Dog owners 'rebel' against fatwa in Iran

Published: November 2, 2010
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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. PHOTO: AFP

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. PHOTO: AFP

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.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Ashutosh
    Nov 2, 2010 - 11:12PM

    to the contrary, in a conservative societies like ours, where we are less likely to show our love and affection in day-to-day life, these dogs are loved and caressed by every one in the family. This show of affection actually trains all member of the family to have respect for others and helps them to come close to each other naturally..

    If you are looking for a loving family for your marriageable daughter, then get her married to a family with a loving dog. She surely be respected and cared by the member of such family. Recommend

  • Rana Amjad
    Nov 3, 2010 - 9:28AM

    Dogs are man best friend!Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 3, 2010 - 9:38AM

    Dogs and horses are best friends of human beings if they really are human beings.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Nov 3, 2010 - 10:13AM

    Iran…

    You are going slightly over board now.

    Relax. Islam does not condemn dogs. Yes, they may be “unclean” coz they salivate all over the place… but that doesn’t mean you cant keep them as pets, since a dog or his alleged “impurity” in no way affects your relationship with God and Islam, and in no way does a dog stop you from practicing your religion.Recommend

  • Realist
    Nov 3, 2010 - 10:24AM

    Well, Dogs aren’t the only animals available to be kept as pets. Since Dogs are actually considered unclean in Islam, how about cats? I am no expert in Shia fiqh so no idea but two out of four major fiqhs of Sunni Islam do not consider cats to be unclean. Therefore, how about switching over to cats?Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Nov 3, 2010 - 1:32PM

    Islam allows keeping watch DOGS.
    Too much of religon in every thing has made thing too complicated. Religon is meant for creating a viable, harmonious and disciplined society and should not be used as a spanner in the wheel.Recommend

  • Azaad
    Nov 3, 2010 - 3:07PM

    I think Iran needs a counter-revolution to get rid of its mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard from the seat of power. Their reflexive and juvenile notion that anything ‘western’ is bad is counter-productive. First of all Islam is a ‘western’ religion … as much as Christianity and Judaism are ‘western’. Second, Iranians and Pakistanis who pray, go into sajda toward the west. It is us non-namazis who have the dignity not to prostrate ourselves to the west! Third, dogs have been kept in the east too as pets, including our beloved China, including breeds such as the Pekinese and Lhasa Apso. Third, all the countries where the Asian miracle happened, achieved such miracles by rapidly ‘westernizing’ … which in Pakistan is how it is interpreted — I would interpret that as modernization. And yet, they have retained strong elements of their culture. Are they better off or are we? How come they don’t reject modernization, the emancipation of women, a sexual revolution and such things as ‘western’? They see it as a stepping stone to modernity. We should too.Recommend

  • AA
    Nov 4, 2010 - 6:41PM

    Well done Ayatullah Shirazi!!Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 4, 2010 - 6:44PM

    “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.”

    Well said…Absolutely true…!!…
    Thats what Islams preaches, everything action should be done within it’s limitRecommend

  • Moazzam Ewing
    Nov 4, 2010 - 7:06PM

    Oh dear. Another thing to add to the list of DO NOT DO. Recommend

  • Susan
    Nov 4, 2010 - 7:10PM

    To ADEEL AHMED

    The American College of Physicians stated a few years ago that the best protection you can give your child against disease and being sick is to buy a dog for your child. The dog will strenghten your child’s immune system very early on. Children raised with dogs are by far less sick than those who don’t.

    I’ve had dogs all my life. I’m rarely sick. I even allow them to kiss me on the mouth. At times, their tongue will enter my mouth. Men on the street have seen this happen while I walk with my dog in my arms and they tell me it is disgusting. My reply to them is that at least I KNOW WHERE ITS TONGUE HAS BEEN BEFORE. Recommend

  • gordon pirie
    Nov 5, 2010 - 6:04PM

    Hunting dogs and hunting hawks are also excluded from any Koranic prohibition. If owners of these animals can maintain contact with them how come other dogs and birds are unclean?Recommend

  • Moazzam Ewing
    Nov 6, 2010 - 11:38AM

    TO SUSAN
    This message is to SUSAN. Are you from Pakistan? So great to meet another dog lover. What kind of dog do you have?Recommend

  • hani
    Dec 14, 2010 - 1:38AM

    @adeel ahmed:

    animals like dogs and pigs r called unclean or najis in islam and being in physical contact with them renders one unclean for namaz and roza unless he cleans himself. so it does affect practicing islam. when they say “safai nisf eeman hai” it means sumthng.Recommend

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