Prohibition of Cruelty
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"And do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.'' (4:36)
1600. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A woman was punished in Hell because of a cat which she had confined until it died. She did not give it to eat or to drink when it was confined, nor did she free it so that it might eat the vermin of the earth.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Commentary: It is necessary for the Muslim to treat animals kindly and tenderly. Harshness to them is unlawful.
1601. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I happened to pass by some lads of the Quraish who had tied a bird at which they have been shooting arrows. Every arrow that they missed came into the possession of the owner of the bird. No sooner had they seen Ibn `Umar, they dispersed. Thereupon, Ibn `Umar said: "Who has done this? May Allah curse him who has done so. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has cursed anyone who makes a live thing the target (of one's marksmanship).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: It is a major sin to pin down a living being to make it a target. One who does it is a cursed person.
1602. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) forbade animals being tied (as targets).
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The right way of doing it is that rather than first capturing it and making it a target of arrows and bullets, it should be captured and slaughtered with a very sharp knife so that the victim does not feel much pain while giving its life.
1603. Abu Ali Suwaid bin Muqarrin (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I was the seventh child of Banu Muqarrin and we had only one slave-girl. When the youngest of us once happened to slap her (on the face) the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) ordered us to set her free.
Commentary: It is a serious crime to beat one's servant or slave. The expiation of this sin is to set the servant or slave free. One is, however, allowed to discipline one's servants in a suitable manner in which punishment does not exceed the nature of offense committed on their part.
1604. Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I was beating my slave with a whip when I heard a voice behind me which said: "Abu Mas`ud! Bear in mind...'' I did not recognize the voice for the intense anger I was in. Abu Mas`ud added: As he came near me, I found that he was the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) who was saying, "Abu Mas`ud! Bear in mind that Allah has more dominance upon you than you have upon your slave.'' Then I said: "I will never beat any slave in future.''
Another narration is: The whip dropped from my hand in awe of the Prophet (PBUH).
Still another narration is: I said: "He is free for the sake of Allah.'' He (PBUH) said, "If you had not done this, you would have been singed by the Fire.''
1. This Hadith has a stern warning for those who punish their slaves and servants without reason or far more than what they deserve.
2. This Hadith also gives a hint of the aura of awe and majesty that characterized the person of the Prophet (PBUH). It also shows the readiness of the Companions to mend their ways and obey the Prophet's commands.
1605. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "The expiation for beating or slapping a slave on the face for something he has not done is to set him free.''
Commentary: Al-Qadi `Iyad says that there is consensus on the point that setting the slave free is desirable, not obligatory. Such liberation of the slave, however, is not equal in reward to setting him free without any consideration.
1606. It has been narrated that Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam (May Allah be pleased with them) happened to pass by some (non-Arab) farmers of Syria who had been made to stand in the sun, and olive oil was poured on their heads. He said: "What is the matter?'' He was told that they had been detained for the non-payment of Jizyah. (Another narration says that they were being tortured for not having paid Al-Kharaj). Thereupon Hisham said: "I bear testimony to the fact that I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, `Allah will torment those who torment people in the world.''' Then he proceeded towards their Amir and reported this Hadith to him. The Amir then issued orders for their release.
1. "Al-Kharaj'' is that tax which is charged on the produce yielded by land which is in the possession of non-Muslims in a Muslim State, while the revenue that is recovered from the Muslims on the lands held by them is called "Al-Ushr''. "Jizyah'' is that annual fee which is charged from the non-Muslims for the safety and security provided to their life, property and honour by a Muslim State. Muslims pay Zakat and non-Muslims pay Jizyah.
2. "Adhab'' torment is that particular punishment which Allah will inflict upon the inhabitants of Hell. If anyone gives a similar punishment to anybody in this world, he will be punished by Allah in the Hereafter for it, because He does not like anyone to do so. To make someone stand in a sizzling hot day and pour oil over his head is one type of tormenting people. For this reason, Hisham bin Hakim (May Allah be pleased with them) mentioned this Hadith to the Governor to warn him and make him abolish the punishment.
3. We also learn from this Hadith that it is incumbent on every Muslim to enjoin good on people and forbid them from doing evil.
4. Tyrants should be warned against their tyrannies so that they abstain from them.
1607. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saw an ass which had been branded on the face. He disapproved of it. Upon this Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said, "By Allah, I shall not brand (the animal) but on a part at a distance from the face.'' Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) then commanded branding on the hips; he was the first person to brand the animals on hips.
Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that if an animal is to be branded for identification, it should not be branded on the face. The Hadith also points out the superiority of Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) and his obedience to the Prophet's command not to brand an animal on the face.
1608. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: An ass with a brand on the face happened to pass before the Prophet (PBUH). Thereupon he said, "May Allah curse the one who has branded it (on the face).''
Another narration in Muslim is: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) prohibited us from hitting across the face and branding on the face (of an animal).''
Commentary: Since face is the most sensitive and delicate part of the body, Muslims are strictly forbidden from causing even the slightest harm to it, no matter whether it is mankind or animal. Although, it is permissible to beat one's wife, children and slaves etc., for discipline but there is a stern warning that they should not be hit on the face.