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Cats and Islam


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Arabs in the 7th century believed that the cat was pure spirited. Pre-Islamic Arabs are said to have worshipped a Golden Cat.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) was tender and kind towards cats. He appreciated cats. Muhammad’s (s) favorite cat was called Muezza. There is a well known story regarding the Prophet Muhammad (s) and Muezza.

When the call to prayers was heard, Muezza was asleep on one of the sleeves of the Prophet’s (s) robes. The Prophet (s) wanted to wear the robe to go to prayers. Rather than disturb Muezza, Muhammad (s) cut off the sleeve to leave Muezza in peace. Prophet (s) then stroked the cat three times, which, it is said, granted Muezza seven lives and the ability to land on his feet at all times (as you might know, cats have a self-righting mechanism,a righting reflex, which is a complex series of movements when a cat falls and which protects the cat from breaking her back).

Prophet (s) was so attached to his cat that when he gave sermons he let Muezza rest on his lap and he also drank from water previously drunk by his cat. He also did his ablutions from the same water that was drunk by a cat. He seemed to treat his cat in the same way as cat lovers do today but even cat lovers might think twice about drinking the same water that had been drunk by a cat for fear of transmission of disease from the cat’s saliva (but see below).

Islam teaches Muslims to treat cats well and that the cat is a creature to be cherished and loved. Mistreating a cat is regarded as a severe sin in Islam.

Cats according to the Qur`an and Sunnah

An example as to how Muslims are punished for mistreating cats can be found in the `ahadith (oral traditions telling the story of the Prophet Mohammed (s) and which have been recorded in writing). When a woman kept a cat locked up and failed to feed the cat until the cat died, the woman was tortured and “put to hell.”

It is believed that you will suffer no harm if you drink from the cat’s water provided no impurities are seen in the cat’s mouth. In another story from the `ahadith, it is stated that a when a cat ate a pudding put down during prayers, the person who was in charge of the pudding ate from the same place as the cat and Prophet (s) said this was alright as the cat is not unclean and is “one of those who go around amongst us.”

Islam teaches Muslims that, in relation to a cat:

  • the cat should not be sold for money or other traded goods
  • cats saliva is harmless unless the cat has “visible impurities” in the mouth
  • that Muslims are free to live with cats but they must treat cats well, providing the cat with enough water and food and giving “roaming time” (a degree of freedom of movement)

Bukhari’s authentic hadith is one of the six major Sunni hadith collections (Wikipedia). Muslims see this hadith as the most trusted collection; many would say the most authoritative book after the Qur`an.

This hadith regarding cats is set out in Volume 3, Book 40, Number 552. The story of the women mentioned above is recited. It seems that the woman was scratched by the cat and to punish the cat she imprisoned it and failed to feed it. Her actions were frowned upon and she was duly punished.

Islam’s teachings in relation to cats indicates a gentle approach to our fellow creatures, including humans!

Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an article that appeared on Pictures-of-Cats.org, citing the resources of Islamonline.net and Wikipedia. 

53 comments
  1. yousuf ahmed deedat

    January 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    i am the son of late sheikh ahmed deedat of south africa. i feed 20 cats of late sheikh deedat every day . that means i travel 60 km everyday to do this. believe me it is worth every minute to watch the love thease cats have. people will kill to be in my shoes

  2. chouaïbe

    February 26, 2009 at 11:09 am

    i know.
    i myself i’m a deep lover of cats.
    unfortunately yesterday i had to give my consent so as a lethal injection be given to my most pretty and lovable cat.
    he (not it) had an injury and it was already infected with muggets and couldn’t be treated.
    he got hurt and return after days when his injuries became serious.
    that was the most difficult moment whereby i had to give my signature on a piece of paper.
    so terrible..

  3. Teresa

    March 19, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Hello,

    I have heard about some supersticion that arabs have with cats outside or inside the houses…In some cases brings bad luck and in others goog luck.

    Is that true?

    Can you help me to in this issue?

  4. TMO

    March 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    As Muslims what we know for sure is that following the tradition of our Holy Prophet (s) is what brings us luck and success here and hereafter. Prophet (s) was kind to cats and there were cats who lived with him and with Sahaba, and there is benefit in imitating every sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (s). Our good luck is to be his imitators.

  5. Abdul

    October 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    The comment “the woman was tortured and “put to hell” is slightly (but significantly IMHO) different to other accounts I’ve read on the internet. The whole sentence, as is, reads:

    BEGINS

    When a woman kept a cat locked up and failed to feed the cat until the cat died, the woman was tortured and “put to hell.”

    ENDS

    From this it sounds like she was punished immediately for the mistreatment! Surely it means on her death she had that sentence awaiting her? I’m no expert but that’s my take on it.

    Finally: Cats rock.

  6. TMO

    October 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Well frequently in talking about hell the present tense is used, not future. We are not Islamic scholars, but a couple of examples: frequently wrongdoing will be said of it that it is “in the fire.” Or if you lie in a case at law and win that case by trickery what you have gained by operation of law is “in the fire,” so the implication is that there is an immediate unseen punishment that surrounds wrongdoing, or that surrounds whatever a person gets through wrongdoing.

    Punishment after death is a different issue. “Put to hell” could still refer to her being put to hell after her death.

    Also Arabic has different verb tenses than English, so translation is approximation.

  7. Nourah M

    December 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Alhamdulillah. We have a cat…Hurairah…..And yes, that Hadith about the woman is Sahih.

  8. vadim

    February 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Cats are very quite and beautiful. They are very quiet, and calm, and full of love. They dont bark like a dog, they are not agressive like dogs, honestly i think that dogs are dangerous animals and can hurt a human, if not kill it, and it happened.

    I have alot of respect and love for the cat personally i think that it is the best animal on the face of the earth, this also includes the rest of the cat family. Great love for cats.

  9. Kamillah

    April 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I am a sunni muslim, but my mom (shes a sunni muslim too) just refuses to keep a cat! I would really like to adopt one that has been abused.. I feel that it will be in good hands with me, and will enjoy the rest of its life with me and my family. I also think that if we take excellent care of the cat, Allah will reward us. This is my view and i have wanted a cat for as long as i can remember. I have tried everything to convince my mom… But yet she stands her ground. Does anybody have any suggestions that could help me? Please.. For the sake of cats.

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  11. Rose

    August 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Salam Alaikum
    Im am so happy that I found this website. I love cats and all animal’s..
    I have been lucky and rescued cats,kittens.. as well as help to get a raccon rescued recently and a adult camle that had been hit and left along the roadside also when I lived abroad in Dubai,UAE…Allah put me in the right spot to be able to help his creation/creatures al hamdulillah..I have my own cat hes a Siamese Mixed he brings so much joy and happiness onto my life..
    This is how I was raised as a child by my Christian parents ~ family..
    I was blessed and discovered Islam Al Hamdulillah and respect all faiths…

    Jazak Allah Khair to The Muslim Observer for this post I learnt so much..

  12. Meryem

    October 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I recently took a baby cat into my home after her mother died. The mother was very ill and a women was trying to help her by bringing milk, but sadly she was too weak. I am so happy to have saved my little Elma. She and her 3 sisters were starving because the mother was too ill to feed them. I’m a sorry to have left the 3 other babies, but Elma is now very fat, healthy and happy in her new home. She is my first cat and I hope she lives a long and wonderful life with us.

  13. Khaled al harbi

    January 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Alsalam alykoom hi) I have a domestic cat but iam confused if it is
    A t Abby or not, ok then I found three senior cats when I returned from Dubai 2 of the 3 were lost and didn’t came back there are all males, I was ft with one named nono very quit likes to eat and funny but has a bad behavior cuz he was a street stray cat , I tld my parents( Muslims) to convince them to let the cat live with us but they said noo my ques do they live in the winter out SidE in the winter

  14. umme khansa

    February 1, 2011 at 2:01 am

    i am very happy to see this website today………………….
    as one of the cats in our house ate some of the meat which i kept for thawing……………..i was really confused what to cook for dinner now………..
    i am satisfied now and going to make the same meat for dinner tonight

  15. Fatimah

    February 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I’m glad that I’ve found this website. I have about 37 cats, which I kept in a house built just for them beside my house. Four of them stay in my room, one (Scoope) roam the house (our house) cause she cried all the time when she was left with the other cats in their house. She also slept with my husband in t he other room. I love all animals, including dogs, which I cannot keep, but try to help the helpless ones by rescuing them and gave them to my fellow rescuers. Sometimes, Scoope drinks my coffee or other drinks, but I couldn’t care less, I just drank them. I didn’t know about our great Prophet drank the water that has been drank by his cat, I’m glad I read this article. Thank you.

  16. monts

    March 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    peac unto you!
    MEOW : ) lol

  17. David Ponting

    March 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I Love Cats. They are the most beautiful pet.

  18. rafhan

    April 2, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Cat teach us how to love.. :)

  19. Vurban

    April 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I’m curious, was Muezza a male or female?

    I’ve read elsewhere that there’s references that it was male and others that it was female.

    Really considering naming my next cat Muezza and would like to give the name to it’s proper gender! =)

  20. cat lover

    May 6, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I brought a week old kitten to my home about 15 days ago.someone had separated it from its motherand left it to die. I never had any pets before but still i culdnt prevent myself from bringing the little angel home.but she died today in m arms and i just cant stop crying.her vet had told me that the chances of her survival r bleak. i wish she had lived and grown up.she gave me so much love in these 15 days that i have become greedy for more.she’ll alway be loved.

  21. Ammara

    July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

    اسلام عليكم
    I’m Ammara. I love cats. Most Of my neighbourhood
    Own cats. Two cats I know. 1st one name is Tom.
    The second one has a naMe but I don’t know. I am eager to get a cat
    And name it Muezza. But there is one huge huge gigantic problem!!
    My sister is alerjic to them. She is disabled. So my farther said I could
    Have a shed in my garden and I could make everything in there for the
    Cat. Is this possible to do? Inshallah I hope it is.

  22. sani

    July 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    i have three cats in my home . but unfortunately i came to EU for my education in Feb 2011 . i love my cats and when i talk about them with my colleagues i usually cry . once i heard that our BELOVED PROPHET (S.A.W.W / PEACE BE UPON HIM) LIKES Cats , i started loving them , before that i had a cat but since that time my love has reached to its limits for them . normally i call everyday back home and ask about them . my mother tells me , when you call your cats come near me and try to listen your voice and then she puts the phone near their ears and i call their names and then they say MEOW . when i was with them they used to sleep in my lap , then in my blanket with me , whenever i went away and returned back and knocked the door my eldest cat was the one i found standing their or else , comes first. my mother said , she is the one who indicates that you are coming , if she is sleeping she gets up and runs towards the door even before you knock .
    once i got set here i will definitely bring my family with cats here . i miss them as i miss my parents and siblings . gonna cry .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PRAY FOR ME .
    i don’t have words to express my true feelings and love for cats . i just MEOW them.

  23. ishrat

    July 25, 2011 at 7:07 am

    A gud website i was searching abt cats but i m a little bit confused about the above sentence that HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (S.A.W) drank water previously drunk by MUEZZA. can i get the refrence of that Rawaia ,,so that i can remove my confusion.

  24. Usman

    July 29, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I went to a molvi and asked him”can we keep a cat as a pet where prayer is offered” he replied”yes,u can”

  25. Bilal

    August 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you sooo much for posting such a beautiful Hadiths and topic.

    May Allah guide this ummah to respect all the living beings and specailly cats among animals, as few of us are having wrong concept about such innocent, adorable and beautiful creature of Allah.

    I just LOVE cats ;).. .

  26. Saad Ghuman

    August 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    please pray for me that my parents will let me get a cat

  27. ibtisam

    September 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    i love my cats very much
    my cat name is lela

  28. samar

    September 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    its reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cute

  29. mohammed sabir

    September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

    me and my family like cats so much. why some people think so foolish that if cat went infront of them then they should not go and they should wait for some time

  30. areeba ali

    November 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cattttttttssssssssss
    i have many cats in my backyard
    my cat name is bebo

  31. Ahmed Abou Mourad

    December 4, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Asalamualikum brothers and sisters. I have a beautiful cat that i rescued from a couple years ago during a harsh winter storm in Calgary. She is Very quiet and seems like she is getting really old. I have had re-occuring thoughts about her dying and wallah it breaks my heart just writing this, but i really would like to know what to do if my cat is ill or when it dies (inshallah she lives to the fullest) in regards to islamic way. (ex: lethal injections/burial/etc…)

    Thank you

  32. Du'a

    December 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    hey….veri nice Islamic Article and this is very informative for us !
    Thanks for share with Us !

  33. Ayesha

    December 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    My little kitty was run over yesterday. He was only 5 months old. He was the most adorable and loving cat of all that I have had. He would fall asleep in my arms, wake me up at the same time every morning, sleep behind my knees and lick my face. My heart is shattered. I miss him so much. He was a glimpse of heaven for me…

  34. Jayhan

    February 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Cats, I consider them as my children and today is one of the most difficult days of my life.
    My cat just died of a disease and I just can’t stop crying.
    I went here to see if can still see my cat in the hereafter…

  35. oiti

    March 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    cats r too cute

  36. irum awan

    March 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

    i want to ask a quest…i know tht page is abt cats..but as a pet lover i wana ask quest..my parrot was attacked by dog last nite…he was badly injured, poor soul fight for 3 hours but was finally dead…:( my question is that , after death shall we able to meet them/ see them in jannah again on the day of judgement…as muslims will be granted jannah inshahAllah… i wish i could see / meet / love my parrot (BITU) again :(
    m so depressed…i know people will make fun of that quest but believe me thousands of people who r pet lovers like me wants the answer ov that quest….
    plz help

  37. Anwar Kazi

    March 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

    My daughter rescued a kitten from some cruel street children in the process of stoning the cat to death. The next day there were two more kitten siblings of the first one. They were brought up by us and multiplied to 10 now. They are operated and the increase in numbers is controlled. They affection and love you get from them can not be described in words. Because of the cats we face lot of problems of various kinds, but we don’t care. They are the finest stress reliever and you do not require any other company. They understand us better than our own people. Their blessings save you from lot of unforeseen things, which I have experienced. I have many strange pleasant experiences which will become lengthy to describe.

    I would strongly recommend every one to have at lease a pair to give each other company.
    Anwar Kazi

  38. harley

    March 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Well i just wanted too say tht i dont thinkk this is right soo yeah and put up some more pictures please so i can put it on my project i have too do for school okay well your welcome for speaking my nmind

  39. harley

    March 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. izzaty fifie

    May 2, 2012 at 2:31 am

    i love this picture….

  41. Nicole

    July 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I want to address pets in heaven: Yes, God, Allah, who ever your God is, I believe them all to be “one and the same God” loves us so much, that he will give us our desires of our hearts in heaven. I had to put to sleep my little boy cat Pookie, Feb 27 and everyday, I cry. Not a little, but a lot. I miss him so much. I know God let him be in heaven for me. He was a very big part of my heart. I never had children so my pets are my babies, and I miss him very much. I am sad most because the vets couldn’t help him heal, and I know he didn’t understand why he had to be put to sleep and my heart aches horribly. I believe animals are an arm – reaching out to us of Gods love. Why wouldn’t he allow us to have them in heaven if we love them so much here? :) I am sure of it.

  42. nur iman natasya

    July 31, 2012 at 2:34 am

    it so very cute ciki,ciki

  43. maqsood

    October 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I accept every thing written about Cats. They are lovely, adorable…stress reliever, an act of Sunnah etc. I have a problem, though!. How one takes care of Cat’s wastes.. when you live in an apartment building..on a higher floor. I have found it too difficult..have decided to abondon the Cat with her 1 1/2 months old two kittens. May Almighty Allah pardon me for doing this.

  44. Muzaffar khan

    November 14, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Cats are very social and lovable and they are considered the cleanest of all animals in a medical point of view

  45. Dk

    December 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Cat knows the real love.

  46. Paula Godfree

    December 11, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Dear All,
    My eyes fill with tears as I read some of your stories but my heart fills with love for your kindness to cats. I am the Fundraising Manager for Haworth Cat Rescue and we have rescued over 6,000 unwanted cats and kittens, over the past 20 years. We are a West Yorkshire charity based in the UK. It is our mission to have a new rescue centre built so that we can take in more rescue cats and kittens but we will need to raise two million pounds to do this. We are always looking for cat lovers to help us raise funds so if any of you would like to get involved, I would be very happy to talk to you and listen to your ideas. The rescue centre is based near to two largely Muslim populated areas ‘Keighley’ and ‘Bradford’. I will be contacting the leaders in these areas to talk about how we can work together and help the many needy cats and kittens. Do take a look on http://www.haworthcatrescue.org
    Thank you for reading and I will look forward to reading your comments.

  47. adia

    December 31, 2012 at 12:16 am

    cats are my life i couldn’t live with out them! also i love cats!!!!!!

  48. Ghazala

    January 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Is it haram to have a male cat castrated/fixed?

  49. Julia

    May 16, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I am not Islam, so I don’t know what is “right” or “wrong” to do about taking care of cats. All my cats are fixed (spay/neuter), have yearly shots and I feed them variety of food so they don’t get bored of taste. I also take care of some feral/wild cats in the woods by my house (all the females are fixed, but I can’t catch Tangelo, the only male cat!). Besides keeping more kittens from being bored that might be put in shelters and euthanized, fixing cats reduces health problems such as urinary tract infections, ovary and testicle cancer, and helps with aggression/territory issues. So that’s why I do it.
    I volunteer for a no-kill rescue group. Recently we got a kitten with deformed back legs, and he may be crippled for life. Since he will be nearly impossible to adopt out, I am going to take him for my own… I found this website because I was researching cat names, and I am considering naming him Muezza :)
    I already owned a crippled cat before (her back legs were stubs, missing from below the knee), and her name was Paizly because of her swirl markings.

  50. samar ali

    May 27, 2013 at 1:08 am

    i have a pair of white cats .i love them but i want to ask that what i do when it give birth to kittens. may i leave kittens alone or gift it to other person? is it gunah to leave them alone?

  51. Michael Broad

    June 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Sorry but it is time you removed this text as it is copied from my website. I did not give permission. You are in breach of copyright. I am asking because Google now ranks your page above mine.

    I have made a complaint to Google (DMCA policy). Sorry but things have changed. I would not mind if my site was above yours in search results but things have changed thanks to Google.

    Michael Broad

  52. TMO

    June 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Sorry that you feel that way Mr. Broad. The article was not taken verbatim. We did change it and we hope you will change your mind. From the beginning we linked to the source of the article so probably the article is mutually beneficial. To be honest the popularity of this article on our website has been astonishing and we are certain this has benefited your site through backlinks.

    We will certainly work with google on the issue.

  53. Masud

    June 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Recent studies show parasite in cats linked to learning difficulties in children. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11644581/Cats-make-children-stupid-study-suggests.html
    Some of the stories here sound more like fables and whether the prophet drank from the cats’ water is not established at all by historians. Also it is not a believable thing because the prophet was an exemplar in cleanliness and hygiene which is confirmed by historians and also by the Hadith narrators. The Holy Qur’an in several verses describes the Prophet’s moral standing: “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character” (68:4). “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.” (21:107) The Prophet was kind to all creatures and he advised his followers to do the same, but at the same time he always advised cleanliness and hygiene which is an absolute must in the life of a practicing Muslim.

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