On the prohibition against cruelty to a slave, animal, woman, or child without legitimate reason

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

282. Chapter: On the prohibition against cruelty to a slave, animal, woman, or child without legitimate reason

Allah Almighty says, "Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful." (4:36)

1600. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A woman was punished on account of a cat which she shut up until it died and she entered the Fire. She neither fed it nor gave it anything to drink when she confined it nor did she allow it to eat the earth's rodents and insects." [Agreed upon]

1601. Ibn 'Umar reported that he passed by two lads from Quraysh who had set up a bird and were shooting at it. When they saw Ibn 'Umar, they ran off. Ibn 'Umar said, "Who did this? May Allah curse whoever did this. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, cursed people who used a live creature as a target." [Agreed upon]

1602. Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade tying up animals so that they could be shot at and killed." [Agreed upon]

1603. Abu 'Ali Suwayd ibn Muqarrin said, "I was one of seven brothers of the Banu Muqarrin and we only had one servant. The youngest of us slapped her and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered us to set her free." [Muslim]

1604. Abu Mas'ud al-Badri said, "I was beating a slave with a whip when I heard a voice behind me saying, 'Know, Abu Mas'ud...' I could not make out the voice due to my anger. Then, when he drew near me, there was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he was saying, 'Know, Abu Mas'ud, that Allah has given you power over this slave.' I said, 'I will never beat a slave after this.'"

In one variant, "The whip fell from his hands out of awe of him."

In one variant, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he is free for the sake of Allah Almighty.' He said, 'If you had not done that, the Fire would have burned you,' or 'the Fire would have touched you.'" [Muslim]

1605. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever strikes or slaps a slave of his punishing him for something he did not do, his reparation is to set him free." [Muslim]

1606. Hisham ibn Hakim ibn Hizam reported that in Syria he passed by some of the Nabatean peasants who had been made to stand in the sun with oil poured on their heads. He said, "What is this?" He was told, "They are being punished on account of the land-tax." (One variant has, "They have been imprisoned on account of the jizya-tax.") Hisham said, "I testify that I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Allah will punish those who torture people in this world.'" He went to the amir and told him and he commanded that they be released. [Muslim]

1607. Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw a donkey with a branded face and he disliked it." Ibn 'Abbas said, "By Allah, I do not brand except as far away from the face as possible." He commanded that his donkey should be branded on its haunches. He was the first to brand on the haunches. [Muslim]

1608. Ibn 'Abbas reported that a donkey which had been branded on its face passed by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He said, "May Allah curse whoever branded it." [Muslim]

A variant of Muslim also has, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade striking in the face and branding on the face."