Friday, November 9, 2018 7:27:45 PM
Can Muslims Keep Pets?

Nowadays, pets are inseparable parts of people’s lives. In the United States, for example, over 60% of families have pets. Some have dogs, cats, while others keep fish, turtles, birds, rabbits, horses, sheep, pigs, or chickens.

No one knows for sure when the first animals were domesticated, but according to history, humans have always developed close associations with animals. Although early humans might have first sought to domesticate animals as living tools, other benefits of animals caused humans to keep them as pets, too. Muslims can also exploit animals taking into account some considerations stated below.

Animals from The Islamic Point of View

Islam has never been indifferent to animals. The proofs are verses of the Quran, Sunnah and sayings of the Imams (AS) which strongly exhort Muslims to treat animals and birds with compassion, not to abuse them, and repeatedly blame cruelty towards them.

In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) enumerates six rights for an animal over its owner, of which are: “he should not burden it with a load that it cannot bear, he should not hit the animal except when it truly deserves”, etc. .

Hence, hitting a dog in the face or body as punishment and making it obedient through fear, putting a heavy load on a camel or a horse, providing little food for a cat, and putting a canary in a small cage are all blamed in Islam. It is also quoted from the Prophet (PBUH) that God forgave a prostitute who saved a thirsty dog from death by drawing up some water from a well using her shoes. Also, According to the Quran, all living and non-living creatures are made by Allah , and He loves all animals; so should do humans.

Keeping Pets: Allowed or Not?

In Islamic teachings, there is nothing wrong with keeping animals and it is even recommended in some cases; except for some animals that Islamic conditions or prohibition on keeping them should be observed. Besides, keeping some animals such as roosters, camels, sheep, horses, cats, and pigeons is highly recommended.

In other words, keeping permissible animals is allowed, and in some cases, it brings blessing to its owner. But, this should be under certain circumstances, such as: treating and feeding pets properly, having enough space to accommodate them, considering the hygienic requirements of both the animal and its owner, and respecting neighbors’ rights.

For accommodating an animal at home, a proper separate shelter must be provided, based on the needs and the nature of the animal. For a bird, for example, a comfortable cage indoors suffices, but a camel or a sheep must be kept outdoors! In this regard, apart from the hygienic points that should be taken into account, the excrement and urine of some birds and animals are impure (Najis), hence, keeping them indoors needs attention.

What is encouraged in Islam is keeping domesticated animals that need humans to protect and feed them, or wild animals which require protection; otherwise it should be avoided, especially if keeping the animal at home causes harm to it .

Why Keeping Certain Pets Is Recommended in Islam?

A review of the Islamic narrations reveals that the emphasis on keeping pets is because of the benefits and the blessings that certain animals bring to their owners and saving them and their families from disasters. Having camels, horses and sheep were advised in the past because of their role in the economy of the family, transportation, and defense. And nowadays, many people around the world consume the products obtained from sheep, and some still use horses and camels for the farm work and transport in some areas.

In some sayings keeping a rooster, pigeon, sheep, and cat is named among the ways of drawing sustenance and benefits . Of other advantages of having pets is that some animals warn humans in case of danger, they clean up their surroundings from vermin and prevent waste.

It is also essential to know that respecting the animals’ rights is of paramount importance in Islam and is explicitly stated in Islamic teachings. This equally applies to both animals permitted and forbidden to be kept by Muslims. This prevents from treating animals cruelly, neglecting them, over-working or over-loading animals (as stated above), and hunting them for sport.

Which animals are forbidden to keep?

It was said that keeping animals is recommended in Islam, but not all of them; like dogs and especially pigs. Since dogs are considered impure (Najis) and humans are susceptible to catch a disease from them, Muslims are advised against keeping them . Nevertheless, there is nothing in Islam that states to hate dogs or harm them. On the contrary, feeding dogs (even stray dogs) and watering them are reported in Sunnah and the conduct of the Imams (AS) . It is also permitted to keep dogs where they assist humans and are kept outdoors.

But about pigs, as there is no benefit in keeping them and as they are impure (Najis), Muslims are forbidden to keep them.


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