Why are Muslims so cruel to animals? What does a Muslim do when he sees a dog? He picks up a stone and throws it at the poor creature. I once owned a salt works in the coastal area of Karachi. There was plenty of wild life there in 1978, but a few years later, most of it had disappeared. I remember large lizards (more than three feet in length) and coloured snakes, all which had been wiped out by humans before 1991 (when I left the salt trade). One day I came across a worker trying to kill a chameleon. “Why do you want to kill it. What harm has he done to you?” I asked. “Why does he keep changing colours?” the man retorted. I managed to convince him not to kill the poor creature, but I know that the minute I left the place, he went ahead and killed it anyway. Back in 2003, when I went to live in Block 5 of Clifton, a couple of dogs in the street outside the apartment complex became very friendly with me. They would accompany us whenever I and my wife went for a walk. Maybe they thought I cared about animals because apparently I was the only one who hadn’t tried to hit them with stones. The watchmen at the gate would be appalled when they saw me petting the dogs (who, according to their primitive way of thinking, are unclean creatures). A few days later, the dogs disappeared. Someone had shot the dogs, said the guards. I am fairly certain it was one of them.

I know there is a Hadith about angels staying away from houses where dogs are kept, but no one knew this when I was growing up. We had a couple of dogs, as well as exotic birds and peacocks (which we kept in a large cage). And I knew many other families who also kept dogs as pets. I have also heard another Hadith about a prostitute going straight to heaven because she fed a hungry dog, but apparently this one is ignored by Muslims. In Saudi Arabia, the only dog I saw was one being taken for a walk by an American (in Jeddah). In practically all countries where Muslims live, no one cares for animals.

August 25, 2009