By Magdy Abdalshafy
Part one, Prophet Mohammed
Prophet Mohammed, When described with one of the human qualities, you feel that he, from among the peoples, was singled out with the perfection of this quality. People’s fine qualities changes, diminishes when in anger or other similar conditions but the prophet’s qualities never went affected of any conditions.
People’s who are merciful vary in their mercy according to the psychological conditions that overwhelm them but this was the not the case of Prophet Mohammed. Also, people might be different in their approach of mercy; there are those who feel compassion towards children, there are those who feel compassion towards the aged, there are those who feel compassion towards animals…etc but there are no people who could be merciful to all of those entities in the same time and under any conditions.
The most striking fact about the concept of mercy in the prophet is that he was merciful with his enemies.
It should be noted that his mercy though superfluously poured on every entity in this universe but it was not that kind that it may be harmful.
He was born orphan to be merciful with the orphans.
He was born poor to have mercy with the poor
He was sometimes rich to have mercy with the rich, though he never hold any money in his hand, all went to the poor and the need before they touch his hand.
When he was dying he had two dirham, just only two dirham, yet, he was worried how he die and there are two dirham in his house. While he was giving his soul, he asked his wife several times to give these two dirham as charity to the poor.
It happened that while he was going home that he found a little slave girl sobbing because she was sent to get something for her master family. Having briefed about the reasons, he took her by hand and went back with her to where her mistress lived and there he stood at the door knocking so gently.
On seeing him, her mistress stood astonished.
“This little girl has lost the money that you sent her with to buy you something, can you please forgive her?”
Her mistress’s eyes poured with tears, what..? and you come with her to? We not only forgive her but she is free for the sake of Allah.”
I choose this story because it has many meanings, perhaps it could
“He was a personification of the Holy Quran” commented his wife” Ai’sha” on his attributes.
“My Lord has refined me” prophet Mohammed.
These two statements may unravel the secret behind his lofty mercy that encompassed all that you can touch with your hand in this life; men, women, enemies, infidels, babies in mothers’ uterus, children, girls, , animals, birds, insects, frogs and the environment have found a place in his heart. Hadiths and stories in this connection , if you try to comply them, will need volumes of books to be included.
The prophet’s mercy to animals, Even the bird found a place in his heart
The prophet’s heart would be shaken to its very foundations if he saw a distressed bird that lost its babies. A wounded animal, a hungry animal, a sick animal , insects burnt, water being polluted moved his heart, too, and stirred his compassion, yet on his shoulder he onus of imparting God’s message to the whole of the world. How great is such a prophet!
How miraculous is this prophet!
He is the message of heavens to the earth, the message of mercy, the exemplary to be followed. God says in the Holy Quran what means; “you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much. (21)
Prophet Muhammad called not to kill even a frog and he said, “Its croaking is tasbeeh (praising God).” Always with this litany was capped his words” Those who are not merciful will not find mercy( on the part of God).”
Such is his mercy that inspired his followers such as Um’ar ibn Al-Kahtab to the extent that he, too, was so worried if an animal was stumbled in the far east or west and feared that he would be held responsible for it before his Lord; he says” I fear that If an animal is stumbled in the far east or west that I will be held accountable before my Lord on the Day of Judgment.”
This is Mohammed, who rebuked the tyrannies of his times including emperors, notwithstanding he would be moved for a bird that lost its babies.
It is narrated that someone took two chicks of a bird (hamra), which came in panic searching for its chicks. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then asked, “Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?” Then he asked them to return the chicks.
Perhaps people lavish animals with their care because of their beauty unmindful of their being entities created by God, The case is different in Islam. The following Hadith lays credence to this fact. It is narrated that the prophet once passed by a burned out anthill. When the Prophet saw it he asked, “Who has burned it?” When he was informed of who had done it, he said, “Only the Lord of Fire has the right to punish with fire.” Is there any beauty in ants?!
His mercy was not only confined to caring about animals but it goes even more, Seeing a hungry animal would move his heart so much to the extent that he would go to its owner rebuking him for not feeding his animal.
Once the Prophet passed by a camel that was so emaciated its back was one with its abdomen. Upon that, the Prophet said, “Fear Allah with regard to livestock. Ride them in a fitting way and eat them when they are in good condition.”
In his heart, everything has a portion, the distressed among people would go to him to ease their hearts even the distressed animals would do the same thing. He once entered the garden of man from the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) and there was a camel. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) saw the camel it froze and its eyes started watering. Then the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) came to it and rubbed its ears so it calmed down. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Who is the owner of this camel? Whose camel is this?” A young man from the Ansar told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house),”O Messenger of Allah, it belongs to me.” Then he told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “Do you not fear Allah with regard to this beast which Allah has let you own? It complained to me that you starve it and tire it by overworking it and using it beyond its capacity.”
The prophet’s mercy, Feeding animals
The prophet was so emphatic on feeding animals; feeding animals or helping them to drink may remit your sins regardless of what great they are. Planting a tree that a wild bird may eat from will surely bring you may rewards. Starving an animal to death will be mete out with hell. There are many Hadiths in this regard, it should be noted here that the prophet is not expressing his personal opinion, his words are minute understanding of God’s word to him- The Holy Quran.
The Prophet said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” – (Al-Bukhari)
The prophet, in order to urge people to feed helpless animals, says” there was a Jewish whore, who used to commit adultery, took it as craft. It happened that she passed by a well and, as she was thirsty, she came down to the well to quench her thirst. When she ascended to the brim of the well, she found a dog out of breath from the blunt of thirst.
“It must have been suffering exactly like me” she thought.
She took off her shoes and went down to the well and filled it with water and stretched her hand and quenched the dog’s thirst. When this whore died, she was let into heaven and her long series of sins were remitted because of just quenching the dog’s thirst.
Another story that the prophet narrated is a blood-curdling story for those who prevent animals from food; the prophet says” a woman entered the hell because she imprisoned a cat, she neither fed it nor did she set it free to eat.”
Burdening animals with that they could not bear also would move his heart, it should be noted that the prophet’s words concerning animals or whatever are not mere pieces of advice, the prophet’s words are rules and legislations that man should stand accountable for here in this life and the hereafter if he violates these rules.
It happened that he saw some people sitting on animals so he commented, “Keep them safe and sound when riding them and when leaving them, don’t use them as chairs for your side talks in the streets and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider and might remember and mention God more than its rider does.”
Part four, The prophet’ s mercy
The prophet prohibits blood animals sports
Blood animal sports was a long entrenched habit at the time of the prophet, and even is still ongoing, this was opposed by the prophet and even made prohibited. It was reported that Prophet Muhammad prohibited the killing of a bird for the sake of pleasure and not for a specific beneficial need, the Prophet said, “Anyone who would kill a bird, this bird would come on Doomsday and say, “God, this person killed me for pleasure and not for benefit.” He prohibited taking any animal or any living creature as a target for shooting.
The Prophet (PBUH) said; “Do not clip the forelock of a horse, for decency is attached to their forelock, for it protects it; nor their tail, for it is fly-flap.” (Narrated by Utba bin Farqad abu abd)
In this respect as Ibn Umar said; “I heard the Messenger of Allah, , say, whoever mutilates a living creature and then does not repent, Allah will mutilate him on the Day of Judgment”
Jabir told that God’s Messenger forbade the striking the face or branding on the face of any animal. He said when an ass, which had been branded on his face, had passed by: “God curse the one who branded it.” (Narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah)
For the sake of brevity, we condense animals rights granted by Mohammed the messenger of Islam in the following points:
1-Animals are to be protected against any harm.
2-Animals are to be given utmost care
3- Animals are to be lavished with mercy
4- Animals are to be fed
5-Animals are not to be overburdened or oppressed
6-Animals are to be given health care.
7-Animals are to live in clean environment
8-Animals are not to be cursed
9-Animals are not to be mutilated.
10-Animals are not to be killed unless for food
11-Nothing to be held in their necks lest they are suffocated.
12-Baby animals are to given full suckling
13-Animals are not to be burnt with fire
14-Animals are not slaughtered in the best way and not before other animals
15-Animals are not to be given bad food.