Islam accords importance to the care of animals as the following Hadith reveals:
Allah’s Apostle said, “A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger.” Allah’s Apostle further said, “(Allah knows better) Allah said (to the woman), ‘You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth.’ “
My daughter, who is at present in Islamabad, started taking care of stray cats found either having some disability or suffering from some disease, by providing them food and arranging medical treatment for them. Now she has more than a dozen cats. Their normal food expenses although are also high, but when it comes to their medical expenses these are much on higher side.
Can she use her Zakat amount for the welfare of these animals.
- S. A. A. Ayub, Bhopal
Islamic Voice replies:
It is very good of your daughter that she takes so much care of sick animals. May Allah reward her for the noble service!
Zakat however should not be used for the care of the animals. Zakat has to be disbursed for human welfare and eight categories of people have been mentioned in the Quran who deserve the care and assistance. Human miseries always take precedence, more so in South Asian countries where we see so many people who need assistance for education, marriages, shelter and medical care. However, other charities could be used for the care of animals. Even governments could be persuaded to start Animal Orphanages. Though it is good that your daughter is taking care of sick animals, it may be borne in mind that cats, dogs, crows, kites and several other such animals can live by themselves as they are known as scavenging animals that live off the waste food, carcasses of other animals etc. They are likely to proliferate if provided comfortable living. It is preferable that similar care is provided to cattle that are beneficial to the human society.