Getting to Know Allah
Allah Loves His Cattle; Dogs, Not So Much
An Ode to Cattle
Cattle, in the Koran, are mentioned more often, usually in conjunction with something Allah has done for men, than any other animal, even the camel. It is obvious that Allah is extremely proud, if not mesmerized by this four-legged versatile creation of His.
An Ode to Cattle
16:5 And the cattle He created for you. Therein are warmth and other advantages, and from them you eat.
16:6 An in them you witness beauty, when you bring them back [home], and when you drive them out for pasture.
16:7 And they carry your burdens to a distant land which you could only reach with great hardship. Surely your Lord is Clement and Merciful.
Some cattle may not have appreciated being beasts of burden.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "While a shepherd was amongst his sheep, a wolf attacked them and took away one sheep. When the shepherd chased the wolf, the wolf turned towards him and said, 'Who will be its guard on the day of wild animals when nobody except I will be its shepherd.'
And while a man was driving a cow with a load on it, it turned towards him and spoke to him saying, 'I have not been created for this purpose, but for ploughing.'"
The people said, "Glorified be Allah."
The Prophet said, "But I believe in it and so does Abu Bakr and Umar."
Domesticated in Paradise
Cattle were probably domesticated in heaven by Allah or His angels; my understanding of "subdued" in revelation 36:72:
36:71 Have they not seen that We have created for them, of Our Handiwork, cattle whereof they are now the owners?
36:72 And We subdued them to them, so that of some are their mounts and of some they eat.
36:73 And from them they have many benefits and beverages. Will they not, then, give thanks.
He sent a small herd of sixteen of the ruminants down from Paradise (eight males and eight females) after He created Adam and his wife. A sensible thing to do, cattle being so versatile.
One interpretation of "the three shadows of darkness" in revelation 39:6 (also translated as "veils of darkness") is 1) the anterior abdominal wall, 2) the uterine wall, and 3) the amniochorionic membrane. The idea that Allah knew so much about embryology is considered another miracle of the Koran.
39:6 He created you from a single soul; then, out of it, He made its mate, and brought down for you of the cattle eight pairs. He creates you in your mothers' bellies, one creation after another, in three shadows of darkness. That indeed is Allah, your Lord. His is the dominion; there is no god but He. How, then, are your diverted?
Allah confirming that, like Adam and his wife, He sent down His cattle in pairs, revelation 42:11.
42:10 Whatever you disagree upon, unto Allah is the decision thereof. That, then, is Allah, my Lord. In Him I have put my trust, and unto Him I repent.
42:11 Creator of the heavens and earth. Of yourselves He has made couples and of the cattle pairs, multiplying you thereby. Nothing is like unto Him; He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
42:12 To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He expends the provision to whom He wishes or constricts it. Indeed, He has knowledge of everything.
Domesticated or not, Allah does not give names to cattle.
5:103 Allah has not prescribed the designation of Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah or Hami (cattle sacrificed to idols at the Ka’ba); but the unbelievers impute falsehood to Allah, and most of them do not understand.
Water, Men and Cattle
Often, when water is mentioned it is so that Allah's cattle will have something to drink and something to eat – as will the men of course.
The first mention of water and cattle includes a warning about a god who strikes when you least expect it.
10:24 The present life is like water We send down from the sky, causing the vegetation of the earth, from which people and cattle eat, to grow luxuriant. But when the earth puts on its ornamental garb and is adorned, and its people think they are able to get what they want from it, Our Retribution comes upon it day or night, making it produce like a cropped harvest, as if it had never flourished before. Thus We expound Our Revelations to people who reflect.
A trio of revelations about water, vegetation, cattle and their owners which ends in a revelation not unlike the “dust to dust” verse of Genesis 3:19.
20:53 He who made the earth a bed for you, and opened routes for you in it, and sent down water from the sky; from it we bring forth diverse pairs of plants.
20:54 Eat and pasture your cattle. In that there are signs for people of understanding.
20:55 From it We have created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall raise you a second time.
Water brought an unnamed dead town back to life, revelation 25:49. Must have been early on after Allah's creation of cattle and man for one town's water supply to be sufficient to quench the thirst of all then living humans and livestock.
25:48 And it is He Who sent the wind as good news before His Mercy; and We have sent down from heaven pure water,
25:49 To bring to life thereby a dead town, and give it to drink to such numerous cattle and humans as We have created.
25:50 And We have alternated it among them, so that they may remember. However, most men have refused all but thanklessness.
Water brings forth vegetation for cattle and folks.
32:27 Do they not see that We conduct the water unto the barren, land bringing forth thereby vegetation, from which their cattle and their own folk eat? Do they not see, then?
Allah on the Versatility of His Cattle
You can ride them, you can use them to carry your stuff, you can eat them, some you can drink what “is in their bellies”, with their hides you can make tents and from their “fur?”, “wool?” and hair you can make furnishings.
6:142 Of cattle there are some for burden and some for slaughter. Eat of what we provided for you and do not follow in the footsteps of the Devil. Surely he is a manifest enemy of yours.
16:80 Allah has made of your homes places for you to dwell in, and has made for you from the hides of cattle light houses to carry on the day of moving and on the day of settling down. And from their wools and their furs and their hair He [has made for you] furnishings and means of enjoyment for a while.
23:21 And surely in the cattle you have a lesson. We give you to drink what is in their bellies, and you have therein many uses, and from them you eat.
23:22 And on them and on the ships you are borne.
40:79 It is Allah Who created for you the cattle, so that some you may ride and some you may eat.
40:80 And in them, you have other benefits as well; and upon them you may attain any need within your breasts. And upon them and upon the ships you may be borne along.
Cattle and ships you can mount. This dead town must have been brought back to life much later after the creation of man and cattle for ships to have made their appearance.
43:11 And Who sent down water from heaven in set measure; and so We revived therewith a dead town. Thus you shall be brought forth;
43:12 And Who created all the pairs and made for you such ships and cattle as you can mount.
16:8 And horses, mules and asses [He created] for you to mount, and as an adornment; and He creates what you do not know.
43:13 That you might sit upon their backs, then remember the Grace of your Lord when you are seated thereon and say: “Glory be to Him Who subjected this to us, whereas we were not equal to it.
43:14 "And, surely, unto our Lord we shall return.”
More stuff, some of which may be made from cattle and for which people are still ungrateful.
16:81 Allah has made for you from what He created, sunshades, and from the mountains, places of retreats, and has given you garments to protect you from the heat and coats of mail to protect you while fighting. Thus he perfects His blessings to you so that you may submit.
16:82 Then, if they turn away, your duty is to deliver the clear Message.
16:83 They know Allah’s Blessing, then they deny it; and most of them are ungrateful.
Slicing the Ears of Cattle
Herdsmen, at the time of the Prophet, marked livestock that was no longer suitable for breeding purposes, by slicing an ear. Some would do this as a living offering to their god. Allah said that this was all the devil’s doing, revelation 4:119.
The revelation about cutting off cattle’s ears as being part of the devil’s plan to lead Allah’s servant’s astray is enclosed in still another vehement denunciation of those who would associate other gods with Allah.
4:116 Allah will not forgive associating [any other god] with Him, but will forgive anything less than that, to whomever He wills. He who associates [any other god] with Allah, has really gone very far astray!
4:117 Apart from Him, they only invoke (worship) the goddesses of Quraysh (al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat); they only invoke a rebellious devil,
4:118 Cursed by Allah. For he (the Devil) said: “I shall take from your servants for myself a fixed number,
4:119 “And I will lead them astray, will raise their expectations and order them to cut off the cattle’s ears. I will order them to alter Allah’s creation.” Whoever takes the Devil for companion, instead of Allah , has incurred a great loss!
4:120 He promises them and raises their expectations; but the Devil promises them nothing but illusion.
4:121 Those people, their shelter shall be Hell and they shall find no escape from it.
4:122 But those who have believed and done the good deeds, We shall admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. This is Allah’s True Promise; and who is more truthful in speech than Allah?
Scholars have interpreted Allah’s revelation about cutting cattle’s ears as a decree against cruelty to animals. If that was the case, then Allah would not allow His beloved cattle to suffer because of the way they are ritually slaughtered in His Name. In its March 8, 2012 edition, Le Point, the popular mainstream French (France) weekly published excerpts from a confidential government report prepared by Le Conseil général de alimentation, de l’agriculture et des espaces ruraux on La protection animale en abattoir; la question particulière de l’abattoir rituel (Animal protection in slaughterhouses; the question of ritual slaughter, my translation).
Government investigators reported that the longest time it took for an animal to bleed to death while fully conscious after having its throat slit was six minutes for cattle, almost twice that time for calves at eleven minutes, and five minutes for sheep. No time was available for goats.
To prevent the pain and suffering of the animal during the bleeding which is necessary to prevent meat spoilage during butchering, non-ritual slaughtering methods used by most modern humane slaughterhouses render the animal unconscious prior to slaughter using was is called a captive bolt pistol to induce unconsciousness. A method I am sure Allah would approve as there are no verses in the Koran which demands that an animal destined for a believers table be made to suffer before it is put to death.
Still others claim that revelation 4:119 is another miracle of the Koran; that Allah was warning against cloning His creation i.e. genetic engineering. They base their claim on the fact that “cloning experiments are often done with cells taken from an animal’s ear.”
The miracle of the Koran may be the miracles it inspires.
Dogs in a Cattle World
The Prophet was not a fan of man’s best friend. In a hadith he said that unless a dog was kept for guarding a farm or cattle a large portion of the credit its owner gets from Allah for a good deed was deducted.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever keeps a dog, one Qirat of the reward of his good deeds is deducted daily, unless the dog is used for guarding a farm or cattle."
In another narration from the same Abu Huraira, the Prophet extended a dogs legitimate use to "guarding sheep or farms, or for hunting."
What is a Qirat? The beginning of an answer can be found in another hadith recorded by Bukhari:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever follows the funeral procession and offers the funeral prayer for it, will get a reward equal to one Qirat, and whoever attends it till burial, will get a reward equal to two Qirat.''
It was asked, "What are two Qirat?''
He replied, "Equal to two huge mountains."
Before he found a use for dogs, God's Messenger decreed that they be wiped out. This almost led to the extinction of the graceful Saluki, one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog. God's Messenger later amended his decree to limit the slaughter to black dogs.
Abd Allah B. Mughaffal reported the apostle of Allah as saying: "Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one."
Abu Dawud 6.2839
And still later, only black dogs with white spots over their eyes.
Abu Zubair heard Jabir Abdullah saying: Allah's messenger ordered us to kill dogs and we carried out this order so much so that we also killed the dog roaming with a woman from the desert. Then Allah's apostle forbade their killing. He said: "It is your duty to kill the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes) for it is a devil."
Sahih Muslim 10.3813
The reason God's Messenger ordered the killing of all dogs was because he blamed a puppy for the angel Gabriel not showing up when he was supposed to.
Maimuna (another of the Prophet's wives) reported that one morning Allah’s Messenger was silent with grief.
Maimuna said: "Allah’s Messenger, I find a change in your mood today."
Allah’s Messenger said: "Gabriel had promised me that he would meet me tonight, but he did not meet me. By Allah, he never broke his promises," and Allah’s Messenger spent the day in this sad mood.
Then it occurred to him that there had been a puppy under their cot. He commanded and it was turned out. He then took some water in his hand and sprinkled it at that place.
When it was evening Gabriel met him and he said to him: "You promised me that you would meet me the previous night."
He said: "Yes, but we do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture."
Then on that very morning he commanded the killing of the dogs until he announced that the dog kept for the orchards should also be killed, but he spared the dog meant for the protection of extensive fields or big gardens.
Sahih Muslim 24.5248