Can I Keep My Dogs Which I Already Owned Before Reverting to Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

I heard it is ok to keep a dog as long as it is for farming and the like. I had my dogs before I reverted to Islam. I don’t want to give them away because they are ill and old, and I don’t trust others to care for them. One of them has kidney disease; the other has a UTI. I follow the Maliki view that dog saliva is pure. Other than that, I follow the Shafi’i School. I want to keep them, but I am worried after reading the hadiths on the matter. Would you please advise?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, Amin.

If you believe that you are keeping the dogs as protection or a justifiable necessity to keep them, you may do so. If, however, there is no justifiable reason, then the warnings related to keeping dogs are severe. As difficult as we understand this would be, we would advise you to part with them for the sake of your love of Allah and trust their Lord and others you entrust, to care for them appropriately, and Allah knows best.

Owning Dogs

It is permissible to keep dogs for hunting, herding livestock, and farming.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, one huge chunk (qirat) will be deducted from his reward each day.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding livestock or a dog that is trained for hunting, two huge chunks (qirat) will be deducted from his reward each day.” [Agreed Upon]

According to Imam Al-Nawawi: “There is a difference of opinion about whether it is permissible to keep dogs for purposes other than these three, such as guarding houses and roads. The most correct view is that it is permissible, by analogy (qiyas) with these three and based on the reason derived from the hadiths above, [which is] necessity (darura).” [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Are Dogs Clean?

Dogs, like pigs, are considered filth (najasa) in the Shafi’i School. [Nawawi, Minhaj Al-Talibin]

Every living animal is physically pure in the Maliki school, even dogs and swine. [Al-Fiqh ‘ala Al-Madhahib Al-Arba’a]

While the more conservative view is that of the Shafi’i School, the dispensation exists for those who have difficulty preventing dog contamination, provided their prayer, with its prerequisites, is considered valid in the Maliki School, and Allah knows best. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

In conclusion, we would like to add that should you have to part with your pet companions for the sake of Allah, such a heavy sacrifice will not go unnoticed by Him, and we pray that He compensates you with His love, Amin.

I pray this is of benefit.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in health