| by Tabassum Mosleh |
Allah (swt) said, And the earth He laid [out] for the creatures. [Quran, 55:10]
Allah (swt) has made the world plain and balanced with firm mountains in order to make it stable and livable by all living creatures. And as human beings, it’s our responsibility to take care of and protect all other creatures, because we’re the vicegerents of Allah on this earth.
In the Mesenger’s (sa) character we have the best example of how to behave towards animals. Here are some of the instances in the Prophet’s (sa) life where his care for animals became manifest.
- Taking care of animals: The Messenger of Allah (sa) came upon an emaciated camel and said: Fear Allah regarding these dumb animals. Ride them when they are in good condition and feed them when they are in good condition. [Abu Dawud]
- Striking animals or branding their faces: The Prophet (sa) passed by an animal which had been branded and its nostrils were smoking. The Prophet (sa) said, ‘Allah curses any person who does this. No one should mark the face nor strike it.'” [Al-adab al-mufrad]
- Overburdening domestic animals and keeping them hungry: ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar narrated:
The Apostle of Allaah (sa) seated me behind him (on his ride) one day, and told me secretly a thing asking me not to tell it to anyone. . . He entered the garden of a man from the Ansar (Helpers). All of a sudden when a Camel saw the Prophet (sa) it wept tenderly producing yearning sound and it eyes flowed. The Prophet (sa) came to it and wiped the temple of its head. So it kept silence. He then said “Who is the master of this Camel? Whose Camel is this? A young man from the Ansar came and said “This is mine, Apostle of Allaah (sa).” He said “Don’t you fear Allaah about this beast which Allaah has given in your possession. It has complained to me that you keep it hungry and load it heavily which fatigues it.” [Abu Dawud]
- Reward for being good to animals: Allah’s Messenger (sa) said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” [Bukhari]
- Taking away small birds from their mother: We were with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in a journey when he drew apart (to relieve nature). In his absence, we saw a red bird which had two young ones with it. We caught them and the red mother bird came, beating the earth with its wings. In the meantime the Prophet (ﷺ) returned and said, “Who has put this bird to distress on account of its young? Return them to her.” He (ﷺ) also noticed a mound of ants which we had burnt up. He asked, “Who has set fire to this?” We replied: “We have done so.” He (ﷺ) said, “None can chastise with fire except the Rubb of the fire.” [Abu Dawud].
- Shooting animals for play or exercise: The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Wealth taken by force is (not permissible), any predator that has fangs is not permissible, and any animal used for target practice is not permissible.’ [Nasa’i]
In another narration, he (sa) forbade “using anything with a soul as a target.” [Nasa’i]
- Slaughtering animals with the minimum amount of pain: Messenger of Allah (sa) said, Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsan (kindness) for everything. So when you kill, you must make the killing in the best manner; when you slaughter, make your slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife and give ease to his animal (in order to reduce his pain). [Muslim].
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Tabassum Mosleh is a freelance writer and a student of al-Salam Institute. She likes animals and natural beauty, reading novels and researching interesting topics. She shares her reflections at the blog sections of Understand Quran Academy, IIPH and Ibana. Contact: [email protected]