Rulings Concerning Dogs in The Maliki School

Mufti Musa Furber Ash-Shafi’i

The following is related to a discussion thread about Mālikīs keeping dogs as house pets that got axed (and for good reasons). Since I spent a lot of time working on a few papers related to dogs, I thought I would paste in some things from my notes:

The four extent schools of Sunni jurisprudence agree that it is permissible [mubāh] to acquire dogs for hunting, herding, and guarding agriculture.[a]

Their evidence for this the ḥadīth Bukhārī and Muslim transmitted:

ʿAbd Allāh bin ʿOmar (Allāh be pleased with them both) said: I heard the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ say: “Whoever acquires a dog – except a dog for agriculture or herding: each day two qīrāt will be removed from his reward.”

Muslim transmitted: Abū Hurayra (Allāh be pleased with him) said, “…or a dog for agriculture while he is a farmer.”[b]

Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr says it's fine to acquire for to acquire dogs in general for obtaining benefits and deflecting harms when there is a need to,[1] however it offensive to do so for reason other than the ones mentioned in the ḥadīth about the loss of rewards for every day one keeps an unsanctioned dog.[2] He argues that ḥadīths prohibiting acquiring dogs indicate offensiveness – not unlawfulness – since unlawful does not come with phrase “whoever does X, Y will be removed from his rewards or deeds” but rather is outright prohibited so the obedient to not fall into any of them.[3] The above is often quoted in other Mālikī works.[4]

But this is not the only opinion within the school: The Mālikīs consider it unlawful to acquire dogs inside the house without a permissible reason,[5] whether in cities or the desert.

(n.b. Several of the Mālkīs I talked to did not embrace Ibn ʿAdb al-Barr's opinion and advised against it.)

So folks really need to be careful when claiming that the Mālikī madhhab is categorically cool with people keeping house dogs as pets.

(And Allah knows best.)

a. Al-Juwaynī, Nihāyat al-Maṭlab, 5:493; Al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥīh Muslim, 3:186, 10:236; al-Anṣārī, Asnā al-Maṭālib, 2:9; al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 3:284; Ibn Qudāmah, Al-Mughnī, 4:191–192; Al-Bahūtī, Kashshāf al-Qināʿ, 3:154; Ibn Mufliḥ, Al-Ādāb al-Sharʿiyyah, 3:226.

b. Al-Bukhārī (5480, 5481, 5482), Muslim (1574 §50, §51, §52, §53, §54, §55, §56).

1. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:219–220.

2. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:219.

3. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:221, 224; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Istidhkār, 8:494.

4. Al-Tāj wa-l-Iklīl li-Mukhtaṣar Khalīl, 6:70; and in Manaḥ al-Khalīl Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Khalīl, 4:453.

5. Ṣāliḥ ʿAbd al-Samīʿ, Al-Thamr al-Dānī, 714.

On Keeping a Watch-Dog inside The House

Shaykh Rami Nsour

If there is a reasonable cause to own a watchdog, then it would be permissible to own one. If there is a reasonable need to have that dog inside the house, then it would be permissible to keep the dog in the house.

What is ‘reasonable’ would be defined by the people of a certain area and the experts in that field. So, a person should ask the opinion of local enforcement as well as pious Muslims in that area to determine what is reasonable.

The criteria for owning a dog would be that one feeds it food that is not impure (najasa). Therefore, one would have to buy vegetarian food or use meat that is from a properly slaughtered source.

Another reason for not purchasing conventional dog food would be that Muslims should not support the modern, mass meat processing industry that is inhumane. The torture of animals is prohibited, and the modern meat industry has extreme torture in the raising and processing of animals for meat.

Another criteria for owning a dog is to make sure that the impurities of the dog, do not affect the clothing and area of prayer. The bulb of the hair of animals that falls out or is plucked is impure.

On Selling Dogs

Shaykh Rami Nsour

According to the Maliki madhab, and other madhabs, it is forbidden to sell a dog. They take this ruling from the many Hadith which show that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) prohibited the sale of dogs.

One of these Hadith is mentioned in the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari which states, “The Messenger of Allah prohibited the price of dogs.” This ruling for the Maliki madhab can be found in the Chapter of Sales in the Mukhtasar of Khalil.