One of our noble brothers asked the following question:
What is the ruling on keeping birds as pets? I have a friend who has two love birds, domesticated since birth and imported from Holland. He wants to give them away and my wife is interested. I don’t want to keep animals in captivity but these two would die if released, especially here on the peninsula.
Wa `Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah,
Thank you for your question and may Allah reward you. When discussing “pets” in Revealed Law, we have to keep two things in mind:
1. The animal is permissible to sell and buy in for commerce. Thus any animal that is permissible to sell is permitted to buy and so forth. Thus possessing one is permitted.
2. As this belongs to the book of transactions, only animals expressly forbidden for sale and purchase may be rejected as possessions. Anything outside of this prohibition in Revealed Law is permitted for buying, selling, possession and so forth.
Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH), may Allah have mercy on him, has established this rule for animals when he said,
“The general ruling is that all that can be owned that is permissible to make use of and take benefit from is permitted for salel except what has been exempted in the Revealed Law, such as in the case of the dog which is not used for hunting or security, the servant mother of an infant and the endowments that have been set.” Al-Mughni Sharh Mukhtasar il-Khiraqi, vol.4, pp. 327-328, masa’il #’s 3164-3168.
The Imam carries on further,
“Whether the sale is of something pure – like in the case of clothes, real estate, cattle, horses and hunting creatures – or there is an item in which there is a difference of opinion about whether it is impure or not –
an example being mules, donkeys or beasts and birds of prey used for hunting like the lynx, the hawk, the falcon, the shahin, the eagle, the bird that one owns just for its’ voice, like the the myna bird, the nightingale, the parrot and similar to that – all of these things are permissible for sale.” Al-Mughni Sharh Mukhtasar il-Khiraqi, vol.4, pp. 327-328, masa’il #’s 3164-3168.
Imam `Abdul Ghani al-Lubadi (d. 1319 AH), may Allah have mercy upon him, also mentioned,
“The general statement and ruling in the matter by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi was that it is permissible to conduct the sale of a bird for its’ voice, worms for their raw silk or by-products, bees for their honey, kittens for control of household pests, elephants for their tusks or pelt, mules and donkeys for uses such as transport and carrying burdens and such, beasts and birds of prey taught to hunt.
The exception to the rule would be the dog not used for hunting or security, which was previously mentioned as being forbidden to sell.
In addition to this, what is also permitted is the sale of monkeys or gorillas for the security of property or environments, human milk and also leeches or implements for the extraction of blood.” Hashiyat ul-Lubadi `ala Nail il-Maarib, pp. 168-169.