The Prostitute and the Dying Dog

Muslims wonder why Islam is viewed in a negative light by many. As someone who have many blood relatives and in-laws among people from other faiths, the answer I think, lies in our own conduct and also the failure to portray and adhere to many of the qualities of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him - SAW).

One of them is how we treat certain animals. Compassion and mercy is fundamental in Islam, and the Prophet's (SAW) kindness towards animals is something that should be emulated and highlighted. Being compassionate and merciful towards animals is highly encouraged. One hadith narrated by Abu Huraira in Sahih Bukhari [4:538] stands out:

Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, "A prostitute passes by a panting dog and saw that it was about to die of thirst, she took of her shoe, tied it to her head cover and drew out some water for it.  So, Allah forgave her for it."

By a simple act of compassion and mercy towards God's creature, the prostitute was forgiven.  Some of the lessons, based on what I've learned from knowledgeable people, that could be derived from the narration:
  1. Be kind and compassionate towards animals.
  2. A deeply sincere act, however small, may be more meaningful than a large act of charity meant to impress humans.
  3. The doors of forgiveness are almost always open.
As stated in the Quran (21:108):

"We have sent you (Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for all creatures".

There are also interesting anecdotes from the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW):
  1. The Prophet's (SAW) cat Muezza was sleeping in his shirt sleeve. He cut off his shirt sleeve rather than disturb the cat sleeping on it when it was time for prayers.
  2. On the way to a battle, the Prophet's (SAW) army marched towards Mecca, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet not only gave orders that the mother dog and puppies should not be hurt or disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.
Apart from the hadith above, there are many other instances recorded in authentic narrations about the importance of treating animals kindly. This is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).  By practicing it, we would not only benefit God's creatures, but also portray a better image of Islam.


1.  The dog in the picture hangs around the area near my brother's house. He gives the poor fellow food. Anyone interested in providing something better for this dog?  Please provide details in the comment section or email me at

2.  The cat below was part of a litter found by my brother. He is providing temporary shelter for him but he cannot take in anymore cats as he has too many already. Contact me if you are interested in adopting the cat.

3. Hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad that, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunnah), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran.

4.  I could not find the original source of the two stories from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), although they are widely circulated. I would be grateful if anyone could kindly provide me with the original source.


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