abdullah told Malay Mail that decorative items are just part of the celebration, but the importance in ushering the New Year is to have a good family bonding time.
“Whether to use the animal symbols decoration or not is not the matter. For us the important thing during the celebration is the family reunion,” he said.
Nazrin also said the way Chinese Muslim celebrates the Chinese New Year is similar to the Chinese community, except for the prayer part.
“The celebration will be the same, we will have the house cleaning, family gathering and ang pao giveaway, but we will not perform any ritual or prayers,” he said, referring to red packets filled with cash.
Nazrin said when it comes to decorative items, he would usually prefer the character decoration such as the fu dao le (elements of luck or fortune) compared to decorations which contain images or symbols.