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Question 376: Is it allowed to have pets in Islam? For our own entertainment, we imprisoned them. If feels inhuman a bit. Need your guidance in this regard. But, I’ve read a saying of Imam Jaffar As Sadiq a.s to have Pigeons in homes because Shaitan remains away due to the sound feathers of the bird make. So, has Imam a.s ordered to imprison Pigeons? What is the rules of keeping animal like pigeons at home?

Answer 376: According to maraja’ (ha), there is no objection in keeping animals, but it is befitting for faithful individuals to have a (rational) purpose behind keeping them, but the rules concerning purity and offering prayers should be observed. Hence, if the hair of an unclean animal like dog is with a person, the prayers which he offers would be void. Its excretion and urine are Najis (ritually impure).[1]According to Islam, it is forbidden to harm or kill an animal (especially those harmless animals) without any rational reason. In this regards, Imam Sadiq (as) has said: This action is one of the most heinous sin.[2]

I would like to draw your attention to the following ahadith in which we are recommended to keep pigeon at home.

  1. Abu Hamza Thumali said: My grandson had some pigeons. I beheaded them angrily. After a while, I went to Mecca and visited Imam Sadiq (as). When I saw pigeons in His house, I asked myself if it was not befitting for the Imam (as) to have a (rational) purpose behind keeping them the Imam (as) would never kept them. The Imam (as) has said to me: ‘O Aba Hamza! What happened to you? It seems your heart is elsewhere? Yes, I replied. I explained to Him the story of killing pigeons. The Imam (as) said: You did a very bad act…![3]
  2. Abdul Karim bin Saleh said: I went to Imam Sadiq (as) and saw three red pigeons dropped excrement and made impure His bed, I said then: I sacrificed for your sake, O Imam (as), they made impure your bed! He (as) said to me: There is no problem, rather it is good to keep them in our house.[4]
  3. Muhammad bin Karama said: I saw a pair of pigeons at Imam Musa bin Jaafar’s (as) house that their feathers were green and a little red and the female was black while the Imam (as) was feeding them breadcrumbs.[5]

Furthermore, our Infallibles Imams (pbuth) have recommended us to keep pigeons. In this regards, Zeid Shaham narrated a tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) as He has said: Keep them at your house because they are lovable.[6]

Keep Jinn and Satans away from house: There have been narrated some traditions in regards to keep pigeons at house as follows:

Imam Sadiq (as) has said: Pigeon is the Prophets’ (pbuh) bird that they keep it at their own home. If one has it at his home the Jinn’s evil wouldn’t reach the family of the house. Because, the Jinns would get busy by playing with the pigeons and then they forgot do anything against the people.[7]

The Imam (as) has also said: A pigeon’s wing sound would protect the family of the house from the accursed Shaitan.[8]

Avoid destroying house: Another tradition in which the Imam (as) has recommended us keep pigeons at home in order to avoid any kinds of dangerous and destroying our houses is as follows: Allah (SWT) would avoid destroying and prevent breaking it by pigeon.[9]

The Arabic version of the Hadith is as follows:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ يَدْفَعُ بِالْحَمَامِ عَنْ هَدَّةِ الدَّار

Note: the word “Haddat al-Dar” whether can be defined as protecting from destroying house or prevent the family of the house like women or kids from any damages.[10]

Avoid Loneliness by pigeon:  A man was complained about loneliness to the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and He has suggested him take a pair of pigeons.[11]

Conclusion:  there is no problem in keeping animals especially pigeon as it is considered as mustahab, but it is befitting for faithful individuals to have a (rational) purpose behind keeping them considering the fact that harming, suffering, injuring or killing an animal which it called animal abuse (especially those harmless animals) without any rational reason is forbidden, according to Islam.

There is no authentic sources in which mentioned that the Imams (pbuth) kept pigeon in cage, whereas keeping it doesn’t need to be in cage.

[1] . Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 1, Q. 84; Makarem Shirazi, Naser, New Istiftaat, Vol. 3, Pg. 635, Madreseh (School) Imam Ali bin Talib (as) Publication, Qom. 1427 A.H; Ayatollah Khamenei, Risalah Amoozeshi, Nijasat Chapter; Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 1, Q. 84-85.

[2] . Sheikh Hurr Ameli, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 12, Pg. 5, H 15494, Alul Bayt Institution, Qom, 1409 A.H.

[3] . Abdullah bin Bastam, Hussain bin Bastam, Tibb Al-A’emmah (pbuth), reasearcher: Khursan, Muhammad Mahdi, Pg. 111, Qom, Dar al-Sharif al-Radhi, second edition, 1411 A.H.

[4] . Kuleini, Muhammad bin Yaqoub, al-Kafi, reasearcher: Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhoundi, Muhammad, Vol. 4, Pg. 548, Tehran, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiya, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.

[5] . Tabarsi, Hasan bin Fadhl, Makarem al-Akhlaq, Pg. 130, Qom, Sharif Radhi, forth edition,  1412 A.H.

[6] . Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, Pg. 547, Sheikh Hurr Ameli, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 11, Pg. 517, Qom, Alul Bayt (as) Institution, first edition, 1409 A.H.

[7] . Majlesi, Muhammad Baqir (as), Biharul Anwar, Vol. 60, Pg. 93, Beirut, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, second edition, 1403 Q.H;  Sheikh Hurr Ameli, Hidayat al-A’emmah ila Ahkam al-A’emmah (pbuhth), Vol. 5, Pg. 127, Mashad, Majma al-Bohuth al-Islmaiya, first edition, 1414 A.H.

[8] . Sheikh Sadouq, Man La Yahdhuruhul Faqih, researcher: Ghaffari Ali Akbar, Vol. 3, Pg. 350, Qom, Office of Islamic Publications, second edition, 1413 A.H.

[9] . Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, Pg. 547.

[10] . Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 62, Pg. 19.

[11] . Makarem al-Akhlaq, Pg. 129.

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