Ants are one of animals that have a persistence in working. Ants are very special animal so that it is mentioned in Qur’an in Surah An-Naml. In that Surah, it is explained that how an ant told other ants to enter each other’s nest immediately,
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
“Until when they arrived in the ants valley an ant said: O ants, enter your nests, so that you are not stepped on by Sulaiman and his army, while they are not aware.” (An-Naml: 18)
Ants Are Forbidden to be Killed
Because ants are very special, Islam forbids killing ants. This is seen in a story.
From Ibnu Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhuma, he said,
نَهَى رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ قَتْلِ أَرْبَعٍ مِنَ الدَّوَابِّ: النَّمْلَةِ، وَالنَّحْلَةِ، وَالْهُدْهُدِ، وَالصُّرَدِ
“The Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam forbids killing 4 kinds of animals: ants, bees, Hudhud, and Suradi.” (Hadith Ahmad 3066, Abu Daud 526 and were validated by Syuaib al-Arnauth)
Even the Prophet also once advised the companions who burned ants when he was doing safar.
From Ibnu Mas’ud radhiyallahu ‘anhu that the companions once stopped at one of his safar. Apparantely, he saw an ant house that was burned.
“Who burned this?” he asked.
“We did.” answered the companions.
Then the Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said,
إِنَّهُ لاَ يَنْبَغِى أَنْ يُعَذِّبَ بِالنَّارِ إِلاَّ رَبُّ النَّارِ
“It is not allowed to kill with fire except Rab who is the owner of fire (Allah).” (Hadith Abu Daud 5270 and was validated by al-Albani)
The Prophet also once told about the story of Sulaiman that helped the ants.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet once said, “One day, Sulaiman went out to look for a drink. Then he saw an ant lying upside down by raising its feet to the sky and said, ‘O Allah, indeed we are creatures of Your creatures, we can not live without Your drinking.’
The Prophet Sulaiman then said, ‘Come back, indeed you have been given a drink because of your prayer.'” (Hadith Ahmad)
From some explanations above, it can be known that the law of killing ants according to Islam is forbidden. They are creatures that are too special so that it must be treated well. Then how if the ants disturb us?
It may sound strange, however if it is not too disturbing, we can give an advise with a good intention because of Allah. For example by saying,
“Assalamu’alaikum the nation of the Prophet Sulaiman, this is my house because I want to clean this place that becomes your house. You are the creatures of Allah, make your nest outside my house so you are safe.”
Insha Allah we will be given the ease for Allah to be kept away from the disturbance of the ants. However, if the ants are very disturbing, then it is allowed to be killed with the condition only on the ants that is disturbing.
Syaikh rahimahullah answered,
Such those animals if it is disturbing, it is allowed to be killed as long as they are not destroyed by fire. This is based on the words of the Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, “Five animals that all of them are called wicked animals that are allowed to be killed in the halal or haram land are crows, al hada-ah, rats, scorpions and fierce dogs.”
We Have To Love Animals Even If It Is Impure
Islam indeed really upholds love as well as to animals. It is not only ants, but also all animals are the creatures of Allah that should be loved. This is also seen in the treatment of the Prophet and the companions during their lives.
From Anas bin Malik, he said,
كُنَّا إِذَا نَزَلْنَا مَنْزِلاً لاَ نُسَبِّحُ حَتَّى نَحُلَّ الرِّحَالَ
“When we once stopped at a place, we did not tasbih -that did not do the sunnah prayer first- so that we brought down the burdens from the backs of mounted animals.” (Hadith Abu Daud no. 2551 and Ahmad 3: 29. Al-Hafizh Abu Thoir said that these hadiths sanad are valid)
Even on animals that are considered to be impure, we obligate to love them.
From Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu, the Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said,
« بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِى بِطَرِيقٍ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنَ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِى كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّى. فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلأَ خُفَّهُ مَاءً ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَهُ بِفِيهِ حَتَّى رَقِىَ فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ ». قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِى هَذِهِ الْبَهَائِمِ لأَجْرًا فَقَالَ « فِى كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ »
“When a man was walking, he felt very thirsty, then he went down to the well and drank. When he came out, apparently there was a dog that was sticking out its tongue licking the wet ground because of thirsty. He said, ‘This dog is thirsty like me.’ Then he filled his shoe and held it with his mouth, then he went up and gave the dog a drink. Allah thanked him and forgave him.” The companions asked, “O Rasullulah, can we achieve a reward from animals?” He answered, “Every drink that are given to animals will get a reward.” (Hadith Al-Bukhari no. 2363 and Muslim no. 2244)
Therefore, we should always love every creature that is created by Allah both small or large. Indeed every deed will get a reward someday and hopefully we are always on the right path.