God's Messenger was the kindliest of men just as he excelled all others in courage and velour. Being extremely kindhearted, his eyes brimmed with tears at the slightest sign of inhumanity. Shaddad b. Aus reports the Apostle as saying, "God has commanded you to show kindness to everyone, so if you have to kill, kill nicely, and if you slaughter an animal, slaughter it gently. If anyone of you has to slay an animal, he should sharpen the blade first and treat the animal well." Ibn 'Abbas relates that a man threw a goat on its side and then started sharpening his knife. When the Prophet saw him he said, "Do you want to kill it twice ? Why did you not sharpen the knife before throwing it on the ground ?"
The Apostle forbade his companions to keep the dumb creatures hungry or thirsty, to disturb or to overburden them. He commended that kindliness and putting them at ease were meritorious acts tending to bring man nearer to God. Abu Huraira reports the Prophet as saying, "A traveller who was thirsty saw a well in the way. He got inside the well and when he came out he saw a dog licking mud because of thirst. The man bethought himself that the dog should be as thirsty as he was and so he got into the well again, filled his leather sock with water and carried it out holding with his teeth. And thus he quenched the thirst of the dog. God was pleased with this act of kindness and pardoned his sins. The companions asked, "O Messenger of God, is there recompense in the matter of beasts and wild animals also ?" The Prophet replied "There is recompense in regard to every creature that has a living heart."
'Abdullah b. 'Umar told that the Prophet said, "A woman was cast away into the hell only because she had demed food and water to her cat and refused to set it free so that the cat might satisfy its hunger by taking worms and insects. Suhayl b. ar-Rab'i b. 'Amr states that the Apostle of God came across a camel so famished that its belly had shrieked to its back. He said, "Fear God in the matter of these dumb creatures. If you ride them, ride when they are healthy and if you eat them, eat them when they are 1n a good condition." 'Abdullah b. J'afar narrated the incident that once the Prophet entered the enclosure of an Ansari where there was a camel which started groaning on catching sight of the Prophet, tears running down its eyes. The Prophet went near it, patted on its hump and face which set it at ease. Then the Apostle asked who its owner was. The Ansari youngmen came and said: "O Messenger of God, it belongs to me." The Prophet said to him, "Do you not fear God in the matter of this beast although He has made you its owner? It complained to me that you bore hard upon it and always kept it at work."
Abu Huraira quoted the Apostle as saying, "When you travel in a fertile country do not deny the camels their due from thground, and when you travel in a land barren and dry, cover it with speed. When you encamp at night keep away from the roads, for they are where the beasts pass and are the resorts of the insects at night." Ibn Mas'ud reports, "While we were on a journey with God's Messenger, he went a short distance from where we had encamped. There we saw a small bird with two of its birdlings and caught them. The bird was fluttering when the Prophet came back and so he asked, 'Who has distressed it by taking its chicks ?' Then he asked us to return the chicks. There we also saw an ant-hill and burnt it out. When the Prophet saw he asked, 'Who has burnt it ?' When we informed him that we had done it, he said, 'Only the Lord of fire has the right to punish with fire.
The Prophet strongly enjoined the duty of kind and generous treatment to the slaves, servants and the labour engaged for manual work. Jabir relates the Apostle of God as saying, "Feed them with the food which you eat, clothe them with such clothing as you wear and do not cause trouble to God's creatures." The Apostle is further stated to have said, "Those whom God has made your dependents are your brothers, servants and helpmates. Anybody whose brother has been made subservient to him ought to feed him with the food he eats and clothe him with the clothes he wears, command him not to do that which he is unable to do and if it becomes necessary to do so then he should help him in doing the job."
'Abdullah b. 'Umar says that once a nomadic Arab came and asked the Prophet, "How many times should I pardon my servant in a day?" The Prophet replied, "Seventy times. " He also quotes the Apostle as saying, "Pay the wages of a labourer before his sweat dries up."