Question # 257: What is the ruling on raising and selling dogs?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Short Answer: It is haraam (not permissible) to keep dogs except for hunting or guarding livestock and crops, and it is also permissible to keep them for guarding houses so long as the house is outside the city and that there is no other means of guarding it. Hence, is its allowed to have guard dog as long as it is not admitted into house. According to authentic ahadith, other than for exceptions mentioned above, whoever keeps a dog, one to two qiraats from his good deeds will be deducted every day; also, the angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog. Furthermore, if a dog licks a vessel, it is to be washed seven times (and once with soil) for purification. If one touches a dog and he/she feels any wetness, then the hand becomes naajis (impure) and it must be washed seven times, after which one should be with soil. Next, it is haraam (not permissible) to sell dogs, and their price is not halal, irrespective of the kind or type of dog. Lastly, although it is forbidden to keep a dog and interact closely with it should not stop being kind or compassionate towards dogs, if we see them in a pitiful state. These are two entirely separate matters and should be dealt accordingly.

Long Answer: It is not permissible for a Muslim to keep a dog, unless he needs this dog for hunting, guarding livestock or guarding crops. This is based on the following ahadith:

  • Al-Bukhari narrated that Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, a qiraat from his good deeds will be deducted every day, except a dog for farming or herding livestock.”
  • Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever keeps a dog that is not a dog for hunting, herding livestock or farming, two qiraats will be deducted from his reward each day.”
  • Muslim narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding livestock or a dog for hunting, a qiraat will be deducted from his good deeds each day.” ‘Abd-Allah said: Abu Hurayrah said: Or a dog for farming.
  • Ibn Majah narrated from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah)

The qiraat is an amount that is known to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and what is meant is that some of the reward for a person’s good deeds [(hasanaat)] will be deducted. (Sharh Muslim by al-Nawawi; Fath al-Baari)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen: “With regard to keeping dogs, this is haraam and is in fact a major sin, because the one who keeps a dog, except those for which an exception has been made, will have two qiraats deducted from his reward every day… But this is by the wisdom of Allah, and the wisdom of Allah is that like calls to like and evil calls to Shaytaan because this kufr …is by the inspiration of the Shaytaan and the command of the Shaytaan, for the Shaytaan enjoins evil, immorality, kufr and misguidance. So [all those who keep a dog] are slaves to the Shaytaan and to their whims and desires, and they are also evil and love vile things. We ask Allah to guide us and them.”

Also, he said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim: “it is permissible to keep a dog to guard the house, because if it is permissible to keep a dog in order to benefit from it, as in the case of hunting, it is more appropriate that one be allowed to keep a dog in order to ward off harm and protect oneself.”

Also, he said in Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen: “Based on this, if a house is in the middle of the city there is no need to keep a dog to guard it, so keeping a dog for this purpose in such situations is haraam and is not permitted, and it detracts one or two qiraats from a person’s reward every day. They should get rid of this dog and not keep it. But if the house is in the countryside and there is no one else around, then it is permissible to keep a dog to guard the house and the people who are in it; guarding the members of the household is more important than guarding livestock or crops.” [Hence, the guard dog is allowable to have as long as you don’t admit it into your house.]

Furthermore, it was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The purification of the vessel of one of you, if a dog licks it, is to wash it seven times, the first time with soil.” (Narrated by Muslim)

And according to another report by Muslim: “If a dog licks the vessel of one of you, let him wash it seven times and rub it with soil the eighth time.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to dogs, there are three views among the scholars:

  • That they are taahir (pure), even their saliva. This is the view of Maalik.
  • That they are naajis (impure), even their hair. This is the view of al-Shafi’i and is one of the two views narrated from Ahmad.
  • Their hair is taahir but their saliva is naajis. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and of Ahmad in the other report narrated from him.

This is the most correct view. So, if the wetness of the dog’s hair gets onto one’s garment or body, that does not make it naajis.

[Consequently,] with regard to touching the dog, if there is no wetness then it does not make the hand naajis, but if he touches it and there is any wetness, then this means that the hand becomes naajis according to the view of many scholars, and the hand must be washed after that seven times, one of which should be with soil.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

Next, it is forbidden in Islam to sell a dog and to receive payment for it based on the following ahadith:

  • It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari from Abu Mas’oud al-Ansari: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade (accepting) the price of a dog. (al-Fath)
  • Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Mas’ood al-Ansari that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade the price of a dog, the wages of a prostitute and the fee of a fortuneteller.
  • Abu Dawood narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbaas (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade the price of a dog, and if a person comes asking for the price of a dog, then fill his hand with dust.” (Al-Haafiz said: Its isnad is sahih; it was classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: “It is not permissible to sell dogs, and their price is not halal, whether they are guard dogs, hunting dogs or any other kind…”

Lastly, it only remains to say that the fact that it is forbidden to keep a dog and interact closely with it does not mean that we should not be kind or feel compassion towards dogs if we see them in a pitiful state. These are two entirely separate matters. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whilst a man was walking he became very thirsty, so he went down to a well and drank from it. When he came out, he saw a dog panting and biting the soil because of thirst. The man said, ‘He is suffering the same as I suffered,’ so he filled his shoe (with water), came out and let the dog drink until his thirst was quenched. Allah appreciated his good deed and forgave him because of it.” The people asked, “O Messenger of Allah, will we be rewarded for how we treat animals?” He said, “In every living thing there is a reward.” (Reported by al-Bukhari, Fath)

(Unless stated otherwise, most part of the above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam