Are dogs considered haram in Islam? One of my family members said that even to touch a dog touch it haram. Please provide some feedback.
Asalamu ‘alaykum and shukran for submitting your question. May Allah increase you in knowledge. Amin.
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim wa sallaIlahu ‘ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi wa sahbahi wa sallim.
I will keep this reply short and to the point.
As for touching a dog being ‘haram’ then this is not the case.
As for the dog being makru to keep then here there is khilaf (positive difference of opinion amongst the jurists).
The Shafi’iya consider the dog to be najis while Imam Malik differed and considered it to be pure. Imam Malik accepted the practice of the people of Medina to be the second source of Law after the Quran while Imam al-Shafi’i considered the second source to be the hadith of the prophet (peace be upon him). This plays quite an important role as to how and why they differed but we will limit ourselves to answer the question as brief as possible.
Below are two well-known points from 2 accepted senior scholars.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says in his classic, Halal wa l-Haram fi l-Islam,
The Permissibility of Keeping Hunting Dogs and Watch Dogs
Dogs which are kept for a purpose, such as hunting, guarding cattle or crops are permissable.
In a hadith reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (peace be on him) said, Whoever keeps a dog except for hunting or for guarding crops or cattle will lose one large measure (qirat) of his reward each day.
On the basis of this hadith some jurists argue that the keeping of dogs as pets can be classified as makruh rather than haram, as the haram is absolutely prohibited without regard to whether there is a decrease in reward or not.
However, the prohibition of keeping dogs in the house does not mean that dogs may be treated cruelly or that they should be eradicated. Referring to the following verse of the Qur’an, There is not an animal on the earth, nor a bird flying upon two wings, but comprise nations like yourselves. (6:38), the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “If dogs were not a nation (ummah) among nations, I would have ordered that they be killed.” (Reported by Abu Daoud and al-Tirmidhi. (This was said by the Prophet following Jibril’s remark that angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog. Trans.))
The Prophet (peace be on him) told his Companions a story concerning a man who found a dog in the desert panting and licking the dust due to thirst. The man went to a well, filled his shoes with water, and relieved the dog’s thirst. Said the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him), “Allah appreciated this and forgave him all his sins.” (Reported by al-Bukhari.)
Source: Dr. Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Halal and Haram in Islam.
The Shafi’i Jurist Qadi As-Safadi states, ‘Malik says that dogs are pure and what they lick is not made impure, but that a vessel licked by a dog should be washed to avoid filth.’
Source: The Mercy in the difference of the Four Sunni Schools of Islamic Law, translated by Ayesha Bewley.
And Allah knows best,
Muhammad Allie Khalfe.