بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم
وصلى الله تعالى على سيد المرسلين
وعلى آله وصحبه اجمعين
Keeping pet dogs is deeply ingrained in European and American culture. It is one of the major cultural distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Western world. Regrettably, some westernized Muslims, the Hellenists of our time, have embraced this phenomenon of keeping pet dogs, which, as I shall explain, is contrary to our Islamic Shari’ah. As with other battlegrounds in this culture war, such as the institution of the veil and gender segregation, dietary restrictions on pork and hard drink, and our opposition to participating and celebrating non-Islamic holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc., we must be conscious of and maintain our difference with the rest of the world in the issue of keeping pet dogs.
According to the Shari’ah, the dog, like the pig, is an unclean animal, that is, najis. And according to some scholarly views, the dog is najis al-’ayn, that is unclean in its essence. Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم instructed that if a dog happens to lick or drink from a vessel, the method of purifying that vessel is to wash it seven times. According to various versions of the Hadith, either the first or last of those seven cleansings should be done with dust, or the eighth cleansing is to be done with dust.
*In our times, the cleansing with dust may be substituted with any cleaning agent, chemical or substance, like soap.
Likewise, if the saliva or any moisture from a dog contaminates a person’s clothing or body, it too is to be washed in the manner described by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He mentioned vessel because that is the most common object which is usually polluted by a dog, but the idea is that the saliva or moisture from a dog will pollute anything it comes into contact with. Now the very fact that in our Shari’ah the dog is an unclean animal, in fact more unclean than other unclean animals with the possible exception of the pig, that should be sufficient to understand that it is forbidden to keep dogs as house pets. Nonetheless, seemingly in anticipating of the tendency of Muslims keeping dogs as pets out of sheer ignorance, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم declared that whoever keeps a dog, except for the purpose of hunting or guarding a herd, shall have one (and according to another version two) qīrāţ of deeds deducted from their daily account. When asked what a qīrāţ is, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم explained it is the equivalent, in quantity, to a massive mountain. This Hadith is a strict warning and rebuke against those careless Muslims who follow their vain desires, in opposition to the divinely legislated Shari’ah, and keep pet dogs in their homes.
Quite often, a Muslim is, and rightly so, uncomfortable entering the house of a dog owner. Europeans and Americans in particular are known to treat their pet dogs as if they were people, allowing them to sit on the furniture, sleep in the bed, and even wash them in the bath tub! Apart from this, they engage in such indecent behavior such as kissing their dogs, or allowing their pet dogs to lick them on the mouth and face. Of course, this is something that is quite evident to anyone who resides in Europe or America, though even we Muslims in the West are unaware of the true extent to which these people practice intimacy with their pet dogs behind the closed doors of their private dwellings.