Can we keep animals?
By Shaykh Salim Ghiza
It is permissible to keep animals for many different reasons.
Livestock can be kept for business or livelihood purposes. Dogs can be kept for protection of goods or property as long as the dog is kept outside the home. The reason for this is that the saliva and perspiration of a dog is impure and as it has a habit of slathering, the home would become impure and the angels of Mercy would not attend. If the dog is kept in a separate area i.e. a kennel or side building then this is fine. Abu Talha (Allah be well pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The angels do not enter a house that has a dog or a 'Surat' (picture or statue)” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
If the purpose for keeping a dog is to protect the property then it is permissible as alarms sometimes fail or are not as eective, and a guard dog can be a better deterrent. It is Makrooh (undesirable) to keep a dog as a pet and not for guarding or protection purposes. It is related by Abu Huraira (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Whoever acquires a dog, with the exception of a dog for hunting, or guarding sheep, or protecting the harvest, then a large portion of his reward will be diminished every day” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
It is proven in the Sunnah to keep a cat and many Sahaba (companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)) also kept cats. Cats can be kept to keep the property free from rodents and also for company and as they are not filthy and there is no harm in them being in the home.
Animals such as gerbils or mice etc are of no real use or benefit, but if someone does keep such an animal then they should look after it and ensure that they are fed and given their rights. Whilst there may be no benefit to keeping them (unless for company), if it was kept then they need to be looked after and also ensure they do not spread impurity in the home.
Animals such as birds, fish, cats or animals which are needed for livelihood purposes i.e. to guard, livestock etc can all be kept. Also horses, donkeys, camels etc. are all allowed.
Animals which are impure or their saliva is impure such as dogs would not be allowed as they are Makrooh Tahrimi (major offence), unless for the reasons mentioned above. Pigs would not be allowed not even for livestock as the whole body of a pig is impure. Animals that can cause you harm such as lion/tiger cubs etc. would also not be allowed due to their very nature. Animals which need wildlife to live, or animals which by trapping them indoors would cause them harm cannot be kept also.
Ofcourse, Allah (swt) knows best