My article originally published at Youth club Blog.
Islam encourages kindness to not only fellow human beings but also other living creatures. We are told:
“Verily, Allah is Kind and He loves kindness” (Muslim)
Kindness should be shown to all of Allah’s creatures specially animals because they can not complain back to you about their problems, they are powerless in many ways.
We encounter animals in our daily lives, sometimes we have pets, oftentimes we deal with astray or wild animals and then we have animals for Baqra Eid.
Below are a few easy steps to show kindness and mercy to animals.
1. If you have Pets
- Take the responsibility to feed your pets timely and properly with a proper pet specific food.
- Clean areas of pet or if you have fish clean up the fish tank often.
- Pick them up calmly and correctly by avoiding their sensitive areas.
- Teach young kids to show empathy to pets. Remind them that they cannot pull the tails or harass the animals in any way.
- Play with your pets.
- Wash/clean/brush your pets often.
- Take care of their health, ensure their vaccination is properly done. Have routine checkup of pets.
- Ensure their safety. Make sure they are not left alone where they can be hit or harmed by other animals/people.
And remember, keep the birds out of cage – they deserve flying.
2. If you have an Animal Farm
- Taking all the care mentioned above along with making sure that they are not overloaded or over exploited. e.g loading a horse or a donkey in excess to its capacity would be zulm (oppression).
3. Stray Animals/Birds that Visit your Home
- Drop food for cats/dogs often.
- Make & hang bird feeders, fill with food & water and hang out for birds.
- If there are astray chicken (like we have plenty where I live) drop some food for them – they might return the favour by leaving fresh eggs at your doorstep.
- If an animal lays eggs/make nest/give babies – do not disturb & offer food instead.
- If you find an animal hurt/bruised – take care of it, try to heal them/take it to a vet if required.
- If any animal is taking refuge in your home and you are not disturbed by it, let it stay.
4. Wild Animals
- Children often have natural curiosity and they might want to bring any insect, in a jar, home. Or they might want to catch lizards and caterpillars. Wild animals are usually dangerous and not tamed, they should be allowed to live in their natural habitat and not be disturbed or offer food etc. That’s the best way of being kind & respectful to them.
- Be careful when you are driving, do not hit any animal.
- Be careful when you walk around because you dont want to kill a bunch of ants. (remember ants are REAL creatures and they might be warning other ants about you – the monster, who would come and kill them, sounds strange? remember story of Salam Alahe salam)
5. Animals for Slaughter at the Time of Eid ul Adha
- Be compassionate and gentle with the animal.
- Offer fresh grass/hay and water.
- Pat and stroke them so that they feel loved.
- Do not allow kids to abuse the animal in any way specially by riding it.
- Make sure they are not left unattended beneath the open sky during winters and in sun during summers.
- Clean up often. Animals like cleanliness too.
- Use a proper sharp knife while slaughtering.
- Make dua for the animal.
- At your home allow animals to thrive without disturbing you, like set up a garden where birds and butterfly can visit and insects can love.
- Making sure we live in a earth-friendly and animal-friendly life by not polluting or harming nature, is another way to show kindness to fellow creatures including animals.
- Keeping the waters like rivers, lakes, ponds and seas clean and by not littering beaches will ensure marine life will thrive and grow.
- Fear Allah when you are dealing with animals and be mindful of your actions.
Choose what applies to you from the above and start today! A little something! Better now than never! May Allah (SWT) reward you for your kindness. 🙂