Is it permissible to keep animals as pets in a cage?

It is permissible to keep animals as pets, and even keep them in a cage, as long as they are properly taken care of. There was a young boy in the city of Madīnah who kept a bird as a pet in his house and the Prophet asked him how the bird was doing, but did not criticize the fact that it was kept as a pet. [Bukhārī & Muslim].

God knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

Is it permissible to feed animals pork, impurities, or other food that is prohibited for human consumption?

As long as no harm comes to the animal as a result of the food, they may be fed any type of food. The prohibition of pork, carrion, impurities, and other foods only applies to humans, since animals are not obligated to follow the Islamic Law which was revealed for human beings.[1]

[1] Imam Abū Ḥanīfah gave a ruling that that it is permissible to feed dogs flour which had been mixed with impure water. [Badāiʿ aṣ-Ṣanāiʿ 1:78]

God knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

Is it permissible to euthanize [gently kill] domesticated animals such as cats and dogs when they are no longer wanted as house pets?

No, it is not permissible to do so. God has created animals in a way that they generally have the capability to survive in the wild. Even if they do not survive, due to their long-term domestication, it is not a decision that humans should take into their own hands. They might be eaten by another animal or play some other beneficial role in the ecosystem that God has created.

The Prophet once strongly criticized a woman who had imprisoned a cat that starved to death and said, “She neither provided it with food and drink, nor did she free it so it could survive on the vermin of the land.” [Bukhārī & Muslim] This indicates that if she could not bear the responsibility of taking care of the cat, she should have let it go free and allowed it to try to survive on its own.

Statistics show that domesticated animals that are released into the wild have a chance of survival. However, even if they do not survive, it should not be viewed as some type of cruelty because they were created for such a purpose, and there is divine wisdom in that.

God knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

If animals are being mistreated, does it become prohibited to eat or use products from those animals because it would lead to further mistreatment?

Islam teaches us to be kind to all living creatures and categorically prohibits animal abuse. The Prophet informs us of how a woman earned God’s wrath for mistreating a cat that she imprisoned, neither feeding it nor letting it hunt for food. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī]

We are allowed to slaughter animals for meat, but it must be done in the least cruel way. The Prophet said: “Allah has decreed proficiency in everything. If you slaughter something then do it properly. A person should sharpen his blade and make it easy for the animal.” [Sahîh Muslim] Islam teaches us to not use a dull knife or allow the animal to see the blade beforehand, because it would scare the animal. It is important to note that if Islam has prescribed such stringent rules to be followed even when the animal is about to die, then it must be treated just as well throughout its life, when it potentially has a longer lifespan in front of it.

Many animals today live miserable lives due to unsanitary conditions, physical restraints which prevent them from moving around, and other unethical practices. All of these actions are primarily done out of greed for earning more profit, without having the slightest care for the animal’s welfare.

Despite the fact that these unethical practices are prohibited in Islam, it does not render the animal impermissible to consume. As long as the animal has been slaughtered correctly and the cruel means of treating the animal will not affect the meat where it becomes harmful to the consumer, then it is lawful to eat. However, if boycotting the products produced from this animal such as meat, milk, and leather will definitely lead to alleviating the cruelty against these animals, then it may be necessary for Muslims to participate in such a boycott and avoid supporting such an industry.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

I know eating pork is prohibited in Islam. What should be our attitude towards pigs as animals? Should we avoid seeing them in zoos/farms, watching documentaries about them, playing with toy pig figures, or watching animated shows which feature pigs?

Pigs, like all other animals, are creations of God. We are not supposed to treat them in any manner different than other animals. The only thing that Islam explicitly teaches is that pigs are prohibited to eat and that their saliva/sweat is impure and must be washed off after touching them.

There are no other instructions from God or the Prophet Muhammad which teach us to treat pigs differently than other animals. It is neither prohibited to look at them, touch them, or study them.

It may be argued that developing a dislike for pigs can have a beneficial psychological effect on Muslims and help to ensure that they maintain the Islamic rulings concerning the prohibition of eating pigs and their impurity. However, this point is open to discussion and hatred for pigs may have negative consequences on the psychology of Muslims as well.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

Is it recommended when already in Makkah to leave, reenter, and perform another ʿUmrah?

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah mentions that early Muslim scholars were agreed that such a practice is disliked. He said that performing ṭawāf is better. Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā 26/248 This practice was not followed by the Prophet or any of his Companions, even though they had many opportunities to do so. The only incident was when ʿĀishah asked permission to leave Makkah after she had performed Ḥajj so she could perform an ʿUmrah as well, but that was due to her special circumstances.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

If I fly to Jeddah airport, which is within the mīqāt boundary, but then plan to go first to Madīnah, before proceeding to Makkah, must I wear the iḥrām?

If you enter the mīqāt boundary without having the intention to proceed to Makkah for ʿUmrah or Ḥajj, then it is not necessary to assume the iḥrām. Since your destination when landing in Jeddah was Madīnah and not Makkah, there is no need to put on iḥrām from that location, since Madīnah is outside of the mīqāt boundary.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

Is it allowed to wear underwear or shorts under iḥrām clothing if I get painful chafing between my legs without it?

A pilgrim is not supposed to wear clothing which is sewn to cover the limbs, like a pant, shirt, or shorts. In order to avoid such discomfort or illness, anti-chafing cream or some other medical product may be used. If this does not suffice then it will be permissible to wear to the extent that it is needed to prevent hardship and illness.

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar

I was told that male pilgrims are not allowed to wear stitched clothing when in iḥrām but I notice that the towels and sheets being sold are stitched at the hem.

The reality is that stitching is not what is prohibited but that a piece of cloth should not be stitched closed. The Prophet said that when a person is in iḥrām “He should not wear a shirt, nor a turban, nor pants, nor a cloak. He should not wear cloth that has been dyed with wors or saffron…” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (134) and Sahīh Muslim (1177)] Scholars have derived from this ḥadīth that articles of clothing which are sewn together in order to wrap around parts of the body are prohibited, like pants and shirts. This is because a one piece ‘unstitched’ garment is humble and simple. Stitching up a tear in this garment, for example, is not prohibited. Neither is stitching a pocket into it. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah writes: ““If a pair of pants is cut open, it becomes the equivalent of a waistcloth. There is scholarly consensus that it can be wrapped around the waist and worn even when proper waistcloths are unavailable.” [Sharḥ al-ʿUmdah] Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah: “That which is sewn or bound together for purposes other than to go around a limb – and are not sewn in the shape and size of a limb – can be worn. For instance, a pilgrim can wear a waistcloth or shoulder cloth that is sewn up or that has patches sewn into it. This is because the ruling only prohibits articles of clothing that are designed to fit the limbs of the body. The prohibited articles of clothing are those that are sewn into sleeves and other limb-covering features – the normal clothing that we wear.”

Allah knows best,

Imam Mustafa Umar