The Prophet of Mercy – 2
his mercy toward animals and immobile things
we have mentioned that the prophetic mercy included not only the monotheistic muslim but the disbeliever as well. here we may add that the prophet's mercy went beyond humanity to include animals and even inanimate things. he pbuh said,
"while a man was walking he became very thirsty, so he descended into a well and drank from it. when he came out he found a dog panting and eating the soil due to thirst. he said, 'this creature is suffering what i suffered,' so he went down again, filled his shoe and climbed up holding it in his mouth to give drink to the dog. allah appreciated that from him and forgave his sin."
his companions asked, "o messenger of allah the almighty, is there a reward in [kindness to] animals?" he r replied,
"in every living creature is reward." (al-bukhari and muslim)
by this principle, "in every living creature is reward", the prophet pbuh was the forerunner of all organizations and associations for the protection of animal rights and kindness to them. he pbuh preceded them by hundreds of years when he said,
"a woman was punished on account of a cat. she confined it until it died and entered the hellfire because of it. she neither fed it nor allowed it to search for its own food." (al-bukhari and muslim)
by this the prophet pbuh meant to teach his companions kindness to animals and good treatment of them and to show them that killing an animal unlawfully or causing its death could lead one to enter the hellfire. this is something unknown in man-made laws which govern people today.
and he pbuh warned against killing an animal without reason, saying,
"no person kills a bird or anything larger without right but that allah will ask him about it on the day of resurrection." someone asked, "o messenger of allahr, what is its right?" he pbuh said,
"its right is that one slaughters it to be eaten and not merely cuts off its head and throws it away." (an-nasa'i)
the prophet also ordered kindness when slaughtering. he said,
"indeed, allah has decreed ihsaan (precision) for all things. so when you kill, kill well; and when you slaughter, slaughter well. let each one of you sharpen his blade, and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters." (muslim)
one scholar mentioned that some westerners had accepted islam when they learned about the islamic manner of slaughter, which points to the perfection of this religion in every aspect. all praise and thanks are due to allah.
and allah's messenger pbuh said,
"do not take anything in which has a soul as a target."
(al-bukhari and muslim)
he pbuh meant not to make a living animal a target to shoot at as that is contrary to the mercy which should be part of the believer's character. he pbuh used to prohibit injustice and oppression to animals and was much concerned with this matter. once he entered a garden belonging to a man from the ansar. there he found a camel, and when it saw the prophet pbuh it moaned and its eyes shed tears. the messenger of allah pbuh approached and stroked its head and it became quiet. he said,
"who is the owner of this camel?" an ansari youth said, "i am, o messenger of allah. so the prophet said,
"will you not fear allah concerning this beast of which allah has given you ownership? indeed, it has complained to me that you starve and exhaust it." (abu dawud – graded as saheeh by al-albani)
even trees had a share in the mercy of muhammad pbuh. al-bukhari narrated that when the prophet's pulpit was built, a palm tree by which he pbuh used to give his sermon cried out like a child. the prophet descended from the pulpit and hugged it, and it moaned as a child does when being quietened. he pbuh said,
"it wept at no longer being able to hear the reminder." when al-hasan related this hadith he wept and said, "o muslims, a piece of wood longed to be with the messenger of allah the almighty, and you are more worthy to long for him."
 fat·h al-bari 6/602