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Pets in Islam?

Question and Answer:
Q. My baby son loves animals and I wanted to get him a pet, and I wanted to know what is the proper ruling regarding pets.

Can we keep pets? Ie, cat or dog? What about fish, birds, etc? I would like to get a dog or cat though as he specially loves those animals.

Please advise, jazakallah.

(Question published as received)

A. Hereunder are a few rulings pertaining to keeping pets:

1. It is not permissible to keep dogs as pets. The reason behind this is that dogs repel the Mala’ikah (angels) of mercy. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:

“The angels of mercy do not enter a home in which there is a dog, pictures of animate objects or statues” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #: 3225, Narrated by Abu Talhah)

2. It is permissible to keep dogs in one’s yard for security purposes. The dog should not be kept in the house itself. Rather, a kennel or shelter should be erected outside the house for the dog and the owner should take good care of it.

3. It is Makrooh to keep as pets animals/reptiles/insects towards which people of sound temperament have a natural dislike for e.g. spiders, rats, iguanas etc.

4. It is not permissible to keep such animals as pets that the Hadith has encouraged to kill e.g. lizards, chameleons and snakes. The same ruling applies to animals/creatures that are potentially harmful and dangerous like scorpions. Similarly, it is prohibited to keep impure animals as pets such as swine.

5. It is permissible to keep domesticated animals as pets like cats, birds, rabbits, ducks, chickens, hamsters, fish etc.

6. Owners of pets should ensure that they take good care of their pets. When a person adopts a pet, he is responsible to provide for it the necessary care and attention. Neglecting this duty is a major sin for which one will be held accountable on the day of Qiyamah.

And Allah Knows Best

Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed

Mufti Ebrahim Desai