Dogs in Kabul & the Koran
March 27, 2007

As homesick as I am, as much as I count the days until this assignment is over, as often as I cry about wanting to be with Stefan and Albi and my home in Germany... I know I'm going to miss these people and others like them and so many other people when I go. Most of the time, I love Afghanistan. Most of the time, I love these people. I want them to have a real chance, and that's going to mean YEARS and YEARS of support. I so want Afghanistan to make it.

Of course, there's also the days I hate Afghanistan and I hate these people. It can be because I can't go outside except in the tiny courtyard of my guest house, the courtyard of someone else's guest house, or the dirt-covered ministry compound. It can be because of all the nasal and throat noises Afghan men seem to love to make at all hours of the day. It can be because of the way they allow women and children to live (I have yet to see a man in as bad a condition as I've seen some of the women and children). But, usually, it's in relation to the treatment of dogs.

You know what the MOST insulting name is in Afghanistan to call someone? "Dog washer." Because such a thing DOES NOT EXIST in Afghanistan - it's too disgusting of a concept to be reality for the people here. I'm not kidding. It's so sad, because this horrible view of dogs has NO basis in the Koran!! (it has its basis in the Hadith, the oral traditions that came after the Koran; more on that later). I wish I could get this page by Muslim vetinarians translated into Dari and Pashto and hand it out:

Also, here's an excerpt from an Islamic site:

It is interesting to know that dogs are mentioned in the Quran 3 times, not just once, 7:176, 18:18, 18:22 (three times). NO WHERE does God call the dogs dirty animals or give any indication that they should be avoided or treated the way many Muslims think they should...

The people of the cave, 3, 5 or 7 were mentioned in the Quran and every time God insists on letting us know that their dog was there with them. Their story can be as complete without the mention of the dog, but God did, Why?

God is telling us these righteous people were in the cave with their dog, if it is not righteous to have dogs, God would not have told us that story in which the dog has to be remembered as being there. We have to know the quality of God, if we were to worship Him correctly. When God says something He means it, and when he does not, he means it as much. If God did not curse the dog and call it all kinds of name, it is because God wants us to know that He created that beautiful creature and He expected us to make all use and companinonship with that animal that accompanied these righteous people of the cave.

More about Hadith: they are traditions regarding the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad that are not in the Koran. Most Muslims consider hadith to be essential supplements to and clarifications of the Koran, even though the Koran states "We have made it (the Koran) easy to understand and in your own tongue (language) may you take heed." (Koran 44:58). Some Hadith, which are based on oral tradition, contradict what's in the Koran. There are always debates about which hadith were to be trusted as authentic narrations and which were invented for various political or theological purposes.

((if you want to help regarding the stray dog and cat situation in Afghanistan, please make a donation to the Mayhew Animal Home and Humane Education Centre, and tell them you want your gift to go to their efforts in Afghanistan. They are working to help spay and neuter dogs and cats there, to train Afghans regarding veterinary medicine, and to change Afghans' cultural practices regarding dogs, which have no basis in the Koran. I have spoken numerous times with a representative of this organization; they ARE making a difference, and your support will help them do even more!))


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