When a guru once mentioned about dogs having saintly traits, my jaw dropped. When inquired further, he refused to elaborate, he said 'go observe'. I thought one quality has got to be their loyalty. That's what they say about people born in the year of the dog (me!). Anyway, many years have passed and recently when a dear friend suddenly mentioned about '11 saintly qualities of dogs', my jaw dropped, again. Here they are, as posted on his blog several years ago (where have I been?):
The 11 qualities of a dog which if one maintains, one becomes an Awliya (friend of God, gaining insight of the Real), originally a teaching passed down from Ghauth al Azam:
1. Not forgetting goodness.
2. They don't forget those who have done goodness to them.
3. They are patient and always grateful for everything that they are given.
4. They are not angry with their master, even if they are beaten and sent away.
5. If their owner calls, they return with their tails wagging.
6. They are humble, obedient, truthful, trustworthy, good friends, loyal.
7. Always remaining with their owners and never turning traitor.
8. They are satisfied with small things; they are `zahid', not looking to anything from this dunya.
9. They have nothing from this world, they have no place for themselves.
10. They may sleep anywhere, and if someone throws stones at them, they quickly get up and go somewhere else.
11. They are very light sleepers, they don't sleep too much, and quickly awaken.
If a person has these attributes, he or she enters into the rank of a wali, by God's permission. Those 11 attributes belong to Saints, who are loyal to their Master! May God help us cultivate and retain these 11 qualities. Credit: http://warriorette.blogspot.com/
I have also discovered that there is a book written on this subject:
"Presented in the form of stories drawn from classical Sufi literature, this book communicates the value of humanity, loyalty and other praiseworthy qualities of dogs, and emphasizes the worthiness of a gentle training that tames wildness and makes this most noble animal useful to society. "
About the Author:
Dr. Javad Nurbaksh was born in Kerman, Iran. Prior to his retirement, he was professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tehran. He has written numerous books on psychiatry and written and published extensively on the subject of Sufism. Dr. Nurbakhsh, who currently resides in England, is the Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, a position that he has held since he was twenty-six years old.
"This book dispells the myth that all Muslims hate dogs. You will see that the kind hearted Muslim Sufis treated the dog with reverence as they revere all of God's creation."
"This book presents the image of the dog as portrayed in Sufi literature, and is illustrated with Persian miniatures. In contrast to the prevailing Islamic view of the dog as a foul, vicious and unclean animal, the Sufis held the poverty and wretchedness of the dog in special esteem, considering themselves to be dogs — or less than dogs — in the lane of the Beloved. These stories communicate the value of humility, loyalty, and other praiseworthy qualities of the base animal nature of their own ego, and emphasize the value of training that tames wildness and makes even the dog useful to society."
And of course, we all know the story of Qitmir the dog who accompanied the Ashabul Kahf, the seven young gentlemen who fled into a cave, as narrated in the Qur'an. How Qitmir spoke to them insisting on following and helping them! How God made a dog loved the solehin (the righteous)!
O son, may we take a moment to observe these 'saintly' beings the next time we get a chance.
Related Lisan al-Din post: Ashabul Kahf
Credits: MS and Darvish.