In an earlier question it was said that it is not allowed to keep dogs except for hunting, herding or guarding livestock or for farming:
‘It is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever keeps a dog, a qirat from his good deeds will be deducted every day, except a dog for farming or herding livestock.” ‘
‘It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever keeps a dog that is not a dog for hunting, herding livestock or farming, two qirats will be deducted from his reward each day.” ‘
I have thoughts that I would like to share with you; and then two questions:
It seems to me that what is being referred to in these ahadith is not the dog itself, but its function.
If its function is to hunt, then a dog may be kept. If its function is to herd or to guard livestock - or to be a work dog on a farm - then a dog may be kept. On the other hand, a dog whose is function is that of a mere pet may not be kept.
There are functions that dogs have today that did not exist at the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):
Mobility assistance; guides for the blind; hearing dogs for the hearing impaired; rescue dogs; detection of illegal substances in luggage, or explosives, of harmful chemical and so on; police dogs, used to track or to immobilise criminals. These are some examples.
It seems to me that these function are every bit as valuable to society as those listed in the ahadith I have mentioned.
Since the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) could not have known of these functions he could not have spoken either for or against them.
These are my thoughts. They are merely thoughts.
My questions are: what is the status of such working or service dogs in Islam; and on what basis has this status been arrived at?
Thank you very much for your guidance. May Allah (Subḥānahu ūta'āla) reward you for your time and patience.