What is the Islamic Stance on Having a Dog?
According to the Hanafi school, it is permitted to have a sheep dog, a hunting dog or similar. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]
In our times, this would practically refer, more commonly, to guide dogs and the like which are specifically useful for people that require them. Such dogs would be permitted to have without dislike.
The Narration on Angels not Entering the Home of the One who has a Dog
Imam Muslim narrates in his Sahih Muslim, “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture”.
Imam Nawawi (Allah be pleased with him) in his commentary on the Sahih of Imam Muslim commentates that this refers to the angels which go around seeking mercy, blessings and forgiveness for the person of the house and his household. As for the angels who write down one’s works, they always remain with one.
Moreover, he mentions that this narration does not apply to those dogs which are permitted to keep, such as dogs used for shepherding, hunting or the like.
Amongst the reasons they mention for the angels not entering the house is that dogs generally do not have a pleasant smell and the angels are put off by bad odours and smells.
A Note on Animals in Islam
Our religion is one of mercy, compassion and love. There are a number of narrations in our books of traditions which mention instances of how people gave water, specifically, to extremely thirsty dogs, despite being in need themselves, and it was a reason for their forgiveness.
Animals are also from the creation of Allah and we don’t look upon animals poorly; rather, we are duty-bound, as Muslims, to treat animals in a dignified, humane and merciful manner.
And Allah knows best.
Answered By: Shaykh Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari