If you keep a dog for security do the angels enter the house?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Keeping a dog prevents the angels from entering the house. However, if there is a valid reason for it, then according to some scholars the angels do enter. Other scholars disagreed. It is a matter of difference of opinion.

عَنْ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: لاَ تَدْخُلُ المَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ صُورَةٌ

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 3322).

The Hadith above is clear regarding the fact that angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image. However, are there exceptions to this general rule? Many scholars including Qadi Iyaad felt that there are exceptions. Others disagreed.

وأن الملائكة إنما لا تدخل البيت الذى فيه الكلب المنهى عن اتخاذ. (إِكمَالُ المُعْلِمِ بفَوَائِدِ مُسْلِم)

Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog that is prohibited to keep. (Imam Qadi Iyad, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

In the Nass (above), Qadi Iyaad mentioned that the angels do not enter in a situation when it is prohibited to keep a dog. He felt it does not apply to situations where it is permitted to keep a dog (see the link below for details). Imam al-Nawawi mentioned the opinion of Qadi Iyad and also mentioned something similar from Imam al-Khattabi. However, he himself disagreed:

وَالْأَظْهَرُ أَنَّهُ عَامٌّ فِي كُلِّ كَلْبٍ وَكُلِّ صُورَةٍ وَأَنَّهُمْ يَمْتَنِعُونَ مِنَ الْجَمِيعِ لِإِطْلَاقِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَلِأَنَّ الْجِرْوَ الَّذِي كَانَ فِي بَيْتِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَحْتَ السَّرِيرِ كَانَ لَهُ فِيهِ عُذْرٌ ظَاهِرٌ فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِهِ وَمَعَ هَذَا امْتَنَعَ جِبْرِيلُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ دُخُولِ الْبَيْتِ وَعَلَّلَ بِالْجِرْوِ فَلَوْ كَانَ العذر في وجود الصورة والكلب لا يمنعهم لَمْ يَمْتَنِعْ جِبْرِيلُ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ. (المنهاج شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج)

The soundest opinion is that it is generally applicable to all dogs and images. They (the angels) stay away from them all, due to the general statement in the Hadith. Also, because a puppy was beneath the bed of the Prophet ﷺ, so he had a clear excuse, since he did not know about it. Despite this Jibreel (peace be upon him) refused to enter, and he mentioned the puppy. Therefore, if a valid excuse regarding a dog or an image did not cause prevention, then Jibreel (peace be upon him) would not have refrained. And Allah (Most High) knows best. (Imam al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

Considering these and other similar Nusoos, we can conclude that there certainly does exist a difference of opinion amongst classical scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the issue of angels entering the house if a dog is present for a valid reason.

وأما هؤلاء الملائكة الذين لا يدخلون بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ أَوْ صُورَةٌ فَهُمْ مَلَائِكَةٌ يطوفون بالرحمة وَالتَّبْرِيكِ وَالِاسْتِغْفَارِ وَأَمَّا الْحَفَظَةُ فَيَدْخُلُونَ فِي كُلَّ بيت ولا يفارقون بَنِي آدَمَ فِي كُلِّ حَالٍ لِأَنَّهُمْ مَأْمُورُونَ بإحصاء أعمالهم وكتابتها. (المنهاج شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج)

As for those angels that do not enter a house that has a dog or an image, they are the angels that carry mercy, blessings and the seeking of forgiveness. As for the recording angels , they enter every house. They do not leave the son of Adam in any situation, because they have been commanded to keep account of his actions and write them. (Imam al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

Another issue related to the Hadith above is the identification of the angels that do not enter. Does it apply to all angels or some of them. In the Nass above, Imam al-Nawawi clarified that it applies to some angels and not all angels.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (26.09.2022)

See also:
Is it permitted to keep a pet dog?

See also video: