Malikis & Dogs

By Mufti Musa Furber

The following is related to a discussion thread about Mālikīs keeping dogs as house pets that got axed (and for good reasons). Since I spent a lot of time working on a few papers related to dogs, I thought I would paste in some things from my notes:
The four extent schools of Sunni jurisprudence agree that it is permissible [mubāh] to acquire dogs for hunting, herding, and guarding agriculture.[a]
Their evidence for this the ḥadīth Bukhārī and Muslim transmitted:

ʿAbd Allāh bin ʿOmar (Allāh be pleased with them both) said: I heard the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ say: “Whoever acquires a dog – except a dog for agriculture or herding: each day two qīrāt will be removed from his reward.”

Muslim transmitted: Abū Hurayra (Allāh be pleased with him) said, “…or a dog for agriculture while he is a farmer.”[b]

Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr says it’s fine to acquire for to acquire dogs in general for obtaining benefits and deflecting harms when there is a need to,[1] however it offensive to do so for reason other than the ones mentioned in the ḥadīth about the loss of rewards for every day one keeps an unsanctioned dog.[2] He argues that ḥadīths prohibiting acquiring dogs indicate offensiveness – not unlawfulness – since unlawful does not come with phrase “whoever does X, Y will be removed from his rewards or deeds” but rather is outright prohibited so the obedient to not fall into any of them.[3] The above is often quoted in other Mālikī works.[4]

But this is not the only opinion within the school: The Mālikīs consider it unlawful to acquire dogs inside the house without a permissible reason,[5] whether in cities or the desert.

(n.b. Several of the Mālkīs I talked to did not embrace Ibn ʿAdb al-Barr’s opinion and advised against it.)
So folks really need to be careful when claiming that the Mālikī madhhab is categorically cool with people keeping house dogs as pets.
(And Allah knows best.)

a. Al-Juwaynī, Nihāyat al-Maṭlab, 5:493; Al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥīh Muslim, 3:186, 10:236; al-Anṣārī, Asnā al-Maṭālib, 2:9; al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 3:284; Ibn Qudāmah, Al-Mughnī, 4:191–192; Al-Bahūtī, Kashshāf al-Qināʿ, 3:154; Ibn Mufliḥ, Al-Ādāb al-Sharʿiyyah, 3:226.
b. Al-Bukhārī (5480, 5481, 5482), Muslim (1574 §50, §51, §52, §53, §54, §55, §56).
1. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:219–220.
2. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:219.
3. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd li-ma fī al-Muwaṭaʾ min al-Maʿānī wa al-Asānīd, 14:221, 224; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Istidhkār, 8:494.
4. Al-Tāj wa-l-Iklīl li-Mukhtaṣar Khalīl, 6:70; and in Manaḥ al-Khalīl Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Khalīl, 4:453.
5. Ṣāliḥ ʿAbd al-Samīʿ, Al-Thamr al-Dānī, 714.