وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims. ( an-Nahl 16:89)
Many Muslims believe that dogs, either as a whole or partially, are an impure [najis] animals. And upon coming in contact with one, they mandate a person to cleanse themselves. Contrary to its popularity, this belief has no clear-cut evidence from Islaam and is merely an extreme form of misrepresentation of what the holy Prophet of Allaah, Muhammad b. ‘Abdullaah, had taught.
Their main argument stems from an authentic Hadith reported from Abu Hurayrah, saying Rasoolullaah said:
إِذَا شَرِبَ الْكَلْبُ فِي إِنَاءِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلْيَغْسِلْهُ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ
If a dog drinks from your vessel, wash it seven times
And also with the following wording:
طُهُورُ إِنَاءِ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا وَلَغَ فِيهِ الْكَلْبُ أَنْ يَغْسِلَهُ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ أُولاَهُنَّ بِالتُّرَابِ
Purify your vessel after it is licked by a dog, lies in washing it seven times, using sand for the first time.
This seems to be weaker of the two, Allaaho Alim, and has additions in its wording. The first one is speaking about a dog drinking and the other one is about a dog directly licking the vessel itself and to purify it by using sand and washing.
There are several other similar reports, however none whatsoever mention the impurities of a dog. What is important is to understand these narrations in accordance with the Qur’aan and other reports.
Allaah aza wajal said:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۙ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
They ask you what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are at-Tayyibaat and [game caught by] what you have trained of al-JawaariH which you train as Allaah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allaah upon it, and fear Allaah .” Indeed, Allaah is swift in account.
The word “al-JawaariH” is general in its application and not restricted to any particular animals that are used for hunting, even though many scholars have fabricated their own misinterpretations. Allaah aza wajal does not speak about purifying what they [including dogs] have caught.
A Hadith collected in Musnad Ahmed from ‘Adiy b. Haatim:
ِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ، وَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ، فَأَمْسَكَ عَلَيْكَ، فَكُلْ، وَإِنْ وَجَدْتَ مَعَهُ كَلْبًا غَيْرَ كَلْبِكَ، وَقَدْ قَتَلَهُ، وَخَشِيتَ أَنْ يَكُونَ قَدْ أَخَذَ مَعَهُ، فَلَا تَأْكُلْ، فَإِنَّكَ ذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَى كَلْبِكَ، وَلَمْ تَذْكُرْهُ عَلَى غَيْرِهِ
“…I asked him [the Prophet] about hunting with the help of a dog, whereupon he said: If it catches it for you and does not eat out of that, then you eat, for slaughtering of that is its being caught by it [by the dog]. But if you find another dog besides it, and you fear that that dog [the second one] had caught it along with that [your dog] and killed it, then don’t eat; for you recited the name of Allaah on your dog and did not recite that on the other one [dog].”
This hadith is also in al-Bukhaari and Muslim’s collections, but with weaker isnaad due to the ambiguity of a narrator named Zakariya.
As you can read, the Prophet of Allaah did not tell us to purify what was caught by the dog. So in comparison with a dog drinking from a vessel – or in weaker narrations about licking a vessel – with a dog catching a game puts, doubt on the claim that dogs are impure for several reasons:
1) There is no clear-cut evidence to support it.
2) There is evidence that counters it.
3) It contradicts reality of hunting and general rules of purification.
4) There is no command of purifying the animal that the dog had caught.
5) And to add in from the Qur’aan, the companions of al-Kahf had a dog with them and there is no hint of impurity mentioned [just saying].
Therefore, the belief of a dog being impure as a whole – or even its saliva – is Unislamic. It is not from Allaah aza wajal and it is a abhorrent innovation by the scholars.
In Saheeh al-Bukhaari in ‘Book of Ablutions’ from ‘Abdullaah:
كَانَتِ الْكِلاَبُ تَبُولُ وَتُقْبِلُ وَتُدْبِرُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فِي زَمَانِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ فَلَمْ يَكُونُوا يَرُشُّونَ شَيْئًا مِنْ ذَلِكَ
“During the lifetime of Allaah’s Messenger, the dogs used to urinate, and pass through the masjid. They never used to sprinkle on it.”
If one decides to take this narration, then it tells us that people did not clean the masjid where dogs passed through and urinated. But this report is not evidence since it is not revelation from Allaah aza wajal. However, for those who take the Companions as rivals with Allaah, then this is for them.
Answering Some Doubts
Doubt 1: Angels do not enter a home with a dog.
That is not the actual narration. If we looked at all of the reports -excluding the inauthentic ones- the angels in reference were of revelation to the Prophet. It was not referring to all angels.
Doubt 2: Dogs are forbidden as pets because of impurity.
No that is not the reason why it is prohibited for us to have them as pets. We do not know the actual reason except that deeds are deducted and there is no mention of impurity.
Doubt 3: Prophet ordered the killing of dogs.
Once again, this is not true and it is due to not looking at all of the reports. It was a particular type of black dog that carried rabies. That is it, it was never a general command.