What does Islam say about raising domestic animals at home?
We live in a beautiful world. It has every beauty from the birds gliding in the skies, to the fishes swimming under the deep seas; from the beautiful flowers smiling with their colors and smell, to the butterflies flying around; from the mountains reaching to the skies and containing beautiful trees inside, to the burbling streams, all together.
What does Quran tell about the birds of these beauties and boons?
“Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of (the air and) the sky? Nothing holds them up but (the power of) Allah. Verily in this are signs for those who believe.”1
“Do you not see that Allah is He Whom do glorify all those who are in the heavens and the earth, and the (very) birds with expanded wings? He knows the prayer of each one and its glorification, and Allah is Cognizant of what they do.”2
Quran wants us to pay attention to the power holding the birds in the sky and commanding them. It tells that their movements and voices are not meaningless and uncontrolled and they all have a worship of their own style. Shortly each one of the billions of birds is a divine letter declaring the existence and uniqueness of Allah. The person who looks to the universe and the beauties within it with this eye reaches to the Creator who is Al-Lateef (The Subtly Kind) and Al-Jamil (The One who is beautiful).
Yes birds are a boon. A boon introducing us our Creator. A boon crying their dhikr (mentioning Allah) by their warbles. A boon presenting us views one more beautiful from the other with their colorful feathers, flights, and postures.
People who can’t make use of these boons much especially for the style of the urban life are having some birds like canary, nightingale, lovebird and parrot at their homes for their voices and appearances. There is not a torture here for these kinds of birds. Besides these birds have a structure which is suitable to live in a cage. They are not harmed because they are fed and looked after seriously.
Also an incident takes place lighting up this issue on the time of our prophet. Little brother of Anas Ibn Malik used to have a little bird. Once when Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) saw this little kid he asked him “What happened to the birdie?” 3. We understand from this that it is ok to have a bird.
But there is a point here we should pay attention to. Such that: love, curiosity or hobby of bird should not take the most of our day, it should not keep us away from our primary tasks, and it should not waste our time.
Same things apply to the aquarium. Watching each more beautiful from the other fishes’ swimming can remind us many divine meanings. Other sea animals apply to this category too.
Raising cat at home is permitted. Besides in some situations it may be a necessity too. Some scholars like Bediuzzaman say that their murmurs are a prayer like “O Rahim, O Rahim” (Most Merciful).
1 Surah (Chapter) of Nahl (The Bee), 79.
2 Surah of Nur (The Light), 41.
3 Ibn Maja, Adab: 2.
Mehmed Paksu, Aileye Özel Fetvalar (Juridical Decisions for Family)
Is there a drawback in raising dog? Can we raise dog in the garden?
There are some hadith (word of prophet Muhammad) stating that “angels of God’s mercy and grace do not enter the house with a dog in it, some rewards of that home owner that he won for his good deeds decrease everyday, but it is permissible raising a dog for the purpose of hunting, for the sheep, and as a guard”. Also it has a possibility to harm our health and worship (which requires cleanness) because dog saliva and hair may spread around. Therefore if there is not a necessity it is not proper to have a dog inside the house. Raising a dog at home when there is no necessity is not haram (forbidden) but slightly makruh (disliked or abominable acts). In the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) this is called “tanzehan makruh” (not close to haram (illicit) like tahreman makruh but better if avoided).
In addition to this we can live and worship in a house having dog. It is enough for the floor that we perform salah on, to be clean.
Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) says: “Some rewards of a dog raising person that he won for his good deeds decrease everyday except that it is for hunting, for the sheep, or as a guard for gardens or fields.” (Bukhari, Zabaih, 6; Muslim, Musakhat, 46,50,56-58)
And when the hadith that declaring angels not entering a home with a dog in it taken into consideration, raising dog at home without a necessity like protection or hunting is banned in Islam, because:
a) Poor and lonely people deserve the maintenance and spending of the people who can raise dog more.
b) According to definite medical information there are many contagious diseases passing from dogs to humans.
c) A dog may scare or disturb people near home or coming home. (Günlük Hayatımızda Helaller ve Haramlar (Halals and Harams in Our Daily Life), Hayreddin Karaman, İz Yayıncılık)