From the perspective of an outsider visiting a Muslim-majority country, or meeting conservative Muslims, it would become apparent that their attitude towards dogs isn’t the most favorable. When asked, most Muslims will tell you about the passage wherein dogs are said to prevent angels from entering a house they are in. Whether this claim is rooted in religious knowledge and how much of it can be attributed to interpretation is a discussion of its own.
Islam And Its Views On Pets
There are many misconceptions about Islam, especially when it comes to animal welfare. One of the most common myths is that Muslims are not allowed to keep pets. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, there are numerous hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) that encourage the kind treatment of animals, including dogs.
So where did this myth come from? It’s likely a combination of a few different things. For one, some people mistakenly think that because Muslims often refrain from eating pork, they must also avoid all contact with pigs and dogs (which are both considered “unclean” animals in Islam). But this is not the case – Muslims are only required to avoid consuming pork, and not to have any negative attitude towards pigs or dogs.
Many ahadith compel Muslims not to be cruel to animals in any way – one of which is to keep them in a cramped space for profit. Taking care of and rearing animals is seen as a noble quality in Islam, seeing as how the Holy Prophet also spent his early years rearing sheep and goats.
Another possibility for this myth is that some people interpret a verse in the Quran which says that Allah does not love those who are “dirty” or “defiled”. They mistakenly think this means that Allah must dislike all animals when, in fact, the verse is specifically referring to humans who do not take care of their personal hygiene. There is nothing in Islamic scripture that says Allah dislikes animals – on the contrary, there are many verses that promote compassion and mercy toward all creatures.
Dogs In The Quran
Although the Quran mentions animals very frequently, the life and nature of these animals aren’t usually the main theme. Their life is mostly used as a metaphor for human life.
However, one of the most famous passages that come to mind when we think of dogs is the chapter of “The Companions of The Cave” – the believers who, along with their faithful dog, sought shelter in a cave when they were forced out of their city. The believers soon fell asleep, free of any worries, and remained so for three hundred years. Their dog, called Qiṭmīr in some sources, is said to be sleeping “stretching out its forelegs at the threshold.” (Al-Quran 18:18)
In another verse, in a chapter regarding the concept of Halal and Haram in Islam, the Quran says “Lawful for you are all good things, and [the prey] that trained [hunting] dogs and falcons catch for you.” This clearly shows a positive attitude towards animals, one that many people tend to overlook. There is great emphasis on treating all beings with kindness, especially those that help us in our survival.
Dogs In Ahadith
Ahadith are a collection of oral traditions from the time of Prophet Muhammad. Most of these were collected and compiled some time after his death, and are regarded – to this day – as an authentic source of Islamic knowledge by a lot of scholars. Like most topics covered in the Ahadith, there are a lot of different schools of thought about keeping dogs as pets.
One hadith states that “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, one qirat will be deducted from his reward each day.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1575.)
A similar hadith is found in Al-Bukhari, which states, “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding livestock or a dog that is trained for hunting, two qirats will be deducted from his reward each day.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5163; Muslim, 1574.)
A similar difference in opinion arises when we talk about guard dogs in ahadith. Even though the Quran has a whole passage detailing the loyalty of a guard dog towards his master, and Allah’s reward for him, some scholars suggest Islam does not permit dogs in any capacity.
What Scholars Say
Many scholars claim that keeping a dog in the house is not permitted in Islam unless it is for protection and hunting.
“There is a difference of opinion as to whether it is permissible to keep dogs for purposes other than these three, such as for guarding houses and roads. The most correct view is that it is permissible, by analogy with these three and based on the reason that is to be understood from the hadith, which is a necessity.” (Sharh Muslim, 10/236)
Whereas, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin said:
“Based on this, if a house is in the middle of the city, there is no need to keep a dog to guard it, so keeping a dog for this purpose in such situations is haram and is not permitted, and it detracts one or two qirats from a person’s reward every day. They should get rid of this dog and not keep it. But if the house is in the countryside and there is no one else around, then it is permissible to keep a dog to guard the house and the people who are in it; guarding the members of the household is more important than guarding livestock or crops.” (Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaymin, 4/246)
The Benefits of Owning A Dog
There are many benefits to owning a dog, despite what some people may think. Dogs can provide companionship, love, and security in our lives and can be great additions to families. Additionally, dogs have been shown to improve our mental and physical health in numerous ways.
Owning a dog can provide us with companionship and love when we need it most. They are always happy to see us and are there for us when we need them. Dogs also make great additions to families as they can help teach responsibility and build confidence in children. And finally, dogs provide us with much-needed exercise and fresh air. Walking or running with a dog is a great way to get some cardio in while enjoying the outdoors.
Beyond all of that, dogs have also been shown to improve our mental and psychological health in numerous ways. Studies have shown that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, boost immunity, increase lifespan, and even ward off depression.
An Increase In Pet Ownership
There is a growing trend among Muslims of keeping dogs as pets. This is likely due to the increased exposure to Western culture and the growing popularity of animal companionship in general. While there are some Muslims who still believe that keeping dogs is against their religion, the majority of Muslims now see them as loyal and loving companions.
One of the main reasons why keeping dogs has become more popular among Muslims is because they are seen as loyal and protective animals. In many Muslim cultures, dogs are considered to be impure and unclean animals. However, this belief is slowly changing as people are becoming more exposed to different cultures and lifestyles.
Another reason why dogs are becoming popular among Muslims is that they provide companionship and emotional support. In today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult to find time to connect with others on a deep level. Dogs offer us an opportunity to form a close bonds with other living creatures. They can help us relax and de-stress after a long day, and offer us unconditional love and affection.
If you’re considering getting a dog, do your research and make sure you choose a breed that will fit well into your lifestyle and home. There are many wonderful breeds of dogs out there, so take your time in finding the perfect furry friend for you or your family!
To sum up, it is evident that there is no specific teaching in Islam that forbids keeping dogs as pets. While there are some restrictions and guidelines to consider when caring for your pet, these should be taken into account by all dog owners regardless of their faith. Remember that if you do decide to own a pet dog, you must take care of it with respect and kindness according to Islamic teachings. With this knowledge in hand, Muslims can enjoy the companionship of a beloved pet without worry or guilt.