Dogs: Using guard dogs

Q175 :In order to minimize pilferage and theft in my small farm in my country, I have domesticated a couple of dogs which we keep away from home. Some of my friends, however, have criticized me. They say that as Muslims we cannot have dogs near to us. I am worried that their criticism may be true and that I may have committed a mistake. I would be grateful for your clarification.

A175 : Scholars differ as to whether a dog is impure or not. We have an authentic Hadith which tells us to wash a utensil, which a dog uses, seven times; one of them with dust and water. Scholars who maintain that dog is not impure argue that the Hadith does not mention any impurities. It simply orders us to wash the traces of a dog in a certain way. Some scholars who take the opposite view maintain that this ruling is the same which is required to remove the impurity of pigs. As such, the dog must be classified in the same grade with regard to impurity as the pig which is unanimously agreed to be impure. Whichever view one wishes to adopt - and we can adopt a scholar's view only on the basis of the evidence supporting it - we would not like to be too close to dogs so that we do not need to have our clothes and other objects washed in that difficult way which the Hadith mentions. There are, however, situations where the dog can be of immense use. One such situation is that which you mention in your letter. All scholars agree that it is permissible to use a guard dog in order to protect one's family and property. Again, we can use a dog for hunting without feeling at all uneasy about that. If one employs a dog for such purposes, one should treat it well, give it food and be kind to it. Islam teaches us to treat our animals in a kind way. When the Prophet saw a weak and thin camel, he said to his companions and to Muslims in all generations: "Fear Allah in your treatment of your animals." A Hadith which explains the proper attitude a Muslim should have toward animals is that which tells the story of a man walking in the desert and getting very thirsty. He was so thirsty that he felt he was sure to die unless he soon found some water to drink. Suddenly he saw a well right in front of him. Having nothing with which to draw from the well, he went down himself and drank his full. When he came out to the top, he found a dog gasping because of thirst. He said to himself: This dog must be as thirsty as I was a few minutes ago. He went down again and filled his shoe with water and brought it up and put it in front of the dog. Allah forgave him all his sins for his kind act to that dog. When the Prophet told this Hadith to his companions they wondered whether one would get reward for kindness to animals. The Prophet said: "You have a reward for any kindness you do to any living creature." To sum up, there is nothing wrong with your employment of dogs to guard your farm against intruders who want to steal your crops. You should be kind to those dogs and try as far as possible to keep them away from yourself and your clothes. It is not necessary for one who has a guard dog or a dog for hunting to treat his dog in the same way as Western people treat their pets.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )