According to the most authentic and preferred view of scholars, there is nothing wrong in using a brush made of boar bristles. Referring to some of the categories of prohibited things, Allah Almighty says: “ Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine flesh, and that which has been dedicated unto any other than Allah…” (Al-Mai`dah: 3). Contemplating the meaning of the above verse as well as other verses revealed in the same context, we notice that what is prohibited is eating the flesh of swine.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “According to the most authentic and preferred view of scholars, there is nothing wrong in using a brush made of boar bristles. Scholars/jurists are unanimous in their view that no part of the pig is edible and it is a matter of consensus that all parts of the pig are unfit for human consumption. However, there is considerable difference of opinion regarding the external use of parts of the pig such as bone, skin that has been tanned, hair, etc. While a few scholars categorize them together and consider all parts of the pig impure (najas) and therefore unlawful (haram) for human use, a second group do not consider such external body parts of the pig as impure, and so they find no harm in making use of these parts as long as they are cleansed of any traces of blood which is undoubtedly haram. There is still a third group of scholars who, while refusing to declare such things unlawful (haram), nevertheless considers them to be undesirable (makruh). The first position is the view generally held by scholars of the Shafi`i school of thought; the second is the view of many scholars from various schools; the third is held by others who do not hold to one particular school of thought. Imam Malik was inclined towards this view regarding the use of pig skin when he said in response to a question whether it was permissible to use it or not. He said, “I dislike it!” In other words, while not going so far as to prohibit it altogether, he considers its use to be undesirable (makruh).
The reason for this diversity of views concerning this issue is the fact that there is no categorical text in the fundamental sources (i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah) to the effect that the external parts derived from pigs are impure or haram. The Qur’an, while prohibiting the consumption of swine specifically mentions only its flesh (See: Al-Baqarah: 173; Al-Ma’idah: 3; Al-An`am: 145; An-Nahl: 115). The Hadiths also do not contain any explicit reference prohibiting the use of such parts for external use. Moreover, we find the following report attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): When a man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) “Can I use boar bristles for stringing pearls/beads?” He replied, “There is nothing wrong with it!”
In view of the above, scholars like Imam Ibn Taymiyah consider the parts of the pig such as bones, skin (as long as they are completely cleansed of all traces of blood) and hair as pure and therefore, lawful for external use. Even those who may differ with Ibn Taymiyyah concerning the use of tanned pig skin do not consider the bristles to be forbidden. Imam Qurtubi summed up the view of the majority of scholars on this issue when he said, “There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) objected to using the bristles of the boar; nor do I know of any of the Imams after the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) objecting to the use of bristles!”