Islam is Mercy for the Entire Universe, Even Animals 

By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Islam teaches us to be merciful to the entire creation, to Muslims and non-Muslims, to friends and enemies, even to the animals.

Allah said:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.

Surah Al-Anbiya 21:107

And Allah said:

ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ

Then be among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to mercy.

Surah Al-Balad 90:17

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمْ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ

Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1924, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي بِطَرِيقٍ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنْ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنْ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلَأَ خُفَّهُ مَاءً ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَهُ بِفِيهِ حَتَّى رَقِيَ فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ

Once a man suffered from thirst while he was walking on a journey. When he found a well, he climbed down into it and drank from it. Then he came out and saw a dog lolling its tongue from thirst and licking the ground. The man said: this dog has suffered thirst just as I have suffered from it. So he climbed down into the well, filled his shoe with water, and caught it in his mouth as he climbed up; then he gave the dog a drink. Allah appreciated this deed and so He forgave him.

It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for charity even for the animals?” He said:

فِي كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ

In every living being there is a reward for charity.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2244, Grade: Sahih

Being merciful to the creation is the only way we can secure the mercy of Allah for ourselves.

Jareer ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ مَنْ لَا يَرْحَمُ النَّاسَ

Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to the people.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6941, Grade: Sahih

The Prophet applied these teachings all throughout his life, even to his enemies and persecutors.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was told, “O Messenger of Allah, pray against the idolaters!” So the Prophet said:

إِنِّي لَمْ أُبْعَثْ لَعَّانًا وَإِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ رَحْمَةً

Verily, I was not sent to invoke curses, but rather I was only sent as a mercy.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2599, Grade: Sahih

Perhaps the most famous example was the forgiveness he showed his enemies after being persecuted by them for twenty-three years.

Al-Qasim ibn Salim reported: When they came to the Ka’bah they were holding onto its door and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا تَقُولُونَ وَمَا تَظُنُّونَ

What do you say? What do you think?

They said three times, “We say you are the son of our brother.” He said:

أَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ يُوسُفُ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

I say to you as Joseph said to his brothers: No blame upon you today. Allah will forgive you, and He is the most merciful of the merciful. (12:92)

Abu Yusuf reported: When they had gathered in front of the sacred mosque, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا تَرَوْنَ أَنِّي صَانِعٌ بِكُمْ

What do you think I will do with you?

They said, “Only good, O noble brother, son of a noble brother.” He said:

اذْهَبُوا فَأَنْتُمُ الطُّلَقَاءُ

Go, you are free.

Source: Sunan Al-Kubra Al-Bayhaqi 17714, Grade: Sahih

This is a defining attribute of Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’ah, the orthodox Muslims. For this reason, Al-Bayhaqi entitled a chapter in his book on manners:

باب‏:‏ في تراحم الخلق

Chapter on being merciful to the creation

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

وَأَهْلُ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَمَاعَةِ يَتَّبِعُونَ الْكِتَابَ وَالسُّنَّةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ الْحَقَّ وَيَرْحَمُونَ الْخَلْقَ

The people of the Sunnah and the community follow the Book and the Sunnah and they obey Allah and His Messenger and follow the truth. They have mercy upon the creation.

Source: Majmu’ Al-Fatawa 1/278

Therefore, we should do our best to be merciful to the entire creation, to the Muslims and non-Muslims, to our families and relatives, to friends and strangers, even to the animals.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

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