There is a distorted attitude amongst many Muslims with regard to the dog or there is uncertainty and confusion. The muslim tradition states that dogs are impure. Where is the logic in it? Unfortunately many Muslims use this attitude in their faith to justify abuse and neglect of dogs (although many are also kind to dogs). This cruelty must be against the guidelines as set out in the Qur’an. Yet a Muslim veterinarian Dr Ayaoub M Banderker BVMCh says the animal cruelty plagues the Muslim community.
Ramadaan – time to kill dogs!
The vet says that during Ramadan misinformed Muslims ignorant of the true words of the Koran take their dogs (and cats too) to a veterinarian and request that they are killed. The reason: their faith forbids them from keeping dogs. So why kill cats by the way?
Some Muslims also don’t take their dog to the vet when ill because their faith dictates that they are not permitted to touch a dog (this is incorrect). When the dog becomes terminally ill, they take him/her to the vet to be euthanised. This is clearly abusive, cruel and ignorant behaviour which fortunately seems to be decreasing in frequency.
Muslims being cruel to dogs through ignorance should read the Holy Qur’an which says that the well-being of dogs should be promoted (S2:29).
Apparently it is not haraam to own a dog but it unhygienic to keep a dog in the house. That too is wrong in my view. It means keeping a pet dog outside in kennels all his life. There appears to be no place for the domestic dog in the worldwide Muslim community.
However many believe that keeping dogs to be “haram” (forbidden or sinful). This is particularly unpleasant and unfair as the cat is meant to be revered and loved. It is worse than unpleasant, it is illogical, stupid and a provocation to be cruel to dogs.
Ahsan living in Pakistan, a wise and gentle person who appears to love animals (but who is sadly dishonest) says this:
As far as Islam is concerned about dogs, This is a matter of SHARI’ah and Shariah has allowed moslems to keep dogs. Islam is not concerned with the cruelty of DOGS/ CATS. I have full proves. What is then going WRONG? ANSWER: IGNORANCE. Lack of Islamic knowledge and behavior of Islamic state governments.
Just because, by chance, the Prophet Mohammed liked cats and kept cats, the Islamic faith tells Muslims to be kind to cats. It doesn’t matter whether the cat is domestic, stray or feral. Cats should be treated nicely under “the rules” as set out in the Koran (Qur’an) and the al-Bukhari’s authentic hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed handed down).
But what of dogs? Muslims throw stones at them, beat them and despise them. This is grossly unfair and there is no justification for it other than the fact that the Prophet Mohammed had a preference for cats, which logically cannot be a good reason because if Mohammed was kind to cats, he would have been kind to dogs. He would be kind to all animals. A prophet can’t be especially kind and gentle towards one species of animal and hate another. If he was then he’d have been a fake or have had a rare and unfortunate experience with a particular species of animal.
The Prophet Mohammed lived in 570-632 AD. We know that half the population of the world like cats and the other half like dogs. That is a gross simplification but judging by cat and dog ownership across the developed world it is about right.
In Mohammed’s time, preferring cats to dogs would have been exceptional. Dogs would have been the primary domestic animal for utility purposes so why the ambivalence in attitude towards dogs amongst Muslims today?
It is not that Muslims hate dogs. Some might but that isn’t the point. The point is that the Koran is almost silently on how to treat dogs yet it is clear on the matter of the domestic cat: they should be treated with great kindness. This must be wrong. Some hadith are hostile towards dogs.
Apparently, The Prophet said:
“Angels do not enter a house which has either a dog or a picture in it.” (Sahih Bukhari)1
Also it seems that Muslims believe that a dog in the house prevents angels entering the house and Muslims like angels to come into the house because angels pray for the occupants.
I have read articles written by Muslims in Islamic countries where there are stray dogs and they say people throw stones at stray dogs. They treat them callously.
The problem seems to be that some hadith are false or fabricated. They distort the Islamic faith. On the quran-islam.org website the author says that it is traditional for Muslims to treat the dog as a dirty animal that carries impurities and infectious agents. Don’t go near one, is the implication. The dog is a diseased animal that will hurt you, make you dirty.
So some of the sayings in hadiths, which Muslims are meant to abide by, are fabricated, I am told. Great. That doesn’t give me much faith in the religion of Islam.
In one hadith, it is stated that people should kill black dogs because they are devils. Ridiculous, obviously. Some hadith mislead Muslims while the Quran is more or less silent. This is bound to lead to abuse of dogs in undeveloped countries such as Pakistan. An educated scholar of the Islam faith and the Koran will normally understand and treat dogs properly but many less educated Muslims, of which there are many in undeveloped countries (through no fault of their own), will develop misguided attitudes and abuse dogs for no good reason.
This is a failing of the Islamic faith. It needs to be rectified. Imams need to teach and educate followers that all animals are to be treated with respect including all dogs, stray or otherwise. A truly decent Muslim will be tender towards the most unhealthy and neglected dog because that is a charitable and decent way to behave. The Prophet Mohammed would have wanted it that way.
Ref: 1. This information comes from Yahoo Answers.
P.S. I have republished this page because it needs to be re-aired. The original comments will be dated inline with the original date of publishing.