Islam and The Killing of Dogs
The article will be divided into the following sections:-
- Hadith Regarding The Killing of Dogs
- Hadith Showing Dogs Not Being Killed
- Should We Go Around Killing Dogs Today?
Hadith Regarding The Killing of Dogs
You have general statements that show the Prophet (peace be upon him) issuing general orders for killing of dogs. (Saheeh Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 54, Hadith no. 540; Saheeh Muslim: Book 010, Hadith no. 3809, 3810 & 3811)
The order was to kill biting rabid and voracious dogs (Saheeh Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 29, Hadith no. 54; Volume 3, Book 29, Hadith no. 55; Volume 4, Book 54, Hadith no. 531; Saheeh Muslim: Book 007, Hadith no. 2717, 2718 & 2719; Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 10, Hadith no. 1844) The killing of the rabid dogs also applied to other creatures and animals that were dangerous as well. e.g. wolves (Read Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani's Fathul Bari, Kitab: Al Hajj, Bab: Ma Yuqtal Al Muhharam min al Dawaab, Commentary on Hadith no. 1698, Source)
You have hadith saying to kill all dogs except the ones used for hunting or guarding sheep. (Saheeh Muslim: Book 010, Hadith no. 3812 & 3814)
Other hadith stating that the killing of dogs have been abrogated except for the killing of black dogs (Saheeh Muslim: Book 010, Hadith no. 3813 Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 16, Hadith no. 2839 & 2840)
Hadith showing that the Prophet peace be upon him ordered killing of dogs except for protection of fields (Saheeh Muslim: Book 024, Hadith no. 5248)
Hadith Showing Dogs Not Being Killed
They used to see dogs urinating on the floor of the mosque and they just sprinkled water on the spot. They didn't go and kill the dog. (Saheeh Bukhari: Volume 001, Book 004, Hadith no. 174)
There are hadith which show people quenched the thirst of a thirsty dog and they got rewarded for it. The Prophet even stressed that there was a reward for one who serves any living being, including animals. (Saheeh Bukhari: Volume 001, Book 004, Hadith no. 174, Volume 3, Book 40, Hadith no. 551, Volume 3, Book 43, Hadith no. 646, Volume 4, Book 54, Hadith no. 538, Volume 4, Book 56, Hadith no. 673; Saheeh Muslim: Book 026, Hadith no. 5577, 5578 & 5579; Malik's Muwatta: Book 49, Hadith no. 49.10.23)
A hadith showing the Prophet peace be upon him ordering a dog to be kicked out but not killed. (Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 32, Hadith no. 4146)
Should We Go Around Killing Dogs Today?
As for the hadith of (Saheeh Muslim: Book 024, Hadith no. 5248) the order to kill the dogs were only within that precinct and not a general command. The command to kill dogs has been abrogated. (Read Imam Nawawi's Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Libaas wal Zeena, Bab: Tahreem Tasweer Soorat Al Haywaan wa Tahreem Itikhaazh ma feehi soora, Commentary on Hadith no. 3928, Source)
It is said that the killing of dogs in general was abrogated to killing only the black dogs and then it was abrogated to not killing any dogs whether it is black or not. Dogs could not be killed for no reason. (Read Imam Nawawi's Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Masaaqa, Bab: Al Amr bi qatl Al Kilaab wa bayaan naskhahu wa bayaan tahreem iqtenaa'iha, Commentary on Hadith no. 2934, Source) and (Read Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-Adhim Abadi's Awn al-Mabud Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab: Al Sayd, Bab: Fi Itikhaazh Al Kalb lil Sayd wa Ghayruh, Commentary on Hadith no. 2462, Source and Kitab: Al Libaas, Bab: Fi Al Suwar, Hadith no. 3626, Source)
The killing of dogs is not something to be implemented today. It was only there for a particular point in time. The Prophet ordered the killing of these rabid dogs, for there were no rabbi shots back then. However, the question still remains. Why did the Prophet order the killing of dogs for a particular point in time? The wisdom for it is unknown. This is just a matter of faith and belief.
One Muslim tries to answer this question....
Muslim vol. I, no. 552; vol.II,nos.3803,3829 concerning dogs and in particular black dogs
The command to kill dogs was abrogated and its reason in the first place is given further below.
In Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1032:
Abd Allah ibn al-Samit said: Abu Dharr said: The Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you stands in prayer, what definitely constitutes a barrier for him is an object placed in front of him of the same height as the back of a camel-saddle. If it is not in front of him and of the same height as the back of a camel-saddle, then some [stray] donkey, or some woman passing, or some black dog will cut off his prayer." I said: "O Abu Dharr! What is it that makes a black dog different from a red or yellow dog?" He replied: "O dear cousin! I asked the Messenger of Allah the exact same question. He said that the black dog is a devil."
Notes on the legal rulings based on this hadith and its meaning:
The passing of the above-mentioned in front of the person at prayer does not invalidate his prayer according to the vast majority of the Imams of Law, Salaf and Khalaf (early and late authorities) who concur that the meaning of "will cut off his prayer" is not literal but means: "will make his prayer imperfect" due to the distraction they will cause in people's hearts, while Imam Ahmad considered that only the passing of a black dog actually invalidates it. This was mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim and al-Mubarakfuri in Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi.
Some of the narrations mention "the dog that bites indiscriminately" (al-kalb al-`aqur). Others: "The jet-black dog" (al-kalb al-aswad al-bahim). The gist of the reference seems to be that a wild-looking dog, or one known to be dangerous, has the greatest potential for distracting attention. The black dog is a devil either literally, i.e. a favored form for a devil to take among animals, or figuratively with respect to its negative aspects whatever these may be; and Allah knows best.
Here is another answer concerning dogs in general:
"Regarding killing dogs, the Hadith is authentic and quoted in numerous books of Ahaadith. In the pre-Islamic era, dogs were an inseparable part of the Arabs. The negative instincts of dogs have crept into their lives. Rasulullah came to reform them and in order to achieve that, he had to separate them from the inseparable, that is, dogs. He had to create a resentment of dogs in their hearts by emphasising in strongest terms like killing. He also ordered to wash the utensils seven times from which a dog drank.
"After the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu 'anhu) understood the order and resented dogs, separated them from their daily activities, he said [= he made it understood], 'I have no problem with dogs'. He granted leniency in washing the utensils from 7 times to 3 times. After all, using hunting dogs is permissible and [dogs are] mentioned in the Qurân.
And Allah Taâla Knows Best. (Source)