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.