By LINDA â€œiLham BARTO
[This story is based on hadiths; sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., recorded by Bukhari and Abu Dawud. The names of Klyde the camel and Bar Barak are fictional.]
KLYDE was an old camel who had worked hard for many years. He had been faithful in carrying heavy packages for his owner Bar Barak. Klyde was standing under the blazing sun of a scorching day. The camelâ€™s reins were tightly tied to a post. Bar Barak had forgotten to leave any water or grain for Klyde. Besides being thirsty and hungry, Klyde was beginning to feel uneasy. He could hear his owner and the ownerâ€™s wife in another of their many arguments. Klyde remembered that he had been beaten many times after such arguments. Bar Barak often used his camel as an object for venting his anger.
Just as Klyde had feared, Bar Barak stomped out of his house and fetched a leather whip. Bar Barak lashed the whip furiously against the camelâ€™s flesh. The camel winced as the whip cut its skin. Fresh blood marked the trails of new lashes. Scabs marked the old wounds. Klyde wanted to run away, but the reins would not pull loose from the hitching post.
Finally Bar Barak was tired of flinging the whip. He sat in his garden and picked some grapes. He chewed them quickly and spit out the seeds.
Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings upon him) was walking along the path that passed Bar Barakâ€™s house. The Prophet heard Klydeâ€™s pitiful moans. The Prophet walked over to the camel and patted Klydeâ€™s head. He saw the wounds and understood what had happened.
The Prophet (peace!) noticed Bar Barak and walked into the garden to talk to him. â€œAre you not afraid of Allah who entrusted you with this camel?â€ the Prophet asked. â€œIt complained to me that you beat and torture it.â€
Bar Barak was too ashamed to answer. He had never considered that he was responsible to Allah for how he treated his camel.
Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings upon him) was an animal rights activist. He believed that animals have the right to security and welfare. He believed that people are responsible for making sure that animalsâ€™ rights are not violated. During his ministry, the Prophet (peace!) put an end to brutal animal fights and other acts of cruelty.
Even animals that are used for food have the right to be raised in healthy and humane conditions. They are supposed to be killed in a way that causes the least amount of fear and pain. They have the right to die with dignity. Allah (blessed and exalted is He) has given us permission to eat meat, but He also gave us rules in how to treat the animals that He permits as food. Allah (blessed!) wants us to remember that the animals we eat are His pets. When we eat meat, letâ€™s remember that the meat of His pets is Allahâ€™s sacrifice for our sakes.
Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings upon him) said, â€œBe afraid of Allah about these animals that cannot talk. Do not even let them stay hungry.â€
People are responsible for making sure that all Allahâ€™s creatures â€“domestic and wildâ€” are able to live without sadness, sickness, and hunger. We must all work together to make our planet a good home for everybody.