Is it haraam to deal in the trade of Pig skins?
It is same trade as the trade of Cow Hides. Silly question!! But there is a lot of money in it these days and people need to know. We are forbidden to trade in Wine. Is this not the same? But then dealing in Cowhides when cows were not slaughtered Islamically renders the cows as Haraam as the Pig itself, is it? What about wearing Jackets made of Pig Skins? Is it not the same as wearing a perfume containing Alcohol?
It is generally held by the Muslim scholars that dealing in Pig Skin is not permissible. They draw analogy in this case from the prohibition of alcohol, as you have rightly pointed out.
I do not think that this is a correct analogy. To make my point clear, I would like to give a little explanation:
When the Qur’an prohibited alcohol, (remember, it was a prohibition regarding the consumption of alcohol, for drinking), there were some Muslims who, following the directives of the Qur’an although had given up drinking, but did not think that selling, manufacturing or dealing in alcohol was wrong. The Prophet (May peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) explained to such Muslims that their selling, manufacturing or dealing in alcohol only resulted in its consumption by someone else. Therefore, the Prophet directed them to refrain from all such activities that entailed the potential of promoting the consumption of alcohol. Now, obviously, this directive of the Prophet refers to refraining from selling, manufacturing or dealing in alcohol, specifically when this selling, manufacturing or dealing relates to alcohol as a drink. On the other hand, this directive of the Prophet would not apply to those cases where alcohol is used for some other purpose. For instance, if alcohol is to be used in some medicine or as an anti-septic, then the stated prohibition would not apply in that case.
In the same manner, as the Qur’an has prohibited the flesh of swine (for eating), it follows from this directive of the Qur’an that selling, processing or dealing in the flesh of swine, specifically where these activities relate to this flesh as a food item, should not be taken up. However, on the other hand, where parts of a swine’s body are brought under any other use except eating, selling, processing or dealing in such items cannot be termed as “prohibited”.