05 July 2019 CE | 03 Dhul-Qadah 1440 AH

Hadith Explanation

A Cow and a Wolf Speak to Man

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) offered the Fajr Salat and then turned towards the men and said, “A man was driving a cow but soon he mounted its back and began to beat it (to hasten it). The cow said, ‘We were not created for this, but only for tilling the ground.’” The people said, “Glory be to Allah. A cow speaks!” The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “I believe it, as also do Abu Bakr and Umar although they were not there (when it happened).”

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) then said, “A man was shepherding some sheep when a wolf attacked and siezed one of them. The shepherd caught up with it and rescued it and the wolf said to him, ‘You have saved it today, but who will look after it when the beast of prey’s day comes and it has no shepherd but me?’” The people said, “Glory be to Allah! A wolf speaks, indeed!” The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “I believe it, as also do Abu Bakr and Umar although they were not there (at the time).” [Sahih Bukhari]

The Prophet’s saying that surely Abu Bakr and Umar believe it, is a testimony to the great Eeman that these two illustrious Sahaba (radi Allahu anhuma) had in the prophethood of Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). He said it not once, but twice, confident that even if no one else believed it these two men nevertheless would confirm whatever issued from him. The Miraj (ascension to heaven) which Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) instantly confirmed while the Kuffar joked about it, is an evidence of this statement, and it earned him the title of ‘As-Siddique.’ This is the level of belief in the Unseen that is demanded from Momineen. Momineen are described in the Quran as people, “Who believe in the Unseen.” [2:3]

Most people who take antibiotics have never seen bacteria with their own eyes. But they have faith in scientists’ and their doctor’s having seen them and so they believe in the existence of microbes. Angels, Jinn, Jannah and Jahannum are also things people don’t normally see for themselves. Prophets see the things of the Unseen and we believe in what the prophets have seen.

It is obligatory for a Muslim to believe and confirm all that is known from the Quran and authentic Ahadith irrespective of whether it is comprehended by human intellect or not. Belief in the Unseen does not mean verifying only that which our intellects can understand or that which science propagates. We cannot call that belief in the Unseen and in the Prophet but “belief in intellect and science,” while Islam calls us to “believe in the Unseen and in the Prophet.”

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has created animals for different purposes and they have different characteristics. This hadith tells us that we must employ every animal for the purpose for which it was created. The cow said the same thing to its owner.

As for the day when the beasts of prey will have a field day, the Ulama have suggested that it could refer to the Day of Resurrection when every one will be concerned about his own safety and no one will care about protecting sheep from wolves. Or it could refer to the days of festival of the earlier people and their national days when they rejoiced and held fairs. Those people used to be so engrossed in fun and frolick that they didn’t bother to look after their animals. The wolves seized their domestic animals at such times. [Sharah Nawavi of Muslim]

Hadith Online    Islamic Books    News/Articles    Send Email    Add to Favorite    Subscribe