The position of dogs is the same as that of any other tamed animal. It can be
kept for protection as well as for hunting purposes. It can be kept as a pet as
well. If kept as a pet, it is desirable (not obligatory of course) that it
should not be brought inside the home since certain Ahādīth mention that
angels have an aversion to dogs and angels, we know, often frequent our houses
to shower blessings on us. This is just like showing respect to their personal
dislike – nothing more. After all we do show respect to the tastes and
inclinations of our parents, even when, at times, our own taste is different!
The notion that it is untouchable
to Muslims has no basis, in my opinion, in the authentic sources of Islam.
People base this view mostly on the following Hadīth.
reports that the Prophet [once] said: When a dog puts his mouth in some utensil
wash it seven times and scrub it with mud the seventh time as well. (Abū
Da‘wūd: Kitāb al-Tahārah)
In my opinion, the Prophet (sws)
gave this directive not because dogs are unclean but because some dogs in his
times had become infected with rabies, which is a fatal disease. This seems so
because of the intensity depicted in cleaning the utensil in this Hādith.
Had the matter been of a dog being unclean intrinsically, the need to wash a
utensil not two or three but seven times, and the seventh with mud, would not
have been required.