Pearl of Wisdom

in a letter he wrote to al-Ashtar when he made him governor of Egypt, said, '...Then choose for judgment between people the best of your subjects, who are of excellent character and high calibre and for whom no issue or case is hard. They must not lose their temper, disputes should not let him fall astray they should not exceed in their mistakes, and when the truth is made clear to them they should not hesitate to accept it [change their verdict]. They should not lean towards greed. They should not satisfy themselves with the lowest of understanding over the highest, they must be more precautious than anyone else in doubtful and ambiguous matters. They must attach the greatest importance to reasoning, arguments and proofs. They must exhibit the least annoyance at seeing the opponent, be the most patient in scanning details, and most serious in the issuing of a verdict when the matter is clear. The praisings of people should not deceive them. They should not be misled by flattery, but unfortunately such people are few. After you have selected such men to act as your judges, make it a point to go through some of their Judgments and to check their proceedings.'

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Baldgha, Letter 53

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Question : #463 Category: Family Issues
Subject: keeping a dog as a pet
Question: Would you be so kind as to explain the circumstances & the guidelines under which a momin would be able to keep a dog as a pet.

We live on a large parcel of land and with all the criminal activity these days we have entertained having a guard dog on the premises. It would always be outside and would never enter the living quarters.

Is there anyway to accomplish both, have a dog and still meet the Islamic directive.

Also, I understand a dog by the name of Tatmir will be allowed into heaven; if it is truly "Najis", why then the exception?

Thanks in advance for your response.

Answer: In His name, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Wa-`alaykum as-salaam.

Islamically there is no problem in keeping a guard dog on your premises. Since dogs (and pigs) are from Najisul `ayn (inherently impure) animals, you will have to make sure that they do not lick the areas which are always supposed to remain tahir, such as place of prayers, place where sacred things like the Holy Qur'an and sajdagha (turbah) are kept. Also, do not eat or drink from the utensils which have been licked by the dog, unless you have cleansed it by rubbing with wet clean earth and then washing it with water. Sometimes your dog will cling to your clothes (say, pants) then such clothes should not be worn for salat.

The dog which accompanied Ashabul Kahf (people of the cave) has been named in some accounts as KITMIR. Some people believe that it will go to Jannat. Perhaps, its accompanying the youths who stood up for tawheed (absolute unity of God) against the mushrik (polytheist) king of their time may have cleansed him from other external impurities. In any case, such issues (why a particular dog will go to Jannat?) do not have any bearing to the noble teachings of Islam. God knows best.

With salaams and du`as.

(References: Islamic Law by Syd Seestani, Elements of Islamic Studies by S. S. Akhtar Rizvi, commentaries to surah 18 of the Qur'an).

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