***The Love of Animals in Islam***

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***The Love of Animals in Islam***

Post by Noor'e Sahar on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:53 am





***The
Love of Animals in Islam***




***The Love of Animals in
Islam***












Bismillah Arrahman Arraheem



Mistreating animals is considered a sin in Islam. A
Muslim is responsible for the care of animals so much so that an
ill-treated animal will testify against the one who abused it on the Day
of Judgment. Islam forbids branding animals and killing them in vain,
such as for sport. The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم forbade
people to capture birds, burn anthills, and whip animals. Even in
slaughtering animals for food, Islam requires that the slaughtering be
done according to Islamic procedure, which is humane and aims to cause
the animals as little suffering as possible. As humans, we have a
responsibility towards every living creature.


Have you
ever gone to any Pet Shops ? Poor, helpless animals imprisoned
in tiny cages without even enough space to turn around.Their sad,
pleading eyes haunting. I wondered if the pet shop owner ever
thought about what it would be like to be paralyzed, as he has
incarcerated birds in little cages. And for what beneficial purpose?
Weren’t birds meant to fly? Maybe only a fellow animal lover would
really understand, yet the importance of kindness to animals is
something every Muslim should understand as a part of his worldview. It
is such a serious matter that in Islam, it is understood that one could
gain Heaven or Hell due to one’s treatment of
animals.

Where are the people of the Sunnah? Has
Allah plucked the mercy from the hearts of people to make them so cold
that they lack an ounce of sympathy for one of Allah’s beautiful
creatures though they see it so helpless and pitiful? Where are the Abu
Hurayrahs of today?”

Abu Hurayrah was a close Companion of the
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and has narrated more hadiths, or
sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, صلى الله عليه و سلم than any other
Companion. He was known for being very sympathetic and loving towards
animals so much so that although his name was `Abdur-Rahman, he was
known as Abu Hurayrah, meaning “father of the kitten.” He was called so
because of a small cat that he used to feed and care for and carry with
him everywhere he went.

Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)
taught mercy to all of God’s creation.There are many reports of his love
for cats resulting in their historical acceptance among Muslims. Cats
were very common among the people during the time of the Prophet صلى
الله عليه و سلم , and he said, “They (cats) are not impure and they
intermingle with you.”1 The cat is such a clean animal that according to
authentic narrations one may make ablution for Prayer with the same
water that a cat drank from. Yet, it is known that some people nowadays
have opposed the traditions of the Prophet صلى
الله عليه وسلم by taking up the evil practices of torturing and
poisoning cats. In Islam, punishment for such acts is severe. Both
Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported a hadith regarding a woman who locked up a
cat, refusing to feed it and not releasing it so that it could feed
itself. The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم said that her
punishment on the Day of Judgment will be torture and Hell.

Many
Muslims have misunderstood Islam’s teachings regarding dogs, and this
misunderstanding has led to the mistreatment of these animals. The
Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Purifying a container that a dog
has licked (in order for human’s to use it) is done by
1.] washing it seven times,
2.] the first washing being with dirt.
3.] However, according to some scholars, a
dog’s fur is considered pure
4.] Nonetheless, Muslims are discouraged from keeping dogs
inside their homes, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم has
been reported as saying that angels do not
enter into a house that has a dog.

However, just because one
does not keep a dog inside the home and doesn’t drink after it, that
does not give one the right to neglect it, mistreat it, or kill it. The
usefulness of this creature of God is indisputable. No other animal can
compete with it in its loyalty to its caregiver, its abilities as a
guard, and its talent for hunting. In fact, the Qur’an narrates in Surat
Al-Kahf, or “The
Cave,” the story of some pious youths who took refuge in a cave
from the persecution and violence of the unbelievers. That these
righteous people had a dog with them, and the fact that Allah mentions
the dog and counts the dog among them, indicates that dogs are permitted
to live among people. [And you would have thought them awake, whereas
they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left
sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance
(of the cave as a guard)] (Al-Kahf 18:18).

So dogs
may be used for hunting, as the Qur’an also states: [They ask you about
what is lawful for them (as food); Say: Lawful unto you are (all) things
good and pure: and those beasts and birds of prey which you have
trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in a manner as
directed to you by Allah; so eat what they catch for you, but pronounce
the name of Allah over it and fear Allah, for Allah is swift in
reckoning] (Al-Ma’idah 5:4).

In two separate hadiths
narrated by Abu Hurayrah (the cat-loving Companion), the Prophet صلى
الله عليه و سلم told his Companions of the virtue of saving the life of a
dog by giving it water and quenching its thirst: one referred to was a
man who was blessed by Allah for giving water to a thirsty dog. The
other was a prostitute, who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a
dog that was lolling its tongue in thirst. For this deed she was granted
the ultimate reward: eternal Paradise.

Islam asks
people to reflect upon this and be aware of each person’s duty toward
God’s creatures, which He has put on earth for our use, not for our
abuse. When the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was asked if God rewarded
acts of charity to the animals, he replied, “Yes, there is a reward for
acts of charity to every beast alive.”
By Hediyah Al-Amin
American teacher of Islamic Studies and
Islamic Culture



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Noor'e Sahar

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