Even though dogs are easily trained and loyal, as Muslims we are not allowed to keep them unless for protection, hunting or herding livestock.
In the same time, we are allowed to keep cats as pets, but why are dogs haram but not cats? Let’s find out.
Why are dogs haram?
All scholars agreed that raising a dog is haram unless for one of the exceptions known in the Shariah. The reason why dogs are Haram are concluded from the hadiths of the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).
Our beloved prophet forbade us from keeping dogs unless for protection, hunting or herding livestock. We can see this clearly in the following hadith.
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog that is trained for hunting or a dog for herding livestock, his reward will decrease each day by two Qirats.’”[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5059].
Muslim narrated the hadith as follows:
“Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for hunting or herding livestock, his reward will be decreased by two Qirats every day.”
What is the meaning of Qirats? When the companions asked the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) about its meaning he said: “Equal to two huge mountains.” [narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.]
Raising a dog or keeping a dog decreases our good deeds.
When keeping a dog for any of the reasons known in shariah then you should prepare a separate place for it. As dogs shouldn’t enter the house. The prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3322; Muslim, 2106.]
When it comes to the amount of deduction in Qiraat the scholars differ in their opinion. As in one version of the hadith, it says one Qiraat is being deducted and the other says two qiraats are being deducted. Some scholars say that two Qiraats will be deducted if the dog is more harmful and one Qiraat will be deducted if it is less so.
And it was said that at first the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that one Qiraat would be deducted, then the punishment was increased after that, so he said that two Qiraats would be deducted in order to put people off from keeping dogs even more.
Is it permissible to keep dogs to guard houses?
Our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made only three exceptions which are hunting, guarding livestock and guarding crops.
The hadiths state that dogs can’t be kept unless there’s a reason for keeping them. Some scholars say that it’s haram except for the reasons mentioned in the hadith. But most scholars agree that it’s not haram to keep a dog for guarding the house.
“Our companions and others said: it is permissible to keep a dog for these three purposes, namely hunting and protecting one’s livestock and farmland. They differed concerning keeping a dog for the fourth purpose, which is to guard houses or roads etc.
Some of our companions said that it is not permissible because of this hadeeth and others, clearly state that it is haram except for one of these three things. But most of them said, which is the more correct view, that it is permissible by way of analogy, based on the reason that may be understood from this hadeeth, which is a necessity.” [Tarh al-Tathreeb, 6/28]
If you’re wondering if you can touch a dog and if you can play with them you can read, is dog haram to touch? and, is it haram to play with a dog.
Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim (10/340): “Is it permissible to keep a dog to guard houses, alleys and the like?
There are two points of view. The first is that it is not permissible, because of the apparent meaning of the hadiths, which clearly state that keeping dogs is forbidden except for farming, hunting and herding.
The more correct view is that it is permissible, by analogy with those three cases, knowing that the reason understood from the ahaadeeth is necessary.”
You can read, is it haram to have a dog for protection? To learn more.
Why are cats halal in Islam?
As Muslims, we are allowed to keep cats as pets, then is keeping a cat sunnah? Or, do cats bring angels in the house in Islam? What makes cats different so much that makes keeping dogs haram but not cats?
Mainly, cats are halal because they are pure and not harmful, even their saliva. We can conclude that from the following hadith.
The report narrated by Abu Dawood (75), at-Tirmidhi (92), an-Nasaa’i (68), and Ibn Maajah (367) from Kabshah bint Ka‘b ibn Maalik, that
“Abu Qataadah came in when she had prepared water for Abu Qataadah to do wudu. A cat came and drank from the water, and he tilted the vessel for it so that it could drink.
Kabshah said: He saw me looking at him and said: Do you find it strange, O daughter of my brother? The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“They (cats) are not impure, they are of those who go around amongst you.” [Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood and elsewhere.]
At-Tirmidhi said, commenting on it: “This is a saheeh hasan hadeeth, and this is the opinion of most of the scholars of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and of the Taabi‘een and those who came after them, such as ash-Shaafa‘i, Ahmad and Ishaaq. They did not see anything wrong with the water that a cat has drunk from.”
As-San‘aani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“In this explanation, there is an indication that Allah has made them like servants in that they are very close to the people of the household and spend a lot of time with them. Therefore, Allah has made things easy for His slaves by ordaining that cats are not impure, so as to avoid hardship. The hadeeth indicates that cats and water that they have drunk from are pure (taahir)”
From the hadith and the scholars’ opinion, we can conclude that cats are pure, even their saliva.otherwise, Abu Qataadah wouldn’t perform wudu using the water that the cat drank from. That’s why keeping dogs is haram but not cats.
The hadith also indicates that the hair of the cat is also pure. Actually, the hair of any animal is pure and doesn’t break the wudu of the person who touches it.
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “All hair, feathers, and wool are pure (taahir), whether they are from the hide of an animal whose flesh may be eaten or an animal whose flesh may not be eaten, and whether the animal is alive or dead. This is the scholarly view that is most correct.” [from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 21/38]
Does your wudu break if a cat licks you?
No, your wudu won’t break if a cat licks you. Because the saliva of the cat is not impure, as mentioned in the hadith that the prophet (Peace and blessing be upon him) said: “It is not impure, it is of those [creatures] that mingle with you.” [Reported by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja]
Can I pray if there’s cat hair on my clothes?
Cats’ hair is not impure, therefore you can pray even if there’s cat hair on your clothes.
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