Nowadays, pets are inseparable parts of people’s lives. In the United States, for example, over 60% of families have pets. Some have dogs, cats, while others keep fish, turtles, birds, rabbits, horses, sheep, pigs, or chickens. No one knows for sure when the first animals were domesticated, but according to history, humans have always developed close associations with animals. Although early humans might have first sought to domesticate animals as living tools, other benefits of animals caused humans to keep pets, too. Muslims can also exploit animals taking into account some considerations stated below.
Islam has never been indifferent to animals. The proofs are verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and sayings of the Imams (AS) which strongly exhort Muslims to treat animals and birds with compassion, not to abuse them, and repeatedly blame cruelty towards them.
In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) enumerates six rights for an animal over its owner, of which are: “he should not burden it with a load that it cannot bear, he should not hit the animal except when it truly deserves”, etc. .
Hence, hitting a dog in the face or body as punishment and making it obedient through fear, putting a heavy load on a camel or a horse, providing little food for a cat, and putting a canary in a small cage are all blamed in Islam. It is also quoted from the Prophet (PBUH&HP) that God forgave a prostitute who saved a thirsty dog from death by drawing up some water from a well using her shoes . Also, According to the Quran, all living and non-living creatures are made by Allah [i], and He loves all animals; so should do humans.
In Islamic teachings, there is nothing wrong with keeping animals and it is even recommended in some cases; except for some animals that Islamic conditions or prohibition on keeping them should be observed. Besides, keeping some animals such as roosters, camels, sheep, horses, cats, and pigeons is highly recommended .
In other words, keeping permissible animals is allowed, and in some cases, it brings blessing to its owner . But, this should be under certain circumstances, such as: treating and feeding pets properly, having enough space to accommodate them, considering the hygienic requirements of both the animal and its owner, and respecting neighbors’ rights.
For accommodating an animal at home, a proper separate shelter must be provided, based on the needs and the nature of the animal. For a bird, for example, a comfortable cage indoors suffices, but a camel or a sheep must be kept outdoors! In this regard, apart from the hygienic points that should be taken into account, the excrement and urine of some birds and animals are impure (Najis), hence, keeping them indoors needs attention .
What is encouraged in Islam is keeping domesticated animals that need humans to protect and feed them, or wild animals which require protection; otherwise it should be avoided, especially if keeping the animal at home causes harm to it .
A review of the Islamic narrations reveals that the emphasis on keeping pets is because of the benefits and the blessings that certain animals bring to their owners and saving them and their families from disasters. Having camels, horses and sheep were advised in the past because of their role in the economy of the family, transportation, and defense. And nowadays, many people around the world consume the products obtained from sheep, and some still use horses and camels for farm work and transport in some areas.
In some sayings keeping a rooster, pigeon, sheep, and cat is named among the ways of drawing sustenance and benefits . Another advantage of having pets is that some animals warn humans in case of danger, they clean up their surroundings from vermin and prevent waste .
It is also essential to know that respecting the animals’ rights is of paramount importance in Islam and is explicitly stated in Islamic teachings. This equally applies to both animals permitted and forbidden to be kept by Muslims. This prevents from treating animals cruelly, neglecting them, over-working or over-loading animals (as stated above), and hunting them for sport.
It was said that keeping animals is recommended in Islam, but not all of them; like dogs and especially pigs. Since dogs are considered impure (Najis) and humans are susceptible to catch a disease from them, Muslims are advised against keeping them . Nevertheless, there is nothing in Islam that states to hate dogs or harm them. On the contrary, feeding dogs (even stray dogs) and watering them are reported in Sunnah and the conduct of the Imams (AS) . It is also permitted to keep dogs where they assist humans and are kept outdoors .
But about pigs, as there is no benefit in keeping them and as they are impure (Najis), Muslims are forbidden to keep them .
[i] (25:59), (2:29), (45:4), etc.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wassail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- S. A. al-Muttaqi, “Kanz al-Ummal”, T. 43116.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 643.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 16, p. 124.
- Complete Risalah Amaliyah.
- Muhaddith Nuri, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 248.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 104, p. 41, T. 52.
While we are waiting for Christmas to come, it seems impossible to ignore Halloween in the meantime. It is full of fun and excitement which is why it is so popular among many people around the world. But, have you ever thought about why you are celebrating this day? Or, as a Muslim is it compatible with your Islamic values? Let’s find out.
Halloween which is held on 31st of October annually marked “the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter”  for the pagan Celts of Samhain. They also believed that on this day “spirits from other worlds (such as the souls of the dead) were able to visit earth…and roam about” .
Therefore, they would wear some costumes and light bonfires to keep the ghosts away. They would also worship their idols and pagan Gods on this celebration.
Just the same as Celtics who worshipped their pagan Gods on this day, the Christians who entered the British Isles, tried to adopt this celebration with their tradition and replaced the pagan Gods with their Saints. So, Halloween turned into the day on which the Christian saints were commemorated, and became the All Saints Day. However, “the customs of Samhain survived anyway, and eventually became intertwined with the Christian holiday” .
In 1966, Anton LaVey who founded the false cult of “Satanism” declared Halloween to be one of its official holidays. Besides, the inappropriate and sometimes horrifying costumes that are used on this celebration include signs or symbols that are identified with Satanism.
However, since Halloween has been practiced long before this association was made, we cannot accuse anyone who is celebrating Halloween of being a Satanic. But, it is necessary to be aware of the ones who are taking advantage of this celebration for their ends.
Islam Respects Traditions, not Superstitions
As we have seen above, Halloween roots back to the rites and rituals of ancient pagans of Celtic origin and then continued to be celebrated by Christians along with some adaptations. While nowadays no one thinks about the reason for this celebration or the rituals practiced on it anymore (such as trick-or-treat, wearing scary costumes, etc.), they still represent the superstitions in which Celtic pagans believed.
As Muslims, if we want to find out about Islam’s attitude toward Halloween, we should look at Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUHHP) way of reacting to such traditional celebrations. At the time of the emergence of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUHHP) respected most of the traditions and all monotheistic religions that existed at that time. However, he tried to reject the superstitions that had no rationale behind them and were based on false beliefs. So, he decided to wipe away the superstitious traditions that were practiced by pre-Islamic Arabs through informing them of their falsehood.
Of course not. However, there are three points that we should observe when we are having fun:
Many reports reveal the dangers that threaten people, especially children, on the Halloween’s eve; these include car accidents which have a high rate on this night . As Dr. Rebecca Parker, chairwoman of the American College of Emergency Physicians' board of directors, puts, “ This is a time when we see an increase of kids being hit and killed by cars” .
Also, according to the tradition of this day, people would wear scary costumes to send the ghosts coming from the other world away. But, as a person who lives in the twentieth century, we know that such a belief is entirely superstitious and irrational. So, what is the use of scaring other people and our children with a weird and sometimes disgusting look? Doesn't it result in a psychologically adverse effect?
As Muslims, we should always be observant of our actions, even if we are having fun. It is essential to keep in mind that our activities, whatever they are, do not prevent us from what Allah has commanded (prayer (Salat), fasting (Sawm), etc.). Nor do they invite us toward committing what He has forbidden (e.g., drinking alcohol, dancing, participating in inappropriate parties, observing modesty, etc.)
Islam always recommends us to be aware of what we are doing and think about our intention before any action. Even when we are having fun, there should be something behind it that makes it worthwhile. When enumerating the characteristics of a faithful person in Quran, Allah also mentions those who avoid vain actions (23:3); i.e., those activities that have no use for us and would only waste our time.
As mentioned above, Halloween roots back to Celtic pagan’s worship of their idols and many Gods. It can be argued that today we don’t celebrate Halloween with the intention of worshiping idols or performing a Satanic holiday. The rituals are still the same and still represent the Celtic culture and tradition – as we said Christians had a very limited influence upon Halloween and the way it is celebrated- which was polytheistic.
A Muslim’s life should mirror his beliefs in every aspect. So, if an action even in appearance, represents what is against Islam or far from its teachings, then it should be avoided by Muslims.
So, if you are a Muslim and wonder what to do on Halloween’s eve, make sure that you know enough about the reasons behind this celebration. And make sure it has no danger toward yourself or others, you do not commit any action against Islamic laws (e.g., drinking alcohol, wearing immodest clothes, etc.), you don’t waste your time in doing them, and you won’t contradict your belief in Islam through looking like an atheist.
Everybody has a name and is known by that name among his/her friends, family, and in the society. Names might seem as some letters simply put together that form a word, but there is more to names than that. Every name represents the identity of its owner and sometimes affects the personality of that person. In Islamic teachings, great attention is paid to the names, and a lot of advice exists on how to choose a proper name for the new-borns. Someone who converts to Islam is said to be a re-born, so, is he/she required to choose another name for him/herself after this new birth? and should he/she Chang his/her Name after Converting to Islam?
The answer to the question above depends on what one’s name means and the origin of that name. There is no need to change the names:
without any specific orientation like the names of the flowers, or the names which are popular in a region or area but without any ideological persuasion, etc.;
without any negative backgrounds;
that do not bear negative historical, conceptual or educational meanings.
On the whole, a convert is not obliged to change his/her name, unless in the above where he/she is free to decide. In this regard, considering the Islamic teachings in naming can be helpful.
Choosing a proper name is one of the children’s rights over the parents. A good name positively affects its owner’s mind, and its meaning unconsciously strengthens the features implied in it in the character of the owner . On the contrary, a funny or ridiculous name causes the owner to be laughed at or to be mocked by others.
This matter is of great importance in Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said choosing a good name is a duty of the father . Also, giving the child a good name is known as the first gift a father gives to his child . In another narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) commands Muslims to choose good names for their children since on Judgment Day also they will be called by the names they have in this world .
But, what is a good name?
In Islam, the concept of being good and evil is first determined based on rationality and then according to the Islamic law (Shari’a), so do proper names. A good name should be therefore rationally pleasant.
Are Non-Islamic Names Allowed?
In Islam, some names like those of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) are said to bring abundant blessings to its owner and his/her family . Choosing these names for children, according to a narration from Imam Sadiq (AS), is the sign of the devotion that one has for the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his family (Ahl al-Bayt (AS)) .
However, choosing names other than these names are not prohibited by Islam. In other words, the meaning of the name, its history, and the educational effects it has on one’s personality, matter much more than the fact of being Islamic or not.
During the history of Islam, there existed some converts who had common non-Islamic names after they converted. Since they hold the names common in their regions or tribes and free of any negative concept, they kept their names after embracing Islam. Hence, there is no obligation in choosing an Islamic name.
- Name in Islam
- S. Hal-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 2, p. 618.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 128.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 101, p. 131, T. 29.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 129.
- Shaykh Sadouq, “Sawab-ul-Aamal wa Iqab-ul-Aamal”, p. 300.