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 Maliki 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-Hasan al-Basri, al-Zuhari, Sufyan al-Thawri, Imam al-Shawkani, Ibn Munzir al-Shafi`i and Ibn Hazm from what I can find out.
The Egyptian scholar Muhammad Shaltut (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 Hanafis, Shafi`is and Hanbalis say that a dog is either unclean or that it is forbidden to keep it 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 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 this.
It should also be noted that the majority opinion is that it is forbidden to listen to music, but most Muslims reject this and follow the common sense minority opinion (the Maliki / Zahiri / Shawkani opinion) that say that listening to music is permissible. The issue of forbidding music and forbidding the keeping of dogs as a pets are similar and the same scholars either forbid both or permit both.
Personally I cannot say whether it is permissible or not to keep a dog as a pet, this matter is not something I have studied sufficiently to have a firm opinion about it.