The Prophet’s Charismatic Manners with Animals

Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, was the kindest of men in the same way as he excelled all others in courage and valour. Being extremely kind-hearted, his eyes brimmed with tears at the slightest sign of inhumanity. 
Prophet Muhammad was the embodiment of mercy, he showed compassion to all those around him, family, orphans, friends, strangers and even enemies.  He also treated the environment and animals with respect and mercy.  He taught his followers that because animals were part of God’s creation they should be treated with dignity and due care.
God, the Exalted, says: “And We have sent you O Muhammad not but as a mercy for all of humankind, jinn, and all that exists.”  (Quran 21:107)
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, preaches that animals have rights in the same way as man has. They should not be treated badly, tortured or left to starve without food or water.
There are many stories and sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, that demonstrate his concern for the welfare of animals.
Once someone travelling with the Prophet took some eggs from a nest, causing the mother bird great grief. The Prophet saw this and told the man to return the eggs.
When the Prophet was asked if Allah rewarded acts of charity to animals, he replied: “Yes, there is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive.”
A Companion, Shaddaad bin ‘Aws   reported the Apostle as saying: “Allaah has commanded you to show kindness to everyone, so if you have to kill, kill in a good manner, and if you slaughter an animal, slaughter it gently. If anyone of you has to slay an animal, he should sharpen the blade first and treat the animal well.”
Ibn ‘Abbaas   relates that a man threw a goat on its side and then started sharpening his knife. When the Prophet, peace be upon him,   saw him he said: “Do you want to kill it twice? Why did you not sharpen the knife before throwing it on the ground?”
 The sayings of Prophet Muhammad remind us that humankind was put on this earth to be the custodian of God’s creation.  Treating animals with kindness and mercy is just one of the responsibilities embedded in that custodianship.  Prophet Muhammad’s words and behaviour make it clear that causing defenceless creatures pain and suffering is not only completely unacceptable, but we will also be answerable to God for such actions.
“If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgment, “O Lord!  That person killed me in vain!  He did not kill me for any useful purpose.” (Sunnan An Nasai)
In pre Islamic times, pagan superstitions and polytheistic practices included acts of torture and cruelty to animals.  Islam condemned this and put a stop to all such practices.  When Prophet Muhammad and his companions migrated to Medina, they noticed that people cut off camels’ humps and the fat tails of sheep for food.  The Prophet forbade them from them from doing this and said,“Whatever is cut off an animal while it is still alive, is carrion and is unlawful to eat.” (At-Tirmidhi)
In Islam, the rules pertaining to slaughtering animals are very strict and fixed.  Protecting animals from pain and undue suffering is paramount.
When you set your dog (for the chase), mention the name of God if he catches the game, and you reach it while it is still alive, cut, its throat quickly (so it won’t suffer).”
Humankind must strike a balance in their treatment of animals.  All living creatures were put on this earth by God for our benefit.  They are not at the same level as human beings neither should they be treated cruelly.  It is humankind’s responsibility to see that they have food, water, and shelter from the elements.  Living creatures must not be overburdened, abused, or tortured and doing so will surely result in God’s just punishment.  A true believer in God demonstrates his or her belief by respecting the entire creation, and Prophet Muhammad’s character and actions are a shining example of respect for all that exists.

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