Islam/dogs

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Question
Hi, I'm not a muslim but in my job I come into contact with some. They tell me that a dog cannot touch them even with just it's fur, but I understand from other souces that it's only the dog's saliva that is unclean. I would be grateful if you could clarify this for me.
Thanks

Answer
Hello

On a recent shopping trip, I happened to pass by a pet shop, where a big monkey in a small cage outside the entrance broke my heart. I gathered up the guts to enter the shop, only to leave in tears deeply saddened by what I had seen. Poor, helpless animals imprisoned in tiny cages without even enough space to turn around. Their sad, pleading eyes haunted me as I fought the urge to set them free. I wondered if the pet shop owner ever thought about what it would be like to be paralyzed, as he has incarcerated birds in little cages. And for what beneficial purpose? Weren’t birds meant to fly? Maybe only a fellow animal lover would really understand what I felt that day, yet the importance of kindness to animals is something every Muslim should understand as a part of his worldview. It is such a serious matter that in Islam, it is understood that one could gain Heaven or Hell due to one’s treatment of animals.

Mistreating animals is considered a sin in Islam. A Muslim is responsible for the care of animals so much so that an ill-treated animal will testify against the one who abused it on the Day of Judgment. Islam forbids branding animals and killing them in vain, such as for sport. The Prophet Muhammad forbade people to capture birds, burn anthills, and whip animals. Even in slaughtering animals for food, Islam requires that the slaughtering be done according to Islamic procedure, which is humane and aims to cause the animals as little suffering as possible. As humans, we have a responsibility towards every living creature.

As I left the shop, tears streamed down my face and I wondered, “Where are the people of the Sunnah? Has Allah plucked the mercy from the hearts of people to make them so cold that they lack an ounce of sympathy for one of Allah’s beautiful creatures though they see it so helpless and pitiful? Where are the Abu Hurayrahs of today?”

Abu Hurayrah was a close Companion of the Prophet Muhammad and has narrated more hadiths, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, than any other Companion. He was known for being very sympathetic and loving towards animals so much so that although his name was `Abdur-Rahman, he was known as Abu Hurayrah, meaning “father of the kitten.” He was called so because of a small cat that he used to feed and care for and carry with him everywhere he went.

Cats in Islam



The Prophet Muhammad taught mercy to all of God’s creation. There are many reports of his love for cats resulting in their historical acceptance among Muslims. Cats were very common among the people during the time of the Prophet, and he said, “They (cats) are not impure and they intermingle with you.”1 The cat is such a clean animal that according to authentic narrations one may make ablution for Prayer with the same water that a cat drank from. Yet, it is known that some people nowadays have opposed the traditions of the Prophet by taking up the evil practices of torturing and poisoning cats. In Islam, punishment for such acts is severe. Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported a hadith regarding a woman who locked up a cat, refusing to feed it and not releasing it so that it could feed itself. The Prophet Muhammad said that her punishment on the Day of Judgment will be torture and Hell.

Dogs in Islam

Many Muslims have misunderstood Islam’s teachings regarding dogs, and this misunderstanding has led to the mistreatment of these animals. The Prophet said, “Purifying a container that a dog has licked (in order for human’s to use it) is done by washing it seven times, the first washing being with dirt.”2 However, according to some scholars, a dog’s fur is considered pure3. Nonetheless, Muslims are discouraged from keeping dogs inside their homes, as the Prophet has been reported as saying that angels do not enter into a house that has a dog4.

However, just because one does not keep a dog inside the home and doesn’t drink after it, that does not give one the right to neglect it, mistreat it, or kill it. The usefulness of this creature of God is indisputable. No other animal can compete with it in its loyalty to its caregiver, its abilities as a guard, and its talent for hunting. In fact, the Qur’an narrates in Surat Al-Kahf, or “The Cave,” the story of some pious youths who took refuge in a cave from the persecution and violence of the unbelievers. That these righteous people had a dog with them, and the fact that Allah mentions the dog and counts the dog among them, indicates that dogs are permitted to live among people. [And you would have thought them awake, whereas they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance (of the cave as a guard)] (Al-Kahf 18:18).

 
So dogs may be used for guards as well as for hunting, as the Qur’an also states: [They ask you about what is lawful for them (as food); Say: Lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure: and those beasts and birds of prey which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in a manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it and fear Allah, for Allah is swift in reckoning] (Al-Ma’idah 5:4).

In two separate hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayrah (the cat-loving Companion), the Prophet told his Companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by giving it water and quenching its thirst: one referred to was a man who was blessed by Allah for giving water to a thirsty dog. The other was a prostitute, who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a dog that was lolling its tongue in thirst. For this deed she was granted the ultimate reward: eternal Paradise.

Islam asks people to reflect upon this and be aware of each person’s duty toward God’s creatures, which He has put on earth for our use, not for our abuse. When the Prophet was asked if God rewarded acts of charity to the animals, he replied, “Yes, there is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive.”

Hediyah Al-Amin is a Muslim-American teacher of Islamic Studies and Islamic Culture at the Qatar Center for the Presentation of Islam.


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[1] Narrated by Abu Dawud.

[2] Narrated by Muslim.

[3] See Fiqh Us-Sunnah by Sayyid Sabiq.

[4] Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.


 

More Articles:
Environment and Values: An Islamic Perspective - A Pioneer of the Environment - Water in Islam - The Love of Animals - Ecology in Islam




 

http://www.islamonline.net/english/introducingislam/Environment/article04.shtml  

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I can answer questions from non-Muslims who are curious about Islam (InShaaAllah) I can answer questions about: Islam in general, Comparison between Islam and Christianity, Islamic principles vs. common cultural practices of Muslims. Experience :B A in Shari'ah 1995 from Islamic Universty in Medina in Saudi Arabia. Imam and answer questions about Islam in Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Qatar

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Islam the final revelation from God to all mankind,pure and clear, free of confusion and contradiction, with a preserved Book

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Islam is not a new religion , but a final restatement of the original revelation that has been conveyed to humanity by messengers and prophets sent by GOD The original, unchanged revelations given to Abraham and other prophets(like Moses and Jesus ) reaching back to Adam all came from the One True God(The Creator). This common origin explains their similarities in many beliefs and values However, over time the teachings of the various religions, due to a variety of reasons, have become distorted and mixed with made-man ideas. The last Prophet and Messenger of God, Muhammad , who is a direct descendant of Abraham through his first born son, Ishmael, was sent with the Last Guidance, Revelation and Testament, the Holy Qur'an(koran) to amend and correct the changes and corruption made to the the "Torah" which was sent to Moses and theTrue Gospel of Jesus.To say the truth ,God preserved all the other Holy Books plainly by preserving His Last Book the Holy Qur'an(koran)which contains the right and the truth of all that was changed in those other Books. Islam teaches us that we must pray directly to God without an intermediary and no soul can bear the burden of another and that the nature of humanity is good, and we did not inherit sin from Adam. Each soul comes into being free of sin.Some religions say that human beings, due to their sinfulness, cannot approach God without an intermediary -- which mistakenly implies that God is unable or unwilling to forgive human-beings directly. False religions seek to get people to despair of the Mercy of God. Once they are convinced that they cannot approach God directly, people can be mislead into turning to false gods for help. These "false gods" can take various forms, such as saints, angels, or someone who is believed to be the "Son of God" or "God Incarnate". The oneness and universality of God's message requires that people accept all the messengers of God. Rejecting one of them amounts to rejecting them all. The Jews reject Jesus's mission and Muhammad's mission; the Christians reject Muhammad's mission; whereas the Muslims accept them all, but reject incorrect historical interpretations and human elements in these missions. You can do that now as you are reading these lines is to pronounce the two confirmations and attestations of faith, here it is I BEAR WITNESS THAT THERE IS NO GOD WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH ( ARABIC WORD MEANS ONE GOD-THE CREATOR). AND I BEAR WITNESS THAT MUHAMMAD IS HIS SERVANT AND MESSENGER. I BEAR WITNESS THAT JESUS IS HIS SERVANT AND MESSENGER. For more info http://www.islamdoor.com http://www.islamtomorrow.com/ I encourage Christians and other religions to learn about Islam from Muslim sources and The Basis Of The Muslim Belief and not rely on second hand information which in many cases is distorted or contains a deep seated anti Muslim agenda. This is indeed a more scholarly approach There are good and bad followers in every religion. The correct thing to do is to judge a religion by its documented revelation from God and the prophet who brought that revelation. BestWishes your brother in humanity

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