Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: What is the reward for a person who feeds animals such as ducks, cats, dogs etc?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
There are great rewards for feeding animals and being merciful to the creation of Allah. Doing so would be considered a form of charity (sadaqa).
There are a number of prophetic narrations which indicate glad tidings to those who assisted animals in distress or difficulty. One such example is the following narration found in both Bukhari and Muslim:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “While a man was walking on a road. he became very thirsty. He came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself, “This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did.” So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He said, “(Yes) there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Another similar story is related by Abu Huraira in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” [Bukhari]
Here, al-`Ayni notes in his commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, `Umdat al-Qari, that this narration is a proof that Allah, out of His infinite generosity, may well overlook someone’s major sins due to a small good action which they did. This, too, relates to the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Do not deem any good deed as insignificant.” [Muslim]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, “There is not a Muslim who plants trees or cultivates land of which a bird, man, or beast eats thereof except that is a charity on his behalf.” [Muslim]
The believer strives to be one of benefit to all creation, embodying the spirit of the prophetic person himself (Allah bless him and give him peace), “We have not sent thee, save as a mercy unto all beings.” [21:107]
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani