The last few days, I have been thinking about dogs, human beings, and humanity.

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One story that touched me was about a loyal German Shepherd, named Tommy who has been going to a mass in the same church that her owner, Maria, used to take her to, even after Maria’s passing away.  As soon as the church bells ring, Tommy heads to church, and sits patiently by the side of the altar.

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There was a previous story of a dog, Hawkeye, sitting by the coffin of a fallen Navy Seal, Jon Tumilson.

Hawkeye refused to leave Jon’s coffin. herosdog01

Of course many dogs are known for their loyalty, not just towards humans, but also towards each other.   In Phoenix, there was a moving story of a pit bull (generally not known as the most “tender” of breeds) sitting for 14 hours next to the body of a female pitbull that had been by a car.

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For 14 hours the pit bull nuzzled his friend, trying to awaken her from her slumber.

About a thousand years ago, there was a classic work of Islamic spirituality in which the animals question the reason why human beings are usually considered superior to animals.  They are offered reason after reason, which the animals dismiss.

I look at these dogs, showing compassion to one another, and to members of other species.

I wonder about us, about our humanity.    I wonder what it is that distinguishes our species.  I look at Newtown, at Syria, in so many places around the world, and I wonder about our humanity.   I wonder about our arrogance, in talking about everything that is good and beautiful as “humanity”, and relegating all that is base, passionate, and selfish as “animal nature.”

I wonder just how much we have to learn from our four-legged friends.  I am not concerned about humanity and animal nature.    If this faithfulness and love is the faith of dogs, I pray for the faith of dogs for us human beings.

I wonder where is the love,
I wonder where is the friendship,
I wonder where is the faithfulness,
I wonder where is the concern,
I wonder where is the compassion.

Whatever species manifests these qualities, that is God’s masterpiece.

 

 

18 Comments

  1. what is this nonsense? A true Muslim would not write an article praising a ritually impure animal like the dog. This is the work of an Uncle Tom Muslim who is trying to ingratiate himself to Western standards of loving Dogs, rather than avoiding them as taught to us by our beloved Shaykhs and Teachers. Wake up Br. Omid! Stop trying to please the Western Zionists.

    • Salaam bro Farooq,

      A “real” Muslim would know the difference between ritually impure(najis) and evil. Dogs are not evil. He would also know the ahadith that praise sinful people for showing kindnesses to animals, including dogs, and the Mercy Allah shows them for the mercy they showed for animals. There is one specifically about a prostitute giving water to a thirsty stray dog and our beloved Rasulullah(sal) telling his companions(ra) that she would recieve mercy and forgiveness from God for that act.

      Before you attempt to reprimand someone, make sure you aren’t deficient in knowledge.

  2. Dear Farooq, are dogs loved by westerners because they are westerners? Dogs are a “symbol” of impurity in Islam. That is, an impurity that is in humans. Humans that bark like dogs at each others, or make people afraid of being bit, that is the true impurity dogs “symbolize.” The Prophet (SAW) says in a Hadith that the man who descends to the level of an animal becomes worse than an animal. Dogs are a creation of God and they manifest in their own way the Mercy of God. And a dog who is a dog is a good creature. But a human that barks angrily, threatens, bites (or backbites) like a dog, is worse than a dog. And that is the impurity which Islam commands us to stay away from. It is a reminder of the dog-like traits we carry in our heart.

    • Very well said. Look around the world, how humans are beheading each other. Compare to these type of humans every animal is much better. Specially Dogs are gifted creation of God with love and faith.

  3. Professor Safi gives us hope that Islam can produce a more reasoned, rational and compassionate approach to treatment of animals. But Farooq in the comments section reminds us of what happens when some Muslims take a narrow and shallow, literalist approach to the Hadith accounts, which are full of anti-dog rhetoric. It’s time to revise the Hadith collections, guys.

  4. Professor Safi gives us hope that Islam can produce a reasoned and compassionate approach to dogs (which are among God’s creatures). But Farooq in the Comments section demonstrates the result when some Muslims take a narrow and shallow, literalist approach to the Hadith accounts, which are full of anti-dog rhetoric (e.g. consider the bizarre comments about dogs in Bukhari 4.3322ff where we are told, for example, that angels don’t enter houses which contain a dog or a picture!!). It’s time to revise the Hadith collections, guys, or perhaps sideline them in shaping an Islam for the 21st century.

  5. Brother Farooq, you are not perceiving with depth what Omid Safi is saying. If mercy is one of Allah’s qualities, and a dog manifests mercy, than a dog is manifesting an aspect of Allah. There is nothing wrong with this. What makes humans better than animals is capacity. If a human being does not use their capacity for mercy or compassion, it is like they had no capacity at all. So under certain circumstances a dog might display more of God’s qualities than a human being. Hopefully we will come out ahead in this race.

  6. I actually tend to agree with every little thing that
    is written throughout “The faith of dogs | What Would Muhammad Do?
    ”. Thanks a lot for all the information.I appreciate it-Sherrill

  1. [...] The faith of dogsReligion News ServiceOf course many dogs are known for their loyalty, not just towards humans, but also towards each other. In Phoenix, there was a moving story of a pit bull (generally not known as the most “tender” of breeds) sitting for 14 hours next to the body of a …Faithful dog returns to church where owner's funeral was heldExaminer.comLoyal dog continues to attend mass at church where owner's funeral was heldYahoo! News (blog)all 34 news articles » [...]

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