Dogs, a man’s best friend… right?
Assalamualaikum, in this article we will explore this controversial topic of whether it is haram or halal to keep dogs as pets. It seems many are divided on this issue.
For such a topic we will first turn to Quran, next to the hadith, and finally what 7 scholars have ruled on this.
Hopefully by the end of the article you will see the different points for and against and can make your own informed decision.
Quran Verses On Dogs
There are two mentions of dogs in the Quran. The first is in Surat Al-Ma’idah. In short, Allah says it is permissible to eat that which the dog has hunted for you.
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah .” Indeed, Allah is swift in account.” (Quran 5:4)
The second mention of Dogs from The Quran is found in Al-Kahf. In this Surat, it tells a story of a child who was protected by a dog that was guarding the entrance of a cave.
“That was from the signs of Allah. He whom Allah guides is the [rightly] guided, but he whom He leaves astray – never will you find for him a protecting guide. And you would think them awake, while they were asleep.
And we turned them to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched his forelegs at the entrance. If you had looked at them, you would have turned from them in flight and been filled by them with terror.” (Quran 18:17-18)
From these verses it is non-debatable, dogs can be kept for either hunting and guarding. The Quran makes no direct assertion for forbidding dogs as pets and only has positive things about them.
So how come many Muslims claim dogs are haram? For this we will turn to the hadith.
Hadith on Dogs
Negative Hadith Regarding Dogs
This is where opposition for keeping dogs as pets seem to stem from.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “He who keeps a dog, will lose out of his good deeds equal to one Qirat every day, except one who keeps it for guarding the fields or the herd.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In a another narration of Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (saws) is reported to have said: “He who keeps a dog for any reason other than to guard his property (lands) or his flock of sheep, his good deeds equal to two Qirat will be deducted every day.”
The following hadith explains exactly what a qirat is. The Prophet was asked, ‘What are two Qirat?’ He replied, “Equal to two huge mountains.” Related by Bukhari and Muslim.
Ibn Al-Mughaffal reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered the killing of dogs and then he said, “What is the matter with them? What is the matter with dogs?” Then he granted concession for the use of dogs for hunting and herding. The Prophet said, “If a dog licks your vessel, then wash it seven times and rub it with earth on the eighth time.” Source: Sahih Muslim 280 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Imam Muslim
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image.”Grade : Sahih (Darussalam) Reference : Sunan an-Nasa’i 5347 In-book reference : Book 48, Hadith 308
Positive Hadith Regarding Dogs
Adh-Dhahabi reported: Fudayl ibn Iyad, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “By Allah, it is not lawful for you to harm a dog or a pig without a just cause, so how can you harm a Muslim?” Source: Siyar A’lam al-Nubalaʼ 8/427
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “While a man was walking on his way he became extremely thirsty. He found a well, he went down into it to drink water.
Upon leaving it, he saw a dog which was panting out of thirst. His tongue was lolling out and he was eating moist earth from extreme thirst. The man thought to himself: ‘This dog is extremely thirsty as I was.’ So he descended into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his teeth, climbed up and quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah appreciated his action and forgave his sins”.
The Companions asked: “Shall we be rewarded for showing kindness to the animals also?” He (saws) said, “A reward is given in connection with every living creature” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Muttafaqun Alayhi (authenticity agreed upon)
What Scholars Have Ruled
They often cite the above hadith we’ve just read as you will see shortly.
Summary: Dr.Zakir Naik – His answer begins at 3:30. “In islam keeping dogs is prohibited in your house as a pet. But keeping a dog for hunting is no problem, as guarding your house no problem”. There is one part I would challenge Dr.Naik in his answer is where he says the saliva of the dog can lead to disease, one of them is hydrophobia. Hydrophobia is not a disease, it is simply a phobia or fear specifically of water. To say the saliva or lick of a dog will cause disease is also false. In fact, in the Quran it even mentions a dog who fetches meat to be permissible to eat. How could that be if saliva was entangled on food?
Summary: Sheikh Assim – It is haram as owning a pet decreases your deeds by qirat (mountain). Secondly, the angels do not enter “a house in which there is a statue, or a dog, or a portrait”. He continues on by saying, as Muslims we do not need to ask the reasons as to why Allah or the Prophet have told us what to do. Majority of the times Allah gives us reasons for forbidding a certain thing, in a small number of cases he may not. This would fall into the small number of cases. We must obey his commands as Allah knows best.
Summary: Bilal Phillips – can we keep a dog for protection in the house? If a dog is kept as a friend or a companion it is not allowed. It is allowed if a dog is kept for protection, herding or hunting. If it is kept, keep it in a designated place. The dog should not be welcome in the bedroom where he wakes up licking your face. An interesting note Bilal Philips makes is a dog who licks the hand of a Muslim would not break ablution. The hadith that mentions licking of the ‘vessel’ is referring to food containers which would need to be thoroughly cleaned.
Summary: HUDA TV – Anyone can say I am keeping a dog for protective reasons. But it has to be based on needs. “Look at the danger of keeping a dog. It’s okay to keep a cat, cats, kittens, rabits, or whatever” He mentions the hadith saying it can only be allowed for security or for hunting. But it must necessitate an actual need for security.
Summary: Imam Karim Abu Zaid – Dogs are not haram. We just can’t have them in the house because of sanitary problems. It’s also because they prevent angels from coming into the house were a dog is. It can be a lot of work to wash items seven times for everything they lick, “dogs are okay”. He continues to say Muslims are not anti dog but we at the same time we do not need to be emotionally engaged hugging and kissing them. We believe in treating them well and with respect. A women went to paradise for quenching the thirst of a dog.
Summary: Dr. Shabir Ally – There was a sunnah that mentions that Muhammad ordered all dogs to be killed but then made an exception and allowed them for hunting and guarding. In making our decision we should first resort to Quran and then Hadith and piece it together. The Quran does not mention anything negative towards dogs. In fact, it’s only positive with the story of a dog who protected the youth in the cave. Some say the saliva is impure but in the Quran it states we can eat meat fetched by dogs so this is false.
There is nothing fundamentally impure about dogs from Quranic perspective. It could be historically the dogs were euthanized as they were contagious with rabies but people have forgotten the reason behind why they were killed and attribute it to them being impure. Practically dogs served a purpose. Now these services are expanded as guide dogs and Muslims should not react so harshly.
Summary: Hamza Yusuf – “The attitude Muslims have towards dogs is completely unacceptable” General message is be nice to dogs, they serve practical purpose like a guard dog and seeing eye dog. Many Muslims react very negatively to a Muslim who needs the guiding dog. This is unfair to him and the dog.
Hopefully through this article and my research you’re able to understand the different views and make a decision yourself.
I will pass the question on to you, do you believe dogs are haram or halal?
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