Will you explain the hadith about the woman who gave water to a dog going to Paradise and the woman who left a cat hungry and thirsty going to Hell? Did those women go to Paradise or Hell due to only those deeds?

The Details of the Question

A hadith is narrated in some books stating that a bad woman who climbed down a well to drink water gave water to a dog; therefore, she was forgiven by Allah and regarded as a person of Paradise. 1) Is it a sound hadith? 2) We do not doubt that Allah is the pardoner and merciful but was that woman forgiven only because of that deed or was it the last good deed of her after her other deeds of worshipping?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1. (1987)- Hz. Abu Hurayra narrates:  The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way; he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, "This dog is suffering from thirst as I did." So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah was pleased with him for that deed and forgave him."

The people with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"O Messenger of Allah! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being)." [Bukhari, Shirb 9, Wudu 33, Mazalim 23, Adab 27; Muslim, Salam 153, (2244); Muwatta, Sifatun Nabi 23, (2, 929-930); Abu Dawud, Jihad 47, (2550)]

2. The following is stated in another narration:

"A prostitute saw a dog turning around a well on a hot day; it was panting due to thirst. She took off her shoe, filled it with water and gave the water to the dog. The woman was forgiven due to this deed." [Muslim, Tawba 155, (2245)]

3. Ibn Umar narrates. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"A woman went to Hell due to imprisoning a cat in the house. She did not give it any food and did not let it go out and eat the insects on earth." [Bukhari, Bad'ul-Khalq 17, Shirb 9, Anbiya 50; Muslim, Birr 151, (2242)]


In the hadiths above, the Prophet (pbuh) mentions the reward a woman obtained due to giving water to a dog and the penalty a woman received due to harming a cat. This shows that even a minor deed can be a means of salvation for a person. It is necessary not to underestimate any sin. One sin can cause a person to go to Hell. This shows us that we should not underestimate any of our deeds. However, there is no decree that everybody who gives water to a dog will go to Paradise and that everybody who kills a cat will go to Hell. Allah will evaluate all deeds of man together. It is possible that the thawabs of the woman who gave water to the dog outweighed her sins with that deed. It is possible that the other woman went to Hell because her sins outweighed her thawabs with that deed.

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