Islamic schools of thought and renowned scholars believe there are prohibitions associated with having a dog. According to Islamic scholars, it is halal to keep dogs for certain purposes – such as hunting or guarding livestock, but we should not allow them within our homes.
In this article, we’ll explore the different opinions and the supporting evidence cited by established scholars.
Table of Contents:
1. Are Dogs Haram?
2. Why Are Dogs Haram in Islam?
3. Why are Dogs Haram And Not Cats?
4. Is it Haram to Have a Service Dog?
5. Is it Haram to Touch a Dog?
6. Is It Haram to Have a Dog in The Garden?
7. Is It Haram to Have a Dog for Protection?
Are Dogs Haram?
According to some Islamic scholars, it is only halal to keep a dog for hunting or guarding livestock and/or crops. However, some scholars believe it is permissible to own a dog outside of these three reasons, provided certain criteria are met (source).
For example, some scholars believe that it is permissible to keep dogs for other purposes, such as guarding your home. However, according to these scholars, it is haram to let the dog enter your house (i.e. it must stay outdoors, such as on the lawn) (source).
Moreover, Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem also shared his opinion that is it haram to keep dogs as pets in your home. He did, however, clarify that you can keep dogs for security purposes, provided there is a need for it (e.g. you live in an insecure neighborhood). But, again, the Sheikh clarified that it is not permissible to let the dog inside your home.
You can view his full response and explanation in this video clip:
Why Are Dogs Haram in Islam?
Keeping a dog in your home is considered haram in Islam by the majority opinion of Islamic scholars. However, most Islamic scholars agree that it is halal to keep a dog for hunting or guarding livestock, and some believe it is halal to keep dogs for other reasons, such as security purposes. (source)
In this section, we’ll explore the different opinions that scholars carry, and discuss the evidences they derived their understandings from.
Islamic scholars believe that it is haram to keep dogs in the house, or for reasons other than the ones specified, because of various ahadith. Some of these ahadith explicitly warn us against keeping dogs in our homes, by citing a loss of reward, while others declare dogs to be impure.
Scholars refer to the following hadith for the exceptions where keeping a dog is allowed:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, one qirat will be deducted from his reward each day.Narrated by Muslim, 1575. (source)
Another narration specifies two qirats rather than one (source). So, from this hadith, scholars undertand the Muslims will lose a portion (qirat) of reward each day for keeping a dog, unless it is for herding, hunting, or farming.
You might wonder why there is a difference in the number of specified qirats. Scholars have wondered the same thing, and many have attempted to reconcile the different narrations. Some of the different scholarly interpretations are (source):
- That the narrations may refer to two different types of dogs, with one type being more dangerous.
- “One qirat” may apply to keeping dogs in the countryside, while “two qirats” may apply to cities and villages.
- That “one qirat” was mentioned first, and then the warning was made stricter to “two qirats”.
Beyond the prohibitions and allowances of keeping a dog, some Muslims also wonder about the allowances for interacting with dogs. Specifically, are dogs impure? And are any parts of them in particular najis (impure)?
Some scholars believe that dogs are najis (impure), while others believe only a dog’s saliva and/or hair are najis. The different views of scholars regarding the impurity of dogs is as follows (source):
- Some believe the hair is tahir (pure) but the saliva is najis (impure). Imam Abu Haneefah held this opinion.
- Some believe dogs themselves are impure, including their hair. Imam al-shafi-i held this opinion.
- Some believe dogs are pure, including their saliva. Imam Malik held this opinion.
According to Islam Q&A, the first opinion is most correct (source).
The authority site believes it is the most correct view because of the Prophet’s (SAW) ahadith that specifically warn us against vessels that dogs have ‘licked’. The site clarified that, in Islam, Muslims cannot assume something is haram unless it is explicitly confirmed as such.
So, according to Islam Q&A, dogs themselves are not najis because they have not been declare as such.
A hadith that the authority site refers to about dogs licking vessels is:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
The purification of the vessel of one of you, if a dog licks it, is to wash it seven times, the first time with soil
According to Islam Q&A, all similar ahadith mention licking exclusively. They do not imply any other part of the dog is najis (impure), nor do they warn us against dogs being impure specifically. So, as per their understanding, only the dog’s saliva is najis.
Why are Dogs Haram And Not Cats?
In Islam, Muslims have been warned against keeping dogs for reasons such as dogs being impure, dogs saliva being impure, and the hadith by Prohpet Muhammed (PBUH) stating that people who have dogs will lose a portion (qirat) of reward each day.
Many scholars believe that a dog’s saliva is impure. However, cats are permissible in Islam and some Muslims believe that the Prophet (SAW) had a pet cat (although many scholars reject this claim (source)).
There are many evidences that show it is halal to keep cats in Islam, and you can read more about if cats are halal here.
Is it Haram to Have a Service Dog?
According to Islam Q&A, is it halal to keep a service dog if there is an explicit need for it. (source)
Islam Q&A clarified that keeping dogs is forbidden in Islam but allowances can be made if there is a need. In particular, the authority site declared that it was halal for someone to keep a service dog if it would help detect imminent seizues (source).
Is it Haram to Touch a Dog?
As discussed in the second section, scholars have different views about whether dogs are impure or not. Some consider their saliva najis (impure), while others also consider their fur impure. And some scholars consider them entirely pure (source).
We did not come across any sources that claim it is haram to touch a dog. However, Islamic scholars do caution us against impurity – i.e. from the saliva of dogs. And they advise us to take appropriate self-cleaning measures if we are exposed to the impurity (source).
Is It Haram to Have a Dog in The Garden?
According to most Islamic scholars, if you keep a dog for one of the mentioned needs, then it is halal to keep the dog outdoors (such as in your garden). The scholars clarified that it is haram to let the dog enter your home. (source)
Is It Haram to Have a Dog for Protection?
Some scholars believe it is halal to have a dog for protection or security reasons, provided there is an explicit need. (source) However, some scholars believe it is only halal to keep a dog for the three mentioned needs (i.e. guarding livestock or crops and hunting). (source)
Scholars have different opinions regarding the permissibility of keeping dogs. The majority opinion held by Islamic scholars is that it is impermissible to keep a dog except for guarding livestock/crops and hunting, and some allow for additional exceptions. Most scholars agree that dogs cannot enter your home, unless there is an explicit need (e.g. for service dogs).
We encourage you to do your own research and consult the different sources before making a final decision. And if you’re just looking for a pet, you can always consider keeping a cat because scholars unanimously consider keeping cats halal.