Are Loose Feathers and Bird Feces Pure? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have a pet parrot who I feed and wash. I have read somewhere that if a bird’s loose feather touches one clothing, the clothing needs to be washed before praying. Also sometimes my clothing is stained by its feces. What should I do before praying?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam

All Praise belongs to Allah; peace and blessings upon our master, Sayyidina Muhammad sallaLlahu alayhi wa sallam.

With regards to the feathers of birds, the Shafi‘i school draws a distinction between edible and non-edible birds, stating that the detached feathers of edible birds are pure (tahir), while that of non-edible birds are impure (najis). Further, the official view of the school holds that parrots are non-edible and consequently its detached feathers are impure. Note however, that the impurity of these feathers could only transfer over to your clothing through the agent of a liquid. Accordingly, dry feathers need only be removed from your clothing before prayer and not necessarily washed.

Similarly, the feces of the parrot is impure (najis) and one cannot pray in clothing that has been soiled with it. Yes, our scholars have overlooked the droppings of pigeons in certain masajid where the avoidance of their droppings became difficult, however, it appears that the keeping of a pet bird does not warrant the same overlooking.

[The Shafi‘i school adopts the more stringent positions on the questions you have posed. If the keeping of your parrot becomes extremely challenging by adopting these positions, you may consider adopting the view of the Hanafi school that considers the detached feathers of the parrot pure. A Hanafi scholar will however have to be consulted before doing so.]

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.