Cats are one of the animals that are allowed in Islam, but are selling them haram or allowed? That’s what we will find out in this article.
We know that as Muslims we should be kind to cats and feed them. When the prophet was asked about the reward of taking care of animals “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animal (living being).” [Sahih al-Bukhari 2466, Book 46, Hadith 27, Vol. 3, Book 43, Hadith 646]
But what about selling them is selling cats haram? Let’s find out.
Is selling and buying cats haram in Islam?
No, selling and buying cats is not Haram in Islam: as most scholars agreed that selling and buying cats is allowed in Islam.
Imam an-Nawawi said:
“Selling pet cats is permissible, and there is no difference of opinion among us concerning that… This is the view of the majority of scholars… The concession to sell cats was given by Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn Sireen, al-Hakam, Hammaad, Maalik, ath-Thawri, ash-Shaafa‘i, Ahmad, Ishaaq, Abu Haneefah, and all the ashaab ar-ra’y.”[Al-Majmoo‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 9/229].
Imam an-Nawawi also said:
“If the cat is of the type that is useful and he sells it. The sale is valid and its price is halaal.”
The scholars take the following hadith as evidence that selling cats is not haram in Islam. Muslim (2619) from Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“A woman entered Hell because of a cat which she had and which she tied up and did not feed it or let it loose to eat of the vermin of the earth until it died of starvation.”
( عُذّبت امرأة في هرّة ، سجنتها حتى ماتت ، فدخلت فيها النار . لا هي أطعمتها ، ولا سقتها إذ حبستها ، ولا هي تركتها تأكل من خشاش الأرض )
Some scholars are of the view that that selling cats is not Allowed and take the following hadith to prove. Ibn al-Mundhir narrated from Abu Hurayrah, Taawoos, Mujaahid, and Jaabir ibn Zayd, that:
“it is not permissible to sell cats.”(Sharh Saheeh Muslim 10/233).
They also take the following hadith as evidence. Imam Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (1569) via Ma‘qil from Abu’z-Zubayr, who said:
“I asked Jaabir about the price of a dog or cat. He said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prohibited that.”
Ibn al-Mundhir said: “If it is proven that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) forbade selling cats, then the sale of cats is invalid, otherwise it is permissible.” [Al-Majmoo‘ 9/269].
Scholars on selling dogs and cats
Here’s what the scholars say about the hadith that forbid selling dogs and cats:
Their opinions are divided into three opinions and they are as follows:
1. What is proven in the hadith is that the price of the dog is haram. Which means that selling dogs is haram. However, that part about the price of a cat in the hadith is weak.
Ibn Rajab said:
“This report is only known from Ibn Luhay‘ah from Abu’z-Zubayr, and Imam Ahmad did not accept the reports of Ma‘qil from Abu’z-Zubayr. He said: They are similar to the hadiths of Ibn Luhay‘ah. These reports were examined and were found to be as Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) suggested. [from Jaami‘ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam (p. 418)].
At-Tirmidhi said: “There are some problems in the isnad of this hadith, and it is not valid with regard to the sale of cats.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi 2/568].
Abu ‘Awaanah said: “Regarding the reports which say that the sale of cats is not permissible, there is some doubt about their soundness and they are weak.” [Al-Mustakhraj 12/336].
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:
“Regarding anything that it is permissible to keep and benefit from, and it is useful, in principle it is permissible to buy and sell it unless there is something (that is, a report) to disallow that, which we must accept if there is no report to the contrary regarding that issue. There is no sound report regarding the sale of cats, so the matter remains permissible.” [At-Tamheed 8/403].
Wild vs domesticated cats
2. some say that the hadith is regarding wild cats, not domesticated cats.
“Rather it is makruh (disliked) because it is like something wild that cannot be controlled, and it is not possible to deliver it [if it is sold]. That is because the cat frequents people’s houses and goes around among them. Then it keeps away from people for a while, and it is not like animals that can be tied up to a post, or like birds that are kept in cages. It may revert to being wild after having been tamed and may stay in the wilderness to the extent that it does not come near humans and no human can control it, so if the purchaser tries to keep it in his house or tie it with a rope or chain, he will not benefit from it.” [Ma‘aalim as-Sunan 3/130].
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:
“The scholars differed concerning that. Some of them regarded it as permissible and interpreted the hadith which forbids it as referring to a cat in which there is no benefit because most cats are aggressive, but if we find a domesticated cat that is useful, then the view that it is permissible to sell it is clearly sound because there is some benefit in it.” [Ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘ (8/114].
Adopt don’t shop- The Islamic Way
3. The third opinion: What the hadith wants people to give cats and lend them instead of selling them.
“It was said that the prohibition is not stringent so that people will get used to giving cats away and lending them, as is usually the case. “[in Hayaat al-Hayawaan (1/577)]
Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) concluded the three opinions and said: “Some of the scholars interpreted the prohibition as referring to cats in which there is no benefit, such as wild cats and the like. Others said that it is only prohibited to sell them because selling them is greedy and undignified since they are readily available and there is a need for them. Cats are always available, and there is no harm to people in giving away surplus cats, so being stingy in that regard is one of the worst of blameworthy characteristics. Hence it is not allowed to sell a cat and keep its price.” [Jaami‘ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam p. 418].
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