Is it okay for a Muslim to have a dog as a pet? Not just as a guard dog, but as a companion. Bring them inside the house, play with them, take a walk, etc. I've read somewhere that if there's a dog in the house, angels will not come inside our house. Is it true? Thank you
This is a highly controversial topic among the scholars. The opinion of the Mālikī school is that dogs are pure (i.e. not ritually unclean), and that it is permissible to touch them and play with them as long as they are not diseased. This is also the opinion of al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī , al-Zuharī , Sufyān al-Thawrī, al-Shawkānī, Ibn Mundhir al-Shāfiʿī and Ibn Ḥazm.
The Egyptian scholar Maḥmūd Shaltūt (1893 – 1963 CE), who was Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar (Egypt’s highest authority on Sunni Islam), ruled that keeping a dog as a pet and letting it in the house is permissible as long as it is not diseased. However, he says that if the dog eats or drinks from a utensil, it must be washed thoroughly before it is used by a human.
The rest of the scholars, the Ḥanafīs, Shāfiʿīs and Ḥanbalīs say that a dog is either unclean or that it is forbidden to keep as a pet, that it must only be kept if it is a hunting, shepherding or guard dog.
So there is sufficient support within the Islamic scholarship community for a person to keep a dog as a pet. But the majority of scholars are against it, and so are the majority of Muslim cultures.
If an American who already has a dog converts to Islam, there is sufficient evidence within Islam for them to continue keeping it as a pet. But they shouldn’t be surprised if the Muslims around them strongly frown upon their doing so.