Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
My question is about leather on the steering wheel and interior of my car. First of all I don’t know whether it is real leather or not and if so, if it is pigskin or not. In rainy days or snowy wheather, it gets wet and could transfer on to my clothes and so on. What should I do?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. I pray you’re well insha’Allah.
Most car interiors are made from cow hides, which after tanning become pure. If you are unsure about the source of leather, then the default ruling is that it is pure.
Pig Skin Car Interiors
Some companies do occasionally use leather made from pig skin, sometimes for full seating upholstery or in areas where embossment is desired (of logos or writing). Examples are Cinghalin and Prageplatte leather used by BMW, and the pig skin leather used in cars such as GMC’s NFL Sierra truck.
Pig skin leather can often be detected by its ‘dimples’ (sometimes indented and sometimes slightly raised like a basketball), ‘holes’ or visible pores, making the texture appear less smooth than cow hide. However, pig skin leather can also appear very smooth, especially if suede, and when used for embossing.
You can search the internet by the names of the examples given above to get an idea of what pig-skin commonly looks like.
Cautionary Measures and Solution
If you want to err on the side of caution, then you could always contact your car’s manufacturer and enquire about the source of the leather interior of your specific car model. If it does turn out to be pig skin leather, then simply buy some car seat covers which can be purchased for reasonable prices and still look presentable.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.