The teachings of Islam about other creatures

 

The teachings of the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) led Muslims, regardless of their education or social status, to be kind to animals.

It is true that Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) main concern was the welfare of his people. He indeed labored very hard to give them security and sustenance, and before his death, Muslims were secured and well fed wherever they were. However, this concern extended to animals and the environment too. Whenever he saw a weak, bruised, working or riding animal, he found its owner and preached him to take good care of his animal.

These are some of the teachings of Islam concerning animals, they are found in the books of Hadith and Sunna as they are not the word of God, but the teachings of His Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him.

 

Practicing with arrows

Hazrat Anas Bin Malik (R.A.A) relates that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has forbidden making an animal a target for arrow shooting.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

A sparrow and little ants

Hazrat Abullah Bin Mas'ud (R.A.A) relates: we accompanied the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) on journey at a halt when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) went away some-where for a while for some private work, we noticed a small red bird with two little birdies. We caught the little ones, and the mother-bird seeing this became perturbed and started beating the earth with its wings. By that time the Holy prophet (S.A.W) returned and asked: Who has caused trouble to this bird by catching hold of its youngs? Return them to her. He (S.A.W) also noticed a mound of ants that we had burnt down: He (S.A.W) inquired. " Who has burnt down these ants? We answered: We have done this. He (S.A.W) observed: It is not proper for anybody to torture (any creature) with fire except the Sustainer of the Hell (Allah the Almighty).

(Abu Dawud)

The hungry cat

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: That the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said: A woman was punished (tortured) because she locked up a cat till it died. On account of this she was doomed to hell. She had not given the cat anything to eat or drink when she confined it, nor did she free it to enable it pick up its food from among the insects and similar other creatures of the earth. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The thirsty dog

The Messenger (pbuh) once told the following story:

'A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, he drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt, so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action'.

The Prophet was asked: 'O, Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals? He said; 'There is a reward for kindness to every living thing".

The crying camel

One day, the Prophet (peace be up on him) went for a walk through Medina to meet with the Muslims and talk to them. After a while, he came to a garden (a farm) and went in.

There was a man sitting under a tree, in the cool shade. There were many other Muslims in the garden, too. Then, the Blessed Prophet saw a camel standing in one corner of the garden. The camel was tied to a post. It was making a pitiful howling sound.

The Blessed Prophet walked over to where the camel was tied up. As he got closer, he saw that the camel was crying. Big tears were rolling down its cheeks and making the fur on its face all wet.

The Blessed Prophet felt great pity for the camel. He went up to it and stroked its fur, and wiped away its tears. The Blessed Prophet saw that the camel was very thin. After a while, the camel stopped crying and howling. It gave a snort, as camels do when they are pleased.

The Blessed Prophet looked around at all the people standing in the garden.

" Who is the owner of this camel?" he asked. The man who had been sitting beneath the tree stepped forward.

" I am the owner of the camel, O Messenger of God!" he said.

The Blessed Prophet told him that he had been very cruel to the camel. The poor animal was howling and crying because his owner made it work very hard, but did not give it enough to eat and drink. Everyone in the garden could see how thin the camel was and how cruelly the man had acted towards the camel. When the owner of the camel heard this, he began to feel ashamed.

" Do you not fear Allah because of this camel?" The Blessed Prophet asked him.

The owner of the camel now felt very ashamed indeed.

" I have done wrong!" he said. " The camel is one of Allah's living creatures. I am sorry for my cruelty."

The camel's owner never forgot what the Blessed Prophet told him. After this, he always looked after his camels properly. Although the camels still worked hard, for they were strong animals, the man always saw that they had enough food and water.

Allah had given the camel into the man's care to help him in his work and carry burdens for him. The man had the duty to treat the camel well and see that it had enough to eat and drink. If he did so, the camel would work well for him.

All living creatures must be treated kindly. The Blessed Prophet always taught that if they were treated well, Allah would be pleased. But if they were treated badly, Allah would be angry.

Giving a charitable gift
Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle said, "There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a person, a bird or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him."

Even though the teachings of the Quran, Hadith and Sunna evolve around a basic understanding, which is every one of us is ultimately accountable for his or her actions before Allah, there are many stories told by Muhammad (pbuh) about being kind to animals. In these stories, Islam taught how to be humane and kind to animals.

Islam teaches that kindness to animals is not only "O.K or good" but it is "a must". It teaches of a reward just for doing so, to make us aware of our actions, even if our actions were towards speechless creatures.

 

Adapted from:

 

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