Islamic Law Misconceptions

Question About Dogs


Assalamu `alaykum.


I was playing with some friends and they started throwing rocks at a black dog. When I told them to stop, they said that Islam encourages us to kill them. Is that true? My mom told me to ask you.


No, we are not! A great scholar named al-Hattab wrote,

“The majority of scholars from the Maliki school hold that it is not allowed to kill black dogs unless they cause harm. The hadith that ordered that to be done was abrogated by the words of the Prophet ﷺ: ‘Do not harm any living creature1‘; by the fact that the Prophet ﷺ mentioned the story of a man who provided a dog water to drink, saying about him, ‘He was forgiven by God [for observing this act of kindness]’; and his statement, ‘There is a reward for benevolence shown towards any creature.2‘”

Hope that helps, little brother.

  1. Related by Muslim.
  2. Related by Muslim.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • قال (صلى الله عليه و سلم) : “فى كل ذى كبد رطب صدقة” صدق رسول الله

  • assalamu alaykum –

    could you clarify if the ahadith about killing salamanders has been abrogated in the same way? I have heard people encouraging people, even kids, to kill them (in Saudi Arabia for example) based on these texts –

    Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostle called the salamander a bad animal, but I did not hear him ordering it to be killed.” (Bukhari – Volume 3, Book 29, Number 57)

    Narrated Aisha: The Prophet called the Salamander, a mischief-doer. I have not heard him ordering that it should be killed. Sad bin Waqqas says that the Prophet ordered that it should be killed. (Bukhari – Volume 4, Book 54, Number 525)

    Narrated Um Sharik: Allah’s Apostle ordered that the salamander should be killed and said, “It (i.e. the salamander) blew (the fire) on Ibrahim.” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 579)

    Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who killed a Salamander with the first stroke for him is such and such a reward, and he who killed it with a second stroke for him is such and such reward less than the first one, and he who killed it with the third stroke for him is such and such a reward less than the second one. (Muslim Book 026, Number 5564)


    • Any Animal or insect that is known to be highly probable to cause harm may be killed if coming near us. The issue with the black dog has been studied and some historians have said the Prophet (pbuh) was not talking about all black dogs, rather a known breed of black rabid dogs living around madinah who were known to attack some. Thus being called shaytan maybe figuratively and God knows best. This could also explain the hadith about washing the bowl which it licked since rabies is in the saliva.

    • This is a matter in which the scholars have differed. The majority are of the view that pig skin remains impure even after tanning. However Imam Malik, Imam Abu Yusuf from the Hanafis, as well as Dawud al-Dhahiri saw it as pure. Based on this, especially when such shoes are widespread (Umum al-balwa), shoes with pig skin may be worn.


  • My understanding is that both the salamander and the black dog are used to represent different types of people which create social dischord. The black dog as someone who creeps about the community and snatches what he can, dealing quick insults and is generally a foul tempered person. The salamander being representative of someone who is lazy and two-faced speaking ill about people behind their backs and good to their faces.

  • my heart cries when I see such behaviour towards animals. May Allah guide those who do this and may Allah give us strength to stand up for animal rights.

  • please answer yes or no. Do we have to throw rocks at dogs or kill animals? Did RasulUllah s.a.w throw rocks at dogs? killed dogs?

    • Ibn Ishaq mentions an incident during Fath Makkah (When the Muslims took over Makkah)when a dog came in the way of one of the armies. One of the soldiers was about to harm it and the Prophet (pbuh) stopped him from doing that and thus ensured the dog wasn’t harmed. This is explicit in the fact that the Prophet, far from harming dogs, ensured their safety.

      Hope this helps.


  • Asalaam Alaikum,

    I remember when I first reverted to Islam 3 years ago an Imam
    told me that I had to get rid of my dogs because they where
    “haram” for a Muslim to keep at home. I was needless to say
    disturbed by this somewhat forceful request. This was before I
    knew that there existed madhabs and that even within the
    madhabs our scholars have different opinions on numerous
    subject matters.

    The first thing I did was read, read, read and I
    found so much information which was contrary to the opinion
    of the Imam who told me to get rid of my dog! Information left
    to us by Imam Malik (may Allah br pleased with him) on how
    viewed the dog as part of the family and other spectacular
    in his Muwadanna. The esteemed Dr. Khalid Abou Al-Fadl also
    has very interesting things to note on the relationship between
    Man and dog. Simply put The Quraan does not support this ill
    view of Dogs that a portion of the Muslim world has, much due
    to ignorance and cultural traditions. I pray to Allah that we all
    become not scholars but Muslims who are willing to learn and
    educate themselves on our religion and to not be mere
    followers of “opinions” within our religion in which there are
    many and not all are correct. Whoever tells you to kill dogs
    needs to ask themselves If you really would kill the hand that
    feeds you or in this case the dog’s mouth that feeds you for
    with the very same dog’s mouth that Allah swt has sanctioned
    us to get food through is the animal you would kill indiscrimi-
    nately. Just think what would the Companions of the cave
    think, what would Allah think of your murderous actions?

    • Salaams,

      What do you mean by Makruh? The last time I checked the Madhab of Imam Malik holds the dog to be outright pure, including it’s saliva.

      Keeping a dog in the house is another matter altogether.


  • Dear Yusuf,

    You have offered me an interesting dimension to approach the problem of domesticating the Dog. May Allah (swt) increase us in the knowledge and may He swt increase us our iman.

    • Walaikum Asalaam Wa Rhamatullah Brother,

      I pray that whatever you have gained from my humble comments will lead you to the good for the benefit of all creatures inshallah.



  • Sorry, this has nothing to do with the topic, but how do you send a question to you guys? Thanks dude. 🙂

  • Interesting topic and discussion! Can someone provide us with a run down of the views of each madhab regarding dogs. Haq’s post was a good start about the Maliki madhab. Very interesting, never knew they held a dog to be outright pure!

  • I have an acquaintance who is from West Africa, and once said it was hard to get used to how different dogs are in the US. Where he grew up, dogs are wild, and often ill or dangerous for other reasons such as aggression. If this is all you know of dogs, then of course you aren’t going to like them very much.

    A domestic dog, especially one who is properly cared for, is a great blessing in life. I was fortunate enough to have a truly wonderful dog for 16 years. He was smart, brave, gentle even with little children, very protective, and a peacemaker. When the cats would start to fight, he would just stand between them until they got the idea that there would be no fighting today.

    My dog won over both my acquaintance from West Africa (“When I talk about dogs, I am not talking about him. Nobody could not like him.”) and my Muslim neighbor from the Sudan, who brought him treats (bananas and saltine crackers, both of which my dog liked) and petted him and talked to him as if he were the nobility of the household.

    A good guard dog in your house (nor chained in the yard where they can do no good and make convenient targets) can save your life. Mine did.

    He went where I went, slept where I slept, ate what I ate, and when he died I buried him in a good place with my own hands.

  • One of the most hurtful parts of accepting Islam was the horrible things I was told about these loyal animals by people who were ignorant. In almost ran away from Islam over it. I was raised with dogs and they are innocent. I don’t understand why some people concentrate on negative haddiths and ignore the positive. If Allah says all n animals worship him in ways known only took him…..then how can a dog block an angel from coming in my house? I love with 3 rescued dogs and I am dedicated to them and they to me. Salam Alaikum Amani

  • There are many opinions about touching or keeping dogs at home. So, the best thing to do is to stay away from dogs. Let the non-muslims keep or handle things about the dogs. There are many other animals that a muslim can touch or keep as pets. But remember, dogs like other animals cannot be harmed or killed except for some unavoidable reasons.

    • Why in the world would I stay away from this wonderful creature Allah created for companionship and loyalty??? This is really sad to me that so many muslims completely ignore the Quran, and follow a few questionalble haddiths about dogs. Read all the positive ones. You are really missing out not having the love of a dog. For detailed accurate information please refer to Dr. Khalid Al Fadi and Scholar of the House.

      American Muslim
      Animal Rescue Person

  • Salaam I feel that some brothers and sisters take it way out of proportion regarding dogs. Unfortunately they think that the whole dog is unclean but it’s their saliva that is dangerous, and that is obviously due to the Rabies Virus within it. Wrongfully killing such an animal or any animal will result us being questioned by Allah as to why we did that. Animals have rights in Islam and we should respect that! Remember the Hadith about the Israelite Prostitute who quenched the thirst of a dog and had her past sins forgiven by Allah?
    I think the whole issue of the black dog might be related to jinn coming only in that form – therefore there is the possibility of a black dog being a jinn – Allah knows best. As for Angels not entering the house that has a dog in it – well there is bound to be wisdom behind that which is obvious in the Unseen World – something to do with the saliva? There is no mention of a dog being forbidden to have as a pet but the only thing is that angels will not enter that house. During the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) people had hunting dogs. So where did they keep them? From my understanding many of these Arabs at the time lived in single roomed or double roomed huts? So having a place/room to do prayer, eat and sleep was of importance. If we had a dog slobbering around in the room, leaving its saliva everywhere in our single/doubled roomed house then it won’t make the place too hygienic especially if we needed to pray eat and sleep. Now in this day and age, we have houses with many rooms – therefore if we have to be pedantic about it, will the Angels not enter that room which is constantly attended to by the dog or the whole house in general? Allah knows best. I just ask because some brothers and sisters who have just reverted have families who have dogs. So to pray they make sure their room is absolutely free from any dog. Also those who are blind have guide dogs – what is the ruling on them? If we had a dog could we just keep them in a garage built up into something homely so we could enter it whenever just to be in their company? Regarding prayers, one person I know would do it in their room which is dog-free; I’ve heard another do it in a shed built up in the back yard solely for praying. Any suggestions?
    Now why dogs have a special ruling and not cats or other animals is something Allah knows best. But to treat them like evil is absolutely wrong. Have we forgotten that in the Quran, Allah SWT took a special mention to the dog who protected the People of the Cave? So obviously dogs should be respected and not kicked around like we see in some ignorant cultural traditions.
    We can ask why Allah has not made the pig halal for us to eat, or why the sea animals have been made halal for us – this is beyond our understanding and in the realms of the Infinite Wisdom of Allah – something we have to accept and appreciate.
    In some hadiths it talks of salamanders being evil as they blew onto the fire which Prophet Ibrahim AS was being thrown into. Does that mean we should actively seek out salamanders? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Arabs had a “Salamander-Bashing” Day! I mean do we actively seek out rats and other vermin? Snakes have been known to be associated with evil, but in a Hadith it mentions that we should not try not to kill one type of snake if they’re in our house..why? Allah knows best. But how many of us will actively kill snakes? (I’m excluding those degenerates who kill/humiliate animals purely for the thrill of sport). Unless they threaten to harm us thren we can, but that goes for any other animal.
    What I see is that if we can’t acknowledge or respect human rights, then how do we expect to do the same for animals??? But we should look at the example of Prophet Muhammad pbuh – he was sent to reform and refine the characters of people – the Bedouins in particular were a hard-skinned bunch who lacked compassion with their fellow man as well as with animals. God-Willingly it was through his preserverance that he taught many of them the qualities of humility, patience and mercy. Therefore we muslims should attain those qualities again and not return to the attitudes of the Jahiliya Days which I see is happening. We should respect this Earth since Allah has given it to us for a limited time not to abuse it but to appreciate it and its contents Ameen 🙂

    • Salaam

      I like your reply but there are few things you need to understand brother.

      Dogs should be respected as they have rights in Islam, but be careful of them at the same time. Remember that they are not the cleanest of animals, so if Angels do not enter our houses due to them, then it is our own loss at the end of the day. I would rather have Angels in my home constantly asking Allah to bless me with His Favours, than a dog in my home constantly asking me to take it for walkies!

      • PS I forgot to mention the point Brother Adam made regarding the slobber being everywhere. Makes sense what he said that if we lived in a room (like in those days) where we would eat, sleep and greet people, the slobber will make the whole place unhygienic. Clearly Angels are pure in every way, and if they say the slobber of a dog is unclean, then we know this is serious because out of all the animals, the Angels have specifically pointed to the dog’s saliva being unclean – could be due to the Rabies virus and/or something else that we do not know about yet (or might never know). And if the Pure Angels steer clear away from the room that has a dog in it, then you can only imagine how filthy their saliva is! It is also similar to how we must abstain from entering the Pure Mosques when we eat raw onions or other stinky foods like garlic.

  • You are awesome Adam!!!!! That exactly why Allah made Mohammad SAWS the greatest teacher of all time.


  • All animals deserve respect and Islam states the same, it gives us no excuse to harm these creatures for they were also created by Allah. Do people not think and wonder why has Allah created so many different animals and even differences between the same species. Every single creature that walks on this beautiful earth has a lesson to share with us humans.

    How is it that different species for example, a lion, a tiger and a bear cub all brought up together could find companionship with each other despite being different species.

    Or the story of the Wild Dog in Africa who with the loss of her own family looked to companionship with a hyena (which normally eat wild dogs) and two jackals and formed a new pack family of her own.

    Or the lion who laid with the gazelle type baby animal without harming it.

    If humans remain ignorant of the wisdom around them we will never prosper. Our beautiful deen has shown us how to love and be merciful, and this mercy must be extended towards the animal/insect and plant world alike.

  • I agree Amena, very well said. In Sunni Islam there is a madhab called Maliki. In Maliki Islam dogs are ritually pure. I dont worry about dog slobber, I just clean it the normal way I would any slobber. LOL! Ive never gotten a disease from a dog. Infants raised with dogs IN THE HOUSE are less likely to have asthma and respiratory infections. Scientific fact, look it up for yourself.

    Salaam Aliakum

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