Islam does not say to hate dogs or any other creatures. But there are rules pertaining to the interaction Muslims can have with these friendly canines. The “I want to touch a dog” event that took place in Malaysia this past weekend has shed light on how misunderstood the Islamic ruling on dogs is by both non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
The event was condemned in Malaysia. Pictures of happy Muslim men and women holding and hugging their four legged friends will forever float the realms of the virtual world. But ignorance is not always bliss.
Keeping dogs inside the house without any necessity and merely as pets was forbidden by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This is according to majority of the scholars. It is permissible however to keep a dog only for security and hunting purposes but even then there are rules to one’s interaction with them.
“If a person has a dog just as a pet, as many families have today, and they emulate and imitate the non-Muslims, whether it’s a dog or puppy, this is not permissible. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said the Malaika and angels of mercy do not enter the house, the room where there are animate objects and where there is a dog. This refers to where the dog or puppy is kept,” said Mufti Abdul Kader Hussein.
This is Haraam according to authentic Hadith.
“People who keep dogs as pet are losing their hasanaat and righteous actions daily like the Mount Uhud – the huge mountain in Madinatul Munawwarah, equivalent to that, daily they will be losing their good deeds and forfeiting it,” added Mufti.
If a person has a dog for hunting or security purposes then too they must exercise caution. Imam Shafi’ee states that the dog is like a swine and that it is najasul ‘ain (wholly impure). “From bumper to bumper, top to bottom, side to side it is napaak, impure.”
If a person comes into contact with any part of a dog, even inadvertently, then they would have to wash their body and the clothes seven times. According to Hanafi scholars, the saliva of the dog is impure. If the saliva of the dog touches a person on their clothing, it must be washed three times.
“In Islam it is not encouraged or recommended to keep a dog,” said Mufti.
The Prophet (peace be on him) said,
Jibraeel (Alayhis salaam) came to me and said, “I came to you yesterday but what stopped me from entering was that there was a statue at the door, a curtain with figures on it in the house, and a dog inside the house. So order that the head of the statue be broken off so that it resembles the trunk of tree, that the curtain be cut and made into two pillows to recline on, and that the dog be taken out.” [Reported by Ab Dawud, al-Nisai, al-Tirmidhi, and by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih]
The prohibition of keeping dogs in the house does not mean that dogs and animals may be treated cruelly or that they should be eradicated.
“There is not an animal on the earth, nor a bird flying upon two wings, but comprise nations like yourselves.” [Surah Al An’am] Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) told the Sahabah (radiallahu anhum) a story concerning a man who found a dog in the desert panting and licking the dust due to thirst. The man went to a well, filled his shoes with water, and relieved the dog’s thirst. Allah SWT appreciated this and forgave him all his sins.” [Bukhari]
Dogs are regarded as a man’s best friend and often the extent of love and affection thrown on these animals exceeds patting. Pets are hugged and kissed and even utensils are shared between man and dog. This is extremely unhygienic and poses a hazard to human health and life. The tapeworm carried by dogs is a cause of chronic disease, sometimes resulting in death.
This worm is found in man, in cattle, and in pigs, but it is found in fully-developed form only in dogs, wolves and rarely in cats. These worms differ from others in that they are minute and invisible, consequently, they were not discovered until very recently. This is according to the research of a German scientist Doctor Gerard Finstimer.
One worm can give rise to many heads which spread and form other and varied kinds of lesions and abscesses which then develop into full-grown worms only in dogs’ tonsils. In humans and in other animals they appear as lesions and abscesses completely different from the tapeworm itself that grows to obscene sizes.
We already know that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade mixing with dogs. He warned against their licking of plates and against keeping them without necessity. It never comes as a surprise when the wisdom of the beloved Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is proven by science 1400 years later.