By Shamim Saad
According to the Islamic tradition, dogs are unclean and Islam has developed several commands that warn Muslims against keeping them as pets.
The deputy director of sharia at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), Sheikh Yahaya Ibrahim Kakungulu, said Allah (God) prohibits Muslims from keeping dogs as pets in their homes because of their ‘impurity’.
Speaking to New Vision in an interview at the UMSC headquarters in Old Kampala on Wednesday, Kakungulu said a Muslim can keep a dog for only genuine reasons like the security of property and human life as well as hunting, but not as a pet.
Why Muslims are not allowed to keep dogs as pets
Kakungulu says Muslims are not allowed to keep dogs because of their saliva and excreta (feaces), which are considered to be unclean and can cause infections.
“If a Muslim gets into contact with a dog intentionally or accidentally and its saliva drops onto his body, he is required to cleanse himself seven times – first by scrubbing that part of the body with sand and then with water in a ritual referred to as samak,” Kakungulu says.
He adds: “According to the Koran and Hadith (collection of sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), we can also use dogs to detect drugs or track criminals.
He also stressed that another reason why a Muslim must not keep a dog is because they need to emulate the life of Prophet Muhammad who led a holy life.
Sheikh Twaibu Ali Mpanso, the registrar of the directorate of Sharia, said with regard to vessels or containers, if a dog licks a vessel or drinks from it, the vessel must be washed seven times, one of which should be with sand.
“A dog is the most impure animal, according to our beliefs and teachings,” Mpanso said.
He said it is haram (prohibited) to keep a dog as a pet except for purposes as stipulated in the Islamic teachings because when one does so, he loses one or two qeeraats each day.
Qeeraat refers to the highest reward a Muslim would ever get from Allah; if a person’s reward decreases by one qeeraat that means he is sinning and its consequences are bitter.