it is permissible to keep Hamsters as Pets

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Ref no: 0124#

Date: Monday, May 16, 2011

Category

Fiqh

Title

it is permissible to keep Hamsters as Pets

Question

it is permissible to keep Hamters as Pets but one of my Friends told me that the Fatwa of Jamiat South Africa approved by Scholars and Fatwa of Madrasah Azaadville South Africa states its not permissible and here is the proof given by Muftis- Hamsters are rodents and therefore will fall in the same category as mice and rats.  They are regarded in Shari’ah as being موذى (harmful).  If a person whilst in the state of ihraam kills a rat, mouse or hamster then he will not be liable to pay any compensation. Therefore the rule with regards to hamsters will be the same as that of mice i.e. one may not keep them as pets.

Answer

Muhtaram / Muhtaramah

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.

 

We respectfully disagree with the mentioned Fatwa. The following Hadith is the substantiation used for the impermissibility of keeping hamsters as pet,

عن سالم عن أبيه سئل النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- عما يقتل المحرم من الدواب فقال « خمس لا جناح فى قتلهن على من قتلهن فى الحل والحرم العقرب والفأرة والحدأة والغراب والكلب العقور

Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was asked concerning those animals which a person in the state of Ihram is allowed to kill. He stated, “There is no harm upon a person in killing five (animals) whether in the Hill (out of the boundaries of the Haram) or in the Haram, namely, the scorpion, the rat, the kite-bird, the raven and the rabid dog.” The respected Ulama who disallow keeping hamsters as pets draw an analogy upon the rat. They state that the rat is harmful based upon the fact that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم permitted killing them in the Haram. They analogize the same ruling to the hamster merely because both animals are classified as rodents. Thus, they surmise that since a hamster is a rodent similar to a rat, then the same ruling of it being harmful should apply and this harmfulness of the animal is the illation of it being impermissible to keep as a pet.

In response, we commence by examining the meaning of the word rodent. The scientific classification of rodent or rodentia merely refers to such mammals that have a set of upper and lower incisors which grow continuously. A hamster falls under the same classification due to the same set of teeth. We fail to see how merely having this classification qualifies the hamster to fall under the same ruling of a rat whereas the illation of the above mentioned Hadith is the harmfulness of the creatures. If we have to use the same line of reasoning, then technically, a cat is considered a feline and predatory animal similar to a lion, panther and cheetah. These are also very harmful creatures, yet Abu Hurairah رضى الله عنه who acquired his nickname due to his association and affection for kittens, kept cats as pets. Abu Hurairah رضى الله عنه kept these animals normally considered as predators for the sake of affection, companionship and play. This shows that mere scientific classifications of animals do not qualify as proper illations to analogize one ruling to another. Considering the fact that the above-mentioned Hadith mentions such animals that can cause harm, other animals that have a similar nature in causing harm to people will also fall under the same ruling. This seems to be a more proper illation for the ruling than merely having a certain set of teeth. A hamster is generally known to be a gentle, playful and harmless creature with different behavioral traits and characteristics of a rat; hence it will be excluded from the analogy presented by these respected Ulama.

In conlusion, Mawlana Abdul Hayy Lucknawi, when asked concerning keeping birds and small quadrupeds such as hamsters as pets, issued general permissibility.

(Majmu’at al-Fatawa, vol. 2 pg. 201)

And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa

Madrasah Inaa’miyyah

 

 

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