Dr. Rif`at Fawzi, former professor of Shari`ah atCairo Univ., asserted that there is nothing wrong, as far as Islam is concerned, in keeping animals for which there is no specific prohibition on keeping them (such as dogs and pigs). It is reported that some of the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) were in the habit of keeping animals for farming purposes or for fun and pleasure.
It is reported that Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) had a young brother who had a nughayr (a small bird or nightingale). The bird died, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) noticed that the Anas’ younger brother was so sad and grieved, so he joked with him, and said to him words which implied approval of his keeping this bird. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him, “O Abu `Umayr, what happened to the nughayr?”
In another hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings of be upon him) is reported to have stated that a woman is doomed to enter Hell because of a cat which “she neither fed nor let it eat from the vermin of the earth.”
It is clear from the above hadith that if the woman had fed the cat, she would have been spared from Hell.
It was also narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) was called so because of a little cat, which used to accompany him.
Therefore, it becomes clear that keeping unharmful animals, so long as you do not neglect them, is permitted and it may even be a means of earning reward, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “In every living being there is reward.”