Monday, December 18, 2006

Don't Be Cruel To Dogs

I hope for their sake some of those two-bit so-called scholars don't run into me. I have some questions which may throw them off guard.

For example today when I was returning from our office lunch (we chose Little India on Queen Street, and I was the only brown guy there eating lunch, and everyone asking me what the dishes were - great food btw), a dog crossed my path, very close to me.

Involuntarily I stepped back due to years of training. I was going to go for prayers later and didn't want my clothes to be "dirtied".

When I came back home I did a little google search on the issue. There was some interesting findings. For example, did you know that the Malikis do NOT consider the dog's saliva to be "najas", or impure? For the other madhabs that do consider it impure, here is how to "clean" an utensil or cloth if the dog touches it.

Purifying a container that a dog licks is done by washing it seven times, the first time with pure soil (that is, water mixed with earth until it becomes muddy).

Now my question is - this was in the sixth century. Do we still have to do this? I mean, we could have something like this:

I am doing my part in modernizing Islam!

My fupi (aunt) had a small dog in Bangladesh. As a kid, every time I would be at their place we would play for hours with the dog. It's name was Magic and it was a very friendly and small little fellow. Yes, she did keep the dog in its own place and didn't allow it in the house, and we had to wash up after our games, but it was a great pet. Nowadays I wouldn't keep a dog because it's too much work, but it would be hard to tell it to remain outside when it's -40 C.

My point is, some Muslims are very cruel to dogs for no reason. I have seen street urchins on occasion throw stones at dogs and no one says boo to them. Try it with a cat and see. For some reason, cruelty to dogs is kosher. To those people, I would just like to relate the following incident.
One day, a dying dog approached a follower of Mohammed (pbuh). The man had no means with which to procure water for the dog, for wells in the desert dry up quickly. He noticed a small pool of muddy water in the vicinity. He tore his shirt, soaked it in the water, placed the dog in his lap and moistened its mouth with the wet cloth. Another Arab who saw this went to the Prophet and said, "One of your followers has touched a filthy animal, a dog, and should therefore not be allowed back here again."

Mohammed (pbuh) questioned, "What was he doing to the dog ?"

"I do not know, but I saw him moistening its mouth with a torn piece of cloth dipped in muddy water," replied the man.

"He is a better Muslim than you are, because he is kind to animals," said the Prophet.

Something to think about the next time people start bickering about trivialities.


Anonymous said...

Hey, just had to comment on *fupi*, did you know in swahili that word means short???
My in-laws back home have these dogs that stay out(it's warm there and they have their kennels)anyway, you won't believe the stuff they eat, they eat any left-overs from the house,pilau and such,hehehe. One of them used to follow my late father in law to the masjid during fajr and he would wait for him outside the mosque and then walk back with him home,they would chase any drunks who passed by near our home, you would just hear pple screaming. You know something, have no idea why pple back *home* are simply terrified of dogs!!!sf

Mousehunter said...

Not sure where anonymous is from, but what he said is very common in Trinidad. Many members of my wife's family have dogs for protection, and feed them the dinner scraps etc. Dogs are man's best friend it really is true. They will protect their master. That being said, I have been terrified of dogs since I was a kid (non-muslim). There used to be this couple (Cops) that lived right by my bus stop. One day their dog chased me all the way to my babysitters house. She saw me coming as stood there with the door open, I just ran straight into the house...sans Thankfully I was a fast runner!

'liya said...

Hmm I should tell my dad about this. He always freaks out when a dog comes too close to me or any one of my siblings. Then he'll remind us a million and one times to go shower.

I hate dogs anyway. And cats. And anything that that could maybe bite/scratch me.

Surror said...

I had a dog foe 5 years and he started attacking my sister who adored him. He attacked her “18 times” and me twice before our dad found out!! We kept it a total secret because we didn’t him kicked out. Eventually he was put to sleep and it was the worst day of my life. We loved him. My sister’s body is a living display of terrible dog bites but she loved him so much that she couldn’t let him go. Even now we are shit scared of cats but not dogs! It’s funny.

Those five years, our Muslim relatives avoided us like we literally the plague! They didn’t eat in out house as if the dog was drooling in their food.

OK, I didn’t know that but now I’m Malalki!

sonia said...

great post mezba - there's no need for all this cruelty!

Maliha said...

nice post...that tide pic is hilarious! I am just petrified of dogs, not because of the najis part, but as a kid i was chased down and almost eaten alive (i really believed that then) by a ferocious dog. I will never forget that experience!

but you are right, cruelty to animals is never justified and it's funny how people can twist religion in whichever way to justify their straight up meanness!

isheeta said...

Fabulous post, Mezba. I wonder if the RIS mullahs will be half as educated in Islam as you are....

Cruelty to animals is just beyond me. As a kid, I hated when cows and goats got qurbani'ed... but now Ive accepted that because it is part of our religion, and somehow I get the feeling that the reason they cry their eyes out is because they know (and God has some part to play in there)... the reason I bring this up is cuz eid ul adha is coming up! anyways, the dog story, Im so glad you recounted that. dogs arent bad.. theyre najas, yes, but there is a reason why God made them to be the most faithful animal to humans in the entire animal kingdom (besides dolphins, unfortunately we cannot keep them as pets). And that is not so they can 'soil' your clothes.. at least the soiled clothes and skin is easily washable, unlike our soul.

M&M said...


I am personally not a fan of any animals... or pets. But it is definitely wrong to be cruel to them.

Aisha said...

the Hadith gave me chills. What's your opinion on people who hate pigs? I dont get that either. I have a friend tht calls pigs "p-i-g" rather than saying the word. I'm like, we're not supposed to eat, but we're not suppoed to hate it???

Aisha said...

is fupi, dad's sister? I urdu its phoopi.

Anonymous said...

Wheres your promised entry about why men go back home to marry? I am awaiting that rant

Saqi Namah said...

Even if one does not like to be near dogs one should not hate them since they do have a purpose.

singlemuslimah said...

Great post.

After years of being told dogs were haram, my mom did some reasearch and now we've got two dogs. There are, of course, plenty of Muslims that are appalled by this but whatever. Don't come in our house.

As for being cruel to dogs, I don't see how anyone could think that's kosher. There is never an excuse for cruelty. The prophet wasn't cruel. It's this kind of nonsense that gives Muslims a bad name.