Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) Compassion for Animals: A Lesson in Mercy and Kindness

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was a gift to mankind and to the world. He was the last prophet who bought the final revelation that completed the religion of monotheism, Islam.

It has often been noted that there is a link between compassion for animals and goodness of character. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy not only to mankind but all the creations of the earth, including animals. His teachings further preserved the sanctity of animals and reinforced how Muslims should honor and respect all of God’s creation.

“And we have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a mercy for all of humankind, jinn, and all that exists.” (Quran 21:107)

Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) Camel Qaswa: A Symbol of His Compassion for Animals

The Prophet Muhammad ended the cruel customs of cutting the tails and manes of horses, branding animals in soft spots and keeping horses saddled. The prophet could not tolerate any sort of harm to animals – he related that a women who had kept her cat in captivity and starved it to death would be a dweller of the hell fire. On the other hand, he related that a prostitute who saw a thirsty dog and gave it water would be forgiven for her sins and would be granted paradise.

Once a camel complained to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that, despite its service to its owner, it would be killed. The prophet personally went to the camel’s owner and asked him to not harm the camel.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also had a camel, named Qaswa, whom he treated with respect and cared for. It is related that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to the city of Medina, the people of Medina were overjoyed and every family wanted him to be a guest at their house. The prophet (peace be upon him) told the people of Medina that he will follow the lead of his camel. Everyone watched as the camel went from house to house and then finally sat in front of a house. That is the family that he chose to stay with.

Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) Guidelines for Humane Slaughter

Even when it came to slaughtering animals for food, the Prophet (peace be upon him) laid down certain criteria out of respect for God’s creations. He told his companions to use the sharpest knife to cause minimum pain and suffering. He also said not to sharpen the knife in front of the animals when they are being slaughtered. He didn’t approve of killing animals for sport unless it was for food.

Humans have the responsibility of taking care of the animals that are on the earth. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) throughout his life was an advocate for animals and taught people that they must treat animals and the environment with respect.

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.” (Quran6:38)


Note: The “peace be upon him” next to Prophet Muhammad represents the invocation Muslims say as a form of respect

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