Nowadays, pets are inseparable parts of people’s lives. In the United States, for example, over 60% of families have pets. Some have dogs, cats, while others keep fish, turtles, birds, rabbits, horses, sheep, pigs, or chickens. No one knows for sure when the first animals were domesticated, but according to history, humans have always developed close associations with animals. Although early humans might have first sought to domesticate animals as living tools, other benefits of animals caused humans to keep pets, too. Muslims can also exploit animals taking into account some considerations stated below.
Islam has never been indifferent to animals. The proofs are verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and sayings of the Imams (AS) which strongly exhort Muslims to treat animals and birds with compassion, not to abuse them, and repeatedly blame cruelty towards them.
In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) enumerates six rights for an animal over its owner, of which are: “he should not burden it with a load that it cannot bear, he should not hit the animal except when it truly deserves”, etc. .
Hence, hitting a dog in the face or body as punishment and making it obedient through fear, putting a heavy load on a camel or a horse, providing little food for a cat, and putting a canary in a small cage are all blamed in Islam. It is also quoted from the Prophet (PBUH&HP) that God forgave a prostitute who saved a thirsty dog from death by drawing up some water from a well using her shoes . Also, According to the Quran, all living and non-living creatures are made by Allah [i], and He loves all animals; so should do humans.
In Islamic teachings, there is nothing wrong with keeping animals and it is even recommended in some cases; except for some animals that Islamic conditions or prohibition on keeping them should be observed. Besides, keeping some animals such as roosters, camels, sheep, horses, cats, and pigeons is highly recommended .
In other words, keeping permissible animals is allowed, and in some cases, it brings blessing to its owner . But, this should be under certain circumstances, such as: treating and feeding pets properly, having enough space to accommodate them, considering the hygienic requirements of both the animal and its owner, and respecting neighbors’ rights.
For accommodating an animal at home, a proper separate shelter must be provided, based on the needs and the nature of the animal. For a bird, for example, a comfortable cage indoors suffices, but a camel or a sheep must be kept outdoors! In this regard, apart from the hygienic points that should be taken into account, the excrement and urine of some birds and animals are impure (Najis), hence, keeping them indoors needs attention .
What is encouraged in Islam is keeping domesticated animals that need humans to protect and feed them, or wild animals which require protection; otherwise it should be avoided, especially if keeping the animal at home causes harm to it .
A review of the Islamic narrations reveals that the emphasis on keeping pets is because of the benefits and the blessings that certain animals bring to their owners and saving them and their families from disasters. Having camels, horses and sheep were advised in the past because of their role in the economy of the family, transportation, and defense. And nowadays, many people around the world consume the products obtained from sheep, and some still use horses and camels for farm work and transport in some areas.
In some sayings keeping a rooster, pigeon, sheep, and cat is named among the ways of drawing sustenance and benefits . Another advantage of having pets is that some animals warn humans in case of danger, they clean up their surroundings from vermin and prevent waste .
It is also essential to know that respecting the animals’ rights is of paramount importance in Islam and is explicitly stated in Islamic teachings. This equally applies to both animals permitted and forbidden to be kept by Muslims. This prevents from treating animals cruelly, neglecting them, over-working or over-loading animals (as stated above), and hunting them for sport.
It was said that keeping animals is recommended in Islam, but not all of them; like dogs and especially pigs. Since dogs are considered impure (Najis) and humans are susceptible to catch a disease from them, Muslims are advised against keeping them . Nevertheless, there is nothing in Islam that states to hate dogs or harm them. On the contrary, feeding dogs (even stray dogs) and watering them are reported in Sunnah and the conduct of the Imams (AS) . It is also permitted to keep dogs where they assist humans and are kept outdoors .
But about pigs, as there is no benefit in keeping them and as they are impure (Najis), Muslims are forbidden to keep them .
[i] (25:59), (2:29), (45:4), etc.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wassail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- S. A. al-Muttaqi, “Kanz al-Ummal”, T. 43116.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 643.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 16, p. 124.
- Complete Risalah Amaliyah.
- Muhaddith Nuri, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 248.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 104, p. 41, T. 52.
The concept of the last savior and his advent exist in many religions, although with some fundamental differences. Here we review what expecting the last savior in Islam means, what are its requirements and how it improves the quality of one’s life.
Awaiting, in general, represents a situation where someone is hoping or watching for something to happen, especially for a long time. Awaiting the last savior means hoping for the last divine messenger who will reveal the truth and spread justice and peace in the whole universe. In Surah Qasas, it is stated that: “We wanted to confer a favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors” (28:5). This is a promising divine concept which enlightens the hearts, prepares human beings for receiving who they are waiting for, and brings hope to them .
We are surely living in an era that is filled with injustice; some people are at war, and many of them face discrimination and hypocrisy. From an Islamic point of view, even the physical presence of the last savior brings mercy over human beings, and all these shortcomings are due to his absence. Hence, a conscious human being, a creature that is a perfectionist in nature, does not tolerate these shortcomings and defects and tries to remove the barriers against the presence of the last savior.
Being a perfectionist and trying to achieve a better condition is an inherent quality of the human beings that regulates almost all activities of every human being towards perfection. Hence, a conscious human being is naturally inclined toward accelerating the coming of the last savior.
4. Making Efforts to Pass the Current Unfavorable Condition and to Reach a Desirable Situation
Hoping for a better future that the presence of the last savior will bring about is not sufficient. One should also make efforts and participate in the process of preparing the requirements of the advent of the savior.
Sometimes something is missed in our life, but we are not even aware of that. The very first step in the process of awaiting the last savior is to know that there is divine mercy that is absent.
One might be aware of the absence of the last savior but does not believe that human beings require his presence and guidance. Hence, waiting for the last savior requires one to contemplate and know what his presence will bring about for human society. In fact, this situation is like a divine test to see whether one will rely on his\her abilities and will to improve the current condition.
Those who do not believe in the advent of the last savior will undoubtedly not await for him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have always tried to reinforce the belief in the advent of the last savior and to prevent any despair among human beings. In this regard is a narration (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which describes that The Judgment Day will not arrive until one of his descendants rises with the truth and makes his advent whenever Allah permits . One who believes in the advent of the savior in Islam should also wish that it happens, otherwise, he\she is not really awaiting his advent. This requires having a clear vision of the things that will happen if the last savior emerges. If one is afraid of that time, he\she will surely not await for him to come.
Although the items above make one await for the savior, believing that this might happen very soon will cause one to get ready to help the last savior in Islam in his peace plan.
- M. Musavi Isfahani,"Mikyal al Makarim", vol. 2, p. 235.
- Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 7, p. 325.
On a cold winter day, I left the house for work while I really wanted to get back into bed. Cursing the heavy traffic, the crowded subway, and the noisy girls laughing loudly next to my ears, I finally arrived at my workplace, where my colleagues were talking about a thing called “Coronavirus.” At that moment, I never thought the issue might be so important. So, I ignored my colleagues and started to work.
A few days later, we heard about the lockdowns, the increase in the number of deaths caused by Covid-19, aka coronavirus. People were losing their dear ones, and they were afraid to participate in their burials and funerals. I could see with my own eyes the verses of the Holy Quran that say, “The day when a man will evade his brother, his mother and his father, his spouse and his sons, each of them will have a task to keep him preoccupied on that day.” (80: 34- 37)
We experienced days where everyone was worried about him/herself. Trying our best to buy and compile masks, soaps, and alcohol-based cleansers, we still thought that one of those Hollywood superpowers or the armies that save the world during the Armageddon would come and save the world. But, no one could do anything against these small viruses. That was where I could feel these verses of the Quran: “He had no party to help him, besides Allah, nor could he help himself. There, all authority belongs to Allah, the Real. He is best in rewarding, and best in requiting.” (18: 43-44)
Gradually, we stopped fighting the situation. We stopped panicking. We stayed home. Works and businesses were shut down. Schools and universities were closed. Visiting relatives and friends were forbidden. We were given some time for seclusion, some time to contemplate and come up with “what if” questions.
What if going to work and school and university are no more important? What if the isolation continues forever? What if the hospitals won’t let you in, even if you pay a significant amount of money? What if fame and wealth would no more be important?
Do we still care about what to wear in front of others or how to talk to present ourselves as high-class people?
All our routine acts become meaningless. Our social norms and behaviors are questioned. We realize that none of our worldly habits were worthy enough to hurt ourselves or others. Things should change.
In Coronavirus days and nights, we see ourselves so close to death. Any moment we may be diagnosed with Covid-19. When it attacks us, the worldly longings and belongings are not worthy anymore.
If we are influenced by the signs and messages that God is sending us through this disease, we don’t care about collecting more wealth. We don’t think about becoming more famous. The only One left for us is God. He is the one that won’t leave us alone in the hardest situations: the one “who created me, it is He who guides me and provides me with food and drink, and when I get sick, it is He who cures me; who will make me die, then He will bring me to life” (26: 78-81).
By these little viruses, as coronavirus, Allah (SWT) teaches us the most important lessons of life. He reminds us that we were not brought into this world to take the game so seriously since we should keep in mind that “The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life (itself)” (29: 64), and that we live in this world for a small amount of time to be prepared for our real life in the hereafter. So, Allah tells us: “…And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take provision, for indeed the best provision is God wariness. So be wary of Me, O you who possess intellects!” (2: 197)
The best provision is not what we keep compiling in our daily life. Money, positions and promotions, university degrees, social popularity, followers and likes on social networks, etc. are not what we have come to this world for. If they become our life priorities, we may become among those that Prophet Noah (PBUH) mentioned them as the one “… whose wealth and children only add to his loss.” (71: 21)
In many chapters of the Quran, Allah tells us the story of people of different nations who disobeyed their prophets, and the punishment of God destroyed them. However, Allah also mentions that to get out of the hardest situations you need to turn toward God: “If the people of the towns had been faithful and Godwary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth. But they denied, so We seized them because of what they used to earn.” (7: 96)
Therefore, the only way to escape the current situation is to return to God and live the way He wants us to live, for the best life in this world and the hereafter.
Returning to God does not mean to pray to him and ask for forgiveness and keep on having the same behavior as we had. To return to God is to try to quit our bad habits, revise our false behaviors, stay away from the forbidden acts, and stay committed to the obligatory commands and orders of Allah.
“Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter].” (65: 2)