Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Samir and Hawa

These are my cats, Samir and Hawa. They are littermates. The long one, spread out in the foreground is Samir; behind him is his sister.

They were born in Masjid Ikhwa in Brooklyn, New York, and lived in the masjid until they were given to me as a gift. Their mother lives in Masjid Ikhwa. I've had the honor to have had numerous cats as companions in my life, but these guys are special. They're Muslims!

From living in the masjid, they're used to hearing the Adhan. They come running whenever it is called. They wait for the prayer rugs to be spread out and they, too, take their place. When they hear Qu'ran being recited, they curl up contently to listen.

Cats enjoy a special place in Islam. It is well known that the Prophet (saw) was fond of cats. His companion, Abdur-Rahman (ra) was known by the people as Abu Hurayrah, which translates as "father of the kitten" because he, too, often enjoyed and played with cats since his childhood.

There are numerous hadiths about cats:

"Yahya related to me from Malik from Ishaq ibn Abdullah ibn Abi Talha from Humayda bint Abi Ubayda ibn Farwa that her maternal aunt Kabsha bint Kab ibn Malik, who was the wife of the son of Abu Qatada al-Ansari, told her that once Abu Qatada was visiting her and she poured out some water for him to do wudu with. Just then a cat came to drink from it so he tilted the vessel towards it to let it drink. Kabsha continued, "He saw me looking at him and said, 'Are you surprised, daughter of my brother?' I said, 'Yes.' He repled that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, cats are not impure. They intermingle with you.'" Yahya said that Malik said, "There is no harm in that unless one sees impurities on the cat's mouth." (Malik's Muwatta)

Narrated Asma' bint Abi Bakr: The Prophet once offered the eclipse prayer ... On completion of the prayer, he said, "Paradise became so near to me that if I had dared, I would have plucked one of its bunches for you and Hell became so near to me that I said, 'O my Lord will I be among those people?' Then suddenly I saw a woman and a cat was lacerating her with its claws On inquiring, it was said that the woman had imprisoned the cat till it died of starvation and she neither fed it nor freed it so that it could feed itself." (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: "Abu Zubayr quoted the authority of Jabir ibn Abdullah for the statement that the Prophet forbade payment for a dog. Ibn Abdul Malik said: to eat a cat and to enjoy its price." (Sunan Abu Dawud)

I also found some internet references about cats and Islam on some cat websites. One of them quotes a story of a cat who saved the Prophet (saw) from being bitten by a deadly snake. In another tale, the Prophet (saw) had a cat named Muezza. When the Prophet (saw) was called for prayer, the story goes, he saw that Muezza was asleep on the sleeve of his robe. Rather than disturb the cat, the Prophet (saw) cut off the sleeve. When he returned, the cat awoke and bowed gracefully to thank the Prophet (saw) for his consideration. The Prophet (saw) stroked the cat three times. However, I cannot find any valid Islamic references for these tales. If anyone knows of any, please leave a comment with the source!


mezba said...

I am glad Islam has no restrictions on cats.

I have to say a cat is much less hassle as a pet than a dog. I had a dog in Bangladesh and we have cats here in Canada, and much simpler!

Although cats are sort of like females, they mostly do their own thing, appear cute when they need to be and only consent to being petted when they demand it!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Mezba:

You're crazy, lol! Hope you had a nice Eid!

American Muslima Writer said...

LOL @ Mezba

Saf: Mash'Allah I'm glad you shared this with Everyone. You certainly have special cats! They are so beautiful too.
My Summer is still around though she's been banished from the house now and another tag along kitten has joined her in trying to get in my house every night when we come in the door but I put some food outside and let them eat. It's ok now but I do miss having cats around my ankles as I walk in my house and a purring bundle on my bed as I read a book.

iMuslimah said...

Assalamu alaykum :) Belated Eid Mubarak to you also!

I personally think kittens RULE! I Love cats. Would have several if I didnt have wrteched alelrgies to them. I dont know what it is, but nothing pulls at the strings of my heart more than a tabby cat.
I happen to think cats are very clean and neat, and they are sooo private. I like that they like to do their business discreetly too. I adore their aloofness, their attitdues, the purring, the playfulness and the soft paws.

I hope you your kitties enjoy you as much as you enjoy them!!!