It’s been quite the source of debate over whether or not keeping a snake as a pet is haram. So I decided to look into the arguments for both sides.
Are pet snakes haram?
It’s debatable whether pet snakes are haram or not. But as with all decisions in which you are worried about something being haram, consult Allah and allow that communication to guide your judgment.
So while it’s not really possible to give an answer rooted in firm fact to tell you whether keeping a pet snake is haram or not, I’ll at least provide some of the argument for both sides.
Snakes are Haram
The basic arguments for a snake being haram fall into several categories: snakes reflect Shaytan, keeping pets as solely for the purpose of keeping them as a pet is wrong, and The Messenger of Allah once had a snake killed before it could hurt him.
Snakes Reflect Shaytan
Shaytan is said to have tempted Adam with his whispering ultimately leading to Adam’s fall. Iblis being the Shaytan behind this has a personal grudge against Adam as Iblis’s refusal to bow before Adam lead to his fall from grace. Shaytan inhabit snakes as Jinn and as such, every snake shares a pale reflecting with Iblis and his judgment insubordination against Allah and his creation of Man.
Snakes are a known form that the Jinn take and as such they should be given three warnings to leave before you kill them. Following this line of thought, one would not want to invite a Jinn to stay with them as a pet so it is best to just avoid keeping snakes as pets.
Keeping Animals as Pets is Wrong
Muslim’s can only keep animals if they are used for the purposes of helping their owners. Dogs that serve as guard dogs or horses used for travel fall under this category. Keeping a pet just to have a pet doesn’t serve any utility-based purpose and as such, this is frowned upon as you are taking the animal out of the natural environment that it was born into.
So it is better to leave a snake to be free than to take him captive into a terrarium or cage of some kind. This is unnatural for the creature and disrespectful to Allah’s creation.
The Messenger of Allah’s encounter with a snake
As the story goes Nafi’ reported that Abu Lubaba talked to Ibn ‘Umar to open a door in his house which would bring them nearer to the mosque and they found a fresh slough of the snake, whereupon Abdullah said, “Find it out and kill it.” Abu Lubaba said, “Don’t kill them, for Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of the snakes found in houses.” (Book #026, Hadith #5546)
From this, we see that the Messenger of Allah sought out a snake to kill. GIven the uncertain reasoning behind this action, it may hint toward the innately evil nature of snakes. So it is overall best to avoid snake’s and the Jinn that may encompass them.
Snakes are not Haram
Snakes do not Reflect Shaytan
Shaytan is often confused with the Christian equivalent Satan. Shaytan is rarely mentioned as having a vessel in traditional Muslim teaching. He is known mostly as a voice that can be heard but is only this. He has the abilities to a appear as a man in which form he attempts to tempt people, but that is the only form he is known to take.
Claims that Shaytan was a snake in his interactions with Adam appear to be the cause of the mixing of the Christian and Muslim stories. In the Quran, there is no mention of Shaytan inhabiting a snake he just, “whispered to Adam” thus inspiring him to partake of the forbidden fruit.
Given the Islamic belief and doctrine the Shaytan can whisper to each of us and tempt us to move against Allah it seems that this may be similar to the tempting of Adam and the snake form of Iblis is only associated with him from the mixing of Christian and Muslim stories.
Keeping Animals as Pets isn’t Wrong
The argument about keeping pets captive is that the animals are in a displeasing environment to Allah, but if you were to care for the animal and provide those things that are necessary to keep them comfortable then you are not harming the animal any and keeping them as a pet should be fine.
Furthermore, a pet does serve some form of utility as a creature that serves its master through comfort. So as long as neither the snake is in danger or the snake serves as a danger to its owner than keeping the snake as a pet should be fine. But make sure you are doing what you can to provide for your pet and taking care of a fellow creation of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah’s Encounter with the Snake does not Disapprove of Pet Snakes
The encounter with the snake in this story was with a poisonous snake and as such the removal of the danger part of the snake, fangs and venom would leave the snake permissible to have as a pet. In this scenario it would be advisable, some say, to do so as the snake no longer has means to defend itself and is, therefore, going to be in a foreign situation whether you left it alone or not.
So it is best to make it as comfortable as you can while taking care of its basic needs as it’s means of providing for itself has been taken away.
While there is no direct source that states snakes as pets are or are not haram, there is much speculation and symbolism against the idea. If you feel you should have a pet snake, consult Allah and through that conversation lead yourself into understanding whether or not it is best for you to have a snake as a pet. But always trust in Allah’s wisdom for you.
What is Haram?
Haram is an Arabic word that means “forbidden.” So whatever is Haram means that it is strictly forbidden by Islamic law. It can also mean that something is forbidden unless one has achieved a certain level of purity or spiritual knowledge.
Are cats Haram in Islam?
Cats are admired for their cleanliness by Islamic tradition. They are in contrast from dogs which are considered unclean. Because of this, cats are allowed to enter into homes.