Commentary by Iftaa' Dept. on Putting down Rabid Dogs

Author : The General Iftaa` Department

Date Added : 03-01-2018

In the Name of Allah, The Entirely  Merciful, The Especially Merciful


Commentary by the General Iftaa` Department on the Fatwa Concerning Putting Down Rabid Dogs.

Islam calls for treating all creatures with mercy and kindness, and this  general directive covers all creatures: humans, animals, birds and plants. Allah, the Exalted, said, " but do good; for God loveth those who do good."{Al-Baqarah, 195}. Moreover, the Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) said, "Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsan (kindness) for everything"{Muslim}.

Not only that, but Islam has also encouraged helping animals survive, and set a reward for whoever does that, as reflected in the following Hadith where the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "While a man was walking on his way he became extremely thirsty. He found a well, he went down into it to drink water. Upon leaving it, he saw a dog which was panting out of thirst. His tongue was lolling out and he was eating moist earth from extreme thirst. The man thought to himself: 'This dog is extremely thirsty as I was.' So he descended into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his teeth, climbed up and quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah appreciated his action and forgave his sins". The Companions asked: "Shall we be rewarded for showing kindness to the animals also?" He (PBUH) said, "A reward is given in connection with every living creature".[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In addition, Allah has made preserving the life of an animal amongst the acts that bring a person closer to Him. The Messenger of Allah(PBUH)said, "There was a dog moving around a well whom thirst would have killed. Suddenly a prostitute from the prostitutes of Bani Isra'il happened to see it and she drew water in her shoe and made it drink, and she was pardoned because of this."{Muslim}.

The Messenger of Allah(PBUH) has also forbidden harming animals because they have lives, and they perform a function in this universe. Ibn Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

We were with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in a journey when he drew apart (to relieve nature). In his absence, we saw a red bird which had two young ones with it. We caught them and the red mother bird came, beating the earth with its wings. In the meantime the Prophet (PBUH) returned and said, "Who has put this bird to distress on account of its young? Return them to her." He (PBUH) also noticed a mound of ants which we had burnt up. He asked, "Who has set fire to this?" We replied: "We have done so." He (PBUH) said, "None can chastise with fire except the Rubb of the fire." {Abu Dawud}.

Torturing an animal and killing it unrightfully is among the sins for which a person receives punishment on the Day of Resurrection since the Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) said, "A woman was punished because she had kept a cat tied until it died, and (as a punishment of this offence) she was thrown into the Hell. She had not provided it with food, or drink, and had not freed her so that she could eat the insects of the earth."{Bukhari & Muslim}.

In conclusion, this shows that Islam is the religion of kindness and mercy to all creatures. Therefore, it is impossible that the Iftaa` Department or the Grand Mufti would violate that, and whatever news was circulated by media concerning the Fatwa of putting down rabid dogs or waging a holy war against dogs in general is inaccurate and was based on a misinterpretation. This is because that particular Fatwa was about killing the rabid dog which bit the two-year-old girl, Malak al-Qaraan, causing her death. If the harm of such a dog couldn`t be warded off save by killing it then that is permissible. In addition, no Fatwa was issued permitting the killing of every stray dog.

*See attached copy of the Fatwa in question. And Allah knows best.

General Iftaa` Department.