March 2006: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3


Islam is a way of life that encourages kindness, tolerance and acceptance. It is not always practiced that way but that is clearly the emphasis of the Quran. Tradition has changed the focus somewhat over the centuries but if you go to the source—the Quran—and look there for answers, it’s quite clear.

Many of us share our homes and our hearts with dogs or cats. They become an important part of our lives. Too soon, it seems, they age and die. We feel the loss as we would for any friend. The blessing is that we can be assured that our pets are guaranteed Heaven.

Animals—all animals—are submitters to the will of God, which makes them “Muslims.” God doesn’t prohibit us from keeping pets. In fact, in 5:4, He talks about training them according to His teachings. And in the story of the cave in Sura 18, the young men flee persecution and hide in the cave for over 300 years with their faithful dog by their side. So having dogs and cats in our homes and enjoying them and loving them is clearly approved of by God. The dogs and cats (and all the other creatures of God) come to this earth for a period of time, determined by God, and then they return to Him for eternity (6:38, 42:29). The Quran makes it clear that all the animals will go to Heaven.

That’s not necessarily true for all humans, but all the animals, because they submit, will go back to God. So, if as a human, you lead a righteous life and worship God ALONE and submit to the will of God, you will be reunited with your pets in Heaven. It’s generally thought of the other way around.

In traditional Islam, it is not considered clean to have a dog; they prohibit something that God has made lawful. American society encourages the keeping of pets, but there are some Christian sects that say that dogs won’t go to heaven, and this is very upsetting to people who love their pets. But they’re all worrying about the wrong thing. They need to take care of their own souls, forsake the practice of idol worship, and turn to God wholeheartedly. Then they will find their pets waiting for them at God.

There are no references in the Quran to grieving for your pet. I think that’s because, since we know they are going to Heaven, there’s no need to grieve. How we cope with the loss in our own lives is a personal matter. Counseling and spiritual guidance can come from friends within the community, helping friends to cope. We would remind each other of the comforting fact that while we will miss the companionship of our dog, the dog itself is in total happiness forever. We make our own mental image—I’ve always had the soothing picture of my dog chasing rabbits and eating steak. This was especially helpful with a dog that I’d had for over 18 years. At the end she was quite frail and slow. When she died, my friends in the community were able to make me smile with this image of the younger, healthier, happier dog. Knowing that she, and all the other dogs I have lost, are romping joyously in Paradise

gives me peace. My goal is to be worthy to join them in the end.

Finally, I would like to quote some verses from the Quran. Traditional Islam relies heavily on books called Hadith, written centuries after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, but true Islam takes all its guidance and knowledge from the Quran itself, the proven word of God.

They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you." You train them according to God’s teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and men-tion God’s name thereupon. You shall observe God. God is most efficient in reckoning. [5:4]

All the creatures on earth, and all the birds that fly with wings, are communities like you. We did not leave anything out of this book. To their Lord, all these creatures will be summoned. [6:38]

Among His proofs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the creatures He spreads in them. He is able to summon them, when He wills. [42:29]

The heavens and the earth are full of proofs for the believers. Also in your creation, and the creation of all the animals, there are proofs for people who are certain. [45:3-4]

Do you not realize that to God prostrates everyone in the heavens and the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the animals, and many people? [22:18]