Having a dog in Morocco has quite a few challenges, the biggest of which is the religious belief about dogs; that they are impure – or at least their Saliva is.
This apparently comes from a passage in the Koran that describes a situation where the angel Gabriel interrupts a meeting with the Prophet Muhammad because a dog has wandered into the prophet’s home.
“We angels do not enter a home in which there is a dog or a picture,” Gabriel tells the prophet.
One of the hadiths (teachings, deeds and sayings of the prophet Muhammad) used by Muslims to explain their antipathy towards dogs also reads: “If a dog licks the vessel of any one of you, let him throw away whatever was in it and wash it seven times.” – probably a very sensible thing to do at the time in a hot country where dogs ran wild, today this has bred a nation of clean at the point of almost OCD fanatics.
So Ruby although cute is not always welcome, especially before prayers, if she touches the clothing of any of my Muslim friends who want to pray they have to literally shower and scrub all over before praying.
Imagine my embarrassment therefore when taking Ruby around the block before bed and into the gardens of the Mosque, when she breaks free and skips inside at prayer time. I watched on in horror as my eyes met those of a male usher who was trying to capture the happily panting and skipping dog as she was weaving in and out of the djallabah clad faithful prostrated on their knees. Eventually she came out on her own terms, after wreaking havoc (we hadn’t managed to catch her).
Once the panic was over and apologies were made I sat for a moment of calm in the gardens, luckily finding a bench between two ladies from Tangiers. Talking in French I explained the situation and my embarrassment we laughed together ‘Quel Horror!’
Luckily most of the time Ruby is a welcome sight on the streets especially for the kids who mostly want to rustle her away with them, cute she is – but respectful of Islam – maybe not!