Answered by: Maulana Burhaan Rahman
Can I keep hamsters, hedgehogs, guinea pigs (it’s not pigs), mice, rats, ferrets, raccoons, monkeys, owls, kites foxes inside the house (some foxes cannot harm humans but do they fall under the same category as dogs) turtles, tarantulas, geckos, Chameleons, Iguanas, Bearded dragon, scorpions (non-venomous), snakes and other reptiles (non-venomous) as pets if they’re not harmful or venomous?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There are guidelines on keeping pets in Islam. Firstly it must be mentioned that in Islam specific pets haven’t been forbidden to keep.
There is a Hadeeth narrated by Anas which indicates one can have pets:
انَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَحْسَنَ النَّاسِ خُلُقًا، وَكَانَ لِي أَخٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ أَبُو عُمَيْرٍ ـ قَالَ أَحْسِبُهُ فَطِيمٌ ـ وَكَانَ إِذَا جَاءَ قَالَ “ يَا أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ مَا فَعَلَ النُّغَيْرُ ”. نُغَرٌ كَانَ يَلْعَبُ بِهِ
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (SAW) was the best of people in attitude. Abu ‘Umayr was the name of my brother. I believe he was a weanling (at that time). “Abu ‘Umayr, what happened to the nughair (nightingale)?” asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW) when he saw him. He used to have a lot of fun with it. [Bukhari Hadeeth no: 6203 and Muslim Hadeeth no: 2150]
There are certain conditions that must be met for keeping pets at home:
1) Because dogs are specifically prohibited in Islam, except for guard dogs and hunting dogs, the animal kept should not be a dog.
Our beloved prophet (SAW) has mentioned:
لَا تَدْخُلُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ صُورَةُ تَمَاثِيلَ
“The angels do not enter a house where there is a dog,” the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated. [Bukhari Hadeeth no: 3225/Muslim Hadeeth no: 2106].
Keeping dogs as a guard or security for crops and sheep (other farm animals etc.) is allowed:
مَنِ اقْتَنَى كَلْبًا لَيْسَ بِكَلْبِ صَيْدٍ وَلاَ مَاشِيَةٍ وَلاَ أَرْضٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِهِ قِيرَاطَانِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ
“Whoever keeps a dog which is neither meant for hunting nor for herding livestock nor for watching the fields, shall lose two qeerat (portions) of reward every day.”[Muslim no.1575]
2) The animal must be treated with compassion. If a Muslim owns an animal, he must feed and water it properly and not hurt or injure it by mistreating it, doing absurd things like forcing animals to fight one another or exposing it to extreme temperatures and not taking care of it. Our beloved prophet (SAW) mentioned a man showing compassion to a dog:
يْنمَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي بطَريقٍ اشْتَدَّ علَيْهِ الْعَطشُ، فَوجد بِئراً فَنزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَربَ، ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فإِذا كلْبٌ يلهثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ، فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ: لَقَدْ بلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبُ مِنَ العطشِ مِثْلَ الَّذِي كَانَ قَدْ بَلَغَ مِنِّي، فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَملأَ خُفَّه مَاءً ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَه بِفيهِ، حتَّى رقِيَ فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ، فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَه فَغَفَرَ لَه. قَالُوا: يَا رسولَ اللَّه إِنَّ لَنَا في الْبَهَائِم أَجْراً؟ فَقَالَ: “في كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبةٍ أَجْرٌ
“A man was walking along the street when he grew really thirsty. He discovered a well and went down to drink from it before returning. He noticed a dog panting and biting the ground because it was thirsty. The man stated, “This dog is thirsty in the same way that I am.” So he returned to the well and filled his shoe with water, which he then retained in his mouth till he climbed back up and delivered it to the dog. Allah was pleased with (his deed) and pardoned him.” They said to Allah’s Messenger, “Will we receive a reward for these animals?” “Every living thing has a reward,” he remarked. [Bukhari Hadeeth no: 6009]
Although the man was helping a dog, at the end of the hadeeth it mentions any creature/animal/mammal that you help will gain your reward.
3) The animal should not be such that it harms you and others. Keeping one’s self safe and ensuring other people are safe as well as part of our religion as our beloved prophet (SAW) has mentioned:
لا ضرر ولا ضرار
“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm” [Sunan Ibn Mājah Hadeeth no: 2340].
So don’t start keeping wild animals that have wild behaviours and you yourself know that it’ll bring around harm and damage.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Burhaan Rahman
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham