Assalamualaikum ustaz, I always read statements that the Prophet PBUH had a cat named mu’izzah and muezza. My question is, is this true and is the narration sahih. Thank you.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Generally, in Islam it is wajib to have ihsan for all creations which includes humans, plants and animals. Having ihsan towards animals such as cats is wajib in terms of one should not be cruel nor harm any animals. This is according to a narration by Syaddad bin Aus RA, he said, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ
“Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (proficiency, perfection) in all things.”
Sahih Muslim (1955)
The same goes for cruelty against cats which could lead to a person being thrown into hellfire. This is based on a narration from Abdullah bin ‘Umar R.anhuma, he said, the Prophet PBUH said:
عُذِّبَتِ امْرَأَةٌ فِي هِرَّةٍ حَبَسَتْهَا، حَتَّى مَاتَتْ جُوعًا، فَدَخَلَتْ فِيهَا النَّارَ
"A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger."
Several cruel acts the woman committed was recorded in the continuation of the hadith where it is said to her:
لاَ أَنْتِ أَطْعَمْتِهَا وَلاَ سَقَيْتِهَا حِينَ حَبَسْتِيهَا، وَلاَ أَنْتِ أَرْسَلْتِيهَا فَأَكَلَتْ مِنْ خَشَاشِ الأَرْضِ
“You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (2365)
Coming back to the above-presented question, after analyzing renown hadith books, we did not find any narrations which state that the Prophet PBUH had or keep a cat with the mentioned name. Furthermore, most narrations which tell the story that the Prophet PBUH was with a cat are of no origin as stated in renown books, although they are famous narrations.
However, this does not deny the commandment to be kind towards cats as well as the prohibition of being cruel or harm cats. We have discussed this issue thoroughly in al-Kafi 134: Is It True There Is A Sanction in Syarak Regarding Keeping Cats as Pets? Which can be accessed through the following link: https://muftiwp.gov.my/en/artikel/al-kafi-li-al-fatawi/4002-al-kafi-1534-is-it-true-there-is-a-sanction-in-syarak-regarding-keeping-cats-as-pets
To conclude, we end this discussion with the following points:
- There is not a single sahih narration which states that the Prophet PBUH ever had or keep a cat named Mu’izzah even though the story is famous in our society.
- Saying or claiming that this is from the Prophet PBUH is feared to be a form of deception or lie in the name of the Prophet PBUH which is a strictly prohibited and there is a grave warning against it in accordance with the words of the Prophet PBUH:
إِنَّ كَذِبًا عَلَىَّ لَيْسَ كَكَذِبٍ عَلَى أَحَدٍ، مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَىَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ
"Ascribing false things to me is not like ascribing false things to anyone else. Whosoever tells a lie against me intentionally then surely let him occupy his seat in Hell-Fire."
Sahih al-Bukhari (1291)
- Thus, sharing or spreading of the story that the Prophet PBUH had a cat named Mu’ezza should be stopped, except when explaining its falsehood.
- This does not deny the commandment to have ihsan towards cats and the prohibition of being cruel and harming or injuring cats.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to be given the accurate understanding in practising the religion. Amin.