Why Are Dogs Considered Najis (Impure) in Islam?

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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

The very first issue to realize here is that Allah is our Creator and Sustainer. He Created the heavens and the earth and everything in between, including the animals.   He is our Lord and Master, and He is the All-Knowing.  Since He has created us and everything in creation, He knows best what is good for us and what is evil.

In His Divine wisdom, He has decreed what is ‘tayyebaat’ (good and pure and therefore ‘Halaal’) and what is ‘khabaaith’ (evil and unpure and thus ‘Haraam’), either in the Holy Quran or through His Messenger (saws).

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 7 Surah Al-Ara’af verse 157: So, now Mercy has been assigned to those who follow this Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whose mention they shall find in the Torah and the Gospel.  He (Mohamed (saws)) enjoins them to do good and forbids them for evil.   He makes pure things ‘halaal’ for them and impure things ‘haraam’.  He relieves them of their burdens and frees them from the shackles that they bound themselves with (of customs and pagan rituals).

I honestly have not come across an authentic tradition of the Prophet (saws), whereby he has called dogs ‘najis’. But the Prophet (saws) has forbidden the believers from keeping a dog as a pet in the house or for pleasure. 

It is reported in an authentic tradition that the Prophet (saws) said:  “Whoever acquires a dog other than sheepdog or hunting-dog, will have two qirats deducted from the reward of his good deeds every day.”

The Prophet (saws) said in another narration: “Purifying a container that a dog has licked is done by washing it seven times, the first washing being with sand (i.e. water mixed with sand).”  

 The Prophet (saws) said in another narration: “The angels do not enter a house where there is a dog or a photo.”

 In light of the above traditions of the Prophet (saws), it can be concluded that dogs are not allowed to be kept as pets or for pleasure in Islam.  The reason for them being “najis” or impure has not been specifically mentioned.

 To cite an example from the Quran, it has been commanded by Allah that the flesh of swine is “haraam” or unlawful.  But the reason has not been specifically mentioned in the Quran, nor in any tradition of the Prophet (saws).  When Allah and/or the Prophet (saws) declare something as ‘haraam’ or forbidden, it is a duty of every muslim to believe in their declaration and commandment.   We are allowed to reason why Allah and His Messenger (saws) have declared it ‘haraam’, and if we are able to locate the reason, it will increase our faith.  But under no circumstances are we allowed to make a thing declared ‘haraam’ by Allah and His Messenger (saws) ‘halaal’, even if we cannot find a reason.

 Science has discovered about 70 odd years ago that the flesh of swine has a worm in its meat, if not cooked properly, can severely effect the health of the consumer.   Similarly, it could be that something to do with the dog might also be ‘najis’, impure or harmful to mankind, maybe its saliva, maybe its urine, maybe its excrement, or anything else for that matter.   We will let science discover them when they do.  

 For believers it should suffice to stop keeping dogs as pets, because angels do not enter the houses where dogs are kept and/or an equivalent of two ‘qirats’ of good deeds are deducted from the person every day!,  as reported in the above narration of the Prophet (saws).

 And Allah Alone knows Best, and He is the Only Source of Strength.

May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.   

 Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.