On forbidding punishing with fire any live creature, even an ant

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

283. Chapter: On forbidding punishing with fire any live creature, even an ant

1609. Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent us out on an expedition and said, 'If you meet so-and-so and so-and-so - two men of Quraysh whom he named - then burn them with fire.' We came to him to say good-bye and when we wanted to leave, the Messenger of Allah , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so with fire. Only Allah punishes by fire. If you come across them, then kill them.'" [al-Bukhari]

1610. Ibn Mas'ud said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey and he went to relieve himself. We saw a red bird with two chicks and took the chicks. The red bird came and began to flap its wings. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came back and said, 'Who has distressed this bird by taking its young? Return her young to her.' He saw an ant hill which we had set alight. He said, 'Who has set fire to this?' We replied, 'We did.' He said, 'Only the Lord of the Fire should punish with fire.'" [Abu Dawud]