Thursday, 6 September 2012

Loving Cats is a Sunnah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is related that after the death of the great Sufi Master, Shaykh ash-Shibli (r.a.), a friend saw him in a dream.  The friend asked him what Allah (s.w.t.) had Done with him, to which Shaykh ash-Shibli (r.a.) replied, “God Placed me before Him and asked if I knew why He had Forgiven my sins.  I said that it might be because of the good works I had done, the prayers I had performed, my fasting and pilgrimage, my having associated with pious people and my journeying in search of knowledge.

God Replied, ‘O Shibli, these were not the reasons.  Do you remember when you were walking in the lanes of Baghdad and you found a small cat made weak by the cold and ice, and out of pity you took it and put in inside a fur you were wearing so as to protect it from the pains of the cold?  Because of the mercy you showed that cat, I have Mercy Shown on you.’”

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) advised the people to treat their cats as a member of their family, and by this he meant to take a good care of them.  Not only by words, but also with his actions.  He was a very good role model.  For example, the stories of Mu’izzah, the Prophet’s favourite cat.  The most famous story about Mu’izzah recounts how the call to prayer was given, and as Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) went to put on one of his robes, he found his cat sleeping on one of the sleeves.  Rather than disturbing the cat, he cut off the sleeve and let him sleep.  When he returned, Mu’izzah awoke and bowed down to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and in return he stroked him three times.  It is also believed that when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) gave sermons within his household he would often hold Mu’izzah in his lap.

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