Anyone who has been following my blog for a short time quickly picks up on the fact that not only am I an animal activist, but that I am very partial to cats. That’s just me. However, I also would never neglect or abuse a dog, even in Saudi Arabia or any other Islamic state. There seems to be a misperception that dogs are haram (not allowed) in Islam. That is not correct. This site written by a Muslim veterinarian provides an excellent overview on dogs and Islam.
Some key points from the site are as follows:
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.
However, Dr. Ayoub Banderker then summarizes the key points pertaining to Islam and dogs as:
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.
I’m not sure that I agree completely on the statement that it is not hygienic to keep a dog inside of a house. I believe that depends on the individual and how well they maintain cleanliness of the dog and the house. I know so many individuals who have elected to have a housedog and feel very comfortable and at ease in their home with their dog.
All of God’s creatures are to be treated with kindness and respect. Furthermore, there are many benefits and joys to having a dog as a pet as well. Dogs are very loyal creatures and when shown love and kindness, they will respond with so much love to their owner. Dogs will respond to their names as well as so many other commands (sit, guard, roll over, fetch, etc.). A dog can entertain a child for hours. In fact, dogs have been beneficial in helping children who have been diagnosed with Autism. Dogs help an autistic child deal with every challenges and obstacles and have been found to be very therapeutic. And of course, dogs have played a role for many years as seeing eye dogs for the visually impaired.
In closing this post I would also say that based on my own experiences in Saudi Arabia and speaking with practicing veterinarians, dogs are becoming more popular among Saudis to have as a part than other animals. While German Shephards had been the preferred breed, now one will see many kinds of breeds of dogs among dog owners in Saudi, from the very large (Great Dane) to the small (toy poodles and Chihuahuas).
So now let’s take our own informal poll. How many of you who are reading this post have a dog or would like to have a dog? And are you or are you not muslim? And please quantify your answer.
Filed under: Animals, culture, Health, islam, pets, religion, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, Saudi education, Saudi Living, travel, Uncategorized Tagged: | cats, culture, culture shock, customs, islam, KSA, religion, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, travel