Dogs and Islam

FrontPageMagazine interviews the renowned Robert Spencer on the barbaric abuse of dogs that is widespread throughout the Muslim world. What is going on here exactly? An excerpt from the article, Islam’s Animal Gulag, with Robert Spencer hosted by Jamie Glazov, managing editor of FrontPageMagazine:

FP: What is the basis for the prohibition [of keeping a dog as a pet]. Is it in the Qur’an? In Muhammad’s life?

Spencer: It comes from Muhammad’s statements in the hadith collections that Muslims generally consider most reliable. The basis of the idea of impurity of dogs comes from his statements such as: “Angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature,” (Bukhari 4.54.448), “Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)” (Bukhari 1.9.490), and “If a dog drinks from the utensil of anyone of you it is essential to wash it seven times” (Bukhari 1.4.173). He declared: “Whoever keeps a dog, one Qirat of the reward of his good deeds is deducted daily, unless the dog is used for guarding a farm or cattle” – or, in some variants of this “guarding sheep or farms” – or, presumably, Iranian Presidents [since Ahmadinejad owns four guard dogs] — “or for hunting” (Bukhari 3.39.515).

There are ahadith also depicting Muhammad as saying, “Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one” (Sunan Abu Dawud 16.2839). Another notes that Muhammad “ordered the killing of dogs,” again making an exception for “the keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds” (Muslim 10.3814).

FP: How are dogs treated in Sunni Islam? Can you tell some stories of abuse?

Spencer: Sunni Islam also regards dogs as unclean. The Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence stipulates that “something that becomes impure by contact…with something from dogs or swine does not become pure except by being washed seven times, one of which (recommended not to be the last) must be with purifying earth” (‘Umdat al-Salik e14.7). At one Sunni website a mufti evaluates the ahadith about dogs and concludes: “In the light of these Ahaadith and other narrations it is not permissible to keep dogs as pets. The household is deprived of the Mercy of Allah Taãla.”

Stories of abuse, however, are hard to come by, because this is simply not a problem that generally registers in Islamic countries.

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