Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Does Islam prohibit owning dogs for pets?

Sunday, May 29th, 2011


First, let me thank you for your site. I have already learned quite a lot.

I am not a Muslim but am considering becoming one. One sticking point for me is, strangely enough…dogs! I have always owned pet dogs and have one now. My understanding is that Muslims consider dogs to be “unclean” and would never have one as a pet.

I find this really difficult, as I find dogs to be noble, wonderful animals. My understanding is that the main objection is that dogs can make one “unclean” and interfere with wudu…?

Here is a little more about this from my own blog:

“it is surprising to me that Muslims are apparently forbidden from having dogs as pets. My understanding is that having dogs as guard dogs or hunting dogs is allowed, but not as pets kept in the home.
I need to read further to see if this is purely cultural, if it is a tradition that only some Muslims follow, or if it is truly a commandment.”

I found an article on the web that refutes the notion that dog ownership is prohibited in Islam. It cites verses 18:9-22, which narrate the story of Ahl-ul-Kahf (the sleepers in the cave).

I would appreciate your perspective! Thank you!

Welcome to the blog. I’m happy you decided to join and I look forward to your participation. Thank you for kind words about my blog.

I like the name and title font of your blog 🙂 BTW, the talk by Joshua Evans is one of the best lectures you can hear about the transition from Christianity to Islam. Another one is by Gary Miller.

The article you referred me to cites the evidence of the sleepers in the cave having a dog, Ar-Raqeem, guarding the cave’s entrance. Scholars have agreed that guard dogs are perfectly allowed, but they differed on keeping dogs as pets. The reason they dislike it is a hadeeth, narrated by Abu-Hurayra (RA) and reported by Muslim, Abu-Daawood and others, in which the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When a dog bobs into the pot of any of you, let him wash it seven times.” Muslim rates this hadeeth authentic. Scholars have interpreted the reason for the command to be that a dog’s saliva is inherently filthy. Thus, keeping a dog around means that its owner is always unclean and must therefore perform wudhoo’ (ablution) before every prayer or recitation of the Quran.

That does not lead to prohibition of owning a pet dog! It simply tells us what to do if we choose to own a dog. The dog owner must be constantly aware that he or she, the owner, is always unclean because of the dog and therefore must maintain the cleanliness of himself or herself and that of the dog. If the owner is up to that responsibility, then there is nothing to prohibit him or her from owning a pet dog.

That said, I don’t know if dog saliva is inherently filthy. It is quite possible that keeping a dog clean was an unsurmountable job for the Arabs living in Seventh Century desert Arabia, where water is so scarce, it is barely enough for them. In other words, this is the `Illa (contingency) of the hadeeth. If the saliva is not inherently filthy, then the hadeeth does not even apply if the dog owner bathes the dog often and brushes its teeth everyday.

BTW, the article you mentioned makes unwarranted accusations against Abu-Hurayra, may God have been pleased with him. While he was human, and as all humans may err, he was a righteous, pious, trustworthy Sahaabi (fellow of the Prophet (PBUH)). He is entitled to much respect.

Is it allowed in Islam to keep a dog as a pet?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I’ve proposed marriage to a Muslim lady and she agreed to marry me. The only problem is that she keeps a pet poodle. I’m trying to convince her that keeping a dog as a pet is forbidden in Islam.

Some Muslims tell me that the sleepers of the cave, Chapter 18, kept a dog, so it must be OK to keep a dog.

What is the right thing here?

You may have noticed, however, in the story of the sleepers in the cave, that God said that their dog was “stretching his arms in the opening of the cave” (18:18). That is the job of a dog: guarding. It should be kept outside the house. The Prophet (PBUH) also allowed the use of dogs in hunting, confirming what God says in the Quran in 5:4.

The hadeeth about washing a pot seven times after a dog bobs into it is authentic, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Muslim.

There is no explicit prohibition against keeping a dog as a pet. All we know is that hadeeth. Scholars have concluded that dog saliva must be filthy. That’s not sufficient reason to conclude that dogs cannot be kept as pets, if the owner regularly bathes the dog, brushes its teeth and ensures that the dog does not have access to the owner’s utensils and pots, etc. If someone is willing to take all that trouble to have the company of a dog, I honestly cannot see a justification for forbidding her from having a pet dog.