Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera
I was recently told that it is a sunnah to keep a pet (any acceptable animal) in the home. Also, that keeping a pet more easily drives away the ‘evil eye’ from reaching anyone in the home? Is this a confirmed sunnah? I was also told that Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) kept a cat as a pet?
I consulted with some scholars concerning whether the keeping of pets was a sunnah, but could not find much on the issue. Though, it is related that the great Companion Abu Hurayra radhiyallahu anhu had a kitten, hence his title, and that another young Companion had a bird.
However, I could not find that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam kept a pet cat. Although it is related abundantly regarding his kindness with animals and how some animals were known to have even complained to him of the harsh treatment by their masters.
Therefore, the ruling for keeping certain pets would be that it is permissible [mubah] (Radd al-Muhtar 5:257) but not necessarily a sunnah. This is as long as the animal is not imprisoned, treated badly, or they cause nuisance to others, in which case it becomes impermissible.
As far as it driving away the evil eye, there is something related by Daraqutni and Daylami that keeping a pigeon or dove [hamam] in the house repels the effects of the jinn from the children. However, this has been considered extremely weak and unsubstantiated [wahi] by the Great Hanafi scholar Ibn ‘Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar and fabricated by Ibn al-Jawzi (Kashf al-khafa’ 1:30, Radd al-Muhtar 5:257).
Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf