Editorial— Cat and Imam: Symbolic highlights of Islam’s tolerance towards animals

Editorial— Cat and Imam: Symbolic highlights of Islam’s tolerance towards animals

The latest viral video of a cat jumping on the shoulders of an imam during Taraweeh prayers inside a mosque serves as a timely reminder of the Islamic faith’s respect for animals.

In Islam, animals are considered part of God’s creation and are to be treated with kindness and compassion.

This sentiment is clearly echoed in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

He said, “Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself.” He also said, “A good deed done to an animal is like doing a good deed to a human being.”

These teachings are reflected in the Islamic laws which forbid the maltreatment of animals. This includes cruel acts such as beating and starving.

The Prophet also taught that animals should not be used for laborious tasks beyond what is necessary and that they should be given proper rest such as during the holy month of Ramadan.

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Islam teaches us to be kind and merciful to all living creatures. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is kind to himself.” (Muslim) He also said “Whoever is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully.” (Muslim)

He also said, “Verily, Allah has prescribed excellence in everything. Thus, when you kill, kill in a good way; and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. Let each one of you sharpen his blade, and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Unfortunately in our today’s world, many people, especially Muslims disregard these teachings which is why you see them inciting animals such as rams during Eid festivals, against one another.

In some cases, animals such as chickens, dogs, rats, and cats (domestic and wild) are used for fighting contests, racing and many other inconvenient manners outside the natural habitat of these animals.

Sadly, we have also seen animals like rats being electrocuted for reasons of eating their food or money while a lobster was guided into the hottest frying oil alive.

All these are sharp departures from the injunctions of Allah and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).

The video of the cat jumping on the shoulders of the imam during Taraweeh prayers shows that animals are respected and welcomed in Islamic places of worship.

It also serves as a reminder of the importance of treating all creatures with kindness and compassion, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.

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