Of all the pets that people choose such as dogs, fish, birds and rabbits, cats are, without a doubt, number one!
According to 2002 statistics provided by the Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 73 million people in the United States own cats, whereas 68 million own dogs. This reflects a worldwide growth in the popularity of cat ownership. This growth starts from the time of ancient Egypt where cats were believed to be protected by ancient gods till today where they are steadily growing to be the world’s favorite pet.
Cats in the Hadith
In the Islamic world, cats are recognized with respect and honor and are welcome in the home of Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” This applies to human relationships with all animals.
- Cats are permitted inside mosques.
- Abu Hurayrah means father of cats.
- Cat hair is considered pure according to Hanafi School.
- Prophet Muhammad condemned the selling of cats.
- Small amounts of cat hair on prayer clothes does not make prayers void.
- Cat in Arabic is Quttah / Qittu.
In the hadith, cats are said to be generally clean animals. An example of this can be seen in a story where a girl named Kabsha filled a container with water for her uncle to perform wadu from but found her uncle letting a cat drink from the same container. 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.” (Al-Muwatta, hadith 2.3.13)
Companions and Friends
Even one of the companions of the Prophet was known to keep a kitten close by and was therefore nicknamed Abu Hurayrah, this translates to “father of the kitten.”
Did you know that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was also very fond of cats? There is a story that is related about a day when a cat was asleep on prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) robe. When he was ready to leave, he looked at the cat asleep on his robe and instead of disturbing the cat’s sleep he cut off the sleeve upon which he lay.
There is a story in the Hadith that tells us about a woman who was punished because of a cat. She had neither provided the cat with food nor drink, nor set it free so that it might eat the insects of the earth.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told his companions that a great sin had been committed because one of Allah’s creatures had been ill-treated. The woman who had treated her cat so cruelly was not forgiven for her sins: she was sent to Hell for her wrongdoing. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 553)
So, remember to take good care of your pets and other creatures. Allah rewards kindness to animals but punishes those who are cruel.