Cats In Islam - Love Thy Cat with All Thy Heart

Love Thy Cat - Cats in IslamI love cats and the love for this cute animal started when I was only 4 years old when my sister brought me a new kitten, barely a month old, that she found. Her name was 'Sonia', and the one pictured here, her name is also Sonia.

My very first cat, Sonia, was the most beautiful kitten I ever saw! I didn't know what kind of cat she was but to me, her multi-colored fur was enough to make me fall in love and be happy. I don't remember how her name 'Sonia' came to be, but to me, it matched her cuteness.

There are several things I loved about Sonia and one of them was her purring when she falls asleep next to me, and that purring sound was a soothing sound which made me fall asleep.

She was constantly by my side throughout the day, and I would take her with me wherever I went (inside the house of course). I am not ashamed to say that she even learned how to use the restroom (the old fashion restroom on the ground) because use to take her with me every time I needed to answer the call of nature, and when she finds the bathroom door closed, she would either scratch the wooden door, or Meows to let us know that it was time for her to use the restroom.

She was free to roam but she didn't leave the door (maybe she was afraid of unfamiliar faces). My mother would send me to the market to get her ground meat (yes, the same ground meat we would eat and not scraps) and when I got back from the market, she would be sitting there, patiently waiting for her food. I sit there watching her eat, then my mother would bring her a bowl of water.

I remember one night by back was itching badly and no matter what I tried, did not work. Then somehow, Sonia came to my bed and started licking my back for about 3 or 5 minutes. An hour later, that itch went away and had a good sleep, while Sonia was sleeping next to me.

Al-Hamdou Lil-Lah! She had a long life and one day, after coming back from school, my mother approached me and told me that she had just past away. Believe it or not, we all cried just like we cry when one of our loved one passes away.

This might sound weird but to me, it was not. We actually buried her, while still having tears coming down our cheeks, and said a couple prayers.

From then on, I never lived without having a cat in the house. Insha-Allah, and if Allah (SWT) blesses me with His Mercy and enters me into Jennah, there are a couple of things I will be asking my Creator. Yes, you can have everything you wish in Jennah, so Insha-Allah, I will ask Allah (SWT) for my Sonia, and all the cats I had, plus, for a cute, multi-colored Siberian Tiger (my big cat).

THE IMPORTANCE OF CATS IN ISLAM

When it comes to cats, there are plenty of stories. Islam not only teaches to be kind to others (without regards to their religious belief), but also kind to animals. One of such animal is, you guessed it, 'Cat'. We need to look at how the beloved Prophet of Allah (SWT), Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) was around cats.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) loved cats and was very kind towards them. Did you know that Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) actually had a favorite cat? Prophet's Muhammad (SAAWS) favorite cat was Muezza.

Let me tell you a story about Muezza. One time, a call to prayer was heard by the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) and of course, He (SAAWS) needed to answer that call, but one thing came between Him (SAAWS) and going to the Mesjid. It was Prophet Muhammad's (SAAWS) favorite cat, Muezza.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) wanted to wear a robe to go to prayer but Muezza was asleep on one of the robe's sleeve. Again, the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) needed to answer the call to prayer and needed to do something but what he did was unprecedented. So not to disturb Muezza, Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) cut off the sleeve of his robe, living Muezza sleeping in peace.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) then stroked Muezza three times which is said that doing so granted Muezza seven lives, plus the ability for Muezza to land on his feet whenver he falls down from something (a tree, for example).

Muezzin on Prophet Muhammads (SAAWS) lap during Sermons

Did you know that Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) was so attached to his cat that, whenever Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) is giving a Sermon (Khutba), he would let Muezzin rest on His (SAAWS) lap.

Did you know that Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) also drunk from the same vessel previously Muezzin drank water from? Not only that but Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) also did his ablution from the same water (left over water) the cat drunk from.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) treated cats the same way, if not more then a cat lover would treat his/her cat because Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS), again, drunk the water from the same bowl (left over water) and did His (SAAWS) ablutions from the left over water.

Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) teach us to be kind to animal and treat cats very well. Cats are also creators to be loved and cherished and mistreating them is seen as a grave sin in Islam.

Punishment for mistreating a cat

There are a lot of ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) talking about punishment of someone from mistreating a cat. There was a woman that had a cat and did not allow him/her to leave the house, and failed to take care of the cat by feeding him/her. That cat died and the woman's punishment was 'she was put in hell'.

Abdullah (RAA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) 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).

In another hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad - SAAWS), it is stated that 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 Muhammad (SAAWS) said this was alright as the cat is not unclean and is "one of those who go around among us".

Aisha (RAA) also narrated:

“Dawood ibn Salih ibn Dinar at-Tammar quoted his mother as saying that her mistress sent her with some pudding to give to Aisha (RAA) 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 (RAA) finished her prayer, she ate from the place where the cat had eaten. She stated: The Messenger of Allah (SAAWS) 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)

What does Islam teaches us about Cats?

  • The cat should not be sold or used as other traded goods. My Sonia (the one you see above in this article) was purchased from the human society. I don't believe that adopting a cat, which you purchased from human society falls in this 'not to do list' because you are actually saving the life of a cat.

    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)

  • Cat's 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)

  • Muslims are free to have cats and live with them provided that you treat them with respect, provide them with food and shelter, love and cherish them. Also, you have to let them roam about - Don't worry, they will come back to you, Insha-Allah.

Do cats invalidate the Prayer?

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RAA) that: The Messenger of Allah (SAAWS) 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'

Did you know?

Abu Hurayra (RAA) was a close Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) and has narrated more ahadeeths, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS), than any other Companion. He, Abu Hurayra (RAA) 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 Hurayra, meaning “father of the kitten.” He (RAA) was called so because of a small cat that He used to feed, 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 - female.)

A mean of getting more rewards and enter Paradise, Insha-Allah

Allah (SWT) gives us more ways, or chances to enter paradise (never forgetting His Mercy) so we should take advantage of them. Taking care of an animal, especially one that can actually enter your home is a great way to accumulate rewards on a daily basis.

So if you are not allergic to cats, I highly recommend that you adopt a cat and start getting those rewards. One of the rewards is, if you get a cat from a place that, if they are not adopted (cats), they will be put to sleep, you are getting a huge reward for being the conduit to save that cat's life.

If you happen to be a dog lover, then there is nothing with adopting a dog and taking care of it, as long as you know that a dog can't be in the house, like a cat can, and the Angels would actually leave the house if a dog enters your house. Dogs are great animals but they were meant for protection, outside the house and not inside.

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A. Alloui (I am a Slave of Allah - SWT, Not a Scholar) - I ask Allah's (SWT) forgiveness for any mistakes I made in this article!

Islamic Center of Reading, PA
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