Is Keeping Animals as Pets Allowed in Islam?

05 October, 2020
Q Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. May Allah reward you for the wonderful service you render to Muslims throughout the world. I would like to inform you that your Fatwa section is one of the most reliable sections I depend upon in gaining a solid religious background especially regarding those matters related to that which is lawful and that which is prohibited. It is well-known that Born Free societies take care of wild beasts and predatory animals, while some other people including Muslims and non-Muslims alike are in the habit of keeping pets such as cats, etc. Could you please furnish me with a thorough answer on how Islam views caring for pets and keeping them in our houses?

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

There is nothing wrong in keeping animals as long as there is no prohibition on keeping them (as in the case of dogs and pigs).


Regarding your question, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states:

Keeping Animals in Islam

There is nothing wrong in keeping animals as long as there is no prohibition on keeping them (as in the case of dogs and pigs).

Some of the Prophet’s Companions were in the habit of keeping animals for farming purposes or for fun and pleasure.

Anas ibn Malik had a young brother who had a nughayr (a small bird or nightingale). The bird died and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) noticed that the young boy was so sad and grieved; so he joked with him and said to him, “O Abu `Umayr, what happened to the nughayr?“, which indicates his approval of keeping that bird.  (Muslim)

In another hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) stated that a woman is doomed to enter Hell because of a cat “… which she neither fed nor let it eat from the vermin of the earth.” (ِِAl-Bukhari)

It is clear from the above hadith that if a woman had fed the cat, she would have been saved from Hell.

Abu Hurairah was called so because of a cat that used to accompany him.

Therefore, it becomes clear that keeping animals, so long as you do not neglect them, is permissible and may even be a way to earn rewards.

The Prophet said, “In every living being there is a reward.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.