By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org
I read a Hadith that said the Prophet commanded the killing of dogs. Is it allowed to kill dogs in Islam?
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
It is permissible to kill an undomesticated, wild dog if the animal is causing harm to people by biting them or carrying disease. However, the general rule is that it is not permissible to harm any animal unless to obtain some benefit such as food or to avoid some harm such as disease.
There are some narrations in which it is stated that the Prophet commanded killing dogs without mentioning the purpose or context under which the order was given. However, we should bring together all the narrations on a particular topic so we can fully understand its context and application.
One narration makes clear that the order to kill dogs refers only to harmful dogs that attack or bite people.
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
خَمْسٌ فَوَاسِقُ يُقْتَلْنَ فِي الْحِلِّ وَالْحَرَمِ الْحَيَّةُ وَالْغُرَابُ الْأَبْقَعُ وَالْفَأْرَةُ وَالْكَلْبُ الْعَقُورُ وَالْحُدَيَّا
Five animals are harmful and are lawful to kill while in a state of pilgrimage: a snake, a speckled crow, a rat, a biting dog, and a kite.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1198, Grade: Sahih
In this narration, the Prophet described the animals to be killed as “harmful” (fawasiq) and referred specifically to “dogs that bite” (al-kalb al-aqur).
In another narration, the Prophet gave permission for Muslims to own domesticated dogs for the purpose of hunting, herding, guarding, and farming.
Ibn Al-Mughaffal reported:
ثُمَّ رَخَّصَ فِي كَلْبِ الصَّيْدِ وَكَلْبِ الْغَنَمِ
The Prophet granted concession for the use of dogs for hunting and herding.
Source: Sahih Muslim 280, Grade: Sahih
Therefore, we can conclude from these narrations that it is only permissible to kill an undomesticated, wild dog if it is harmful to people. Rather, it is permissible to keep a domesticated dog for some beneficial purpose.
In addition, we should mention here the story of the man who went to Paradise because he was kind to a dog.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي بِطَرِيقٍ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنْ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنْ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلَأَ خُفَّهُ مَاءً ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَهُ بِفِيهِ حَتَّى رَقِيَ فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ
Once a man suffered from thirst while he was walking on a journey. When he found a well, he climbed down into it and drank from it. Then he came out and saw a dog lolling its tongue from thirst and licking the ground. The man said: This dog has suffered thirst just as I have suffered from it. So he climbed down into the well, filled his shoe with water, and caught it in his mouth as he climbed up. Then he gave the dog a drink. Allah appreciated this deed and so He forgave him.
It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for charity even for the animals?” The Prophet said:
فِي كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ
In every living being there is a reward for charity.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2244, Grade: Sahih
This narration demonstrates that the general rule is to be kind to animals. Allah will appreciate charity and acts of kindness done on behalf of animals, including dogs.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.