Traditionally, dogs have been seen as impure, and the Islamic legal tradition has developed several injunctions that warn Muslims against most contact with dogs. Unfortunately, many Muslims have used this view to justify the abuse and neglect of dogs, even though cruelty contradicts the Qur'an's view that all animals form "communities like you." We are pleased to present several articles examining the place of dogs in Islam.
Animal Abuse and Welfare in Islam
by Dr. Ayoub M. Banderker (BVMCh),
Animal abuse, cruelty, and/or neglect form part of the many social ills plaguing the Muslim community.
Last Ramadaan, I wrote an article highlighting the phenomenon whereby misinformed Muslims took their dogs (and/or cats) to the animal hospitals or mobile clinics during Ramadaan, to have them put to death by lethal injection. The reason given by the majority of these Muslims was that Islam forbids them to keep a dog. Also encountered was when an animal that had been ill for a prolonged time and the disease had progressed to an almost terminal state was it only then brought in for veterinary attention. When asked why they waited so long, the Muslim owner would use Islam as a reason, stating that it is not permissible to touch a dog. This still happens.
Alhamdulillaa, during this Ramadaan, there has been a significant reduction in the number of Muslims who have gone to animal welfare organizations to have their animals put to death.
However, cruelty and neglect of animals still occur daily throughout the world. The approach of the holiday season sees many animal welfare organizations get an influx of dogs and cats brought in to be put to death during this time. Healthy, happy animals belonging to Muslims are also brought in to be put to death. This is a very disturbing and un-Islamic action. If one cannot afford to feed, shelter, and maintain one’s animals, and a new home cannot be found for them, take them to one of the many animal welfare organizations where there is at least a chance of the animal’s finding a new home. The real tragedy is that many of these Muslims still do this in the name of Islam and openly express such ignorant views. This contributes to propaganda against Islam. When a non-Muslim is cruel to an animal, it is considered an individual’s action, but when a Muslim does it, non-Muslims see it as an Islamic practice.
I cannot overemphasize the need to have one’s cats or dogs sterilized. Having pets sterilized would help to prevent unwanted litters, thereby reducing the amount of unwanted animals. It is much better than abandoning the animals, which many Muslims are also guilty of. Abandoned pets cannot fend for themselves, with the result that they starve and experience untold suffering, cruelty, and an eventual, agonizing death.
All animals are a part of Allah’s creation and belong to Allah (swt). Muslims are custodians of this beautiful planet. How we care for animals and what we use them for we will be accountable for to Allah (swt). All of creation is Muslim, submitting to Allah’s will—only man and jinn are granted a freedom of choice. So yes, even animals are Muslim.
In the Holy Qur’aan (S4:36) we are advised to do good to “… what your right hands own …” According to the commentator Imaam Faghruddin al-Rhazi, this refers to all those who have no civil rights, including animals. Thus, the verse lays down the duty of being good toward animals.
All things “…have been created for you ...” for our benefit (S2:29). It thus becomes our duty to protect, employ with dignity, and promote the well-being of any animal in our care. In this way, we are expressing our thankfulness to Allah (swt) for His blessings in a practical manner. (Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society, Mawlana F.R. Ansari, vol. 2, pp. 125-126)
Every animal has been created for a purpose. It is a duty upon every human being to respect Allah’s creation. If we ill treat any of His creation, we will be questioned about it on the Day of Judgment. Sayyidina ’Umar (ra) was very concerned about the animals during his rule as Amir or head of the Islamic empire.
Let me clarify a few myths and make a few points:
1. It is NOT haraam to own a dog, though it is not hygienic to keep a dog in the house.
2. It is NOT haraam to touch a dog or any other animal. If the saliva of a dog touches you or any part of your clothing, then it is required of you to wash the body part touched and the item of clothing touched by the dog’s mouth or snout.
3. It is incumbent upon all Muslims who own animals, whether for farming or work purposes or as pets, to provide adequate shelter, food, water, and, when needed, veterinary care for their animals. Arrangements must be made, if one is going to be away from home, to have one’s animals taken care of as well.
4. It is haraam to keep a dog or any other animal on a short lead for long periods without food, water, and shelter. Dogs need exercise and are social creatures who form organized “family” structures in nature. Dog owners therefore need to spend time daily with their dogs.
5. It is cruel, and therefore haraam, to keep any animal in a cage so small that it cannot behave in a natural way.
6. Fireworks cause untold suffering to most domestic animals because of their acute sense of hearing.
7. It is haraam to participate in any blood “sport,” like dog fighting and trophy hunting.
No animal has been cursed in any way. Animals are referred to in many instances in the Qu’ran. In Surah Kahf, mention is made of the companions of the Cave and their dog. (S18: 18-22)
We would love for Allah to bestow His mercy upon us, so let’s show mercy and compassion to all His creation. This will also give non-Muslims a true reflection of Islam, aiding da’wah.
There are many Muslims who care well for their animals, and this article is aimed at those who are misinformed.
The appeal goes out to those Muslims: Please do not abuse or neglect any animal. This gives a distorted picture to others who are not Muslim.
May Allah be pleased with our efforts.
Dogs in the quran
by Malika Ayub
Dogs in the Quran ?? Are'nt they dirty (Najis) ?!!!!!
I heard this from a Muslim friend. So I told him to read the Quran and find what Quran says about dogs.
It is interesting to know that dogs are mentioned in the Quran 5 times, not just once, 7:176, 18:18, 18:22 (three times). NO WHERE does God call the dogs dirty animals or give any indication that they should be avoided or treated the way many Muslims think they should. Actually the story of the people of the cave, in Sura 18, gives the indication. that we should appreciate.
The people of the cave, 3, 5 or 7 were mentioned in the Quran and every time God insists on letting us know that their dog was there with them. Their story can be as complete without the mention of the dog, but God did, Why ?
God is telling us these righteous people were in the cave with their dog, if it is not righteous to have dogs, God would not have told us that story in which the dog has to be remembered as being there. We have to know the quality of God, if we were to worship Him correctly. When God says something He means it, and when he does not, he means it as much. If God did not curse the dog and call it all kinds of name, it is because God wants us to know that He created that beautiful creature and He expected us to make all use and companinonship with that animal that accompanied these righteous people of the cave.
Fabricated hadiths contradict the Quran. Many of them narrated by Abu Hurayra. Abu Hurayra, whose name is translated as , father of the little cat, hated dogs and women and from his mouth came many hadiths that insulted women and cursed the dogs and make them undesirable animals that need to be avoided and in other hadiths killed.
These fabricted hadtihs were falsely attributed to the prophet Muhammed who cannot utter but the teachings of the Quran and would only be a living example of the Quran itself. The prophet Muhammed who lived by the Quran could not have done anything but agree with the Quran,not contradict it. God gave us a great criteria to judge His truth form the man-made fabrications;
"....If it were from othr than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions." 4:82
Can we be that Judge ? We have to.
The Findings of Scientific Research Relative to Keeping Dogs
Some lovers of the West in Muslim countries claim to be full of love and compassion for all living creatures and they wonder why Islam warns against this "best friend" of man. For their benefit, we quote here a lengthy excerpt from an article by the German scientist, Dr. Gerard Finstimer, (Translated from the German magazine Kosinos.) in which the author sheds light on the dangers to human health resulting from keeping dogs or coming in contact with them. He says: The increasing interest shown by many people in recent times in keeping dogs as pets has compelled us to draw public attention to the dangers which result from this, especially because pet dogs are hugged and kissed and permitted to lick the hands of the young and the old, and what is worse, to lick the plates and utensils which are used by human beings for eating and drinking.
Besides being unhygienic and uncouth, this practice is bad manners and abhorrent to good taste. However, we are not concerned with such matters. Leaving them to be addressed by teachers of etiquette and good taste. Rather this article is intended to present some scientific observations.
From the medical point of view, which is our main concern here, the hazards to human health and life from keeping and playing with dogs are not to be ignored. Many people have paid a high price for their ignorance, as 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. He continues, Biologically the developmental process of this worm has some unique characteristics. In the lesions caused by them, one worm gives rise to many heads which spread and form other and varied kinds of lesions and abscesses. These heads 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 In animals the size of an abscess may reach that of an apple, while the liver of the infected animal may grow from five to ten times its normal size. In human beings the size of the abscess may reach that of a clenched fist or even the head of an infant; it is filled with yellow fluid weighing from ten to twenty pounds. In the infected human it may cause diverse kinds of inflammations in the lungs, muscles, spleen, kidneys, and brain, and appears in such different forms that specialists, until very recently, had difficulty in recognizing it.
In any case, wherever this inflammation is found, it poses great danger to the health and life of the patient. What is worse is that, in spite of our knowledge of its life history, origin, and development, we have not been able to devise a cure for it, except that in some instances these parasites die out, possibly because of antibodies produced in the human body. Unfortunately, cases in which such parasites die without causing damage are rare indeed.
Moreover, chemotherapy has failed to produce any benefit, and the usual treatment is surgical removal of the abscessed parts of the body. For all these reasons we should use all possible resources to fight against this dreadful disease and save man from its dangers.
Professor Noeller, through post-mortem dissection of human bodies in Germany, found that the incidence of infection with dogs' worms is at least one percent. In some places such as Dalmatia, Iceland, southeastern Australia, andHolland, where dogs are used for pulling sleds, the incidence rate of tapeworm among dogs is 12 percent. In Iceland the number of people who suffer from the inflammation caused by this worm has reached the rate of 43 percent. If we add to this the human suffering, the loss of meat because of infection of cattle, and the permanent danger to human health because of the presence of tapeworms, we cannot be very complacent toward this problem.
Perhaps the best way to combat the problem is to limit the worms to dogs and not let them spread, since in actuality we need to keep some dogs. We should not neglect to treat dogs when necessary by getting rid of the tapeworms in their tonsils and perhaps repeating this process periodically on shepherd dogs and watchdogs.
Man can protect his life and health by keeping a safe distance from dogs. He should not hug them, play with them, or let them come close to children. Children should be taught not to play with dogs or to fondle them. Dogs should not be permitted to lick children's hands or come to places where they play. Unfortunately, dogs are allowed to roam about everywhere, especially in places where children play, and their bowls are scattered throughout the house. Dogs must have their own separate bowls, and they must not be allowed to lick bowls and plates used by humans. They should not be allowed inside grocery stores, restaurants, or marketplaces. In general, great care must be taken that they do not come in contact with anything which is used by people for eating and drinking.
We already know that the Prophet (saws) forbade mixing with dogs, and that he warned against their licking plates and against keeping them without necessity. How is it possible that the teachings of an unlettered Arab, Muhammad, should agree with the latest findings of scientific research? Truly, we cannot say anything except to repeat the words of the Qur'an: Nor does he speak from (his own) desire. It is nothing other than a revelation sent down. (53:3-4)