Islam strongly endorses the concept of protecting the welfare of animals. The Hadith and Sunna contain a wealth of information about the Prophet Mohammad’s (SAW) concern for animals, and Islam offers a great deal of evidence in favor of the significance of animal welfare.
It was narrated from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he had a young brother who had a nughar (a small bird or nightingale). The bird died, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw him looking sad and grieved, so he joked with him, and said to him words which implied approval of his keeping this bird.
The following rules lay down an in-depth guideline of dos and don’ts of keeping pets in Islam.
- The animal must be treated kindly. If a Muslim keeps an animal, he must provide it with proper food and drink, and not cause it any harm or injury.
2. The ownership and care of pets should not become extravagant as in the case of people spending large amounts of money to buy special breeds, making costly purchases of specialized food and products for the animals. It should not become such that care and concern for pets gets prioritized over the wellbeing of the people.
It should also be noted that the keeping of harmful, impure or disease-spreading animals is discouraged eg wild animals, reptiles, pigs, rats etc
Permissibility of Having Cats in the Home
Cats are praised most for how clean they are. They are permitted to enter houses and even mosques since it is believed that they are ritually pure. As per some trustworthy narrations, even the water that a cat has sipped from can be used to do ablution for prayer.
Cats, as opposed to dogs, have long been cherished in Muslim culture. Because of his affinity for cats, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW earned the nickname Abu Hurairah (Father of the Kittens). While there is no dispute regarding the permissibility of keeping cays It is worth mentioning, that there is no authentic evidence to prove the widely held belief that the Prophet Muhammad SAW owned a cat named Muezza.
Is it Allowed to keep a Dog as a Pet in Islam?
The following hadith completely clarifies the popular question “Is it allowed to keep a dog?”. As per the hadith below, keeping a dog as an indoor pet is not allowed but, one can keep it for guarding their home or field. Moreover, the hadith also mentions that anyone who keeps a dog indoors will lose one Qirat’s worth of good deeds per day.
Additionally, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) permitted keeping dogs for hunting and for the protection of cattle. The main reason behind this is precautionary as dogs by nature can be extremely aggressive.
Neutering or Sterilizing Animals in Islam
There are no concrete texts that either negate or promote the neutering or spaying of animals. Different Islamic schools of thought carry differing viewpoints.
According to Hanafi scholars, neutering animals is permissible since it helps both people and animals.
As per Maliki scholars, neutering animals whose flesh may be consumed is acceptable and not wrong because it improves the meat.
The Shafi’i scholars distinguished between species of animals whose meat can be consumed and others. Neutering young animals are legal in situations when the meat is edible, it is illegal in other situations. Additionally, they emphasized that the animal must not die as a result of the neutering.
The neutering of sheep is permitted since it improves the meat, but it is makruh when it comes to horses, etc., as stated by the Hanbali scholars.
Is it Permissible to keep Birds as Pets in Islam?
There is no Islamic text that prohibits the sale or possession of them. Instead, there are writings that may be interpreted to suggest that it is permitted to keep birds as pets. Even from the following hadith, it can be interpreted that it is acceptable to keep birds in cages, provided that you feed and water them regularly.
How to Treat your Pet in Islam?
The following hadith lays down the general way to treat pets i.e., with kindness and empathy. We must not forget that our pets, or animals in general, are living beings and are not a tool for our entertainment, comfort, or other chores. They have needs, and as a superior and more able creation, we must cater to them.
Punishment of Cruelty Towards Pets in Islam
Allah (S.W.T.) has punished those who were cruel towards animals in general, and not only the approved pets in Islam. The following hadith narrates the story of a woman who was punished with hellfire for showing extreme cruelty to a cat.
Are Hamsters Halal Pets?
There are no specific ahadith or Quranic verses that clarify the permissibility of keeping hamsters as pets. However, the following hadith is used to interpret that keeping rodents as pets is not allowed in Islam.
The main debate lies in whether hamsters can be classified as rodents or not. Simply put, mammals with an upper and lower set of continually growing incisors are referred to as rodents or Rodentia. Due to its similar set of teeth, a hamster is categorized as a rodent. However, the following hadith seems to only focus on the hygiene and harmfulness of these animals. Since hamsters are typically thought of as being kind, fun, and harmless animals with distinct behavioral patterns and characteristics similar to rats, they will be left out of the example offered by these esteemed Ulama.
Adopt don’t shop!
Kindness in Islam is the biggest virtue and the following hadith clarified that one must not shop for pets but, adopt them.
Hadith About Keeping Dogs As Pets in Islam
The dog is mentioned three times in the Holy Quran. The majority of the time, they have been used to describe a person who is persistently on their bad behavior or the nature of such people who deny the signs of Allah. Moreover, in the following hadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) declared that Angels do not enter a home with a dog.
Through these references, it can be concluded, that dogs as pets are not recommended by Allah (S.W.T.). However, it is pertinent to note that this does not mean that these creatures of Allah (S.W.T.) must be subjected to cruelty or disdain.
As believers, we must practice kindness to all animals. So, while you cannot have dogs as pets, you must not shy away from feeding a hungry or thirsty dog, nor should you deny them of appropriate shelter in extreme weather conditions. However, such shelter must be prepared with respect to the limitations set by Allah (S.W.T.).
Additionally, if you choose to keep a guard dog, then you must have them trained by a professional and take all the precautionary measures as required under the relevant law of your country.
Reward for Taking Care of Animals in Islam
As mentioned above, dogs in Islam are not encouraged to keep as pets. However, that does not mean that one must disdain them or treat them with cruelty. They are indeed loveable animals and are a glorious creation of Allah (SWT). The following hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA) clarifies that all animals, whether pets or not, must be treated with kindness.