Answered by Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahmad
Is there any reward for feeding animals?
Praise be to Allah,
Showing Kindness to Animals
One of the virtuous and blessed deeds that Allah loves, rewards, and appreciates is feeding and taking care of animals and serving them. It has been established that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A man was walking on a road when he became very thirsty. He found a well, so he went down into it, drank, and then came out. At the top, he saw a dog that was panting and licking the ground due to thirst. The man thought, ‘This dog is as thirsty as I was.’ He went down the well, filled his shoe with water, and held it in his mouth as he climbed up and gave the water to the dog. Allah appreciated his action, so He forgave his sins.” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, are we rewarded for showing kindness to animals?” He replied, “In every living being, there is a reward.” [Agreed upon]
This clearly indicates that a Muslim is rewarded for feeding and quenching the thirst of animals. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) even said, “There is no greater reward than quenching the thirst of a parched liver.”
The Danger of Mistreating Living Creatures
In contrast, if one starves and tortures animals, they will be held accountable by Allah, the Lord of the worlds. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned the story of a woman who was tortured in Hellfire because she caged a cat, failed to feed it, and did not allow it to eat from the ground’s vermin. [Bukhari]
Being Mindful of Allah
A Muslim’s heart should be filled with mercy and kindness towards all of Allah’s creatures, whether they are human beings, animals, rocks, trees, or otherwise. Allah watches over how we treat His creations and expects us to treat them kindly, as He has commanded.
May Allah make us among the good-doers who show compassion to all of Allah’s creatures, and in return, may He bestow His mercy upon us, the most merciful of those who show mercy.
(1) Ibn ‘Adi mentioned this hadith in Al-Kamil.
[Shaykh] Ahmad al-Ahmad
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani