﴾Therefore, treat not an orphan with oppression.﴿
Due to Allah's Infinite Divine Wisdom, the Holy Prophet, Peace be upon him, was an orphan, in order to console the hearts of all orphans that would come after him, as he, the best of all man kind and the most beloved to Allah, Almighty, was an orphan. Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, used to do well to orphans and help them. He (PBUH) used to counsel his Companions to be their custodians and to do well to them. He also showed the merits that come from that. Al-Bukhari narrated on authority of Sahl that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:
((I and the custodian of an orphan are like this (together) in Paradise (and he joined his four finger and middle finger together))Ibn Maja also narrated on authority of Abu Huraira that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, says:
((The best Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is well treated; and the worst Muslim house is a house in which an orphan is badly treated. ))
The above Prophetic Hadith shows clearly that if someone takes good care of an orphan, he is sure to enter paradise by his good care. Also, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), praises a widow whose husband dies, but she abstains from getting married again and prefers to devote herself to bringing up her children. Sometimes the husband might pass away because of an accident or an illness at an early age, the husband might pass away at the age of thirty, and his wife might be twenty-two; very early, he passes away leaving her with her orphan children. Of course, she can get married, but if she gets married the children will perhaps be lost or go astray. The new husband might not accept her with her children. She has to put her children under the care of her parents who might be old: and with an old person, a young child might quite often get out of control.
If a young widow abstains from getting married again, prefers to devote herself to bringing up her children, and prefers to do good to her children instead of getting married again: such woman was praised by Allah's Messenger. In this contest, ‘Aouf Bin Malik Al-Ashja’i narrated that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:
((I and a woman with dark brown cheeks will be like these (i.e. together) on the Resurrection Day (and he joined his fore finger and middle finger together): a widow, although beautiful noble, devoted herself for her orphans upon her husband’s death until they became strong enough or died))What is the meaning of “a woman with dark brown cheeks”? Interpreters of the foregoing Prophetic Hadith, said it means “a widow who abstained from getting married again and therefore she became pale with hard work and sorrow”, and therefore the color of her cheeks became dark brown. This is because a woman has been created by Allah to be a wife, and when her husband is away from her, this causes her a lot of misery and badly affects her beauty. This fact was made quite clear when a woman came to the Prophet’s venerable wife ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, complaining about her husband. ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, noticed that the woman, who was the wife of Uthman Ibn Math’oun (may Allah be pleased with him), had neglected herself. When the woman complained about her husband that he was always fasting and that he always stood up the nights for prayer, Allah's Messenger, be peace be upon him, summoned him, and he addressed him: “O Uthman! Am I not your example in life?!” And he taught him that he had to fulfill certain rights towards his wife. On the next day, however, Uthman's wife came back with a good apparel and nice smell. Where did she get that good looking? The answer is: when her husband took care of her. Then, ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, asked the woman: “How are things with you now?” Uthman's wife answered: “I have had what other people usually have.”
Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Ass quoted Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, as saying:
((Don't do that! Fast for sometime, and break the fast for sometime. Stand up the nights (in prayer) for sometime and sleep for sometime. This is because your body has a right on you, your eyes have a right on you, and your wife has a right on you))Islam is a well-balanced religion, i.e. you can reach the topmost rank with Allah and, at the same time, fulfill your duties towards other fellow humans. But if you overdo your worships but neglect the rights of other fellow humans, you will be held responsible, and you will be called to account for neglecting such rights.
((I and a woman with dark brown cheeks will be like these (i.e. together) on the Resurrection Day (and he joined his fore finger and middle finger together): a widow, although beautiful noble, devoted herself for her orphans upon her husband’s death until they became strong enough or died.))The foregoing Prophetic Hadith shows clearly that the woman abstained from getting married to another husband, but consecrated herself to her children. Now the question is: how dear is this young child to Allah, so that if you take care of it, you deserve Allah's Paradise? The answer is: I swear by Allah! I don't see any work in this present life nobler or better than firmly establishing true faith in your children, taking good care of them, making them happy, and bringing them up to love Allah, His Messenger and his noble family. There is nothing nobler or better than making your children love Allah's book (the Holy Quran), bringing them up according to the teachings of Islamic religion, teaching them rules of Islamic Law, and making them love true Faith and righteousness. Such work is indeed very great in the sight of Allah.
((Tap on the heads of orphans, and feed the needy one.))An orphan might, one day, become a great social reformer, a great scientist, or a great misanthropist. A person who takes care of this orphan and brings him up according to Islamic teachings will be greatly rewarded by Allah Almighty. I know a man whose brother died, leaving him male and female orphans. He brought up his brother's orphan children, exactly as he brought up his children, he chose for his dead brother's daughters good righteous husbands; and he made, at his own expense, wedding parties for his brother's daughters like those he made for his own daughters. There is also another family that I respect highly because when their brother died, all the other brother and sisters took his place and took good care of his children. No doubt, taking care of children is one of the very best human works, and so is bringing them up properly. Once again: “I and a woman with dark brown cheeks like these on the Resurrection Day (and he joined his fore finger and middle finger together): a widow, although beautiful noble, devoted herself for her orphans upon her husband’s death until they became strong enough or died.”
﴾Have you seen him who denies religion? That is he who repulses the orphan.﴿Why did Allah, Almighty, choose denying Allah’s religion as the most ugly human quality and confirm that those who deny Allah’s religion are those who repulse orphans? Some scholars say: an orphan should not be repulsed, but should be treated kindly and gently, if you don't treat him well, you are completely wrong; so how would the case be if you pushed him harshly away? Yes, indeed! It is a great mistake to treat an orphan badly, but it is even worse to repulse him harshly, to humiliate him, or treat him unkindly.
((Tap on the head of orphans, and feed the needy.))Also, Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said:
((He who looks after a widow and a needy person is like a fighter for the Cause of Allah.” He also said: “like someone who stands up the night in prayer and worship and someone who is always fasting.))Yes, indeed! It is great to look after a widow and a needy person. By the way, a Prophetic Hadith that is narrated by the two Sheikhs, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, is one the most authentic and true Prophetic Hadiths. However, Ibn Majah mentioned another narration of the foregoing Prophetic Hadith, which goes:
((He who looks after a widow and a needy person is like a fighter for the Cause of Allah, or someone who stands up the night in prayer and worship and fasts all the day.))As for the Prophet’s mercy on animals, he, peace be upon him, always recommended his companions to be merciful to animals. He forbade keeping animals without food for a long time, making them work more than they can, or overloading them. In this context, Sahl Ibn Al-Hanthalia said:
((Allah's Messenger, (PBUH), came past some camels, one of which was so slim, so he (PBUH) said, ‘Fear Allah as regards these animals! Use them well and eat their meat well.))By the way, I had a relative who passed away a few years ago; may Allah have mercy on him. He had a horse, and he used to take good care of it. He used to provide it with a good fodder, and he also used to make a special bed of straw for it to lie on, for its own comfort, of course. Once, his daughter mounted the horse and rode it on the main road. When a tramcar passed by the horse, it was frightened, but it realized that on its back was the daughter of her master. So it kneeled down gently, allowing the little child to dismount safely, and then it ran away. Animals know those who love them, those who take care of them, and those who feed them. A true Muslim is someone who is always merciful to animals.
((Allah's Messenger (PBUH) came past some camels, one of which was so slim, so he (PBUH) said, ‘Fear Allah with these animals! use them well and eat their meat well.))In this Prophetic Hadith we notice that the camel was made so slim because of hunger. Taking care of animals is part to a true believer’s Faith. But nowadays, we no longer have to live with animals in the same place, as people used to do in the past. But there are pets, like cats and dogs, which are also rare in our country. However, if someone sees an animal in an orchard on a field, he has to take good care of it whenever necessary.
((I was riding behind Allah's Messenger (PBUH) one day and he confided to me something I shall never tell to any one. Whenever Allah's Messenger (PBUH) wanted to answer the call of nature, the best place for him to hide in was a wall or an enclosure of palm trees. So he (PBUH) entered an orchard that belonged to one of the Ansar (Helpers), where there was a camel. When the camel saw Allah's Messenger (PBUH), it looked at him sadly, and its eyes were filled with tears. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) came to the animal and wiped with his Holy hands the back of its head, behind its ears, and the camel stopped weeping. So, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) asked, ‘Whose is this camel?’ A man of the Ansar (Helpers) came to Allah's Messenger (PBUH) saying: “It is mine, O Messenger of Allah.’ Allah's Messenger (PBUH) turned to the man and said: ‘Don't you fear Allah as regards this animal, which Allah has enabled you to own?! It complained to me that you keep it hungry, overload it, and force it to work more than it can.))I swear by Allah! I once saw, with my own eyes, a female dog weeping, because a car had run over her baby dogs; and she stood before her babies with tears in her eyes. Animals are creatures and have souls; and we will see later on how a woman deserved to enter Hell-Fire because of a cat. Now, we go back to a Prophetic Hadith,
((… Allah's Messenger came to the camel and wiped with his holy hand the back of its head, behind its ears, and he asked, ‘Whose is this camel?’ A man of the Ansar (Helpers) came to Allah's Messenger (PBUH), saying: ‘It is mine, O Messenger of Allah.’ Allah's Messenger (PBUH) turned to the man and said: ‘Don't you fear Allah as regards this animal, which Allah has enabled you to own?! It complained to me that you keep it hungry, overload it and force it to work more than it can.))Allah's Messenger (PBUH) also strongly forbade keeping animals hungry or forcing them to work more than they can, either by forcing them to do lots of works or by overloading them. In this context, some of those who work with animals use an awl or spur to punch animals with. In this way, they very badly treat animals, and therefore, they will be severely punished by Allah All Mighty.
((A woman was tormented for a cat that she kept imprisoned until it died, so she was made to enter Hell-Fire because of it. She didn't feed it or give it to drink when she kept it imprisoned; nor did she leave it eat from the vermin of the earth.))The same thing applies to a person who treads even an ant with his foot. To this effect, Allah All Mighty, says,
﴾Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: ‘O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Solomon and his hosts should crush you while they perceive not.﴿According to the teachings of Islam, it is forbidden to tread insects or small animals with our feet. So we have to be careful about animals. It is by no means permissible to kill animals. In this context, the Almighty Allah says,
﴾And they (true believers) do not kill the Self that Allah has forbidden to be killed, except rightfully.﴿Narrated Sahl Ibn Mou’az on authority of his father:
((Allah's Messenger (PBUH) came across some people who were standing on the backs of theirs animals, talking together. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) addressed the people: ‘Ride them safely, and leave them safely. And do not make them seats for you to talk on the roads and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider, because it remembers Allah more than he does.))Ridden animals might sometimes be better in the sight of Allah than their riders, because Allah Almighty says:
﴾The seven heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, glorify Him; and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise, but you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.﴿If the rider is in a state of heedlessness of the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, while the ridden animal is in a state of consciousness of Him, then, the ridden animal is indeed better than its rider.
((Verily Allah counsels you to take care of these brute animals.))And he repeated this twice or three times. Then, he (PBUH) added,
((After you have traveled on them, take them back to their stables))Some people sell fish live from lakes or special containers. Those ignorant sellers open the body of the fish, and take out their inner parts while they are still alive and moving. In Islam, it is not permissible to cut open the body of a fish, while it is still alive. You should do that after it has become completely dead and motionless. It is forbidden in Islam to torture a fish that is still alive and feeling pain. Ignorant fish sellers not only catch the fish and take them away from the water, but also make them suffer painfully because of the lack of Oxygen; they also cut open their bodies alive, and take out their inner parts. A fish is a living creature with a soul. A person who buys fish alive in the water has no right to let ignorant sellers to cut open the body of the fish and take out its inner parts unless it is completely dead and motionless.
((A physician told Allah's Messenger (PBUH) about a medicine that contained frogs in it, so Allah's Messenger (PBUH) forbade killing frogs))He (PBUH) also said,
((Croak of fogs is a kind of glorification of the Lord Almighty))In a well known Prophetic Hadith mentioned in Al-Munthiry’s book of Hadith on authority of Abdullah Bin ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said:
((A woman was tormented for a cat that she kept imprisoned until it died, so she was made to enter Hell-Fire because she didn't feed it or give it to drink when she kept it imprisoned, nor did she leave it eat from the vermin of the earth.))You notice in the foregoing Prophetic Hadith that a woman deserved to enter the Fire, because she imprisoned a cat. Similarly, if a chief of a police station arrests someone without any investigation or charges, and the person dies in arrest, the chief of the police station is considered, in Islam, as a killer. Because of a cat, the woman deserved to enter Hell-Fire, so what do you think of more important things or creatures than a cat. A cat might be the cause of entering Hell-Fire, so what about a human being.
((Allah's Messenger (PBUH) forbade instigating animals against one another.))It is worth mentioning that some people make certain fights between animals, like cocks or dogs for example. Such kind of entertainment is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Of course, dogs and cocks might fight on their own, which is something natural, but to inauthor animals and to make it your entertainment to inauthor animals against one another or to instigate them to fight one another or kill one another is strongly forbidden according to the teachings of Islam.
((While we were traveling with Allah's Messenger (PBUH), he went away to answer the call of nature. We found a Humra (kind of bird) with her two baby birds. We took away the Humra's babies, and when the Humra came back, she kept moving its wings in confusion and worry (about her babies). Therefore Allah's Messenger (PBUH) asked: ‘Who distressed this bird with her babies? Give her back her babies!’ He also saw an ant- village that we had set on fire, so he asked: “Who set this on fire?’ ‘We did.’ We replied. He (PBUH) said: ‘No one has the right to torture by the fire except the Lord of the Fire (Allah, the Almighty.))Some people put a scorpion alive in fire. Such a deed is a kind of torture; and torture with fire is strongly forbidden in Islam, as no one has the right to torture with fire except the Lord of fire Allah, Almighty.
((Whosoever kills a bird just for fun, the bird comes to Allah on the Day of Judgment, complaining: ‘O Lord! So-and-so killed me just for fun, and he didn't kill me for any benefit.))Only if you are on travel in a remote deserted place, and if you are very hungry and there is no food to eat, it is permissible for you to hunt birds and eat them. But to take hunting birds just for a hobby and entertainment, and to kill them just for fun, without eating them, is strongly forbidden in Islam.
((If someone kills a bird or any other animal without its due right, Allah, the Almighty, will question him for it (the bird). They asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What is its due right?” He (PBUH) said: “Its due right is to slaughter it and eat it, and not only to cut off its head and throw it away))At-Tabarani, and sh3er, narrated on authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that a man lay down a sheep in order to slaughter it, and began to sharpen his knife in front of it. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said angrily:
((Do you want to kill this sheep twice?! Why don't you sharpen your knife before you lay it down?!))Allah's Messenger (PBUH) also severely reproached another person who slaughtered a sheep in front of other sheep:
((Do you want to kill the sheep twice?! Why don't you separate them from one another (while you are slaughtering them?!))After private slaughterhouses had been established, one of our brother, who worked in this kind of business, asked me about the proper Islamic way to slaughter animals. I recommended him to make a special room for slaughtering animals away from the other sheep. I told him: “If you slaughter the sheep in front of one another, it is a sinful deed.” I advised him to make a secret room especially for the sheep that he wanted to slaughter so that the other sheep would not see those that are being slaughtered.
((Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, came past some boys who had posted a bird and were shooting their arrows at it; and they gave the bird's master all the arrows that missed. When they saw Ibn Omar they dispersed, but Ibn Omar Asked angrily: ‘Who did this?! Allah curses those who do such a thing! And Allah's Messenger (PBUH) curses those who take any living thing for a target!))I have heard of a horrible kind of food in South East Asia. People there bring a monkey alive, put it under a wooden chair that has an opening on the monkey’s head. The monkey's skull is cut off and opened; and they eat its brain while it is still alive. This is something that some of my friends saw with their own eyes in countries of South East Asia, and also in America. This is a grievous sinful deed! Don't those people fear that Allah, the Almighty, may transform them into monkeys?! Those who eat monkey’s brains while they are still alive: don't they fear that Allah make them monkeys themselves?! When man becomes so hard-hearted he is no longer a human being. According to the teachings of Islam, even if you were to kill a scorpion, or a snake, you should by no means torture it.
((I learned two things from Allah's Messenger (PBUH), as he said: ‘Allah bids good doing to everything. If you kill you, should kill well; and if you slaughter, you should slaughter well. And the one of you should sharpen his blade and comfort his slaughtered animal.))According to the teachings of Islam, even if you kill an animal that Allah, the Almighty, considers as permissible for you to kill, you should by no means torture it. If you torture it, Allah, the Almighty, is severe in revenge and punishment.
﴾And We have sent you not (O Muhammad) but as a mercy for all worlds.﴿In other words all the good deeds that Prophet Muhammad's nation does are due to his Prophetic direction and guidance. True Muslims work according to the teachings of Islam, i.e. the principles of their Islamic religion; and they have values and principles. Allah's commandments have been communicated to them, so it is not up to them to kill or not to kill. But ignorant disbelieving people are like brute animals. True believers are well disciplined and rightly guided people; and all of the things that they do are according to Allah's religion.
((While Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was asleep, he dreamt of two angels that came to him. The first angel sat at his feet, and the second angel sat at his head. The angel at his feet said to the angel at his head: ‘Give the parable of this man (i.e. Muhammad) and the parable of his nation.’ The angel at his head said: ‘His parable and the parable of his nation, is the parable of a people who, while traveling, went into a desert but didn't have enough food and drink whereby they could cross the whole desert or go back to the place where they started. While they were in this case, a man, in a silk gown, came to them and said: ‘You see! If I take you to an orchard full of green landscape and lakes of water, would you follow me?’ They answered: ‘Yes, we would.’ And he took them to a green orchard with lakes of water, and they eat and drunk and were very happy. He said to them: ‘Didn't I find you in that condition, didn’t I ask you to follow me to a green orchard with lakes of water, and didn’t you follow me?’ They said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Now, I am going to take you to orchards that are greener than those and lakes that have more water, so I would like you to follow me.’ Some of the people said: ‘By Allah! He speaks the truth. We shall follow him.’ But sh3er said: ‘We are satisfied with this. We should remain here.))This symbolic story has a lot of lessons: it symbolizes the fact that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) communicated to us this divine religion of Islam from the Almighty Lord. He (PBUH) guided us to the Straight Path; and he came to with his Holy Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, which enable us to achieve our interests in both the present world and the Hereafter. If someone follows Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, his life in the present world is all right, and his reputation is noble and pure, things are made easy for him, and his heart is made happy and contented. But if he thinks that this world is enough for him and doesn't care about the Hereafter, he loses the Hereafter, which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) describes as greener and better place than this present world.