Will you write all hadiths about animals?

The Details of the Question

Will you write all hadiths about animals with their narrators and sources and whether they are sound, hasan, mutawatir and weak?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are many hadiths about animals. It is not possible to include all of them here.

It is seen that many animals are mentioned as groups, breed and species in the Quran and hadiths with the purpose of reminding man of Allah’s bounties and blessings to him and correcting some ongoing wrong beliefs, or as a natural element of life and human relations, or to explain religious decrees about animals in terms of deeds of worship and legal affairs like whether eating their meat and benefitting from them are halal or haram.

It is stated in the Quran that good and clean things are rendered halal and dirty things are rendered haram (al-Maida 5/5; al-Araf 7/157), that all edible food items including the flesh of animals except the ones clearly rendered haram are halal (al-Maida 5/1; al-Anam 6/145; an-Nahl 16/115-116), that dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name was invoked besides that of Allah (al-Baqara 2/173; al-Anam 6/145; an-Nahl 16/115), the animals that died spontaneously, were drowned and were shot dead, that tumbled down the cliff and died, that were gored to death, that were killed by wild animals, that were sacrificed on sanctified stone are haram, that animals killed or caught by tamed hounds, etc. are halal (al-Maida 5/3-4); there are decrees stating that sheep, goats and cattle need to be sacrificed for Allah (al-Hajj 22/28, 34, 36; al-Kawthar 108/2), that the meat of animals on which Allah´s name was not pronounced must not be eaten (al-Anam 6/121) and that sea animals are rendered halal as a principle (al-Maida 5/96); it is stated that fat of the animals with undivided hoof, the ox and the sheep were rendered haram for Jews (al-Anam 6/146).

In addition to the explanations of the issues mentioned in verses, it is seen that many detailed decrees and advice are included in hadiths from treating animals with compassion and mercy to the religious methods of slaughtering animals, from the cleanliness of their saliva and leftovers to the compensation of the harms caused by them.  

Since some religious and legal issues about various animal groups and species are mentioned in verses of the Quran and hadiths and since animals form a natural part of human life and legal issues, many issues like the protection of animals and their rights, what kind of animals can be eaten and cannot be eaten, how to slaughter them, their place as wealth and zakah to be given for them, hunting them and using them in hunting, feeding them, the compensation of the harms caused by them and their being used in contracts were examined by Islamic scholars in detail; and a rich literature in which various examples of discussions about them were displayed was formed.

We will mention only some issues related to showing compassion to animals and feeding them at home:

1. Showing compassion and mercy to animals (animal rights)

Allah, who put animals at the disposal of man and rendered it halal for man to benefit from them, orders man to show compassion and mercy to animals.

“Allah shows mercy to those who are merciful; show mercy to the beings on earth so that the ones in the sky will show mercy to you.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 58) With the hadith above, the Prophet (pbuh) advises people to treat animals well; when he saw that animals were left hungry or thirsty, they were beaten, their babies were removed, they were made fight and they were mad carry very heavy loads, he would intervene and warn the people who acted so.  

The Messenger of Allah sometimes gave examples from the good and bad deeds of the previous ummahs. He said,  
- A sinful person was forgiven by Allah because he tried hard to give water to a very thirsty dog (Bukhari, Shirb, 9; Muslim, Salam, 153, 154, 155),
- A woman who imprisoned a cat and caused it to die of hunger and thirst became a person of Hell because of that act (Bukhari, Badul-Khalq, 16; Muslim, Salam, 151-152).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh)
- advised Hz. Aisha, who got on a camel, to treat the camel with compassion and mercy (Muslim, Birr, 79),
- patted the head of a camel that groaned on seeing the Prophet and reprimanded its owner by saying, “Are you not afraid of Allah about this animal, which He gave you? It complained to me about you that you left it hungry and that you tired it very much” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 44),
- saw a camel that had thinned very much due to hunger and said, “Fear Allah about these dumb animals” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 44),
- wanted milkers to trim their nails so as not to hurt and scratch the udders of animals during milking. (Abdulhayy al-Kattani, at-Taratib, 2/369)

In addition, it is known that the Prophet (pbuh)
- saw a bird fluttering because her fledglings were removed, warned those who did it and ordered them to return the fledglings (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 112),
- prohibited using a living animal as a target to shoot by tying it and damned those who did so according to some narrations (Bukhari, Dhabaiḥ, 25; Muslim, Sayd, 58-60),
- wanted a woman to dismount when she cursed the camel she was on (Muslim, Birr, 80)
- did not like it when animals were insulted, prohibited beating them by hitting their heads and prohibited stamping them on the face (Muslim, Libas, 106-112),
- prohibited making animals wrestle and fight (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 51; Tirmidhi, Jihad, 30),
- prohibited hunting animals just for fun, without the intention of eating their meat (Nasai, Aḍaḥi, 42; Ibn Hibban, VII, 557).

2. Feeding animals at home

It is written in sound hadith collections that Abu Umayr kept a bird at home when he was a child and that the Prophet (pbuh) consoled him when his bird died. (Bukhari, Adab, 81, 112; Muslim, Adab, 30)

Acting upon the narration above, fiqh scholars regard it permissible to keep a bird in a cage as long as it is not afflicted and is not left hungry and thirsty.

It is also narrated that the Messenger of Allah kept a wild rooster in his house and advised a Companion who complained about loneliness to keep a pigeon or a rooster at home. (Musnad, 6/112; Haythami, 4/67; Abdulhayy al-Kattani, 2/371)

Besides, it is known that cats were kept in houses in that period and that Abu Hurayra, the famous Companion, was given that nickname “father of a kitten”  because he found some kittens while herding sheep and put those kittens on the skirt of his gown and played with them. (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 14; Hakim, 3/506)

Therefore, it can be said that it is regarded permissible to keep animals at home unless there is a specific prohibition like pigs or dogs or unless affliction is in question for the animal, the environment is polluted or the neighbors are disturbed.

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