Our Prophet’s (pbuh) Love of Animals
Our Prophet (pbuh) Did Away with the Cruel Customs that Mistreated Animals
The ignorance in society when our Prophet (pbuh) began preaching was also reflected in people’s treatment of animals; they would use live animals as targets for archery practice, and cut off ears and tails and even branded them to distinguish their animals from those of other people. When they were hungry out in the desert, they would slice open a camel’s hump, extract a piece of fat from it and then stitch it up again.
Our Prophet (pbuh) completely did away with these unpleasant customs of the society of ignorance. He taught that animals also deserved compassion. All practices that mistreated animals were put to an end to by our Prophet (pbuh).
Our Prophet (pbuh) Forbade Animals from Being Overworked
Our Prophet (pbuh) forbade the overworking of animals. Addresses and poetic ceremonies performed with people facing one another sitting on the backs of animals for several hours, which had been going on for hundreds of years, were forbidden. Owners were only allowed to ride animals for so long as they truly needed. Our Prophet (pbuh) issued a warning, saying; "Don't make the backs of animals your chairs. God gave these to your command only on the condition that you go with them easily to places you would not been able to go by yourselves without extreme trouble. He also created the ground. Meet your other needs on the ground." (Sunan Abu Dawud, Jihad 61, (2667))
Another hadith reads; “Ride your animals gently and only when they are fit to be ridden, and let them go free when it is meet that they should rest. Do not use them as chairs for talking to one another on the roads and streets (do not spend hours talking to one another while seated on them).” (Ahmad, III, 439)
Working Animals’ Right to Rest
Our Prophet (pbuh) gave working animals the right to rest in the same way as human beings, and stressed the need for animals to rest and meet their needs when rest stops were called along the road.
Our Prophet (pbuh) Prohibited the Abuse and Mistreatment of Animals
Our Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, God will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 2/11) and commanded that “birds’ nests should not be damaged and their eggs and chicks should not be taken.” (Sahih Bukhari, 139).
Our Prophet (pbuh) stopped someone who was beating the animal he was riding on and stated that this was a violation of the law of God. “God did not create animals for you to do that to them,” he said. (Musnad Ahmad, 4/131)
Our Prophet’s (pbuh) Affection toward a Mother Dog and Her Puppies
As our Prophet (pbuh) was marching with his 10,000-man army, he saw on their way a dog that had just given birth with her puppies. He summoned Djuail, son of Suraka, and commanded; “You will wait in front of the mother dog and her puppies and by keeping their sentry till all the army has passed, you will protect them from being ran over.” (ash-Shami, Subul al-Huda Wa-al-Rashad, VII, 51) Thanks to the Prophet’s (pbuh) affection the 10,000-man army changed its course in order not to disturb the dog and her puppies.
A Saying of the Prophet (pbuh) Reflecting His Love of Animals: “The life of all dogs are respected”
“Not only the beneficial dogs, the life of all dogs are respected and immune as long as they do not cause harm and do not turn violent and aggressive.” (Hashyatu'l-Bayjarmi Ala'l-Manhaj-al-Maktabatu'sh-Shamila, I/474)