Is it permitted to keep a pet dog?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

It is not permitted to keep a pet dog. In Sahih Hadith narrations the Prophet ﷺ warned against it unless there is a valid reason.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: مَنِ اقْتَنَى كَلْبًا، لَيْسَ بِكَلْبِ صَيْدٍ، وَلَا مَاشِيَةٍ، وَلَا أَرْضٍ، فَإِنَّهُ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِهِ قِيرَاطَانِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ

Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Whoever keeps a dog that is not a dog used for hunting, (herding) livestock or (guarding) land, two Qirats will be deducted from his reward each day.’ (Sahih Muslim. 1575 – 57).

This Hadith is narrated several times in Bukhari and Muslim with slightly variant wording. In the Hadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ limited the permissibility of keeping a dog to necessities. Therefore, it is not permitted to keep a dog as a pet. Rather one of the permitting reasons must exist.

وَالْمرَاد هُنَا مِقْدَار مَعْلُوم عِنْد الله. أَي: ننقص الْجُزْء من أَجْزَأَ عمله. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

Qiraat in this context refers to a particular measure known to Allah (Most High). Meaning a portion of his deeds is diminished. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari).

The Hadith above mentioned two Qiraat. This word was explained by Imam al-Ayni as being a measure that is known to Allah (Most High). A Muslim must be protective over his deeds. It is one’s good deeds that will determine one’s rank in the afterlife. To squander something so precious by keeping a pet dog is truly unwise.

وَأَمَّا اقْتِنَاؤُهُ لِلصَّيْدِ وَحِرَاسَةِ الْمَاشِيَةِ وَالْبُيُوتِ وَالزَّرْعِ فَيَجُوزُ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ، لَكِنْ لَا يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَتَّخِذَهُ فِي دَارِهِ إلَّا إنْ خَافَ لُصُوصًا أَوْ أَعْدَاءً لِلْحَدِيثِ الصَّحِيحِ. (فتح القدير)

As for keeping it (a dog) for hunting, guarding livestock, the house or crops, it is permitted by consensus. However, it is not acceptable to keep it in the house. Unless he fears thieves or enemies. This is due to what has been narrated in authentic Hadith. (Imam Ibn Humaam, Fath al-Qadeer).

لَا يَنْبَغِي اتِّخَاذُ كَلْبٍ إلَّا لِخَوْفِ لِصٍّ أَوْ غَيْرِهِ فَلَا بَأْسَ بِهِ وَمِثْلُهُ سَائِرُ السِّبَاعِ عَيْنِيٌّ وَجَازَ اقْتِنَاؤُهُ لِصَيْدٍ وَحِرَاسَةِ مَاشِيَةٍ وَزَرْعٍ إجْمَاعًا. (الدر المختار)

It is not acceptable to keep a dog except for fear of thieves and the like. In which case there is no harm (in keeping a dog). Likewise (is the ruling) for other aggressive animals, Ayni. It is permitted to keep it (a dog) for the protection of livestock and crops by consensus.

As we see in the Nusoos above, Hanafi scholars mentioned numerous situations in which it will be permitted to keep a dog. The general point being made is that it is permitted to keep a dog when there is a need or necessity. In such cases it is best to keep the dog outside of the house unless the necessity itself requires the dog to remain within the home.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (26.09.2022)

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

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