"Meow, meow!" wails a cat somewhere in the building. My heartstrings are immediately tugged. I look around to find the source of the noise. There, under a staircase near a restaurant lay a heavily pregnant cat with a seemingly blind left eye.
Almost instantly, my eyes are filled with water. Before I could weep myself to death (okay, that is a bit exaggerated – crazy cat lady anyone?), I see dry cat food being laid out for her on a piece of newspaper. Again, my heartstrings are tugged.
Alhamdulillah. This act of genuine kindness (without expecting anything in return) gives me hope. Despite all the news about animal abuses – remember the Petknode case when the animal boarding centre left 150 cats to starve, dehydrate and drown in their own waste over the Hari Raya holidays last year? – there are still generous sadaqah-giving animal lovers in the world.
Allah swt emphasises the need to give sadaqah in the Qur'an;
"And spend something (in charity) out of the substance which We have bestowed on you, before Death should come to any of you and he should say, "O my Lord! Why didst Thou not give me respite for a little while? I should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the doers of good." But to no soul will Allah grant respite when the time appointed (for it) has come; and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do." (Surah al-Munafiqun, verses 10-11)
It is also stated in the Qur'an that we should not expect anything in return when giving sadaqah;
"They give food, out of love for Him (Allah), to the poor, the orphan, and the slave, saying: We feed you only for Allah's pleasure - we desire from you neither reward nor thanks." (Surah al-Insan, verses 8-9)
The Qur'an also states that giving sadaqah will not diminish a person's wealth;
"For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward." (Surah al-Hadid, verse 18)
In fact, Abu Hurairah rahimahullah (whose name coincidentally means "father of kittens") reported that Prophet Muhammad saw said: "When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du'a for him." (Muslim and others).
It should be noted that sadaqah is not restricted from a human being to another. A sadaqah, of course, can be given to animals. And the reward from Allah is masya-Allah, amazing. I am sure you have heard of the story in the time of the prophet, where a lady who did all kinds of wrongdoings in her life was guaranteed a place in heaven just because she gave a thirsty dog water!
And who knows, our furry (and non-furry) friends might return our kindness with a du'a (not that we should expect them to because, well, as mentioned earlier, we should not expect anything in return when we give sadaqah).
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