Dog owners and enthusiasts in Iran now have access to luxury facilities for their dogs, a ‘rebellion’ of sorts against a fatwa issued in June, declaring dogs as ‘unclean’ and saying they should not be kept as pets.
A growing number of dog spas and beauty parlours in a legal industry give dog owners an opportunity to groom their pets or leave them in five star conditions when they go away on vacation themselves.
The fatwa was earlier issued by Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, and was aimed at discouraging dog owners from living a ‘western’ lifestyle.
‘Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West,’ he was quoted as saying in Javan daily. ‘There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.’
The Quran does not explicitly prohibit contact with dogs, Shirazi said, but Islamic tradition showed it to be so. ‘We have lots of narrations in Islam that say dogs are unclean.’
Guard dogs and sheep dogs are considered acceptable under Islamic law but Iranians who carry dogs in their cars or take them to public parks can be stopped by police and fined.
Many Iranians believe ownership and grooming of dogs is an act of rebellion against the clerics who seem to want to take away a much loved part of their lives.