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Last Updated: 2013/01/20
Summary of question
Are leather products imported from non-Islamic countries treated as ritually impure?
Recently I have bought a pair of leather shoes which the seller claims to be the produce of Italy. In fact, the shoes are Italian but the question is that: Can we just trust the seller or the trade mark? If yes, how do we have to go about it when it comes to ritual purity given the fact that I wear those shoes throughout the day and I cannot afford to buy another pair of shoes?
Concise answer
An answer given to the above question by some grand religious authorities (maraje’) is as follows:[1]
Leather products are considered pure [and salat in them is permissible], if one entertains doubt whether or not they were made from natural hides or artificial ones.  If we learn that they are made from natural leather but one doubts whether or not it is made from the skin of an animal that is essentially halal and was slaughtered according to Islamic laws, it is not impure and it is not necessary to investigate. In case, however, he is certain that the animal from whose hide the leather has been produced has not been slaughtered in an Islamic way, the leather product is treated as impure. It should also be noted that being able to afford or unable to afford does not change the Islamic law.[2]

[1]  This question has been forwarded to the offices of grand Ayatollah Khamenei, Sistani, Makarem Shirazi, Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant them long life) by IslamQuest website.
[2] Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: “Buying and selling of leather products are allowed irrespective of whether they are made of the hides of animals which have been slaughtered according to Islamic law or made of the hides animals which have not been slaughtered according to Islamic law but the meat and eatable parts (if sold) must be from an Islamically slaughtered animal.”

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