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The Love and Importance of Cats in Islam

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was tender and kind towards cats.

Source : Agencies / 15 Feb 2013

Islam faith and cats

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was tender and kind towards cats. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) appreciated cats. Hazrat Muhammad  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 's  favorite cat was called Muezza. There is a well-known story regarding the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Muezza.

When the call to prayers was heard, Muezza was asleep on one of the sleeves of the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) robes. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted to wear the robe to go to prayers. Rather than disturb Muezza, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) robes cut off the sleeve to leave Muezza in peace. Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then stroked the cat three times, which, it is said, granted Muezza seven lives and the ability to land on his feet at all times (as you might know, cats have a self-righting mechanism, a righting reflex, which is a complex series of movements when a cat falls and which protects the cat from breaking her back).

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)was so attached to his cat that when he gave sermons he let Muezza rest on his lap and he also drank from water previously drunk by his cat. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also did his ablutions from the same water that was drunk by a cat. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  seemed to treat his cat in the same way as cat lovers do today but even cat lovers might think twice about drinking the same water that had been drunk by a cat for fear of transmission of disease from the cat’s saliva (but see below).

Islam teaches Muslims to treat cats well and that the cat is a creature to be cherished and loved. Mistreating a cat is regarded as a severe sin in Islam.

Cats according to the Qur`an and Sunnah

An example as to how Muslims are punished for mistreating cats can be found in the `ahadith (oral traditions telling the story of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and which have been recorded in writing). When a woman kept a cat locked up and failed to feed the cat until the cat died, the woman was tortured and "put to hell.”

Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“A woman was tormented because of a cat which she had confined until it died and she had to get into Hell. She did not allow it either to eat or drink as it was confined, nor did she free it so that it might eat the insects of the earth”.  (Sahih Muslim)

It is believed that you will suffer no harm if you drink from the cat’s water provided no impurities are seen in the cat’s mouth. In another story from the `ahadith, it is stated that a when a cat ate a pudding put down during prayers, the person who was in charge of the pudding ate from the same place as the cat and Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said this was alright as the cat is not unclean and is "one of those who go around amongst us".

Narrated Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), Ummul Mu'minin:

“Dawud ibn Salih ibn Dinar at-Tammar quoted his mother as saying that her mistress sent her with some pudding (harisah) to Aisha who was offering prayer. She made a sign to me to place it down. A cat came and ate some of it, but when Aisha finished her prayer, she ate from the place where the cat had eaten. She stated: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:“It is not unclean: it is one of those who go round among you”. She added: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  performing ablution from the water left over by the cat”.” (Abu Dawood)

Islam teaches Muslims that, in relation to a cat:

1.) The cat should not be sold for money or other traded goods.

Narrated Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him): "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prohibited eating the cat and from its price."(Jami` at-Tirmidhi)

Abu Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

I asked Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) about the price of a dog and a cat; he said: “Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) disapproved of that”. (Sahih Muslim)

2.) Cats saliva is harmless unless the cat has "visible impurities" in the mouth.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ishaq ibn Abdullah ibn Abi Talha from Humayda bint Abi Ubayda ibn Farwa that her maternal aunt Kabsha bint Kab ibn Malik, who was the wife of the son of Abu Qatada al-Ansari, told her that once Abu Qatada was visiting her and she poured out some water for him to do wudu with. Just then a cat came to drink from it, so he tilted the vessel towards it to let it drink. Kabsha continued, "He saw me looking at him and said, 'Are you surprised, daughter of my brother?' I said, 'Yes.' He replied that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, cats are not impure. They intermingle with you’. "

Yahya said that Malik said, "There is no harm in that unless one sees impurities on the cat's mouth." (Muwatta Malik)

Humaidah bint Ubaid bin Rifa'ah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

"Kabshah bint Ka'b bin Malik - she was (married) with Ibn Abi Qatadah - narrated "That Abu Qatadah visited her, [so she said:] 'So I poured water for him to use for Wudu.' She said: 'A cat came to drink, so he lowered he container until it drank.' Kabshah said: 'So he saw me looking at it and said, "O my niece! Are you surprised at that?" So I said yes.He said: "Indeed Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said 'It is not impure, it is only one of those roam around among you.'" (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)

3.) Muslims are free to live with cats but they must treat cats well, providing the cat with enough water and food and giving "roaming time" (a degree of freedom of movement)

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)said: "Cats do not invalidate the prayer, because they are one of the things that are useful in the house." (Sunan Ibn Majah)

'A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being'

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) was a close Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and has narrated more hadiths, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), than any other Companion. He (may Allah be pleased with him) was known for being very sympathetic and loving towards animals so much so that although his name was `Abdur-Rahman, he was known as Abu Hurayrah, meaning “father of the kitten.” He (may Allah be pleased with her) was called so because of a small cat that he used to feed and care for and carry with him everywhere he went.

("Cat" word comes from the Arabic word qit/Hirra but a tiny male cat is called hurayrah, or thus In Arabic, Hirra means cat and Hurayra means a kitten.)

 

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