The Permissibility of Keeping Dogs for Hunting, Guarding and Herding―and it is Harām to Keep them as Pets or to Buy and Sell them.

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

Dogs are only allowed to be kept for a few reasons: to guard wealth, farmland and property, and as a sheepdog, or for herding and for hunting―added to that is what some scholars have allowed: police sniffer dogs for explosives, narcotics, etc (Fatwa of Al-Lajnah Ad-Dā’imah, 4/195). And also to protect the homes of people if there is a need for that―due to them being isolated and vulnerable, as stated by Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen and alluded to by Ibn Abdil-Barr (in At-Tamheed), and Allah knows best. As for keeping them as pets or companions, then that is not allowed. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

مَنِ اقْتَنَى كَلْبًا لَيْسَ بِكَلْبِ صَيْدٍ وَلاَ مَاشِيَةٍ وَلاَ أَرْضٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِهِ قِيرَاطَانِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ

“Whoever who keeps a dog which is neither meant for hunting nor for herding livestock nor for watching the fields shall lose two qeerāt (portions) of reward every day.” (Muslim no.1575/a, An-Nasā’ee no. 4290, saheeh) In a narration of At-Tirmidhi, he (salallāhu alaihi wasallam) said:

وَمَا مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتٍ يَرْتَبِطُونَ كَلْبًا إِلاَّ نَقَصَ مِنْ عَمَلِهِمْ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ قِيرَاطٌ إِلاَّ كَلْبَ صَيْدٍ أَوْ كَلْبَ حَرْثٍ أَوْ كَلْبَ غَنَمٍ

“There is not a household which keeps a dog but their deeds are decreased by one qeerāt (a portion) every day unless it is a hunting dog, or a farm dog, or a sheepdog.” (no. 1489, declared saheeh by Al-Albāni)

Keeping a dog in one’s house is a cause for the Angels not entering. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

لاَ تَدْخُلُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ صُورَةٌ

“The Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog nor a house in which there are images of living things.” (Ibn Mājah, 3649, graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)

And the worst of dogs is the black dog and should not be kept for any purpose. Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) about the dog that is completely black and he said: ‘It is a devil.’” (Ibn Mājah, no. 3210, declared saheeh by Al-Albāni)

Dogs for Hunting

Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) asked the Prophet (salallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):

وَبِأَرْضِ صَيْدٍ، أَصِيدُ بِقَوْسِي وَبِكَلْبِي الَّذِي لَيْسَ بِمُعَلَّمٍ، وَبِكَلْبِي الْمُعَلَّمِ، فَمَا يَصْلُحُ لِي

“I am in a land (of Jews and Christians) where there are plenty of game animals. I hunt them with my bow and with my untrained dog, and with a trained hunting dog―so what is allowed for me?” He (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied:

وَمَا صِدْتَ بِقَوْسِكَ فَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ فَكُلْ، وَمَا صِدْتَ بِكَلْبِكَ الْمُعَلَّمِ فَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ فَكُلْ، وَمَا صِدْتَ بِكَلْبِكَ غَيْرَ مُعَلَّمٍ فَأَدْرَكْتَ ذَكَاتَهُ فَكُلْ

“What you killed with your bow after mentioning Allah’s name (bismillāh), then eat it. What you hunt using your trained dog after mentioning Allah’s name, eat it. As for the untrained dog that catches the animal, then if you reach it before it dies, and you slaughter it, then you can eat it.” (Bukhāri, no. 5478)

The Buying and Selling of Cats and Dogs

The origin with respect to the trade of cats and dogs is that it is forbidden. There occurs in the hadeeth reported of Saheeh Muslim from Abuz-Zubair who said: I asked Jābir (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) regarding the price of a dog and cat. He replied: “The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) sternly prohibited it.” (no. 1569) This was also reported by Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) and others. And it was the saying of Tāwoos, Mujāhid and the Dhāhiris. It concurs with one of the reports from Imām Ahmad and was the preferred position of Ibnul-Qayyim and Ibn Hazm. The Arabic term “Zajr” used in the hadeeth indicates a strong prohibition, not that it is merely disliked. The exception to the forbiddance of buying and selling dogs is the trained hunting dog as occurs in the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) who said: “Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade the price paid for a dog except for the hunting dog.” (Reported by Tirmidhi no. 1281, declared hasan by Al-Albaanee, Saheeh al-Jāmi’)

As for keeping other animals as pets such as cats, then that is allowed.

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