It is said that Prophet Muhammad was fond of horses and had cats as pets too.
In Islam, every living creature, from humans to animals and plants has rights. As the superior species, it is our responsibility to look after animals and take care of them with kindness, respect and mercy. Killing an animal as small as an insect or even inflicting mental cruelty are completely forbidden in Islam. It therefore goes without saying that hunting for sport is out of the question. We are only allowed to kill animals for food, and even then, there is a strict set of rules to follow in order to show respect.
In fact, there is an entire chapter of the Quran named ‘The Ant’ which tells us about an encounter between the Prophet Solomon”¦. Who had been given the very special gift of understanding and communicating freely with God’s creatures”¦. and a group of ants as described in these verses:
‘Before Solomon were marshalled his troops of jinn and men and birds, and they were all lined in orderly ranks. At length, when they came to a valley of ants, one ant said: ‘ Go into your dwellings ants, lest Solomon and his troops inadvertently crush you.
The Prophet Solomon stopped his entire army immediately when he heard the ant, thanked God for this gift and then took a detour out of concern for these ants. Just think, he was not only one of God’s Messengers, he was also a king, wealthy beyond our imagination and the leader of an army of thousands of men, jinns and animals. The reaction of Solomon not only serves as an aspirational example, it also reinforces the fact that killing even one of the smallest creatures in the world is forbidden in Islam.
The Quran also uses animals on numerous occasions to describe the wonders of nature on which we must ponder and reflect, such as birds spreading their wings to fly: ‘ Do they not see the birds above them, spreading their wings and drawing them in? None, but the Lord of Grace holds them up. He sees everything.’
It is said that Prophet Muhammad was fond of horses and had cats as pets too. Having a pet animal is a responsibility”¦. It should be given appropriate shelter, food and rest without neglect and their owner is held accountable for their well being. Prophet Muhammad said: ‘ God is kind and likes kindness in all things.’
(Extracted from ‘Big Little Steps’, by Mathilde Loujayne)