On a recent shopping trip, I happened to pass by a pet shop, where a big monkey in a small cage outside the entrance broke my heart. I gathered up the guts to enter the shop, only to leave in tears, deeply saddened by what I had seen. Poor, helpless animals imprisoned in tiny cages without even enough space to turn around; their sad, pleading eyes haunted me as I fought the urge to set them free, assured that none would be able to explain for what crime they had been incarcerated in such inhumane and unnatural ‘habitats’. I wondered if the pet shop owner ever thought about what it would be like to be paralyzed; in the same way as he had kidnapped birds and put them in little cages. Maybe only a fellow animal lover would really understand what I felt that day, yet the importance of kindness to animals is something every Muslim should understand as a part of his way of life.
It is such a serious matter that one could gain Heaven or Hell due to his treatment of animals. Mistreating animals is considered a major sin in Islam, as explained in the famous Book of Major Sins by Imam Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Wahhab
As I left the pet shop that day, I felt like a traitor knowing that these animals have feelings just as real as those of humans. I walked away leaving my fellow creatures in their state of oppression. Outside the shop I stepped off the curb to head across the street, when just at my feet lay a tiny newborn kitten, perfectly positioned for a parking car to run over it. I stood there blocking the space from desperate drivers demanding the parking spot, while I motioned for the pet shop worker; I thought he would certainly be someone who cared for and sympathized with animals. He came out, glanced down at the animal, replied: “It’s not ours” and walked back inside. I stood there for fifteen minutes before I was able to get one of the many passers-by to get something with which to pick up the baby kitten to move it to a safe place. Tears streamed down my face as I wondered: “Where are the people of the Sunnah? (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad
Cats in Islam:
The Messenger of Allah
Dogs in Islam:
There is hardly a domestic animal more ill-treated these days than dogs. The Messenger of Allah
“Purifying a container that a dog has licked (in order for humans to use it) is done by washing it seven times, the first washing being with dirt.”[Muslim].
A Muslim should not keep a dog inside his home since the Prophet
In fact, in the chapter “The Cave”, the Quran reveals the story of some youths who had faith and trust in Allah, who took refuge in a cave from the persecution and violence of the unbelievers of their day. 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.
The Quran says (what means):
“And you would think them awake, while they were asleep. And We turned them to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched his two forelegs at the entrance (of the cave as a guard)…”
Thus, dogs may be used for guards as well as for hunting as the Noble Quran also states (what means):
“They ask you, (O Muhammad), what has been made lawful for them. Say: ‘Lawful for you are (all) good foods and (game caught by) what you have trained of hunting, animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah.’ Indeed Allah is swift in account.”
In two separate narrations by Abu Hurayrah
Let us reflect upon this and beware of our duty towards Allah’s creatures, which He has put on earth for our use and not for our abuse. When the Prophet