Home > Knowledge (iLm) > The Islamic Ruling on: Buying and Selling Cats and Dogs Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-Bassaam

The Islamic Ruling on: Buying and Selling Cats and Dogs Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-Bassaam

[ In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful… ]

667 – On the authority of Aboo az-Zubayr, who said: I asked Jaabir about (the ruling on) the revenue (from the sale) of cats and dogs. He replied, “The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) strictly forbade (zajara) that.” It was collected by Muslim and an-Nasaa’ee, who added:“Except for hunting dogs.” [1]

The Authenticity of the Hadeeth:

Imaam Ahmad declared the additional phrase of an-Nasaa’ee to be dha’eef (unauthentic), and an-Nasaa’ee himself had declared it to be unauthentic and contradictory (munkar). Also, an-Nawawee and as-Suyootee called it dha’eef and relayed a consensus among the scholars of hadeeth regarding that.

What is Understood From the Hadeeth:

  1 – The hadeeth provides proof for the prohibition of buying and selling cats and the impermissibility of the revenue (from its sale), even while it is permissible to keep one without any real need, since:

  [a] There is no prohibition of it;

  [b] And due to what is in the two Saheehs (of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) that a woman went to the Hellfire because of a cat that she kept inside, neither feeding it nor letting it out to eat from the insects of the land;

  [c] And since it is taahirah (clean, pure) as a living creature.

And this (the impermissibility of buying and selling cats) is the position of a group of the scholars, from them are the Hanbalees, since the legality of a sale is only for things considered to be “wealth”, and cats are not considered wealth.

And the majority of the scholars held that the buying and selling (of cats) is permissible. They understood the hadeeth (#667 above) is to be understood as a deterrent (less than a prohibition) and something that indicates one’s good character (that he does not buy or sell cats). They also stated that the people have always been giving them as gifts and loaning them (and these are kinds of transactions), being lenient in that.

However, this goes against the apparent meaning (of the hadeeth), since an order to refrain from something necessitates that thing being impermissible. And in this case there is a zajar (strict prohibition), which is stronger than an ordinary prohibition. The reason for the prohibition here would be the lack of any intended benefit from it (having a cat).

  2 – The hadeeth is also a proof for the prohibition of buying and selling dogs and the revenue made from their sales. This is supported by what is in the two Saheehs, from the hadeeth of Aboo Mas’ood, who said, “The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) forbade the revenue made from the sale of dogs.”And a text prohibiting the revenue of a sale logically includes a prohibition of the sale itself. This is because dogs are entirely impure (najas al-‘ayn), and there is to be no benefit gained from them except when in need.

  3 – The hadeeth found in the two Saheehs is general (including all kinds of dogs), however there is an additional phrase collected by an-Nasaa’ee, the authenticity of which has been discussed, that it is dha’eef (weak, unauthentic): “Except for a hunting dog.”

And due to this additional phrase the scholars have differed over the permissibility of buying and selling them (hunting dogs).

The position of the majority, from them are the two imaams: ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad, is that buying and selling them is not permissible, even if they are hunting dogs, or used for farming or as shepherds. To keep one for these reasons is permissible, but buying and selling them and the revenue from such sales remains impermissible, since the base ruling on a text that orders us to refrain from doing something is that the action is impermissible.

Al-Khattaabee said, The permissibility of making use of something in times of necessity is not something that proves the permissibility of its sale. This is like the meat of dead animals (not killed according to Islamic laws), it is permissible for someone to eat it under necessity, while its sale remains impermissible. And Aboo Haneefah held that it is permissible to sell it in general, whether or not it is permissible to make use of it.”

And ‘Ataa’ ibn Abee Ribaah and Ibraaheem an-Nakha’ee said that when it is permissible to have dogs, then buying and selling them is permissible; and when having them is not permissible, then buying and selling them is not permissible.


[1] Hadeeth #667 from Ibn Hajr’s Buloogh al-Maraam, from the Chapter of Business Transactions, the Section on Their Conditions and Prohibited Sales.

Source: Tawdheeh al-Ahkaam min Buloogh al-Maraam (4/245-246)


Related Link: Trading in monkeys

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