Allah said in the Qur’an that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a mercy, not only for human beings and jinn, but also to the entire creation. His kindness is exemplary even when it comes to animals, who are very often neglected.

While he permitted to use animals for specific purposes, he forbade misusing or abusing them. Muhammad Al-’Arifi mentions this aspect of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his book “Enjoy your life” published by Darussalam.

ONCE, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was on a journey with his companions, he stopped over to answer the call of nature. Meanwhile, some of his companions noticed a redstart bird with two chicks. They took the chicks away. The bird came and began to circle around them flapping its wings. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) came and saw the scene, he turned to his companions and said, “Who distressed the bird by taking its chicks from it? Return the chicks to the bird!”

On a different occasion, the Prophet (peace be upon him) noticed a burnt ants’ nest. “Who burnt the nest?” he demanded.

One of his companions replied, “I did.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) became angry and said, “No one but Allah punishes with fire!”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was so merciful that if he saw a cat whilst he was performing ablution, he would lower the utensil down for the cat to drink from and then perform ablution from the leftover water.

Once he passed by a man who had laid a sheep on the ground and placed his foot on its neck to slaughter it while sharpening the knife as the sheep looked on. The Prophet (peace be upon him) became angry upon seeing this and said, “Do you want it to die twice? Why didn’t you sharpen your knife before you laid it on the ground?”

On another occasion, he (peace be upon him) passed by two men in the middle of a conversation and each of them was sitting on his camel. When he saw this, he felt pity for the camels and therefore forbade people from using animals as chairs, meaning that one is not to mount it except when required and that when the need is fulfilled, one should dismount and allow it to rest. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also forbade branding an animal on its face.