Compassion towards Animals in Islam

Plagiarism has many forms, copying material from somewhere and then not providing sufficient reference to the actual author basically compromises the Intellectual Rights that the Author / Researcher has. However there are some other forms of Plagiarism too, which are for example trying to distort the history by either adding and removing some important aspects related to a particular historical fact.

As we can understand, people can add or remove either Good or Bad things from the historical facts depending on their intentions and the objectives. Lets analyse a similar case:

Muezza – Prophet Muhammad’s Cat:

When we were kids, I still remember how our Grand Mother used to tell us a story about Prophet Muhammad and his Cat. Though not something that can be verified but the popular belief is that the Cat was named as Muezza and she was quite close to Prophet himself. The story goes something like.

Prophet had to go somewhere, probably to Mosque for Salat (Prayers) or may be for a Sermon, he was getting late already so had to rush things. He discovered that Muezza was sleeping on the shirt he had to wear to go out. Being a compassionate person, Prophet Muhammad decided to cut the sleeve of that shirt and leave the Cat undisturbed. He then had to wear the shirt with one missing sleeve and went for prayers (or Sermon … not sure). When he came back home, he received a loving gesture from the Cat called Muezza and in return Prophet Muhammad gave three loving strokes to show his love for the Cat.

Moral of the Story and Lessons:

Moral of the story as per my Grand Mother was that Prophet Muhammad being the messenger of Allah and a role model for the mankind was a very Compassionate person and he taught Muslims two lessons from this story:

  • Love animals and show a compassionate behaviour towards them
  • Try not to disturb anyone sleeping even though if it is an animal

We used to repeat this story in front of a lot of kids who used to beat animals and make them run by throwing stones for example. I remember, I had an argument once with a friend of mine and I tried to convince him not to be naughty towards animals as its against the teachings of Islam.

Problem with Story:

Problem is that the story is not authentic and can not be found in any books or Hadith and Sunnah. The best guess could be is that the story may have made its way into Muslim history by Grand Mothers and Grand Fathers telling it to the kids so that they can show mercy and compassion towards animals. Most probably whoever would have started the story in the first place may have good intentions but the fact remains that the story is not only inauthentic / not verifiable but also has some serious contradictions with another proven / authentic Hadiths from other books.

Hadith related to other Animals:

Abu Dawud Book 16 Number 2840
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: The Prophet of Allah ordered to kill dogs, and we were even killing a dog which a woman brought with her from the desert. Afterwards he forbade to kill them, saying: Confine yourselves to the type which is black.

Sahi Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 522
Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “When you hear the crowing of cocks, ask for Allah’s Blessings for (their crowing indicates that) they have seen an angel. And when you hear the braying of donkeys, seek Refuge with Allah from Satan for (their braying indicates) that they have seen a Satan.”

Questions:

  1. Why would Prophet Muhammad show a lack of compassion towards another creature created by the same God and order his companions to kill the Animal.  And then what was wrong with the Black color Dog in particular, why would someone want to kill an animal based on its color or type. There is not even any credible historical evidence available that can suggest about a possible epidemic going on during those days which may have resulted from the Black Dogs. There is simply not logical reasoning defined anywhere in the Islamic literature that explains the reasoning behind a possible dislike of Prophet Muhammad towards Dogs. That perhaps also explain the kind of hatred or disliking towards to Dogs in the Muslim Societies these days.
  2. Second question is regarding the Superstition, although its a lengthy topic to go by itself but one would wonder what a particular animal has to do with Angels or Satan, why a Cock is related to the Angels but a poor Donkey is related to the Satan or evil forces.

Plagiarism Issue:

Now back to our original objective of the post, why would Muslim Tradition allow such plagiarism to take place where a story that can not be verified and has no proof to suggest it actually happened in past. I can understand that it has a nice message in it and certainly provides a good lesson but then why Muslim Scholars are not able to the other contradictory Hadiths where it clearly show a lack of compassion towards certain other animals.

By the way, there is no credible scientific evidence available to suggest that the Dog is an impure or unclean animal which no matter how much you try to clean will never become clean. Dog is just like any other animal …

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