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al kafi 1534


Salam ustaz, I have a question. Is there any mention of keeping cats as pets in any surah of the Quran? Second, is it wrong for me to dislike cats for the fur they shed that would affect the cleanliness of my house and I would chase it away without harming or injuring it? I would only feed it outside of my house.



Waalaikumussalam wbt,

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Generally, the original ruling of keeping cats as pets is permissible. This is according to the Islamic legal maxim:

الأَصْلُ فِي الأشْيَاءِ الإبَاحَة

“The original ruling of something is its permissibility.”

Thus, whoever analyse the permissibility of the ruling would find that it is clear that syarak neither command nor prohibit him from doing so, however, syarak gives a choice of whether he wants to do so or otherwise.

Thus, in the issue of keeping cats as pets, there are no syarak evidences that either ask or prohibit us from doing so, which would then make it return it to its original ruling which is its permissibility.

However, if we look at the life of the companions of the Prophet PBUH, we would find that there was a famous companion of the Prophet PBUH who kept cats as his pet. Furthermore, there is a narration from ‘Ubaidillah bin Abi Rafi’, where he said:

قلتُ لأبِي هُريرَةَ: لِمَ كنيتَ بِأبِي هُرَيرَة؟ قال: كنْتُ أرْعَى غَنَمَ أهْلِي، وكَانَتْ لِي هرة صَغِيرَة، فكنتُ أضَعها بِالليلِ فِي شَجَرة، وَإذَا كَانَ النَّهَار ذهَبْتُ بِهَا مَعِي، فلعبتُ بِهَا فكنوني أبَا هُرَيرَة

I asked Abu Hurairah, why are you known as Abu Hurairah? Then he answered: “I used to take care of a cow of my family and I used to keep a kitten as a pet. At night I would place him on a tree and during the day I would bring it with me and play with it. Thus, people gave the moniker of Abu Hurairah to me.”

Refer Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Ibn Hajar (7/349)

The above narration clearly proves that Abu Hurairah has a kitten and kept it as a pet, which is the basis of the permissibility of this matter. Although it is permissible to keep cats as pets, it should be known that ihsan (compassion and proficiency) towards animal is wajib. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Syaddad bin Aus RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ

“Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (proficiency, perfection) in all things.”

Sahih Muslim (1955)

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali stated in another narration, this hadith includes the words عَلَى كُلِّ خَلْقٍ which give the meaning of wajib for ihsan on every creation. Thus, this commandment includes having ihsan on humans, plants and animals.

Hence, when we state that it is wajib to have ihsan on animals, then hurting or being cruel towards animals is haram. Moreover, negligence in this matter would result in a person to be placed in hell. This is in accordance with Abdullah bin ‘Umar RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

عُذِّبَتِ امْرَأَةٌ فِي هِرَّةٍ حَبَسَتْهَا، حَتَّى مَاتَتْ جُوعًا، فَدَخَلَتْ فِيهَا النَّارَ

 "A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger."

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) further said, (Allah knows better) Allah said (to the woman),

 لاَ أَنْتِ أَطْعَمْتِهَا وَلاَ سَقَيْتِهَا حِينَ حَبَسْتِيهَا، وَلاَ أَنْتِ أَرْسَلْتِيهَا فَأَكَلَتْ مِنْ خَشَاشِ الأَرْضِ

'You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth." 

Sahih al-Bukhari (2365)


To conclude, we would like state that basically there is no Quranic evidence that commands us or prohibits us from keeping cats as pets. Thus, it is permissible. Having ihsan towards cats is wajib and hurting or injuring them is haram. Hence, a person is free to choose whether he wants to keep cats as pets or otherwise. It is also not an issue to chase a cat from a person’s house without hurting it by kicking, throwing or harming the animal in any way.

Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT so that we are given the correct understanding in this religion. Amin.