Like humans, animals are one of the creatures Allah has created to occupy this universe. They need food to survive and place to live. We humans are at higher position than them just because He gives us mind and conscience to distinguish between the right and the wrong.
It is the reason why we have duty to treat animals in a good way as they have a right upon it. Hurting animals is not allowed in Islam. And to know it in detail, you can learn Islam’s perspective about animal cruelty.
Related to our attitude toward animals, we should learn from Rasulullah as the perfect role model in all aspects. He did a close interaction with animals around him, and his favorite animal is cat. A lot of sources mention that the name of Rasulullah’s cat is Muezza.
He loved this cute animal so much, so it’s told when Muezza slept, he didn’t have the heart to wake it up. Besides, we must know one of Rasulullah’s close friends called as the father of cats, Abu Hurairah. By reading biography of Abu Hurairah as a hadith narrator, we’ll know how sweet he treated cats.
Allah also talks about animals in Al-Qur’an. There are even six surahs in Al-Qur’an whose name adopted from animals’ names, which are Al-Baqarah (The Cow), Al-An’am (The Cattle), An-Nahl (The Bees), An-Naml (The Ants), Al-Ankabut (The Spider), and Al-Fiil (The Elephant). From around 31 animals mentioned in Al-Qur’an, this article will talk about 7 of them.
Surah An-Naml verse 18 tells about the coordination done by ants when Solomon (Sulayman) and his soldiers passed the valley of ants. They were afraid if Solomon and his soldiers crushed them. Therefore, one of them instructed the others to enter their dwellings.
حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَتَوْا۟ عَلَىٰ وَادِ ٱلنَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّمْلُ ٱدْخُلُوا۟ مَسَٰكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَٰنُ وَجُنُودُهُۥ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
“Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said, ‘O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they perceive not.” (An-Naml: 18)
This story is the real proof that ants are fond of working together and live in colony. If we as humans need long time to think before helping people around us, perhaps we haven’t known importance of helping others in Islam.
Bee is a useful animal because it produces honey. We all know that honey can be used as natural medicine and contains much nutrition. It’s not just based on research of scientist, but also the direct explanation from Allah.
وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ (٦٨)ثُمَّ كُلِي مِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلا يَخْرُجُ مِنْ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ ( ٦٩
“And your Lord inspired to the bee, ‘Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].’ There emerger from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is sign for a people who give thought.” (An-Nahl: 68-69)
Not just the lessons about bee, there are also values of the qur’an surah An-Nahl we can apply in our daily lives.
Elephant is mentioned in Surah Al-Fiil verse 1. In this context, this animal is King Abrahah’s mount when attacking Ka’bah in Makkah at the time of Rasulullah’s birth. He didn’t want people to do pilgrimage (hajj) there.
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَٰبِ ٱلْفِيلِ
“Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant?” (Al-Fiil: 1)
With the help of Allah, King Abrahah’s bad intention couldn’t be realized. Allah sent against him and those companions of elephant birds in flocks striking them with stones of hard clay. Due to this occurence, it’s often said that Rasulullah was born in the year of the elephant.
This animal takes part in most of the stories of Allah’s prophets. Prophets of Allah come from Arabic land, and camel indeed lives there.
Rasulullah had two favorite camels to which he gave name ‘Adba and Qashwa. In Al-Qur’an, this animal is mentioned in Surah Al-A’raf in the story of Prophet Salih.
وَإِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَٰلِحًا ۗ قَالَ يَٰقَوْمِ ٱعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُۥ ۖ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ هَٰذِهِۦ نَاقَةُ ٱللَّهِ لَكُمْ ءَايَةً ۖ فَذَرُوهَا تَأْكُلْ فِىٓ أَرْضِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوٓءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
“And to the Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, ‘O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. This is the she-camel of Allah [sent] to you as a sign. So leave her to eat within Allah’s land and do not touch her with harm, lest there seize you a painful punishment.” (Al-A’raf: 73)
Salih explained to the Thamud that Allah had sent a she-camel to show His power and existence. They’re forbidden to hurt it. But, they slaughtered the camel because the vanity had controlled them.
In Al-Qur’an, fish can’t be separated from the story of Prophet Yunus. It was started when Prophet Yunus decided to run away from his duty to do amar ma’ruf nahi munkar to his people.
He was on a full-loaded boat, and this condition forced one of the passengers to sacrifice. According to the lottery, Prophet Yunus was the one who had to throw himself to the sea. Then, he was swallowed by a fish.
فَالۡتَقَمَهُ الۡحُوۡتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيۡمٌ
“Then the fish swallowed him, while he was blameworthy.” (As-Saffat: 142)
As a sea creature, fish is halal to consume. Even Allah instructs us to take and use resources from sea. Here’s reasons why sea creatures are halal in Islam.
If we often hear myth or bad things about crow, it’s different from what Allah explains in Al-Qur’an. In Surah Al-Ma’idah verse 31, a crow becomes a model for human as it showed the way of hiding the dead body of Qabil’s brother.
فَبَـعَثَ اللّٰهُ غُرَابًا يَّبۡحَثُ فِىۡ الۡاَرۡضِ لِيُرِيَهٗ كَيۡفَ يُوَارِىۡ سَوۡءَةَ اَخِيۡهِؕ قَالَ يَاوَيۡلَتٰٓى اَعَجَزۡتُ اَنۡ اَكُوۡنَ مِثۡلَ هٰذَا الۡغُرَابِ فَاُوَارِىَ سَوۡءَةَ اَخِىۡۚ فَاَصۡبَحَ مِنَ النّٰدِمِيۡنَۛ ۚۙ
“Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, ‘O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?’ And he became of the regretful.” (Al-Ma’idah: 31)
Cow is taken as the name of the second surah in Al-Qur’an, which is Al-Baqarah. In this surah, through Prophet Moses, Allah commands Bani Isra’il to slaughter a cow. But they kept asking about this cow, as if they were ridiculing this direct command from Allah. Allah certainly gave the order without no intention. It was done to uncover a murder case at that time.
Understanding the story of animals mentioned in Al-Qur’an make us realize that even from the creature inferior to humans, we can get something to learn. We and animals are designed by Allah to live side by side, then let’s share what in nature with them and live together in peace.