A Muslim girl with her pet dog
Understanding what is appropriate in Islam can be the difference between getting a dog and not getting one. Learn more here about what to expect.
According to Islam, you may keep a dog outside the house for useful purposes. They include guarding, hunting, leading a blind person, sniffing narcotics, detecting explosives, etc.
According to The Grand Mufti of Dubai, Dr. Ahmed Al Haddad, keeping a dog at home is not advisable according to Islam, as affirmed by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). “If dogs were not a nation among nations, then I would order that they be killed. There is one inhabiting a home in which they keep a dog, but their deeds are decreased by one Qirat every day – except for a hunting dog, or a farm dog, or a sheepdog.”
As such, Muslims are advised to be proud of their religion and culture and refrain from blindly imitating others, Dr. Haddad said. “If a dog is needed for guarding, you must keep it in a proper place and as per need.”
When you can and cannot keep a dog
“Raising or keeping a dog inside the house is not allowed in Islam under any circumstances, and even prevents the Angels of Mercy from entering the house, and deducts a large amount of a Muslim’s worship reward on every single day,” says Dr. Ali Mashael, Chief Mufti at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai.
“However, a dog may be kept and benefited from outside the house for permissible reasons,” he said.
“Street dogs are either harmful or not,” he stated. “If harmful, they should be banished or killed if needed, but not because they are dogs or just homeless,” he underlined. “If harmless, they should be kept away or in a safe shelter, but never neutered or locked up until death.”
Dr. Ahmed Omar Hashim, former president of Al-Azhar University, said the angels of Islam do not enter a house in which there is a dog.
Reiterating the same, Dr. Shaikh Khalid Al Jundi said keeping a dog inside the house has nothing to do with civilization or modernity. It is not allowed for any reason, particularly for having fun, as a prestige factor, or for scaring people. “However in Islam, a dog may be kept outside the house for guarding, hunting, leading a blind person, sniffing narcotics, detecting explosives, etc.”
Traditionally, dogs are considered haram or forbidden in Islam as they are considered dirty. Conservatives advocate complete avoidance. Moderates say Muslims should not touch the animal’s mucous membranes — such as the nose or mouth — which are considered especially impure. Most Muslim scholars agree that a dog’s saliva is ritually impure. That objects (or perhaps persons) that come into contact with a dog’s saliva must be washed seven times. This ruling comes from the hadith:
When the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times, and rub it with earth the eighth time. However, it is to be noted that one of the major Islamic schools of thought (Maliki) indicates that this is not a matter of ritual cleanliness but simply a common-sense method to prevent the spread of disease in Islam.